NOTE: many of the links in the past news will be old and may not work
decided it was not worth the time to go thru each one on all the Team Past News pages
Chad Walter joins MWR: Chad Walter has joined Michael Waltrip Racing as director of race engineering. Walter most recently led the #22 Penske Racing team and Sam Hornish in the Nationwide Series. He won races with both Hornish and Justin Allgaier and coached both drivers to fourth-place finishes in the NNS point standings. The 41-year-old Albion, N.Y. native was replaced by Greg Erwin at the end of last season. Walter, who attended Cornell University, replaces Steve Boyer at Michael Waltrip Racing. Boyer joined MWR two seasons ago but has returned to the private sector.(Fox Sports)(2-4-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing Notes from the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour: team owner Michael Waltrip says, "This is breaking news: We don't have any news. There's really nothing new or different from 2012. Man are we happy about that."
Clint Bowyer on a 2nd-place hangover: "I've had a lot of hangovers, you fight through them." and also said his #15 team is not fully-sponsored, "We're definitely looking for some more sponsors on our car."
Mark Martin said #55 team was able to keep entire team together from 2012 to 2013,
Mark Martin said: "I don't expect to be in it (55 car in 2014) That's not my goal. My goal is to see Rodney & 55 car race for a championship" but on his 2014 plans: "It's too early to get into discussions about future behind the wheel. Some talk about being further involvement w/ 55 team."
MIchael Waltrip announces plans for new fitness facility at MWR and that Martin is helping to update the gym.
Brian Vickers only test in Gen6 car was last fall, but expects to test more before first race at Bristol.
Besides running nine race in the #55 for MWR, Vickers is also running full time in Nationwide with JGR.
Truex Jr. says Toyota Racing Development is playing a key role in development of new car and TRD was a key in 2012 success.(from many Twitter reports/feeds)(1-22-2013)
2013 silly season notes for #15-Clint Bowyer / Michael Waltrip Racing: After finishing a surprise 2nd in the 2012 Sprint Cup Championship after moving to Michael Waltrip Racing. No major changes known for the #15 team as Bowyer and Five Hour Energy are signed thru 2014. Bowyer does get a new sponsor for 2013. Peak Motor Oil will be the primary sponsor for three races. Five Hour Energy drink was committed for 20 races in 2013 and mid season picked up another 15 races with Aaron's sponsoring the #15 at Talladega in May. No word on how many races Five Hour Energy will sponsor Bowyer, but it'll be at least 20. Brian Pattie returns as the crew chief for Bowyer. Bowyer is scheduled to run the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Michael Waltrip Racing owners Rob Kauffman and Michael Waltrip. See images of the Peak Motor Oil scheme on my #15 Team Schemes page. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(1-6-2013)
Bowyer running Rolex 24 with Waltrip: Michael Waltrip Racing owners Rob Kauffman and Michael Waltrip announced they will race in the 51st annual Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26-27. Joining the pair behind the wheel of the Grand Am version of the Ferrari 458 GT that will test in Daytona this weekend will be NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Clint Bowyer and road racing veteran Rui Aguas. The AF Waltrip entry is a joint project of the Italian championship sports car team AF Corse and MWR. AF Waltrip fielded Ferraris for Waltrip and Kauffman at sports car races around the globe since 2010 including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Sebring and last year's Rolex 24 in Daytona. Bowyer will be the newest member of the AF Waltrip driver lineup that has included Travis Pastrana and Brian Vickers in previous races.(MWR)(1-4-2013)
AARWBA Names All America Team: The American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Ass'n has announced its annual All America Team, which the group has done every year since the conclusion of the 1970 season. A unique team of special drivers representing multiple forms of professional motorsports is elected each year by AARWBA. The association's members vote on drivers within their participating categories of racing and the top two from each discipline are elected to the first team.
Brad Keselowski led the All American First Team voting in the Stock Car category as well as all divisions across the ballot. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion earned the most votes of any driver during the voting process. Jimmie Johnson fills out the other position with a third-place Sprint Cup standings finish, five points-paying wins and a victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. In the Touring Series category, James Buescher is recognized for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
One other tradition that AARWBA has followed is to elect a Second Team to be honored along with the All-America winners. The AARWBA Second Team for stock cars were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Clint Bowyer.(National Speed Sport News)(12-19-2012)
Waltrip on ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner and part-time driver Michael Waltrip is scheduled to appear in the episode of the ABC-TV program Extreme Makeover Home Edition that airs Monday, Dec. 17, at 8:00pm/et. The Christmas-themed episode features a family that has fostered more than 30 children, including adopting a family of five siblings. The NBA's Charlotte Bobcats' female dance troupe also is featured.(ESPN)(12-15-2012)
Keselowski, Bowyer not elgible for shootout: There's a saying in racing that it's not where you start, it's where you finish. But that doesn't necessarily ring true for NASCAR's preseason exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR decided prior to the start of the 2012 season to go back to its traditional eligibility requirements for the Shootout — pole winners from the previous year and past Shootout winners. That means the top two drivers in the 2012 standings — #2-Brad Keselowski and #15-Clint Bowyer — aren't on the list of 22 drivers eligible for the 2013 event. Not since 2004, when 2003 champion Matt Kenseth did not win a pole, has the Shootout been run without the previous year's Cup champion. The event used to be sponsored by Budweiser, which originally had also sponsored NASCAR's pole award. When Coors took over the pole award sponsorship in 2009, the eligibility rules changed and continued to change annually. A new sponsor and a new format for the Feb. 16 event are expected to be announced soon.(Sporting News), see a list of all elgible drivers on the 2013 Shoutout page.(12-7-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing invests in auto research center: The opportunity to be part of the racetrack and automotive-research center being built on the site of Cooper Stadium [in Columbus, OH] was just too tempting for NASCAR team owner and driver Michael Waltrip to pass up. Waltrip announced that he and his racing team will be investors in the Sports Pavilion & Automotive Research Complex, or SPARC, being developed on the stadium site. "He had me from racetrack," the two-time Daytona 500 winner said of his initial discussions with Bill Schottenstein, principal of Arshot Investment Corp., developer of the complex. "Having my hands on designing and helping to build a racetrack is very exciting." Waltrip and Schottenstein both declined to say how much the team invested. The SPARC complex will include a half-mile racetrack with 8,500 seats, a 50,000-square-foot office building for the research center, 1,900 parking spaces, a hotel and meeting center, and four or five sites for restaurants or stores along Mound Street. It's unlikely, but possible an actual NASCAR race could take place at SPARC, Waltrip said. Waltrip Racing is based in Cornelius, N.C., and will use SPARC as a satellite operation and test center. Most tracks of the quality of SPARC, Waltrip said, are already connected to an existing NASCAR race, which means teams can't test their cars there. Cooper Stadium closed in 2008, and one of the goals of the new project is to spark the revitalization of the Franklinton area just west of Downtown.(Columbus Dispatch)(12-5-2012)
Gordon-Bowyer still not speaking to each other: #24-Jeff Gordon and #15-Clint Bowyer haven't spoken since Gordon intentionally wrecked Bowyer at Phoenix on Nov. 11, an incident that triggered a garage-area melee between the drivers' crews and earned Gordon a $100,000 fine from NASCAR. Gordon said Thursday that the season-ending activities this week in Las Vegas have been "awkward" because he and Bowyer haven't socialized. Bowyer is popular among the other drivers and considered the life of the party. "It's been awkward because I've always had a good relationship with him, we've always talked and had fun," Gordon said. "That's obviously not the case. I thought he might have gotten over it at least enough to look at me, but he won't even look at me, and when you are in this type of environment, that's going to be odd." Bowyer, meanwhile, still doesn't want to discuss the incident. He and Gordon spoke in the NASCAR hauler at Phoenix, but haven't talked since. Bowyer would not talk about it with reporters during the season finale at Homestead and on Thursday indicated he's not ready to resolve the issue with Gordon. He three times tried to change the subject, even once attempting to instead talk about nightclubs before finally growing exasperated. "Good God," he said. "Is that my story I have to talk about?"(in part from the Associated Press)(11-30-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing Official Statement: "We accept the penalties announced by NASCAR today and look forward to finishing what has been a breakthrough season for Michael Waltrip Racing."(MWR)(11-12-2012)
NASCAR Issues Penalties From Sunday's Event at Phoenix: NASCAR announced penalties to three teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 car, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) – altercation with another competitor on the race track during the race – and has been fined $100,000, docked 25 championship driver points and put on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Rick Hendrick, owner of the #24 car, has also been penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the #24 car, also was found to be in violation of Section 9-4A (at all events, crew chief assumes responsibility of his driver, car owner and team members) and has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Brian Pattie, crew chief of the #15 car, violated Sections 12-1 and 9-4A and has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 car, has been fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for violating Sections 12-1 and 20-6.7A (cars and drivers will not be permitted to carry onboard computers, automated electronic recording devices, electronically actuated devices, power distribution modules, power conditioners, micro-processors, recording devices, electronic digital memory chips, traction control devices, digital readout gauges and the like, even if inoperable or incomplete) – driver had a cell phone in his possession onboard the race car. All of these violations occurred during the Nov. 11 event at PIR.
Statement From Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition: "Following a thorough analysis of the actions that took place during Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, we have issued penalties based upon our review. The decisions announced today cover NASCAR's full assessment of penalties for the incidents that occurred. There's no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play. We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them."(NASCAR)(11-12-2012)
MWR Statement: "The goal of Michael Waltrip Racing is to be a championship-level organization both on and off the track. The on-track incident which occurred during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway was extremely disappointing and brought raw emotions of a long and hard championship battle to the surface. Though we generally cannot control certain actions on the track, the unfortunate reactions off the track Sunday did not live up to the professional standards in which Michael Waltrip Racing expects all of its representatives to live by. We commit to our sponsors, our manufacturer, our fans and NASCAR that we will do so in the future."(MWR)(11-12-2012)
Gordon and Bowyer comment about their 'incident' at Phoenix: on Lap 310 of the AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, there was an incident on track between #24-Jeff Gordon and #15-Clint Bowyer, and then their crews in the pits, a few comments from each driver:
first #24-Jeff Gordon: Gordon: "Things have gotten escalated over the year and I have just had it. Clint (Bowyer) has run into me numerous times, wrecked me and he got into me on the back straightaway, pretty much ruined our day. I have had it, was fed up with it and got him back."
Q) IN THE MELEE IN THE GARAGE DID YOU GET HIT?
Q) ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT ANY PENALTIES?
Gordon: "They've got to do what they've got to do. Just like I had to do what I had to do."
Q) ON INCIDENT:
Gordon: "Clint (Bowyer) has run into me numerous times, wrecked me. He got into me on the back straightaway, and pretty much ruined our day. I had it. That was it, and got him back."
Q) WHAT DID YOU TELL THEM IN THE NASCAR HAULER?
Gordon: "I told them what I just told you."
Q) ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT WHAT COMES NEXT?
"They've got to do what they've got to do, and I guess I had to do what I had to do."(Team Chevy)
next #15-Clint Bowyer:
Q) What happened between you and Jeff Gordon?
Bowyer: "I mean the racing -- it's just a shame. The last person in the world you want to get into anything with is Jeff Gordon on the race track. I mean, you're down there racing, the track's extremely slick, we're all on tires -- I didn't even need to pass him. That's the thing. All I was doing is riding around biding my time. The only thing I had to do is keep the 5 car (Kasey Kahne) within reach, so for him to act like that -- I mean, I barely touched him and then I feel him get into turn three and try to turn me and he missed and then next thing I know Brett's (Griffin, spotter) telling me on the radio that he's trying to -- he's waiting on me. It's pretty embarrassing for a four-time champion -- and what I consider one of the best this sport's ever seen -- to act like that is just completely ridiculous."
Q) What did NASCAR say when you met them after the race?
Bowyer: "I don't know. There's nothing you can do to fix it now. It's over with. You've got to go on to Homestead (-Miami Speedway). I've got to try to beat the 5 car (Kasey Kahne), but I mean that was my opportunity to try to get myself back in the championship hunt. When you're disrupting a championship run like that, it's too bad. They asked us not to do that in the driver's meeting and there's usually a lot of respect there. Like I said, it's crazy -- I didn't even need to pass him. I was plenty content riding behind him and he slipped up down there, I get under him and here he comes back. I just barely touched him. I literally barely rubbed him and then all the sudden I feel him trying to retaliate and -- I don't know -- missed or something and hit the wall and made himself look like a fool."
Q) Will you retaliate?
Bowyer: "We just have to see."
Q) Did Jeff Gordon say anything to you in the meeting with NASCAR after the race?
Bowyer: "Not really -- it's pretty soon to be talking to him (Jeff Gordon)."
Q) Should NASCAR penalize Jeff Gordon?
Bowyer: "You guys have been covering this sport a long time. Same circumstances happened -- what was it, last year or year before and disrupted a championship and I don't understand how that's any different. Like I said, it's over with and done and have to go to Homestead (-Miami Speedway) and do the best we can."(Toyota Racing)(11-12-2012)
Bowyer wins at Charlotte: #15-Clint Bowyer won the Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of year and 8th career win.
#11-Hamlin finished 2nd followed by #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #18-Busch, #55-Martin, #99-Edwards, #5-Kahne, #20-Logano and #56-Truex Jr..
#2-Keselowski led the most laps and was leading when he waited too long to pit and ran out of fuel, but finished 11th and maintain the points lead, 7 points over #48-Johnson. Bowyer was able to run longer on fuel and held on to win the race, his first on a mile and a half track. There were only 6 cars on the lead lap.
Regan Smith, subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #88 Chevy, lost an engine on lap 61 and finished 38th. Kurt Busch finished 21st in his first race in the #78 Furniture Row Chevy. #51-A.J. Allmendinger finished 24th in his first race back from his suspension.
There were 5 cautions for 23 yellow flag laps. There were 20 lead changes among 8 drivers. The average speed was 154.935mph.
The estimated attendence was 100,000, down from 105,000 last October.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Charlotte Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race & Points Report.(10-13-2012)
Pink Lemonade colors for Bowyer at Charlotte: Clint Bowyer is racing the #15 Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY/Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade Toyota at Charlotte. In 2012, 5-hour ENERGY is donating at least $75,000 to the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade in connection with its new Pink Lemonade flavor. But that donation can increase a lot. The more Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY sells, the more they will donate. Bowyer will also drive the pink paint scheme in the Kansas and Martinsville races. (MWR)(10-11-2012)
Bowyer goes pink in October: Clint Bowyer's #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota will turn pink in October. And that makes the Chase's fourth-place driver happy. "If I'm going to be wearing pink and driving a pink car it better be for a great cause!" said Bowyer. "Trust me, this is a great cause." The paint scheme that makes its first appearance this weekend in Talladega calls attention to the Avon Foundation for Breast Cancer Crusade as well as 5-hour ENERGY's newest flavor-Pink Lemonade. Bowyer will also drive the pink paint scheme in the Charlotte, Kansas and Martinsville races.(MWR)(10-4-2012)
PEAK sponsoring Bowyer for 3 races in 2013, associate on all MWR cars: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that PEAK Motor Oil will become a primary sponsor on Clint Bowyer's #15 Toyota for three races in each of the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup seasons. MWR will also feature PEAK Motor Oil as an associate sponsor on the #56 NAPA AUTO PARTS TOYOTA and the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine driven by Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Waltrip. The familiar PEAK logos will adorn Bowyer's hood at the May Talladega race, the July Daytona race and at Chicagoland in 2013. Waltrip said there are primary sponsorship opportunities open on the No. 15 in 2013. "5-hour ENERGY and PEAK are wonderful, powerful retail brands activating with this race team. We still have some work to do to fill out the 2013 schedule and need to bring some more partners to add to this great foundation of support," said Waltrip.(MWR)(9-14-2012)
Bowyer gets a new spotter: Will the replacement of a key member of his team be a challenge for Clint Bowyer, as the driver of the #15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota enters the Chase? Bowyer doesn't think so, and on Wednesday at the House of Blues, he talked about the addition of Brett Griffin, who will take the place of MWR general manager Ty Norris on the spotter's stand, starting this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Griffin's voice won't be unfamiliar to Bowyer. When he and Jeff Burton raced as teammates at Richard Childress Racing--where Burton and Bowyer paired up in restrictor-plate events--Griffin spotted for the tandem. Griffin, who serves as NASCAR Nationwide Series spotter and business manager for Elliott Sadler, lost his job as Burton's spotter after Sadler announced plans to leave RCR at the end of the season despite leading the NASCAR Nationwide standings.(NASCAR Wire Service)(9-13-2012)
Bowyer happy that Truex Jr. is still in the MWR fold: #15-Clint Bowyer may be flying below the radar as a Chase contender, but he's happy that Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #56-Martin Truex Jr. has his new deal squared away. "Having Truex back as a teammate was something that I was very, very adamant about and supportive of," Bowyer told the NASCAR Wire Service on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I'm looking forward to where he's announcing that. "It's something that I'm looking forward to keeping for a long, long time. We raced a lot together back in the Nationwide days (both are former series champions), had a lot of respect for each other. We just push each other pretty good and work together well." Bowyer was at CMS to help promote the stunt scheduled as part of the festivities before the Oct. 13 Bank of America 500, the fifth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Daredevil Nik Wallenda, who in June became the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a high wire, will bring his talents to the speedway.(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-30-2012)
Clint Bowyer, Team Featured in Special Program: NASCAR fans can go behind-the-scenes with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer and the Michael Waltrip Racing team in a one-hour special program airing Sunday, Sept. 2, at 2:00pm/et on ABC. Catching Speed, produced by award-winning NASCAR Productions, is a glimpse into how a team prepares during the week for a big race like the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The show focuses on the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota team during the week and throughout the race in Indianapolis. Fans will be able to listen to crew chiefs and engineers in competition meetings, pit crew members during pit practices and mechanics working on the car – all in preparation for Indy. Catching Speed re-airs on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 2:30pm/et on ESPN2. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.(ESPN)(8-29-2012)
Bowyer wins at Sonoma: #15-Clint Bowyer won the Toyota / Save Mart 350(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma for his 1st win of the year, 6th career win, 1st win with Michael Waltrip Racing and first road course win.
#14-Stewart finished 2nd [2nd week in a row] followed by #51-Busch, #55-Vickers, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #16-Biffle, #9-Ambrose [pole sitter], #22-Allmendinger and #20-Logano.
There were 2 cautions for 7 yellow flag laps. There were 8 lead changes among 5 drivers. The average speed was 83.624mph, a new track record for the race.
The estimated attendence was 91,000, down slightly 92,000 in 2011.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Sonoma Race Results page (pdf) and the official rundown on the Official Race Report. (6-24/25-2012)
Georgia Boot becomes associate sponsor of Bowyer: Georgia Boot, "America's Hardest Working Boot," announced a partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing and driver Clint Bowyer to become an associate sponsor on the #15 Toyota for 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. Georgia Boot will appear on the lower rear quarter panel of Bowyer's #15 car beginning at this weekend's race at Pocono Raceway through the Aug. 19 race at Michigan International Speedway. The company's emblem will be also appearing on the sleeve of Bowyer's fire suits. Georgia Boot is a full-season sponsor of Clint Bowyer Racing's #15 Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series and its driver Jonathan Davenport.(MWR)(6-6-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing, Toyota Racing Extend Partnership: Michael Waltrip Racing announced a multi-year contract extension with TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) to keep the organization in the Toyota camp for years to come. MWR and Toyota entered Sprint Cup Racing - NASCAR's premier division - together in 2007. MWR currently fields three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and is enjoying its best season with Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer in the top 10 in NASCAR Sprint Cup driver points and all three of its cars in the top 12 in owner points. MWR Toyotas have earned three poles and seven top-fives in the first 11 races in 2012.
"Toyota has been the cornerstone of MWR," said co-owner Michael Waltrip. "They took a chance on us in 2007 and together we have matured into who we are today. It was an honor to be part of the freshman class. Knowing we will be with Toyota for the next several years gives our drivers, our team members and our sponsors a sense of stability and confidence. MWR will be able to continue its competitive rise because we are insured Toyota's tier one level resources. Toyota is a partner in the truest sense of the word."
"For us, this is a vote of confidence that we are making positive moves towards a championship," said MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman. "There is more work to do and with Toyota's long-term support, it helps us make longer term decisions for the betterment of the business."
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing -- a member of our 'freshman class' from 2007," said Lee White, TRD's president and general manager. "MWR has steadily grown into a championship-caliber race team, and the team is now stronger than it's ever been. We're extremely proud of all the team's accomplishments, and we look forward to much more success together." TRD will continue to provide MWR engines from its facility in Costa Mesa, Calif., as well as chassis engineering support from its state-of-the-art facility in Salisbury, N.C.(MWR)(5-22-2012)
Bowyer Wins Pennzoil Victory Burnout Challenge: During pre-race activities for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Pennzoil held its fifth annual Pennzoil Victory Burnout Challenge, which included five NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. When the smoke cleared, #15-Clint Bowyer won his first competition, after having competed in the previous four. The four other NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers competing in the competition were Shell/Pennzoil driver #22-A.J. Allmendinger, #2-Brad Keselowski, and former Pennzoil Victory Burnout Challenge winners #5-Kasey Kahne and #20-Joey Logano. Each driver took a turn in a different Richard Petty Driving School Pennzoil race car. Fans voted for the top two burnouts before a panel of three celebrity judges voted Bowyer the winner. The judges were Miss Sprint Cup, Jaclyn Roney; Colby Donaldson, a veteran of television's "Survivor" and host of "Top Shot;" and Kim Spradlin, 2012 winner of the "Survivor." Bowyer is donating the $10,000 first place check to his charity, the Employee Community Foundation in his hometown of Emporia, Kan.(CMS Pit Notes)(5-19-2012)
MWR rewards crew with helmet stickers: Few weeks in the 10-month NASCAR Sprint Cup season put as great of a spotlight on pit crew members as the next two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway. At Michael Waltrip Racing, success is measured on the crew helmets. This year MWR began awarding helmet stickers like college football teams. The #55 helmets carry Aaron's Lucky Dog stickers, the #15 crew earns 5-hour ENERGY bottle decals and the #56 team receives NAPA Battery logos. "I'm a big fan of Ohio State football and have always liked the way the coaches reward big plays with buckeye stickers on the helmets," said MWR's pit coach Greg Miller. "We wanted to do something to reward the guys when they do something special on the crew." Miller awards stickers to each crew member for the following:
· A race with all stops under 13.49 seconds.
· Action "above and beyond" the normal job.
· A pit stop that moves the car into the top 10.
· Car retains the lead during a pit stop.
· At least two spots gained on pit lane while in the top 20.(MWR)(5-16-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing Fan Fest May 23rd: Michael Waltrip Racing will hold its sixth annual Fan Fest at its race shop in Cornelius, N.C. on Wednesday, May 23. MWR NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer will sign autographs from 1-3 p.m.
Up to 300 wrist bands for each driver will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 21 in the MWR team store. A wrist band is required for an autograph. Wrist band distribution is limited to one band per fan per day until all bands have been distributed. No purchase required to obtain a wrist band.
To guarantee an autograph from all three drivers, express passes to all autograph lines will be available for all fans who purchase more than $100 in merchandise from the team store on May 23. Team business partners plan to bring interactive displays and SiriusXM Radio will broadcast from MWR. Music, a free poster, prizes and the MWR transporters will also be part of this year's event. Food will be available for purchase. Due to out-of-state commitments, Waltrip and Brian Vickers will not be present. Michael Waltrip Racing is at exit 28 on I-77 in Cornelius, N.C. about 15 miles north of Charlotte, N.C. The team's race shop and team store will be open to the public throughout the day. More info at michaelwaltripracing.com.(MWR)(5-12-2012)
Bowyer sued by motorcycle company: A Mitchell-based motorcycle company is suing NASCAR driver #15-Clint Bowyer. Klock Werks Kustom Cycles is alleging Bowyer, 32, failed to pay $30,788.45 for the customization of a motorcycle conducted by the company in late 2008 and early 2009. In its complaint, dated Nov. 23, 2011, and filed May 2 with the Davison County clerk of courts, Klock Werks says Bowyer contacted the company on or about Nov. 11, 2008, and hired it to customize a 2009 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. After the work was performed at Klock Werks' Mitchell facility, it was delivered to Bowyer in Daytona Beach, Fla., on or about Feb. 15, 2009, the date of the 2009 Daytona 500 NASCAR race. In Bowyer's answer, which has not been officially filed but was obtained Wednesday by The Daily Republic, he denies he agreed to pay money for the bike. Instead, Bowyer says he agreed to provide Klock Werks with "certain promotional services and special accommodations within NASCAR and related publications." Bowyer then claims he fulfilled that obligation, barring Klock Werks from any further compensation. (in part from the Mitchell Daily Republic)(5-10-2012)
Waltrip transport driver honoring brother in Darlington hauler parade: Michael Waltrip Racing's #15 5-hour ENERGY transport driver Al Nelson, a native of Long Island, N.Y., will get the special opportunity on Thursday night in Darlington to honor his brother Peter Allen Nelson. Peter Nelson was a firefighter in FDNY Rescue 4 killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Members of the Remembrance Rescue Project, a not-for-profit created by firefighters to restore, preserve and operate Rescue 4 and Rescue 5 from 9/11 as educational tools, historical artifacts and memorials, reached out to Al Nelson last month. The group informed Nelson that former FDNY Rescue 4 will be in Darlington at the same time as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and asked if he would be willing to drive the Rescue 4 truck in the Darlington Car Hauler Parade on Thursday night. Nelson agreed and will now drive the Rescue 4 truck in Thursday night's festivities. Michael Waltrip Racing's #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota will also run a special Remembrance Rescue Project decal on the lower rear quarter panel throughout the race weekend at Darlington.(MWR)(5-10-2012)
Bowyer honoring Alabama National Championship: #15 Aaron's/Alabama National Champions Toyota driver Clint Bowyer races at Talladega Superspeedway in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race with a special paint scheme honoring the 2011 University of Alabama's BCS National Championship football team. Bowyer will even sport an Alabama firesuit and a specially designed helmet honoring legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. The Alabama paint scheme combined with his recent performance on the 2.66-mile track-winning two of the last three races-should make Bowyer the center of attention at the Aaron's 499. This is the third consecutive Talladega spring race Aaron's Inc. has honored a national championship football team from the state of Alabama. Sunday also marks the only race 5-hour ENERGY will not be the primary sponsor on the #15.(MWR), see an image of the car on the #15 team paint schemes page.(5-3-2012)
5-hour Energy expands sponsorship of #15: 5-hour Energy announced it will sponsor Michael Waltrip Racing's #15 Toyota driven by Clint Bowyer for the all but one of the remaining races in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The move increases 5-hour's sponsorship from 25 to 37 events. "5-hour Energy is extremely excited about the consumer exposure and sales growth we have achieved since moving up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and partnering with Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer this season," said Scott Henderson, president of 5-hour Energy. Waltrip said the team's internal numbers show the #15 Toyota has garnered tremendous exposure for 5-hour in the first seven races. MWR and 5-hour Energy announced a 25-race partnership at Kansas Speedway in October. Today's announcement means 5-hour Energy will sponsor the #15 for 35 of 36 points races in 2012. 5-hour ENERGY also sponsored the #15 in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona and will sponsor the #15 in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte. Aaron's will sponsor Bowyer at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6 in his only non-5-hour race in 2012. The car will honor the University of Alabama's BCS National Championship football team.(MWR)(4-20-2012)
Bowyer to run special scheme at Talladega: #15-Clint Bowyer is scheduled to run a University of Alabama 2011 BCS National Champion Football / Aaron's Special Paint scheme at Talladega in May on the #15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. See an image of the scheme on my #15 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2012)
Several drivers getting new spotters: In addition to getting adjusted to new personnel on their teams, several drivers will be working with new spotters when testing opens Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Dickerson, who has spotted for #24-Jeff Gordon the last couple of years, left to pursue an opportunity in racing that will give him more time with his family. He has not announced where he is going.
• Eddie D'Hondt, who had won 39 races across all NASCAR series with #18-Kyle Busch, will move to Hendrick Motorsports to work as Gordon's spotter.
• Tony Hirschman, who was spotter for AJ Allmendinger, will replace D'Hondt as Busch's spotter.
• Busch isn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to have a new spotter for 2012 as two spotters whose drivers have not announced 2012 rides have found new gigs - Chris Lambert, who was the spotter for Brian Vickers, will replace Curtis Markham as spotter for #11-Denny Hamlin and Rocky Ryan, who was spotter for David Ragan, will replace Joey Civali as spotter for #20-Joey Logano.
• Chris Osborne, who was spotter for Kurt Busch at Penske Racing, will start the season spotting for Allmendinger while Busch will use his new boss - Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll - as his spotter.
• #15-Clint Bowyer, who has moved from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing, will go to the test with MWR general manager Ty Norris as his spotter.
• Kevin Hamlin, who was Bowyer's spotter, will remain at RCR and work with Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series.
• #43-Aric Almirola will use Tyler Green as his spotter. Green spotted for Almirola at JR Motorsports and will now spot for him at RPM.(Scene Daily)(1-11-2012)
MWR drivers testing:#56-Martin Truex Jr. and the NAPA Racing team are in Florida for five days of testing at two tracks as planning continues for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Truex and new Michael Waltrip Racing teammates #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Mark Martin begin testing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday. It's the first time the drivers will work together focusing on MWR's short-track program. The team then moves to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for NASCAR's Preseason Thunder that includes testing Thursday through Saturday in preparation for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(1-11-2012)
MWR could buy Red Bull Racing assets: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing is negotiating to purchase the assets of the former Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. A spokesperson for the team declined to comment on the story, but multiple sources say Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull are close to an agreement on the sale, awaiting NASCAR approval for an owner point swap that would allow MWR to field a third Toyota Camry in the 2012 Daytona 500. MWR finished 18th and 28th in Sprint Cup owner points with drivers #56-Martin Truex, Jr. and #00[now #55]-David Reutimann last season, and holds two guaranteed starting spots for the upcoming Daytona 500. MWR is expected to field three cars in the Great American Race for Truex, #15-Clint Bowyer (no points) and #55-Mark Martin, using one of the guaranteed starting spots held by Red Bull Racing. Those points would transfer to MWR in the event of a sale. Michael Waltrip could also compete in the 2012 Daytona 500, but is believed unlikely to do so in an MWR Toyota. Sources say MWR is also interested in acquiring cars and equipment from Red Bull, including fabrication equipment and a shaker rig. If included in the sale, the former Red Bull Racing building would likely be used by MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman to house his RK Motors muscle car restoration and performance company, as well as his personal collection of classic and vintage automobiles. Red Bull Racing closed its doors last month, after failing to find a buyer to continue operations.(Sirius Speedway)(1-3-2012)
Brian Pattie more than ready to go after break: Brian Pattie was in street clothes at Indianapolis in mid-summer, and said then that his agreement with owner Chip Ganassi was keeping his activity pretty low-key. But at his first test earlier this month, with his new Michael Waltrip Racing driver #15-Clint Bowyer, Pattie made no bones about how he really felt at being back in harness. "The last three months changed me, in the fact that I'm recharged and ready to go, like I never have been," Pattie said. "I'm excited about racing again. You get in those low moments and it's just a struggle. [The split from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing] really was a blessing in disguise for me. But coming [to the test at Walt Disney World Speedway] ... if I could scream, I would; it's that exciting."(NASCAR.com)(12-30-2011)
Pattie named Bowyer's crew chief UPDATE 3 and Red Bull crew? Brian Pattie is expected to be named crew chief on Dec 1st for the #15 Toyota that Clint Bowyer will drive for MWR in 2012. As far as a pit crew is concerned, a deal is in the works that would bring one of the Red Bull Racing squads to MWR for Bowyer's team if investors can't be found to salvage that company.(FoxSports)(11-16-2011)
UPDATE: Sources report Brian Pattie will be named #15-Clint Bowyer's crew chief as early as Monday [Dec 5th]. The former Earnhardt Ganassi Racing crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya will assume the same role at Michael Waltrip Racing calling the shots for newcomer Bowyer. Speculation of the Pattie-Bowyer pairing has been ongoing in recent weeks since the Ford 400 season-ending weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Motor Racing Network)(12-4-2011)
UPDATE Expect an announcement this week that Brian Pattie will serve as crew chief for Clint Bowyer's new #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota at Michael Waltrip Racing. Many of the crew members under his watch will come from Red Bull Racing [#4 & #83], which is not expected to return in 2012. Red Bull Racing's #83 Sprint Cup Series team pitted Johanna Long's Super Late Model entry at this weekend's Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, and many went directly to work at Michael Waltrip Racing today [Monday Dec 5th]. Unofficially, seven over-the-wall crewmembers from Red Bull Racing are expected to work for MWR in 2012. Five of them will crew Bowyer's #15 Toyota, including the front tire changer, front tire carrier and gas man from Kasey Kahne's former #4 team, along with the jack man and rear tire changer from Brian Vickers' #83. Two other former Red Bull crewmen will work on MWR's #56 and #55 Toyotas. Other former Red Bull team members have found work at JTG Daugherty Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.
Sources with Red Bull Racing said crewmembers were originally forbidden to talk to other teams until the end of their current contract in early December. Red Bull reportedly issued an amendment to that ruling 3-4 weeks ago, allowing crewmen to seek immediate employment in exchange for forfeiting their severance pay if Red Bull closes its doors. It is expected that Red Bull will releasing the balance of its Competition Department at the end of business today.(Sirius Speedway)(12-5-2011)
OFFICIAL: Michael Waltrip Racing today announced that Brian Pattie will serve as crew chief for Clint Bowyer's #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2012. "Brian is someone whose been on our radar for a very long time," said Waltrip. "He brings a strong technical background, along with great leadership and Chase experience. We have high hopes for Brian, Clint and the 5-hour ENERGY team heading into 2012 and we think this is the perfect mix of talent, experience and leadership." Pattie joins the team after 18 victories in a long Nationwide Series career with a variety of drivers and a Sprint Cup stint at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya. He guided the former open wheel driver to a spot in the Chase in 2009 and a victory at Watkins Glen in 2010. "Michael Waltrip Racing is an up-and-coming team making improvements every day," said Pattie, a Zephyrhills Fla. native who began his duties at MWR on Dec. 1. "I know how close it is to joining the upper echelon of the Sprint Cup Series. When I started talking with Michael about opportunities at MWR I really did my research and was impressed by their commitment to getting to the top of the sport. I feel like this is a great opportunity to join a new team with a new driver and start building something special. Clint's proven how good he is and I know that will get even better in 2012."
Bowyer said the key to any good driver-crew chief relationship is communication. He and Pattie already have a head start in that area. "I've known Brian Pattie for a long time and the thing that impresses me the most is how he calls a race and his knowledge of racecars," said Bowyer. "We both grew up working on dirt cars and have pretty similar backgrounds. We understand each other and I think we speak the same language. I know once we get together and start working we're going to see great results."(Michael Waltrip Racing)(12-5-2011)
MWR settles suit with former engineer: Michael Waltrip Racing has settled a lawsuit with a former engineer who left the organization for a Formula One team before his contract allegedly ran out. MWR had sued Mike Coughlan and the Williams F1 team in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, asking for an unspecified amount in damages for breach of contract and, against Williams, interference with the contract. In a filing Tuesday, attorneys on both sides asked the court to dismiss the case. No reason was given for the request, but Michael Waltrip Racing confirmed the settlement.(SceneDaily)(10-21-2011)
Waltrip to drive DW tribute car at Talladega: Michael Waltrip owns 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Talladega Superspeedway, but he'll reach back into family history when he makes his 766th start on Oct. 23 at the Alabama track. With the support of long-time sponsor Aaron's Inc., Waltrip will celebrate the election of his brother Darrell to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. He'll race a brown-and-gold paint scheme similar to the Terminal Transport car Darrell drove in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega on May 7, 1972. Michael's Talladega paint scheme includes a large photo on the hood taken after Darrell's first Sprint Cup victory at Nashville Speedway in 1975. The deck lid carries a picture of "DW" during the 1989 Daytona 500 victory lane celebration as the three-time series champion dances the "Ickey Shuffle." Waltrip honored Darrell's first victory with an orange and white scheme at the inaugural Kentucky Speedway race in June. Rain cancelled qualifying depriving Waltrip the chance to start the race despite posting a fast qualifying speed before NASCAR halted the session and set the field by points.(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the car on my #15 team paint schemes page.(10-14-2011)
Bowyer tried to put sponsor deal together at RCR, but: Clint Bowyer revealed a surprising twist about his decision [to leave RCR and go to MWR]. The 5-Hour Energy people came to him, and they were willing for him to stay at RCR. "We talked to Richard about it, but still couldn't put a deal together," Bowyer said. "At that point I said, 'OK, we'll go somewhere else.' That's what ultimately led to leaving RCR. It's a shame. I owe a lot to Richard." Bowyer said he was surprised and disappointed when Childress told him no, but Bowyer has no hard feelings. "I was in an auto shop in Kansas when he called me the first time," Bowyer said. "He changed my life, and I'll always be grateful. But it was time to move on." Childress opened the books to Bowyer, showing him the numbers didn't add up. Childress didn't feel the money from 5-Hour Energy was enough to continue to run a fourth car. And Childress wasn't going to pay the kind of money Bowyer was wanting (way north of $5 million a year) without full funding on the car.(ESPN)
AND Sponsor 5-Hour Energy, the 'energy-shot' beverage, is putting up a reported $13 million or so to back the operation. Precise figures were not announced.(MikeMulhern.net)(10-8-2011)
Bowyer signs with Michael Waltrip Racing UPDATE crew chief? Michael Waltrip Racing announced Clint Bowyer will drive the team's #15 Toyota with 5-hour Energy as the primary sponsor for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup seasons beginning at the 2012 Daytona 500 [for 24 races a season]. The announcement ends months of speculation for the highly valued free agent. "This has been a very long summer, but I think for everyone involved, the best decision was made to be at Michael Waltrip Racing," said Bowyer. "I am a big fan of 5-hour Energy so I was really happy when they approached me about putting a deal together. We were diligent in working through our options and finally found the right fit. I have been so impressed with what's going on at MWR. Then when the 5-hour Energy executives met with Michael and his people, we knew this was going to be our home. I've been with one organization for my entire Sprint Cup career and leaving there was the hardest part of the decision. But now I'm ready to start the next chapter in my racing career."
Bowyer, 32, is a six-year veteran with four victories, two pole positions, 30 top-five finishes and 90 top-10s in Sprint Cup competition. MWR is finishing its fifth season competing in the Sprint Cup series and has scored two wins.
"This is a watershed moment for our young organization," said Michael Waltrip, who co-owns MWR with Rob Kauffman. "Clint is a proven winner and consistent Chase participant. He had a lot of options and it makes me proud that Clint and 5-hour Energy chose to race with us. "This announcement continues to show our partner Toyota, our sponsors, our employees and the entire NASCAR community that MWR is serious about success and dedicated to winning."
Bowyer, of Emporia Kan., unveiled the #15 Toyota in front of his home state fans at Kansas Speedway on Friday. "Michael Waltrip Racing is a growing team that is hiring a lot of the right people and on the brink of breaking out. I know I'm joining it at the right time," he said. Waltrip welcomed 5-hour Energy to the MWR partner family that includes primary sponsors NAPA Auto Parts, Aaron's and Toyota. "It is an exciting time in our company as we make the transition into the Sprint Cup series", said Scott Henderson, president of 5-hour Energy. "The chance to add a top notch driver and an avid 5-Hour Energy consumer like Clint Bowyer was one we felt like we could not pass up. As we both looked at options it became clear that MWR provided us the best opportunity to win races and continue to grow the 5-hour Energy brand. Michael, Rob and the whole team understand the importance of helping our company reach our marketing objectives. We are excited to be working with them, and we can't wait to see Clint and the 5-hour Energy Toyota in victory lane."(MWR), see an image of the car on my 2012 #15 Team Schemes page.(10-7-2011)
UPDATE Bowyers Crew Chief? But Waltrip wouldn't reveal Bowyer's new crew chief. However sources close to the team suggest it could be veteran crew chief Brian Pattie, who has been running Juan Pablo Montoya's team for car owner Chip Ganassi. Ganassi replaced Pattie with James Pohlman in July.(MikeMulhern.net)(10-8-2011)
MWR likely to announce Bowyer as driver on Friday: #33-Clint Bowyer is expected to be introduced as the new driver for Michael Waltrip Racing on Friday at Kansas Speedway. Team owner Michael Waltrip confirmed there is a press conference scheduled at the track on Friday afternoon to discuss "the future of Michael Waltrip Racing'' and that everything was looking good for Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kan. "I feel good about everything we're doing,'' Waltrip said before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway. Bowyer said he's in the process of finalizing the contract with MWR and that he was "hopeful'' it would be announced at his home track. Waltrip also hopes to keep his relationship with JTG Daugherty Racing, allowing the team to move that operation to its Harrisburg, N.C., shop but continue to receive cars and engines from MWR. Co-owner Brad Daugherty told ESPN.com earlier in the week that they had an offer from MWR and that the plan was to move from MWR to its own shop. "We'd like to think we will be together in some form or fashion,'' Waltrip said. Bowyer, wrapping up the final year of his contract with Richard Childress Racing, will give MWR three full-time Sprint Cup teams in 2012. He joins David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr., the pole-sitter at Dover. Bowyer has spent all six of his Cup seasons at RCR, winning four races and making the Chase three times. Due to sponsorship issues, he was unable to renew a deal there even though both parties said they wanted to stay together. Bowyer will be sponsored for about half the 2012 season by 5-hour Energy drink. Waltrip said all other details will be revealed at Friday's press conference.(ESPN)(10-2-2011)
Waltrip to Throw First Pitch at Tonight's Atlanta Braves Game: Two-time Daytona 500 champion, Michael Waltrip, will throw the first pitch in tonight's final regular season game for the Atlanta Braves against the Philadelphia Phillies. This is a must win game for the Braves as they are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Wild Card Spot. The game begins at 7:10 pm/et on ESPN2.MWR)(9-28-2011)
Michael Waltrip on History Channel: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will be one of the featured guests in a History Channel special "You Don't Know Dixie" tonight at 9:00pm/et. Waltrip joins musician Trace Adkins, comedian Jeff Foxworthy and others on the two-hour-long program filmed at MWR earlier this summer (MWR)(8-17-2011)
Waltrip to run DW tribute car again: According to a tweet from Scene Daily's Bob Pockrass, "Michael Waltrip says he will run a Cup race in the [Darrell Waltrip] tribute car. Maybe Bristol but more likely Talladega". Waltrip attempted the inagural Kentucky race in the tribute car, but failed to qualify when qualifying was rained out. See an image of the car on my #15 team paint schemes page.(7-24-2011)
Michael Waltrip running special scheme for Darrell at Kentucky UPDATE: The car Michael Waltrip will bring to Kentucky Speedway for the Cup race will sport a vintage paint scheme in honor his brother's career and induction to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. A three-time Cup champion, Darrell Waltrip won 84 career races. (Cincinnati Enquirer)(6-23-2011)
UPDATE: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip has enjoyed many special races in his career, but few will be as meaningful to the Owensboro, Ky. native as the July 9 inaugural NASCAR Sprint race at Kentucky Speedway. With the support of long-time sponsor Aaron's Inc., Michael will celebrate the election of his brother Darrell to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. He'll race an orange and white paint scheme similar to the Terminal Transport car Darrell drove to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Nashville Speedway in 1975. Michael's Kentucky paint scheme also includes a photo of the Nashville victory lane celebration on each of the car's rear quarter panels and a picture of "DW" on the hood also taken at Nashville. The race at Kentucky marks Waltrip's 766th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It marks his 1,054th combined start in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. He and Mark Martin are the only drivers to win in those series in four different decades.(MWR), see images of the scheme on the #15 Team Schemes page.(6-29-2011)
MWR to field full time Grand Am team in 2012: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing will field a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series entry in 2012. Team owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman recently drove a Ferrari 458 Italia in the 24 Hours of Lemans endurance event, and sources say thay are in Daytona Beach, FL, today talking with Grand Am boss Jim France about adding a sports car effort to their two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation. Executive Vice President for Competition Steve Hallam will reportedly oversee the effort.(6-29-2011)
MWR Owners Enjoy Le Mans Experience: The #71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 driven by Michael Waltrip, Rob Kauffman and Rui Aguas retired due to transmission failure after racing about 16 hours in the 79th annual running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The team placed 13th in the GTE Pro class and 38th overall. Only 28 of the 56-car field finished the endurance race on the historic eight-mile track. Despite the early exit, Waltrip and Kauffman are enthusiastic about a potential return to Le Mans. "We had a blast and we hope to return in the future," said Kauffman. "It was a privilege to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours."
Waltrip said the week-long events culminating with the race will be one of the highlights of his career: "I'm a NASCAR guy and will always be a NASCAR guy. But, this was pretty cool. It's been a wild week. It started with rushing out of the television booth at the Kansas truck race and taking planes, trains and automobiles to get here in time for scrutineering the next day. The events in Le Mans during the week were awesome and you could really start to feel the intensity build as the race drew closer. It was amazing to watch the battle between Peugeot and Audi. This is what those guys live for and they take it seriously. Once the race started the track was awesome. I love the manufacturer involvement, the layout, the fans, the flags. It was just a spectacle. I see why this is one of the world's great events. We weren't very fortunate in the race, but our AF Corse team car finished second so that was really cool. We learned a lot with this new car and I really look forward to what the future holds for us in sports car racing. I'm ready to go home and get back to the NASCAR garage at Michigan."(MWR)(6-12-2011)
Waltrip & Kauffman qualifies 15th in class at Le Mans: Michael Waltrip, Robert Kauffman and Rui Aguas on Thursday qualified 15th (44th position overall) in the LM GTE Pro category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in their #71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia. It is the only car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans shared by three rookies. Waltrip and Kauffman are co-owners of Michael Waltrip Racing . For more information go to www.michaelwaltripracing.com. The Le Mans 24 Hours gets underway Saturday, June 11th at 3 pm local, with live coverage beginning on SPEED at 8:30am/et.(MWR)(6-10-2011)
Waltrip to compete in Triathlon: Michael Waltrip will compete in the Monticelloman Olympic Triathlon in Lake Monticello, Va. on Sunday just hours after watching his two NASCAR Sprint Cup teams race Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. The two-time Daytona 500 winner enters his first triathlon after competing in several marathons including the 2000 Boston Marathon. Sunday's triathlon includes a .9-mile swim course, a 24-mile bike course and 6.2-mile running course around Lake Monticello. The competition comes a week after Waltrip tested a Ferrari in France for the 78th running of June's 24 Hours of Le Mans - the world's most famous endurance race. He and MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman will join Rui Aguas as the three drivers in the #78 AF Corse Ferrari in the GTE class. Waltrip will also race in Thursday's Short Track Showdown late model race at Richmond to benefit the Denny Hamlin Foundation and in July's inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway. In 2011, Waltrip won the truck race at Daytona and he's raced in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at Daytona and Talladega.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(4-26-2011)
Michael Waltrip to race at Le Mans UPDATE testing: Michael Waltrip will drive a Ferrari for the Italian team of AF Corse in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11-12. Waltrip, Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman and Rui Aguas will compete in the GTE Pro Class. Waltrip plans to test next weekend at the Le Mans course in France. He also tested at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France in March.(ESPN.com)(4-16-2011)
UPDATE: #15-Michael Waltrip will head to France Wednesday to test for June's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
WALTRIP ON LE MANS: "Le Mans is a circle with a whole bunch of quirky turns stuck in the middle of it like a chicane and then two lefts and a right. That means one thing, there is going to be a whole lot of speed. Every time you get to a corner you're going to be hauling ass. The challenge for me is learning the circuit. There are a lot of turns, there's very few places where there is just one turn. It's like you get there and there are three or four turns right when you get there and then you fly down another mile or so to hit another set of turns."
RACING WITH FASTER PROTOTYPES: "I went to Portugal and tested with the (Le Mans prototypes) on the track so I'd have that experience. They've toned the LMP cars down a little bit. They've taken some power away from them. Being out there with those guys is interesting because every time I've raced in my life I've been in equal cars and when I started racing the road race stuff I was passing cars that were slow, and that was really hard because you couldn't predict where they were going. Now, I'm going to be in the slow car and I don't want those LMP guys thinking 'I don't know where he's going' so what I've been told and what I learned in Portugal is to just run and they will find a way around you. That's what my goal will be, to just to sort of figure it out. We're going to get there on Friday just to ride bicycles around the track again to try to look at it and learn it. It should be a great experience."(MWR)(4-20-2011)
Auburn colors for Waltrip: #15-Michael Waltrip is scheduled to run a Auburn University Special paint scheme at Talladega on April 17th. See an image of the scheme on the #15 Team Schemes page.(3-31-2011)
Michael Waltrip's Comedy Garage Ready To Play Las Vegas: It seems like Michael Waltrip reaches a new milestone every week. Doing stand-up comedy at the Mirage Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip this week is just the latest.
The only driver to ever win races in four separate decades in one of NASCAR's top series becomes the first driver to perform consecutive nights of stand-up comedy when he brings Michael Waltrip's Comedy Garage to one of the world's premier destinations.
The accomplishments don't stop there. The 47-year-old became a grandfather for the first time last week and his book "In the Blink of an Eye" moved to eighth in its third consecutive week on the New York Times Best Seller list.
"A funny thing happened to me on the way to retirement," said Waltrip who also announced that he will join Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. "Instead of life slowing down like I thought it would after I quit racing every week, a lot of fun things are happening.
"They call me a "GP" now. My daughter Caitlyn gave birth to my first grandson Bryson Michael on Feb. 22. I won my first truck race in Daytona, 'In the Blink of an Eye' is doing well, Le Mans is something I never dreamed of and I've got a big weekend in Vegas where I have to intentionally be funny. I'm normally funny unintentionally. Now it's time to do it on purpose." Top flight comedians Henry Cho and John Reep will join Waltrip in the Comedy Garage that also includes a routine by Waltrip. The show drew more than 4,000 fans at the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor in Ontario, Canada and has made stops in Kansas, Virginia and Tennessee. Waltrip will sign copies of "In the Blink of an Eye" the book 8-9 p.m. at the Mirage Hotel and Casino on Friday and Saturday. More info at the MWR site.(MWR)(3-2-2011)
Waltrip wins first truck race: with Michael Waltrip's Camping World Truck Series win at Daytona, Waltrip became the 22nd driver to win at least one race in each of NASCAR's national series, Sprint Cup [4 wins], Nationwide  and now Camping World Truck Series . More info about the Truck Series race on Jayski's Camping World Truck Series page and see the list on the Misc stats page.(2-18-2011)
TRG to run full season; no deal with Waltrip for Daytona 500: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip will be forced to qualify for the 2011 Daytona 500 on speed, after a potential transfer of owner points from TRG Motorsports did not materialize earlier this week. The #71 TRG Motorsports Chevys finished 35th in Sprint Cup owner points a year ago, securing a guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of this season. TRG owner Kevin Buckler told Sirius Speedway that his team is geared up to run the entire 2011 championship schedule, and will announce a driver and sponsor lineup next week.(Sirius Speedway)(1-29-2011)
Michael Waltrip will run Daytona 500: UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Michael Waltrip will compete in the Feb. 20 Daytona 500. "This will be my 25th Daytona 500 in a row," Waltrip said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I think two people have started that many. Richard Petty and Dave Marcis come to mind. Our plan is to race the Budweiser Shootout and 500. I'm looking forward to it." Waltrip won't be here for Cup testing Jan. 20-22 at Daytona International Speedway, but his team will send two stock cars manned by Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-7-2011)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing and NAPA AUTO PARTS announced that two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip will drive the #15 NAPA Toyota in his 25th consecutive Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. "This is a very special day," said Waltrip who unveiled the #15 NAPA paint scheme Tuesday morning during the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour. "Ten years ago I won the 500 in my first race with NAPA and we know February 18, 2001 is a day that NASCAR fans will never forget. What looked to be a storybook ending turned to tragedy seconds later. To mark the 10th anniversary of that race and my 25th consecutive 500 will be quite emotional for me and fans alike." Waltrip broke a 0 for 462 streak when he won the 2001 Daytona 500 driving for car owner Dale Earnhardt who died in a turn four accident on the final lap. Waltrip chronicles the events of that weekend as well as his life and the challenges building a Sprint Cup organization in his book "In the Blink of an Eye" that goes on sale Feb. 1.(MWR)(1-25-2011)
Michael Waltrip Racing owners finish 20th in Dubai 24: Michael Waltrip Racing owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman unofficially finished 20th overall (11th in class) of 84 cars racing in the sixth annual Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the Dubai Autodrome. Waltrip and Kauffman were scheduled to race with co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin in the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team. But an electrical fire during warm-up prevented the car from racing. The two Americans joined the father-and-son driving team of Alexander Talkanista Sr., Alexander Talkanista Jr. of Belarus and Marco Frezza of Italy in the AF Corse team's #6 Ferrari before the race. Once the race began the #6 climbed as high as 12th but contact with another car about 4 hours into the race required nearly 30 minutes of repairs dropping the team to about 49th. The team rallied and appeared destined for a top ten finish but a broken drive shaft ruined its chances. The team spent more than 2 hours 44 minutes in the pits during the 24-hour race. The team's sister AF Corse car finished second. Waltrip and Kauffman raced in Dubai last year and in Belgium where they scored an impressive third-place finish on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit. The pair expect to race together again in 2011. (more info and video links at the MWR site)(1-15-2011)
Michael Waltrip Racing owners qualify for Dubai 24: Michael Waltrip Racing owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman will start 22nd in class and 27th overall in Friday's Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome. More than 80 cars from 30 countries made qualifying efforts on Thursday. Waltrip and Kauffman along with co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin will pilot the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team in the sixth annual event that marks the first international motor race of the 2011 season. The 24-hour race will start on Friday at 2 p.m. local time (5:00 am/et).(more info and video links at the MWR site), Boris Said is another driver with NASCAR connections that is running the race.(1-14-2011)
MWR owners to race in Dubai 24 Hour sports car race: Michael Waltrip Racing [#00 & #56 Toyota's] owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman are teaming up again to race in the sixth-annual Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome on Friday [Jan 14]. The event marks the first international motor race of 2011. Two-time Daytona 500 champion Waltrip and Kauffman will drive one of 90 entrants in the race that features nearly every sports car manufacturer. Waltrip and Kauffman will join co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin behind the wheel of the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team. Waltrip and Kauffman raced this car in Dubai last year and in Belgium where they scored an impressive third-place finish on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit. NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Bobby Labonte and David Reutimann joined Waltrip and Kauffman at a Dec. 18-21 test session in Portugal where the AF Corse team prepared for Dubai.(MWR)(1-12-2011)
Michael Waltrip's Comedy Garage Hitting The Road: Michael Waltrip knows what it is like to perform in front of huge crowds on the NASCAR circuit. But in the next few weeks Waltrip will trade in the steering wheel for a microphone and audience as he takes Michael Waltrip's Comedy Garage on the road. Top flight comedians Henry Cho and John Reep headline a night of standup comedy that includes a routine by Waltrip. Kansas City's Ameristar Casino will host the first Comedy Garage of 2011 on Jan. 21. The show moves to the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor in Ontario, Canada on Jan. 22. The Mirage will host shows on March 4 and 5 in Las Vegas. The Comedy Garage is just one of many endeavors for Waltrip in the coming weeks. He plans to race in the Dubai 24 Hours sports car race with Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman Jan. 13-15. Waltrip's first book "In the Blink of an Eye" marking the tenth anniversary of his 2001 Daytona 500 victory hits the shelves on Feb. 1.(MWR)(1-7-2011)
Waltrip's 2011 Racing Plans: Michael Waltrip will join MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman behind the wheel of a Ferrari sports car in Portugal, Dubai and probably several other tracks across the globe in 2011. Waltrip will also run a Sprint Cup car for another shot at the Daytona 500, the new race at Kentucky Speedway and possibly a few more races along the way.(see more of Waltrip's 2011 plans at MWR)(12-21-2010)
Aaron's To Sponsor Michael Waltrip at Talladega: Aaron's, Inc. will sponsor driver Michael Waltrip at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 31 as part of its 55th anniversary celebration. The two-time Daytona 500 champion and former Talladega winner returns to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving the #55 Toyota fielded by his Michael Waltrip Racing organization. Waltrip drove the Aaron's 55th anniversary paint scheme at Talladega in April in a Toyota fielded by Prism Motorsports. He started last but led laps 31-34 before a multi-car crash ended his race. Waltrip also finished 18th in the 2010 Daytona 500. "If the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced every weekend at Talladega and Daytona I'd still be driving full-time," laughed Waltrip. "That's how much I like those tracks and restrictor plate racing. The only place better than sitting in the stands or watching a restrictor plate race on television is behind the wheel of the Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota." Aaron's sponsorship of this race program is designed to develop awareness of Aaron's 55th Anniversary Super Sweepstakes with scratch-off chances to win every month through November 2010 and grand prize drawings in December including multiple chances to win a Toyota Camry Hybrid. People may pick up a game card each month at any of Aaron's 1,700+ stores. And they should register their game cards each month at Aarons.com/55.(MWR), see images of the scheme on my #55 Team Schemes page.(9-2-2010)
Waltrip back in the #15? UPDATE: on Michael Waltrip's Facebook page, an image was posted of Waltrip with a #15 NAPA Toyota. No word when/if this car/scheme will run, but Waltrip has mentioned he wants to run the restrictor plate races and ran the Daytona 500 in the #51 NAPA Toyota and Talladega in April in the #55 Aaron's Toyota. See the image on my #15/51 Team Schemes page.(5-11-2010)
UPDATE: The 46-year-old Waltrip will drive the MWR-prepared #15 Sprint Cup car on the twists and hills at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 2,3 and 4 in front of 150,000 fans in England. Some of the sport's most famous names like Michael's brother Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Smokey Yunick also made appearances at Goodwood since the festival's inception in 1993."That's such an honor," said Waltrip. "Just about everybody in the world knows about Goodwood and the racing that goes on there. It's another sign of NASCAR's acceptance all around the world. The really cool part about traveling to Dubai was to have people from all over the world come up to you and ask you about something that happened in NASCAR. I was amazed how knowledgeable and up on NASCAR they were. It's eye opening how closely they follow everything we are doing back home."(MWR)(5-11-2010)
Budweiser to MWR? Michael Waltrip Racing's Ty Norris was entertaining representatives from Budweiser this weekend at Texas. Norris has a history with Budweiser dating back to his Dale Earnhardt Inc. days when Budweiser was sponsoring the #8 Chevy. With Kasey Kahne parting ways wih Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season, it's likely that Budweiser will be entertaining offers.(FoxSports)(4-20-2010)
Waltrip to qualify the #55 at Bristol: Michael Waltrip is listed as the driver of the #55 Prism Motorsports Toyota on the entry list for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Waltrip says on his facebook page: "Michael Waltrip Racing Looking forward to Bristol. Our guys are traditionally strong there. I'm qualifying the Prism 55 to get to know the guys and prepare for Dega." Waltrip will run the #55 Aaron's Toyota for Prism Motorsports at Talladega in April.(3-15-2010)
Waltrip to drive #55 at Talladega: In celebration of its 55th year, Aaron's, Inc. will sponsor PRISM Motorsports' #55 with driver Michael Waltrip in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway April 25. Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion and former winner at Talladega, will return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing with a long-time sponsor in Aaron's and a long-time friend in PRISM co-owner Phil Parsons.(Aarons PR), see an image of the car on the #55 team paint schemes page.(3-10-2010)
Waltrip wants to run 2011 Daytona 500: #51-Michael Waltrip wants to make the 2011 Daytona 500 his last competitive event in the Sprint Cup series. "I want the Daytona 500 to be my last race,'' said the owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, who won this event in 2001 and 2003. "I just [don't] want this one to be it. So we'll work on trying to figure out if we can talk someone into sponsoring me for 2011. Twenty-five is a nice even number. Well, not an even number, but it's funny.'' Waltrip, who already plans to run at Talladega later this year, hinted several times during Speedweeks he wanted this to be his last 500. But as he sat through a second red flag to repair a hole in Daytona International Speedway he said the plan is for one more. "I'd like to run Talladega and run here one more time and then be done,'' he said. "That would be 25 of them in a row. That would be cool.''(ESPN)(2-15-2010)
USA Weekend to feature three drivers and their kids: Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya or Michael Waltrip and their children are families featured in the February 14 issue of USA WEEKEND magazine. One third of the magazines published feature the each driver family on the cover while the other two thirds feature the other two and their respective children on the cover. The national publication, which is found in 600 newspapers across the country, also features an in-depth column on how the drivers juggle their racing career and father duties along with a pull-out poster, featuring all three families together.(2-7-2010)
#51 for Waltrip? UPDATE 2: had the #51 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota scheme sent to me, supposedly Michael Waltrip will run the #51 in the Daytona 500 instead of the #55. No idea why. See the image link in my Paint Scheme Gallery.(1-18-2010)
UPDATE: from Waltrip's Twitter: "i needed a change from the 55. we won Daytona in the 15. 51 is a variation of that. sorta in memory of."(1-19-2010)
UPDATE: #51-Michael Waltrip had announced in July he wasn't going to return to full-time racing. He released his 2010 Sprint Cup schedule on Wednesday night at MWR during the 2010 Media Tour at – the Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500. "I'm comfortable with that," Waltrip said during the Sprint Media Tour. "I talked to Billy Ballew about running some [Camping World] Truck [Series] races. I definitely am going to run a couple of those. When I think about going to Daytona, I get excited because I know I know how to win that race. … When I think about [the next Cup races at] California and [Las] Veags, I just haven't performed at a level that makes me say, 'I'm going to go out there and [win].'" Replacing Waltrip in the full-time ride will be #56-Martin Truex Jr. from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and also new is Pat Tryson from Penske Racing to be the crew chief for Truex. The last time Tryson was seen in the garage, he was crew chief for Kurt Busch on the track but wasn't allowed in the Penske Racing shop except for a weekly meeting because of his pending departure to MWR. Tryson was no longer wanted in the Penske shop, but Penske also didn't let him start at MWR until Jan. 4. Tryson seemed to shrug off the late start with his new team. "The communication here is better than anywhere I've ever worked, between the crew chief, ownership, between the management," Tryson said. "It's really open, and everybody talks to everybody about everything. That's the way it needs to be. Martin is fun. We went testing, and he was fun to be around. He's a great guy." Truex will drive the #56 this year, while Waltrip will drive the #51. Neither car will have the #55 that Waltrip used ever since he started MWR in 2007. "The 55 was getting a little heavy," Waltrip said. "I hadn't won with it. I felt real comfortable coming close to winning a couple of times. But I just wanted a change of pace. The 15 [I once drove] was available, but I didn't feel like that was right. I wanted a variation of the 15, so I went with the 51."(SceneDaily)(1-22-2010)
Waltrip/Ambrose, not so lucky in the 24 Hours of Dubai: The French IMSA Performance MATMUT team has won the fifth anniversary edition of the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai. After 24 hours of racing at the 5.390 kilometres long Dubai Autodrome circuit, its driver pairing of Raymond Narac, Patrick Pilet and Marco Holzer had racked up a total of 608 laps with the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Marco Holzer drove the car across the finish line. Second place was taken by the Japanese Petronas Syntium Team with the BMW Z4 Coupé, driven by Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanigada, Farique Hairuman, Johannes Stuck and Hiroki Yoshida. The Al Faisal Racing team with Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Claudia Hürtgen, Marko Hartung and Khaled Al Faisal took their BMW Z4 Coupé to third place overall.(More info at 24hdubai.com)
AND NASCAR fans found themselves with a small window of opportunity to follow Michael Waltrip and Marcos Ambrose in their Dubai debut. Ambrose, a veteran road racer and two-time Australian V8 Supercars champion prior to his switch to Sprint Cup, had the AF Corse Ferrari F430 in the thick of the battle for the lead during the opening stint. But when teammate Waltrip took over, he soon encountered a two-car crash on the front straight and the NASCAR veteran was forced to take avoiding action, resulting in a race-ending introduction to the pit wall. Waltrip reported via his Twitter account that he was uninjured. "Well that's disappointing. 2 guys crashed on the straight [and] I got knocked into it. But I didn't hurt so that's good. Hi mom!"(SPEEDtv.com)(1-18-2010)
NASCAR To Represent Michael Waltrip Racing Licensing Business: NASCAR and Michael Waltrip Racing announced today a new partnership in which NASCAR will become the sole licensing representative for the race team. The agreement includes all driver marks within the Michael Waltrip Racing team, including David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip, as well as young future stars Trevor Bayne and Ryan Truex. With this agreement, NASCAR's licensing business, headquartered out of Charlotte, N.C. at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will utilize its assets to grow the licensed product business and provide retailers with new and more comprehensive product options for the MWR team, including track merchandise opportunities, e-commerce channels and national retail outlets. NASCAR will also provide retail development, new business, marketing, public relations and media assets in expanding the licensed product portfolio that includes apparel, collectibles, novelty, gifts, headwear and other non-traditional licensing concepts.(NASCAR)(1-14-2010)
Michael Waltrip to be inducted into Kentucky Hall of Fame: Owensboro native Michael Waltrip, who twice won the prestigious Daytona 500, will join the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2010, announced Wednesday. Waltrip and seven others will be inducted April28 at an induction dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville. Waltrip won the Daytona 500 in 2001 and 2003 and later started his own team, racing Toyotas. He has four career NASCAR victories, three of which came at Daytona International Speedway.(Louisville Courier-Journal)(1-14-2010)
Michael Waltrip to race in Dubai 24 Hour sportscar race: #55-Michael Waltrip plans to competes in the fifth-annual Dubai 24 Hour sportscar race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome on January 14-16, 2010. "I love racing cars," said Waltrip. "The Daytona 500 is the ultimate race for a NASCAR driver to win. But how cool is it to go to Dubai on the other side of the globe and race a Ferrari? I never thought I'd have a chance to be part of such a unique experience." The Ferrari Waltrip refers to is a Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team co-owned by Rob Kauffman who will be sharing driving duties with Waltrip, Marcos Ambrose, Rui Aguas and Niki Cadei. Kauffman is also a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing which fields NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries for Waltrip, Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann. The Waltrip team has a technical alliance with Ambrose's team JTG Daugherty Racing. Waltrip and Kauffmann tested the Ferrari at the ACI Vallelunga circuit in Italy. Success at the test led the pair to review options for sports car races around the world before deciding to race in Dubai. The 3.5-mile track at the Dubai Autodrome is one of the most modern in the world; it is also one of the most challenging, as it has a combination of high-speed straights and technical corners. The race expects to start about 80 GT and touring cars. Track action starts on Thursday, Jan. 14, with practice, qualifying and night practice. The 24-hour race will start on Friday Jan. 15 at 2 pm.(MWR)(1-9-2010)
Special tix deal for Daytona 500 in honor of Waltrip: On Sunday, Feb. 14, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will begin his 25th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the sport's biggest race – the Daytona 500. And to mark that special occasion, Daytona International Speedway and Waltrip, who captured the Daytona 500 in 2001 and 2003, are joining forces with a special Michael Waltrip Daytona 500 Celebration Offer.
The package, available for $129, includes:
· A ticket to the 52nd annual Daytona 500
· Question and answer session with Waltrip on the morning of the Daytona 500
· Celebration party with Waltrip, featuring cakes, beverages and other giveaway items
· Autographed commemorative event ticket
· And each race fan that purchases a Michael Waltrip Daytona 500 Celebration Offer ticket will be entered to win a chance to become an honorary pit crew member during the 2010 Daytona 500.
Waltrip said he hopes it's a special day for all of the fans as well as his NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. "The Daytona 500 is the greatest race in the world, my favorite race, and the race that defines my career," Waltrip said. "I'm humbled that the speedway is honoring my 25th season with a commemorative ticket package. I very much look forward to meeting the fans race morning and then going after my third 500 win that afternoon." Track officials said the offer will give fans a chance at a rare opportunity to talk with a two-time race winner the morning of the race. "Michael Waltrip is part of an exclusive club of Daytona 500 champions," Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. "Beginning his 25th year with NASCAR's biggest race is certainly going to be a special moment and this ticket package is going to deliver a unique and memorable experience to race fans." The Michael Waltrip Daytona 500 Celebration Offer is available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/mwr or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(1-4-2010)
Latest on Waltrip's plans: So, what will Michael Waltrip be doing in 2010? Waltrip told me [Dustin Long] that as of now he thinks he'll only run four Cup races next year...all four restrictor-plate races (unless more sponsorship is found). As for Nationwide? "I'd like to run some Nationwide races, I'd like to run some Truck races, so I'm still just seeing what's out there,'' he said. "I'll do anything, I just want to race every now and then'' and then he laughed. Good news for Mikey fans, he says he'll be back on Speed's broadcast of the Truck races next year.(Hampton Roads)(12-9-2009)
MWR wraps up testing with Salo and Trulli: Michael Waltrip Racing officials were pleased with the outcome of a two-day test with Formula One drivers Jarno Trulli and Mika Salo behind the wheel of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, FL. "Both Jarno and Mika have done really well," said Steve Hallam, Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing and a 27-year Formula One veteran. "They have both delivered competitive lap times. They bring a different perspective to our ears. We are able to hear about the cars in a different way. Also, Trevor (Bayne) being here is very useful because he is articulate and able to relate their experiences to reality. It has been a really positive test and has brought good value to us."
"They wanted to test our NAPA Auto Parts Toyota and see what our sport is all about," Waltrip said. "They did an outstanding job and were turning some pretty quick times. We were just as serious about this two-day test as they were. We brought down an entire crew. Toyota, our team and engineers fully supported this effort. We were 100% committed to giving it our all just like we would at any of our tests."
On Tuesday, Diamond-Waltrip Nationwide Series driver Trevor Bayne climbed into the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota seat to shake down the car before Salo took to the wheel for the first time during his one day of testing. For over two years, Salo searched for an opportunity to test a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Ironically, Salo knew MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman for a little over a year, but what he did not know was that he co-owned multiple NASCAR teams until recently. "Thanks to Rob, I was able to test a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car for the first time in my life," said Salo, who turned 208 laps in the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. "I was very comfortable out there and had a lot of fun. I was quick and I know that if I had today to test, I would be a lot quicker. Now, I want to have 42 other cars around me and see what it is really like. I have never raced on an oval before and New Smyrna is a good place to do my first run. I would be scared if we were at a high speed circuit. I was just trying to get the feel of the car with the changes they were making. At the beginning, I was running to get comfortable. The car is a lot heavier and has a lot of power. I was comfortable in the car and that's basically what I wanted. They made different changes. They changed springs, bars and so forth. We tried different things so I could understand what everything does."
As Salo tested, Trulli observed. Midday the two were surprised when they had a visit from one of the locals - - Mark Martin. "All of a sudden, Mark Martin was here at New Smyrna," Salo said. "He sat down in front of me and I listened. I learned some things from him during his time here. I also learned some things from Michael, David (Reutimann) and Marcos (Ambrose) when I attended the race at Phoenix International Raceway." Trulli turned his first laps Wednesday morning. Climbing out of the car for the first time he said he was shocked by the differences between Formula One and NASCAR. "In the beginning, it was a big shock for me," said Trulli, who turned nearly 300 laps today. "It was the first time in my life I was leaving pit road in a closed cockpit. I needed to get used to that feeling of not having my head out. I'm used to being in a stiff car on the ground. The Cup car moves around a lot. It requires skill, feeling and understanding. There are so many different factors and you need to be a smart person to be aware of what is happening around you."
By the one hour lunch break, Trulli had a better feel for the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry. "Running here at New Smyrna is easy and very exciting, but racing here might be difficult," Trulli said. "It would take a lot of experience. I prefer a high speed circuit, but at least I have a taste and know the feeling. Today, was important for me to understand what I have to do to get better. In driving the car, I must understand the car. I have to trust it. The center and exit of the corner are important. Braking is crucial here." Trulli is thankful to MWR and Toyota for the opportunity and admitted his interest was sparked when Juan Pablo Montoya made his move to NASCAR. "I didn't know about NASCAR until Juan Pablo Montoya made his move," Trulli said. "The world has changed and everyone is looking at different Series. I haven't signed with anyone yet and I've talked to teams. My door is open right now."
MWR benefited just as much from the test as did Salo and Trulli. "We have two enormously talented drivers that showed interest in trying NASCAR," said Ty Norris, Vice President and General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing. "MWR wanted to participate because we are always interested in recruiting talent and we have a great desire to expand to a fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup team in the near future. We know the talent pool currently racing in NASCAR, so it is of great interest to us to evaluate talent from other racing disciplines. It just adds another international element to our organization."(Michael Waltrip Racing)(11-18-2009)
Michael Waltrip Racing extends with Toyota: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced the extension of its partnership with Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The new agreement will keep the emerging organization with the manufacturer through the end of 2012. In 2010, MWR will field the #00 Aaron's/Tums/Best Western Toyota full-time with driver David Reutimann, the #55 Toyota with Michael Waltrip on a limited basis and the #56 NAPA Auto Part Toyota full-time with Martin Truex Jr. Additionally, MWR signed a two-year technical alliance extension with JTG-Daugherty Racing to field the #47 Toyota with driver Marcos Ambrose. MWR receives engines from Toyota Racing Development (TRD) out of Costa Mesa, California, along with Red Bull Racing. TRD's Salisbury, N.C., facility supports MWR's vehicle dynamics and development, aerodynamics, tire data analysis and race strategy programs. This announcement comes on the heels of MWR announcing 100% renewal with its existing sponsors, a new relationship with TUMS as a primary and associate sponsor on the #00, a two-year extension with JTG-Daugherty Racing and a new partnership with its NASCAR Nationwide Series team with Gary and Blake Bechtel forming Diamond-Waltrip Racing to field Camrys for 18-year-old phenom Trevor Bayne.(MWR)(11-14-2009)
Mobil 1 and Toyota UPDATE: not quite sure what this is all about, have heard nor seen anything but......Mobil 1 Racing and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A to make announcement about 2010 NASCAR season Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, scheduled to be attending the announcement are Brian Vickers, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota; Michael Waltrip, owner of Michael Waltrip Racing and driver of the #55 NAPA Toyota; Lee White, President and General Manager, TRD; Harold Shablom, Global Motorsport Manager, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties.(PR)(11-13-2009)
UPDATE: ExxonMobil and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) unveiled a new technological partnership in which ExxonMobil will provide its Mobil 1 racing oil technology and products to TRD- supported NASCAR teams. Kicking off at the start of the 2010 NASCAR season, TRD-supplied NASCAR engines will be filled with specially modified motor oil based on the same technology available to consumers in Mobil 1 Racing oils, which were unveiled in April. The TRD-specific motor oils will deliver outstanding power via unique low-friction synthetic lubricant technology combined with boosted levels of anti-wear additives to protect and extend the life of engine hardware. Formally announced before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, the collaboration will pair Mobil 1, the "Official Motor Oil of NASCAR," with one of NASCAR's top engine manufacturers. With this new partnership, ExxonMobil's racing oil technology will now provide performance and protection for the TRD-supported Red Bull Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR teams.(Toyota PR)(11-14-2009)
Waltrip serious about Trulli test: Michael Waltrip Racing officials say the team is serious about the upcoming NASCAR test for former Toyota F1 driver Jarno Trulli. Trulli will be driving a Sprint Cup series Toyota Camry on November 16th & 17th at the half-mile New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, a test that he has stressed he will be doing just for fun. Mika Salo, also a former Toyota driver in the team's debut season in Formula 1, will be joining him. Team owner Michael Waltrip is taking the opportunity to run Trulli in one of his cars seriously, even while reminding that the Italian's intentions are initially just to sample stock cars and ovals for the first time. "He just wants to try it out," Waltrip told AUTOSPORT. "But we're serious about the test, Toyota is supporting it, our team, engineers, everybody is into the test. We will give it all the effort that we would give to any test. I don't know what Jarno's plans are. I know he is just doing it for fun, but I know that it's going to be important for him to do it. He's a race car driver, he'll want to be as fast as anyone and so we're going to make sure that he has all the support that he needs to be able to accomplish that." Trulli, who already had a seat fitting at MWR's shop in North Carolina last week, is expected to attend Sunday's race at Phoenix, before driving a Cup car for the first time next week.(Autosport)(11-11-2009)
Michael Waltrip involved in accident, is OK MORE: #55-Michael Waltrip crashed into a motorcycle Wednesday night while trying to make a U-Turn and was given a field sobriety test by a Mooresville police officer, a report states. Waltrip was attempting a U-turn on Perth Road around 7:49 p.m. when his Lexus collided with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The motorcyclist was transported to Lake Norman Regional Center. According to the police report, Waltrip was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, but passed a field sobriety test at the scene. Waltrip was given a Breathalyzer and blew a .06, under the North Carolina legal limit of .08, the report states. Waltrip was cited for failure to yield. He was not injured in the accident. The Sprint Cup driver and team owner was involved in an accident in [April] 2007. The North Carolina Highway Patrol charged him with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Those charges were later dismissed.(WCNC)
MORE Mooresville police say alcohol was a factor in an accident Wednesday night involving NASCAR driver and team owner Michael Waltrip. Officers investigating the accident suspected Waltrip was drinking, but when he was given a field sobriety test, he registered a .06. In North Carolina the legal limit is .08. Police say Waltrip was leaving the parking lot of a shopping center and when he pulled out, he attempted to do a U-turn around a cement median. Waltrip pulled out just an as on-coming motorcyclist was approaching. The motorcyclist, identified by police as Ronald Hausman of Mooresville, slammed into the driver's side door or Waltrip's Lexus. The police report on the accident says Waltrip "was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol." He was given a field sobriety test and passed a "walk and turn" test and a "one leg stand" test. "He did not meet the criteria for the DWI, however it was indicated as a contributing factor…on the accident report," said Captain Phil Blocker of the Mooresville Police. Waltrip was given a citation for failing to yield the right of way. Waltrip lives in a gated estate in Sherrills Ford. His home is secluded from the road. There was no answer when reporter Rad Berky buzzed at the front gate after this latest accident. Attempts to reach the rider of the motorcycle were also unsuccessful.(WCNC)(10-22-2009)
AND Mooresville police are reporting that NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip has been ticketed after getting involved in a traffic accident with a motorcycle. Waltrip was driving a 2008 Lexus on Argus Lane when he turned onto Perth Road and attempted to make a U-turn when a 1980 Harley Davidson driven by Ronald Richard Hausman struck the driver's side door. Hausen told police that he turned onto Perth Rd. from River Highway when Waltrip turned into his lane of travel. Mooresville police suspected Waltip of being under the influence and was given a sobriety test on the scene and had a blood alcohol content of .06 which is below the legal limit. Hausman was taken to the hospital where he later told police that he drank two beers prior to the accident. Waltrip has been charged with failure to yield.(WSOCTV.com)(10-23-2009)
#55 Jackman injured in pits UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing jackman Tony Cardamone was taken to a local hospital after colliding with another crew member during a pit stop for #55-Michael Waltrip during the NASCAR Banking 400 on Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, team and NASCAR officials said. The nature of his injuries were not specified, but he was awake and alert when he was taken to the infield medical center.(SceneDaily)(10-17-2009)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing jackman Tony Cardamone was taken to a local hospital after colliding with another crew member during a pit stop for Michael Waltrip during the NASCAR Banking 400 on Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, team and NASCAR officials said. An MWR spokesman reported that Cardamone suffered a high ankle sprain and will be out for the remainder of the season.(SceneDaily)(10-18-2009) UPDATE 2: Michael Waltip, driver/owner of the #55 NAPA Toyota was asked: What is the update on Tony Cardamone who was injured last Saturday night at Charlotte?, Waltrip said: "After a visit to his doctor yesterday, he was diagnosed with a hair-line fracture of his ankle and has torn ligaments. He won't be able to jack the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for the remainder of the season. I called Tony Saturday night after the race and asked him how he was. All he wanted to talk about was the messed up pit stop. The NAPA team was running good up to that point. We were fast and on the lead lap. We had a chance to get a good finish. He hated that he fell. I had to remind him that his ankle was broken and to get over it. I just love his type of attitude and it's the attitude all my NAPA guys have. They are awesome."(MWR)(10-21-2009)
Special NAPA scheme for Waltrip at Martinsville: The #55 Toyota Camry of Michael Waltrip will once again have the NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads paint scheme. Adaptive One Brake Pads are designed to reduce noise and brake dust without sacrificing the 'stop-on-a-dime' braking power. Waltrip will start in his 47th race at Martinsville Speedway in his 754th NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Earlier this season, Waltrip rallied back from being down a lap – three times -- to race his way onto the lead lap to finish 13th in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.(MWR), see an image of the Adaptive One Brake Pads scheme on my #55 Team Schemes page.(10-21-2009)
Danica and JR Motorsports/MWR? ESPN.com has confirmed that IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick is talking with JR Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing about running a limited schedule of about eight Nationwide Series races -- plus a few Truck and maybe ARCA events -- in 2010. Kevin Harvick Inc. could be a player. But sources say those aren't the only options as Patrick begins preparing for a potential NASCAR career after her IndyCar career is over.(see more at ESPN Insiders)(10-21-2009)
Latest on Danica: Michael Waltrip Racing is interested in Danica Patrick and while she has a connection through her sponsor GoDaddy.com to JR Motorsports, talks with MWR have progressed to a point where team believes it has a shot. MWR vice president and general manager Ty Norris said Sunday he met with Patrick a couple of months ago and has talked to her people in the last week about a possible partial Nationwide program for next year. He said MWR might be able to offer her more manufacturer support, focus more on her development and also has room under the four-team Sprint Cup cap other than some of the other teams with which she has talked. Patrick wants a car that has points so she wouldn't have to qualify on speed, said Norris, who has talked with Patrick's representatives in the last week. MWR's Nationwide program has been a mix of drivers in recent years. "In recent weeks, I would say the discussions have become a little bit more detailed and intense to where you're talking about ifs, ands and buts," Norris said. "When you get to that level, you try to figure out what are the next steps, if there are next steps. Any owner of a Nationwide team or a Cup team with a racing operation would love to have Danica there after you talk to her because of her passion to race." Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday his JR Motorsports team has talked with her. Roush Fenway Racing officials have said they have talked with her but the talks fizzled over what it would take financially to build a program around her. Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said Sunday that it would be hard for his team to put her in a car for next year because it would likely need to be a third car.(SceneDaily)(10-12-2009)
Reutimann needs additional sponsorship: Michael Waltrip wants to race next year but the priority at Michael Waltrip Racing is to fill the sponsorship for Sprint Cup driver #00-David Reutimann next year, MWR vice president and general manager Ty Norris said Sunday. Depending on how deals fall in the next few weeks, Reutimann could have as many as 12 races open. Aaron's is going to be the sponsor for half the season for Reutimann. "We may be as few as six or as many as [needing] 12," Norris said prior to the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway. "It depends on how contracts fall the next couple of weeks. … We are going to make some announcements in the next two or three weeks on a number of other [sponsors]."(SceneDaily)(10-12-2009)
Waltrip wants full Nationwide schedule in 2010: Michael Waltrip told ESPN.com Saturday that his 2010 Sprint Cup schedule remains uncertain, and is contingent on sponsorship. His hope? To run the full Nationwide Series schedule. "Ideally, for me, would be to get the type of sponsor that I could run the full Nationwide [schedule]," he said. "That's what I'd love to do. Then I'm here at the races, here on Sundays, can be a team owner but still get to race."(ESPN.com)(10-10-2009)
F1 driver to test for Waltrip? UPDATE 2 drivers testing: Former F1 driver, Miko Salo, supposedly will test for Michael Waltrip Racing in one of the team's Toyota Camry Sprint Cup cars at an undisclosed venue at some point in November. The 42-year-old former grand prix driver has been racing in sportscars since the end of his Formula 1 career in 2002 and won the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series in 2007. He has had a seat fitting with Michael Waltrip Racing. "It will be great to get to test a NASCAR at last," Salo told this week's AUTOSPORT magazine. "After two years of trying, I finally met the person who could make it happen. Racing sportscars in the US has definitely helped. My hope next year is that I can do some races in Nationwide, maybe even a full season - but I understand that I may have to raise some money to make it happen."(Autosport)(10-2-2009)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing will test Jarno Trulli and Mika Salo at International Speedway in Lakeland, Fl., the week prior to the NASCAR season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. Trulli, 35, currently drives for Toyota in Formula One. He finished second last week in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and is currently eighth in the World Championship. Trulli's sole F1 win came at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in 2004 while driving for Renault. After Trulli completes the F1 season on November 1 at Abu Dhabi, he will be fitted for his seat at MWR then join the organization to observe for the final three races. Trulli dropped in at Michigan Speedway last June to watch the Sprint Cup race. With the current uncertainty surrounding Toyota's future in F1, it appears that Trulli is considering stock cars as a viable option. Salo, 42, competed in F1 from 1994 to 2002 and posted two podium finishes. In 2007, Salo won the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series. He currently competes for a team that MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman has an interest in Europe.(FoxSports)(10-7-2009)
Are NASCAR Drivers smarter than a 5th grader?: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy hosts the all-new half-hour version of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" The fast-paced game show, where knowledge of grade-school level questions is tested, welcomes NASCAR drivers #55-Michael Waltrip, #6-David Ragan, #99-Carl Edwards, #2-Kurt Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. On October 6, Michael Waltrip will be in the classroom to play the game to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. He'll also be joined by Roush Racing's David Ragan. The special back-to-back episodes will premiere on MyNetworkTV (8:00pm/et/pt). On October 26, NASCAR week kicks off on the new nationally-syndicated edition of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin are among the contestants playing the game for their charities. Check your local listings for exact air time.(10-5-2009)
Cup start 750 for Mikey: #55 NAPA Auto Parts driver Michael Waltrip will be competing in his 750th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when the Sylvania 300 gets underway at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Waltrip will start in his 28th Cup race at the 1.058-mile track.(MWR)(9-16-2009)
Tryson named #56 Crew Chief for 2010: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will lead Martin Truex Jr. and the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry beginning in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.Tryson successfully earned his fifth Chase berth as crew chief on Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and will join MWR upon the conclusion of the season. "Pat is a passionate competitor, a winner and a championship contender," said Waltrip. "Those were the traits we were looking for in a crew chief that would help Martin deliver on the track for NAPA for years to come. We couldn't be more proud to add a person of Pat's caliber to our organization."
"Michael Waltrip Racing has really come onto the scene this year and the progress they have made over a very short time is impressive," Tryson said. "I believe that I can contribute. MWR is doing everything they can to get the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota back into victory lane and that's what my focus will be. Martin is a talented driver and we'll be doing everything we can to make that happen." Tryson joins MWR after a successful run with #2-Kurt Busch, where Tryson guided the former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion to two Chase appearances, four victories and 35 top-10 finishes since 2007 with Penske Racing. A native of Malvern, Pa., Tryson got his start in NASCAR working for Kenny Bernstein's NASCAR Cup operation. In 1997, he launched his crew chief career by calling the shots for driver Geoff Bodine. Two seasons later, he joined Roush Racing and worked with drivers Kevin Lepage and Johnny Benson. With Kevin Lepage at the wheel, Tryson helped steer him to one pole, two top-five and five top-10 finishes. In 2000, Wood Brothers Racing hired Tryson and for nearly three seasons, he worked with drivers Elliott Sadler and Ricky Rudd. The crew chief guided Sadler to his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway in March 2001. Roush Racing came calling midway through the 2003 season. This time, Tryson teamed up with driver Mark Martin to help the veteran make NASCAR's new playoff system -- The Chase. They repeated with berths in 2005 and 2006. Tryson is only one of three crew chiefs (Robbie Reiser and Chad Knaus) who qualified for The Chase during its first three years.(MWR)(9-14-2009)
Bootie back on the pit box: Bootie Barker, replaced as #55-Michael Waltrip's crew after Bristol by Gene Nead, is back in the Sprint Cup garage as a crew chief. Barker remains with Michael Waltrip Racing and is on loan to #13-Max Papis and Germain Racing. Recall that Germain Racing and MWR have a technical alliance.(Virginian Pilot), no word on what is up with Peter Sospenzo, who was named as the #13 crew chief in June.(9-5-2009)
Bootie out at MWR? UPDATE 2: Nead is new crew chief: Michael Waltrip Racing's Cal Wells denies that the company and Bootie Barker have parted ways. But will Barker be the crew chief for the #55 Toyota when Sprint Cup action returns to the track next week at Atlanta?(Fox Sports)(8-26-2009)
UPDATE: ESPN's Marty Smith posted the following on his Twitter account Wednesday evening: "Yes, folks, I talked to Bootie today. He told me this: 'I will be crew chiefing, I just won't be crew chiefing the #55.' He will stay at Michael Waltrip Racing."(8-27-2009)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that veteran crew chief Gene Nead has been named interim crew chief for two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and his #55 NAPA Auto Parts team. Nead officially joins MWR on Monday and will call the final 12 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for Waltrip. Robert "Bootie" Barker remains with the organization and will be assisting engineering with special projects. Nead is a familiar face to MWR. Earlier this season, he worked for JTG Daugherty Racing who has a technical alliance with MWR. He led the team's NASCAR Nationwide Series program with driver Michael McDowell.(MWR PR)(8-27-2009)
Carpentier to Return to the Driver's Seat of the #55: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Patrick Carpentier will return to the driver's seat of the #55 NAPA Auto PArts Toyota for driver Michael Waltrip at the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen International. Earlier this season, the Canadian driver produced an 11th-place finish for Waltrip at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. "Patrick is being rewarded for perserverence," said Waltrip, who has 22 starts that equate to one top-five, four top-10 and 14 top-20 finishes at the 2.45-mile road course. "At Sonoma, he drove for me and started out with a car he wasn't happy with. He worked with my crew chief Bootie (Barker) and my NAPA boys to get an 11th-place finish. We also had a little deal on the side. If he was able to finish solidly at Infineon Raceway and he deemed the experience of working with my team as fun and wanted to do again, then he and I would ask NAPA to allow him to drive again. We all agreed so Patrick will drive the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for NAPA and me at Watkins Glen." The NAPA Auto Parts team prepared for the upcoming event by testing with Carpentier at Virginia International Raceway on July 22nd.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(8-3-2009)
Congrats: to Tony Cardamone and his wife Stephanie on the birth of a healthy baby girl on July 28th. Cardamone is the jackman for the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing NAPA Toyota.(8-2-2009)