2013 Driver Schedule for the #55: Mark Martin(15+2), Michael Waltrip(3), Brian Vickers(14), Elliott Sadler(4)
Feb. 16: Bud Shootout - Martin (1)
Feb. 24: Daytona 500 - Martin (2)
Mar. 3: Phoenix - Martin (3)
Mar. 10: Las Vegas - Martin (4)
Mar. 17: Bristol - Vickers (1), R.K. Motors
Mar. 24: Auto Club - Martin (5)
Apr. 7: Martinsville - Vickers (2)
Apr. 13: Texas - Martin (6)
Apr. 21: Kansas - Martin (7)
Apr. 27: Richmond - Martin (8)
May 5: Talladega - Waltrip (1), Univ of Alabama Tribute
May 11: Darlington - Martin (9)
May 18: All Star Race - Martin (10)
May 26: Charlotte - Martin (11)
June 2: Dover - Martin (12)
June 9: Pocono - Martin (13)
June 16: Michigan - Martin (14)
June 23: Sonoma - Vickers (3)
June 29: Kentucky - Vickers (4), Univ of Louisville Tribute
July 6: Daytona - Waltrip (2)
July 14: New Hampshire - Vickers (5)
July 28: Indy - Martin (15)
Aug. 4: Pocono - Martin (16)
Aug 11: Watkins Glen - Vickers (6)
Aug 18: Michigan - Martin (17)
Aug 24: Bristol - Vickers (7)
Martin left to run the #14 for Stewart, Vickers takes over
Sept. 1: Atlanta - Vickers (8)
Sept. 7: Richmond - Vickers (9)
Sept. 15: Chicago - Vickers (10)
Sept. 22: New Hampshire - Vickers(11)
Sept. 29: Dover - Vickers (12)
Oct. 6: Kansas - Vickers (13)
Oct. 12: Charlotte - Vickers (14)
Oct. 20: Talladega - Waltrip (3)
Oct. 27: Martinsville - Elliott Sadler
Nov. 3: Texas - Sadler(2)
Nov. 10: Phoenix - Sadler(3)
Nov. 17: Homestead - Sadler(4)
New crew chief named for #55 team: Michael Waltrip Racing announced Billy Scott will serve as Brian Vickers’ crew chief on the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. “Billy was the unanimous selection by everyone here at MWR including the crew, drivers, and ownership,” said Waltrip. “We feel like engineering is one of our strongest assets and with that type of talent in house it was easy to promote from within. Billy has earned this opportunity because he has helped develop and refine the engineering tools that we use every day to make our cars faster.”
Scott, 36, began racing motorcycles as a 5-year-old and stock cars when he turned 15. He worked in the truck series as a mechanic before he returned to college to obtain an engineering degree. After graduating in 2005 Scott worked at Robert Yates Racing and began as an engineer at MWR in 2008. He has served exclusively as the No. 55 team’s lead engineer the last two seasons. “I’m honored, but I also know this is a big responsibility,” said Scott on the announcement. “We have very high expectations for the Aaron’s Dream Machine in 2014. Brian has been incredible to work with and is a winner, so we can’t wait to get 2014 started.”
Scott Miller, MWR’s Executive Vice President of Competition, performed crew chief duties on the #55 since Rodney Childers departure in August. Miller will return to overseeing all of MWR’s competition effort, which includes the #55, Clint Bowyer’s #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota and the #66 [was #56] Toyota shared by Waltrip and Jeff Burton. Vickers raced the #55 on a part-time basis for MWR in 2012 and 2013. He posted his third career victory at New Hampshire on July 14.
“I’ve been around Billy the last two seasons and he’s demonstrated a strong knowledge of what makes these cars go fast,” said Vickers. “I have a lot of faith in Billy. This is one of the strongest teams I’ve had and that’s a great feeling heading into a new season.” In August, Aaron’s announced a multi-year agreement to sponsor Vickers in the #55 beginning at the Feb. 23 Daytona 500. Aaron’s will sponsor each race during the length [2 years] of the agreement.(MWR)(12-19-2013)
Brian Vickers talks about deep vein thrombosis: #55-Brian Vickers has a condition known as deep vein thrombosis and has suffered from two blood clots in his leg. Vickers and Jack Ansell, MD with New York University School of Medicine joined the FOX43 morning team, to talk about the connection between the winter months and the increase in blood clots. See the video at FOX43.(12-19-2013)
MWR to run three cars in 2014: Despite NAPA’s decision not to return to MWR in 2014, and driver Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Chad Johnston opting to move on, team owner Rob Kauffman told FOXSports.com that three teams will operate out of the shop next year. "We’ll have two full-time cars and a third car that will run part-time,” Kauffman said. “It’s really kind of as simple as that. It’s not going to run for the championship – so it will have the flexibility to try stuff – but the same as everybody else has to pass tech each week and make sure everything’s correct. But it is a third car. It will help us keep the core of the team a little bit more substantial by keeping the engineering staff full, the pit crews are still able to keep in practice and keep going through the motions, so if in ’15 we can scale back up to a third car, the infrastructure would still be in place. “It’s kind of a little bit of a diet, then maybe you can get back to a playing weight by ’15.” When asked who the driver would be for the third car, Kauffman said coyly, “There is one.” Pressed whether that driver was Jeff Burton, he replied, “There is a list.”(FoxSports)(11-10-2013)
Female crew member leaves MWR: Christmas Abbott, who in February became the only woman employed in NASCAR as a full-time pit crew member, has left her Michael Waltrip Racing team without ever changing a tire in a race. Abbott's departure was confirmed on Tuesday night by a MWR spokesman. The team declined to release any other details regarding her departure. In February, Abbott, an elite-level fitness athlete whose journey to become a full-time pit crew member has been well-chronicled, was named to MWR's Sprint Cup organization's traveling pit support team. Abbott, however, never made it into a race with the MWR organization and in recent months wasn't seen at the track on race day.(Charlotte Observer)(10-30-2013)
Brian Vickers says he will return in 2014: #55-Brian Vickers met with the media Sunday morning at Martinsville Speedway:
How are you feeling?
Vickers: "I feel like I could drive a race car, I just can't. I feel great. Still training, still exercising. I can't complain. I've got a great life and family and friends. I'm frustrated and I've been bummed since obviously all this happened again. I'm just kind of looking forward. Things happen in life -- that's part of it. You just keep fighting and have faith. That's all you can really do. I'm going to be out for three months and back in time for Daytona to race for a championship."
Have doctors explained why this happened and how long you will have to deal with it?
Vickers: "The answer is yes.. After the crash at Bristol, I had a mid-foot sprain and I was wearing a boot to kind of immobilize my right ankle to help with that foot sprain and that boot is what caused the clot. Pretty much right where the boot kind of constricted my calf. We know what caused it. I think the good news for me in both situations -- the first one and this one is that there were specific events -- kind of the perfect storm so to speak that created the clots. Because of that, I've never spontaneously produced a clot at random. That creates a completely different situation than someone who is just throwing clots all the time randomly. Going forward, pretty much every doctor I've met with has pretty much had the exact same conclusion, which is three months of anti-coagulation and then you're off. Whether I race or not, whether I decide to go racing or not is kind of irrelevant, the decision would still be the same.
What keeps you out of the car?
Vickers "It's not the clot and it's not that I can't race on blood thinners it's just that I can't crash. As long as I can promise my doctors that I will not crash then they're fine with me racing. Unfortunately, there's a lot of moving parts in a car that I can't control and 42 competitors that I can't control. I can't firmly commit to that so he would rather me not race. The risk is not even so much external injury like a cut or something, it's really more of an internal injury. They wouldn't be able to stop the bleeding."
(Toyota Racing PR)(10-28-2013)
Sadler could sub for Vickers UPDATE: Elliott Sadler tops the short list of substitutes for Brian Vickers in the #55 Aaron's Toyota for the final four races of the season. Michael Waltrip Racing announced on Monday that Vickers would be sidelined for the remainder of the season because of a blood clot in his right leg. Vickers was named the driver of the #55 ride for 2014 in August. Sadler currently competes full time in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing and is fifth in the points standings. The 38-year-old native of Emporia, Va., ran in the Sprint Cup Series for 12 consecutive seasons and posted wins at Bristol Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway.(Fox Sports)(10-17-2013)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Elliott Sadler will drive the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota in the 2013 season’s final four NASCAR Sprint Cup races. Sadler replaces Brian Vickers who informed MWR on Oct. 14 that he would be unavailable for the remainder of the season due to anti-coagulation medications he will be taking to treat a small blood clot in his right leg. Doctors have told Vickers he will be on the medication at least two months. Sadler, who drives a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will begin racing the #55 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 27. He will finish the season for the Scott Miller led team at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.(MWR)(10-17-2013)
MWR unveils new plan UPDATE2: Michael Waltrip Racing majority owner Rob Kauffman told FOXSports.com on Sunday he hopes to unveil the company's reorganizational plan "relatively soon." The moves will come following MWR's penalties for attempts to manipulate the outcome of the Richmond International Raceway race on Sept. 7 and the subsequent announcement from NAPA to pull its sponsorship from the #56 Toyota team. "We're working on an announcement," Kauffman said. "I think it's been a week since we last spoke, so we're trying to get it all together. But we have a couple of good options. I think rather than use the word 'release,' I'd prefer to say allow guys to explore all their options – just as we're exploring all of our options. Is that exactly negative? I think it's the right thing to allow people to investigate all their options. A lot of these contracts have provisions that say 'you can't speak to anyone.' So, technically, it's a release, but it's really more correct saying, 'Look, there's a challenge here. We want you to investigate all your options. Of course, we're one and let's stay in close communication.' I don't think there's anything negative around it at all. It's just letting people figure it out."(FoxSports)(10-8-2013)
UPDATE: The Associated Press has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing will run only two full-time cars next season because of the loss of sponsor NAPA. Team owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman on Monday began telling employees of their decision. Those affected were told they are free to begin looking for a new job immediately. Two employees spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because MWR had not publicly announced its decision. The car that #56-Martin Truex Jr. currently drives will run a partial schedule in 2014. NAPA decided to leave MWR at the end of the year — fallout from the team's attempt to manipulate the finish at Richmond to get Truex into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.(Associated Press)(10-14-2013)
UPDATE2: Michael Waltrip Racing announced today its reorganization for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, highlighted by two full-time championship contending teams, a third entry which will run a limited schedule and a strengthened research and development group. MWR will field the #55 Aaron’s Toyota and the #15 5-hour ENERGY/PEAK Toyota in its pursuit of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. To enhance performance for its two full-time teams, MWR has bolstered its R&D effort and will run a third car in select races, including Michael Waltrip in the 2014 Daytona 500. Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota and his crew chief, Chad Johnston, each have been notified they are free to negotiate with other teams. Scott Miller, the team’s executive vice president of competition, will continue his role as crew chief of the #55 team into the 2014 season.
“Our goals for the reorganization were twofold, firstly to improve the competitiveness of our race teams and, secondly maintain a stable organizational structure,” said co-owner Rob Kauffman. “The team’s focus has been to find that last one percent needed to move from Chase participant to Cup champion. This realignment will get us closer to that last one percent.”
The reorganization enabled MWR to retain more than 85% of its current workforce. Those whose positions were affected by the moves were notified Monday morning. “Today was about doing what we had to do not what we wanted to do,” Kauffman added. “It was important to let those whose jobs were affected know as early as possible, and a majority of those will remain with MWR through the end of the season.”
“We have very strong support from Toyota, Toyota Racing Development, 5-hour ENERGY, PEAK, Aaron’s, AAA Mid-Atlantic and other partners who enable us to compete at the highest level,” said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. “We are confident that with two teams and a very active test team, our competiveness will take a step forward. We will also continue to do a great job for our partners off the track, which has always been a cultural staple for our organization. Rob and I deeply appreciate everyone who has helped build MWR into a race winning team and we are dedicated to continuing our pursuit of excellence on and off the track.”(MWR)(10-14-2013)
Brian Vickers to miss the rest of the 2013 season: Michael Waltrip Racing learned today that Brian Vickers is not available to race for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues. Vickers said Dr. William Downey has placed him on blood thinning medication after a Monday morning examination on his right leg discovered a small blood clot in his calf region. The medications will keep Vickers out of the #55 Aaron’s Toyota the remainder of the season, effective immediately. Vickers said his physicians are confident he will be able to resume activity before the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season begins. “If there’s anything to be positive about with today’s news it’s that this is only a temporary setback,” said Vickers. “The timing for this is never good, but I’m glad we’ll get it out of the way now and be ready to run for a championship with the Aaron’s Dream Machine in 2014.”
“We were just informed this morning and our concern is for Brian’s health,” said MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman. “Anything else will be worked out in due course.” As previously announced, two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. A replacement driver for the remaining events will be named later. In 22 races with MWR in 2012 and 2013, Vickers owns five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes including a victory on July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(MWR)(10-14-2013)
Waltrip to meet media; other sponsors issue statements: Michael Waltrip will hold a media availability at 8:00am/et Friday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage in New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thursday afternoon, Michaal Waltrip Racing's other primary sponsors issued the following statements:
5-Hour Energy: "Living Essentials, the makers of 5-hour ENERGY shots, is still evaluating its ongoing participation in NASCAR. A decision is not expected until the 2013 racing season is over."
Aaron's: "Aaron's would like to thank NASCAR fans for their continued loyalty during this time of uncertainty. We became a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago and remain dedicated to MWR, to NASCAR and to the fans."(9-20-2013)
Waltrip to meet media; other sponsors issue statements UPDATE: Michael Waltrip will hold a media availability at 8:00am/et Friday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage in New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thursday afternoon, Michael Waltrip Racing's other primary sponsors issued the following statements:
5-Hour Energy: "Living Essentials, the makers of 5-hour ENERGY shots, is still evaluating its ongoing participation in NASCAR. A decision is not expected until the 2013 racing season is over."
Aaron's: "Aaron's would like to thank NASCAR fans for their continued loyalty during this time of uncertainty. We became a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago and remain dedicated to MWR, to NASCAR and to the fans."(9-20-2013)
UPDATE: Some notes from the press conference, as posted to Twitter by various media members in attendance:
• Michael Waltrip says he can't say he wasn't "overly surprised" by NAPA's decision.
• NAPA wasn't thrilled about the way things were handled "but we put them in this position" says Waltrip
• Waltrip says there was "no master plan to manipulate the race"
• He still insists that #15-Clint Bowyer did not spin on purpose at Richmond
• Waltrip expects Michael Waltrip Racing will remain 3 cars in 2014
• The team's focus is now on finding a sponsor for #56-Martin Truex, Jr.
• He says it's possible that RK Motors - Rob Kauffman's muscle car company - could sponsor the #56 next season
• "There's a lot of concern," says Waltrip. Says he's been "concerned and worried about the future". Will work to regain trust.
• Michael Waltrip: "Yes I was scared and uncertain of our future. After speaking to all our partners, they're going to stick with us."
• Michael Waltrip has talked to Martin Truex Jr. and asked for patience but says team won't stand in Truex's way if he wants to exit.
• Waltrip expects 5-Hour Energy will stay.(9-20-2013)
Toyota not commenting on MWR penalties: Toyota has elected not to release a statement regarding the recent NASCAR sanctions against Michael Waltrip Racing stemming from what NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton characterized as an attempt "to manipulate the outcome of the race" at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. On Thursday, Ed Laukes, vice president for marketing communications and motorsports with Toyota Auto Sales, said the manufacturer's "focus was on the three drivers remaining in the Chase" — #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #15-Clint Bowyer. "As far as the Waltrip organization goes, absolutely nothing's changed with us," Laukes said. "We're not going to really talk about it — we're just going to focus on exactly where we're at with our three guys. I think, at the end of the day, we have to look at how we support our teams, and what happened in this situation is really between Michael Waltrip Racing and NASCAR. It's unfortunate, but it's part of the sport. There's a long history, long before Toyota got into the sport, of things that happened, and it's really between Michael Waltrip racing and NASCAR. At this point we just have to stay focused on everything that's going on with the three guys and try to get a first Sprint Cup championship for Toyota."(Fox Sports)(9-12-2013)
MWR's Fan Fest Moved to October: Michael Waltrip Racing will host its annual Fan Fest in the fall at the height of NASCAR's "Chase for the Sprint Cup." The event at MWR's headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., has traditionally been held during Charlotte Motor Speedway's May events, but this season the race shop is undergoing some capital improvements to further enhance the visitor and employee experience.
"We are in the process of making MWR even better for everyone, including fans, sponsors and employees," said Waltrip. "We can't wait to showcase our upgrades soon and appreciate all the fans who have given our facility a 100% approval rating since we opened in 2007."
This month MWR began construction of a new 7,500-square-foot training facility. The multi-level gym will further the skills of pit crew members. The facility includes an inlaid car silhouette so crews can practice agility drills around a car, free weights, weight machines, Cross Fit elements, cardio equipment as well as locker rooms and offices. Construction should conclude in June. MWR is at exit 28 on I-77 in Cornelius, N.C. about 15 miles north of Charlotte, N.C. Fans can still visit MWR's friendly interactive facility and take public tours throughout the construction projects.(MWR)(5-13-2013)
Waltrip defends organization: Car owner Michael Waltrip said that there was no plan to ensure that #56-Martin Truex Jr. made the Chase last weekend at Richmond, but admits he might have made some similar decisions. Waltrip spoke Tuesday to "Race Hub" on FOX Sports 1, which also employs him. His interview came a day after NASCAR's penalties knocked Truex out of the Chase, allowing Ryan Newman to make it in. NASCAR penalized each of MWR's teams for a series of actions late in the race. It started with Clint Bowyer spinning and purposely losing two laps. It continued with Ty Norris, the team's general manager, ordering Brian Vickers to pit to give up positions. Waltrip defended his organization Tuesday in the "Race Hub" interview. "We're not immoral, we're not irresponsible," he said. "The decisions were made just based on circumstances. As we look back, obviously, we would have been smarter and done things differently had we had that option. What the penalties were for (was Vickers) coming down pit road to give up a spot that enabled (Truex) to make the Chase. It was impossible to defend because we did it. The caution was out and Ty was looking at the numbers and it's like, 'Pit, pit ... we need that position,' so we pitted. I don't know if I would have done it any differently. We've seen people give up positions all the time in this sport to give a teammate a point. It happens. We've seen the leader pull over so another guy can lead. I would have screwed that one up, too."
Asked if Bowyer intentionally spun - Bowyer has repeatedly denied that, Waltrip defended his driver. "You saw the video, you heard the audio," Waltrip told FOX Sports 1. "I stand by my driver."(Motor Racing Network)(9-11-2013)
NASCAR Penalizes MWR following Richmond, Truex out of Chase, Newman in: NASCAR has issued penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing following the sanctioning body’s review of Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway. MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). As a result, MWR’s three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (#15, #55, #56) have been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively.
These point penalties are assessed following the season’s 26th regular season race and not after the seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Therefore, the point total for the #56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. is reduced to 691, putting him in 17th position and eliminating him from the second Wild Card berth for the Chase field. Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 car, now moves up into the Chase as the second Wild Card participant.
NASCAR has also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotter for the #55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three crew chiefs – Brian Pattie (#15), Scott Miller (#55) and Chad Johnston (#56) – have all been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
“Based upon our review of Saturday night’s race at Richmond, it is our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that.”(NASCAR)
AND Monday evening there was a NASCAR Press Conference with NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, see the full transcript of the press conference at NASCAR Richmond Penalty Transcript page.(9-9-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing Statement: Michael Waltrip Racing accepts the penalties issued by NASCAR this evening and plans to move forward in the 2013 season. Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of MWR: “What occurred on the #55 radio at the end of Saturday night’s race in Richmond was a split-second decision made by team spotter Ty Norris to bring the #55 to pit lane and help a teammate earn a place in the Chase. We regret the decision and its impact. We apologize to NASCAR, our fellow competitors, partners and fans who were disappointed in our actions. We will learn from this and move on. As general manager, Ty Norris has been an integral part of Michael Waltrip Racing since its founding and has my and (co-owner) Rob Kauffman’s full support.”(MWR)(9-9-2013)
Waltrip says parking Rodney Childers was a business decision: It wasn’t personal. It was strictly business. After crew chief Rodney Childers confirmed two weeks ago he was leaving Michael Waltrip Racing for Stewart-Haas next year, team owner Michael opted to relieve Childers of his duties on the #55 Toyota driven by Brian Vickers, rather than allowing him to finish out the season. "Rodney and I are buddies, and he has been a tremendous asset at Michael Waltrip Racing, but we are going to have meetings and build cars and put processes in place that we think will help us win a championship in 2014," Waltrip told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. "When he said he was going to leave MWR… that is just business. It’s our information to protect, and we felt like that was a smart way to protect it. I know he understands. In this world we live in… we’ve had some very pleasant texts over the last couple weeks about where he is and where we are and how that situation was handled. No one did anything mean--it’s just business." Director of competition Scott Miller is serving as interim crew chief for Vickers as MWR searches for Childers’ replacement. Waltrip said MWR has made progress toward that end but didn’t have anything specific to report.(NASCAR Wire Service)(9-8-2013)
Vickers comments about 2014 and the crew chief search: from a Michael Waltrip Racing RIR preview:
#55-BRIAN VICKERS ON 2014 PREPARATION: “We go out there and do our best and we never give up. We can’t thank Aaron’s enough for coming on board and having me in the car the rest of the season and next year. That’s what this year is about, preparing for next year and that’s what we’re doing. Obviously Scott Miller (MWR executive vice president of competition) has been helping on the pit box, but we have Billy Scott (MWR engineer) who has been a phenomenal race engineer. As you know this sport has changed, there’s not one man at the top anymore and those two guys have to play an integral role in these cars. ”
WHAT INPUT WILL YOU HAVE ON SELECTING THE #55’s CREW CHIEF? “I certainly have a say, and I have a voice in it. They’re most definitely going to want my opinion, but my experience with most companies, the guy writing the check is the guy with the final say. And, that’s not me. I’m going to defer to them on that one. I think within the organization, as a whole, obviously in the team structure, the drivers are always going to have some input.”
POTENTIAL CREW CHIEFS: “From our standpoint, everybody is an option. MWR is a phenomenal organization with a great culture. They have a lot of depth and we want to grow that depth. You always want to try to promote from within, but no decision has been made. Right now Billy is filling his roles that he’s always fulfilled and doing an excellent job of it. He’s a great race engineer. Whether or not we change his title going into next year, we don’t know yet. Scott’s (Miller) helping – the reality is one person can’t do that job anymore. It's a combo deal. You have to have a crew chief and a race engineer and I don’t know that one job is any more important than the other, they’re just different. We have Scott and Billy doing both of those roles. What we do next is really a factor of what the group and team want, what’s best for the team and what each individual wants moving forward.”
The #55 will carry a special paint scheme this weekend honoring LG as its 2012 partner of the year.(MWR)(9-6-2013)
Crew chief change at MWR UPDATE: Scott Miller, MWR executive vice president of competition, is expected to act as interim crew chief on the #55 Aaron’s Toyota team and for Brian Vickers until a replacement can be found. Rodney Childers informed MWR last week that he would not be returning to the team next year, opting to join Stewart-Haas Racing as (#4) Kevin Harvick’s crew chief. “I’m at my last supper,” Childers confirmed by text Monday, “with my guys.” Miller served a similar role at MWR for Martin Truex Jr., when Chad Johnston was suspended at the end of 2011.(FoxSports)(8-26-2013)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Scott Miller, its vice-president of competition, will oversee the crew chief duties on #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Miller will take the lead role on the #55 Toyota team working with driver Brian Vickers. Miller replaces Rodney Childers who remains under contract with MWR through December 31. Billy Scott, a race engineer with MWR since 2008 and exclusive to the #55 the past two seasons, will take an elevated role in car set up and race weekend preparations. Vickers will drive the #55 in the remaining 2013 races except at Talladega when two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip climbs behind the wheel. Vickers won the July 14 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the #55. The team is 19th in the car owner standings. Miller is a 20-year motorsports veteran who joined MWR before the 2012 season and played a major role in bringing the team its first two Chase berths last year. He has served as crew chief for several teams during his career (MWR)(8-26-2013)
Rodney Childers' departure leaves a tough spot to fill at MWR: From Rodney Childers' point of view, Stewart-Haas Racing made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Nevertheless, the impending departure of the crew chief of the #55 Toyota will leave a major void at Michael Waltrip Racing. Childers, a well-respected talent in the garage, will serve as Kevin Harvick's crew chief at SHR next season, leaving MWR with the unenviable task of trying to replace him as Brian Vickers takes the seat of the #55 Camry full-time. "He's not going to be easy to replace--he's very, very good at what he does," Martin Truex Jr., Vickers' teammate, told the NASCAR Wire Service Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "He's been a big part of Michael Waltrip Racing, obviously. He was there long before I was. He's very smart and I really enjoyed my time there working with him, because we did work very closely together with all our teams. He brought a ton to the table. It's going to be hard to replace him for sure, especially this late in the season. He's definitely a special talent, (but) that's part of the sport--people change and find things and better opportunities elsewhere, and I wish Rodney the best of luck. Hopefully, we'll find somebody good to fill that position."(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-25-2013)
Who will be Harvick's crew chief at Stewart-Haas? UPDATE looks like Childers: Sources say that Budweiser signed off with [Stewart-Haas Racing] in the last month — after opting not to introduce a fourth different driver in seven seasons. Although [Stewart-Haas Racing] and Kevin Harvick declined to name a crew chief for the #4 team, [Michael Waltrip Racing's #55] Rodney Childers has been mentioned as the lead candidate.(Fox Sports)(7-14-2013)
UPDATE: (#55 crew chief) Rodney Childers is leaving Michael Waltrip Racing and is expected to be named the crew chief for Kevin Harvick at Stewart-Haas Racing (in the #4 Chevy) next season. MWR confirmed Friday morning that Childers is leaving after the season. Childers is expected to be named the crew chief for Harvick, who has 21 career victories in a 13-year career at Richard Childress Racing but will leave that organization at the end of the year for SHR. “Stewart-Haas Racing has not signed any new crew chiefs for 2014, but the team thinks very highly of Rodney Childers and he is on a short list of candidates,” SHR spokesman Mike Arning said in an email.(Sporting News)(8-23-2013)
MORE Rodney Childers has informed Michael Waltrip Racing he will not return to the #55 NASCAR Sprint Cup team next year. Childers is moving to Stewart-Haas Racing, where he is expected be the crew chief for Kevin Harvick. “It’s been a very long process, very hard and very emotional, too,” Childers told Performance Racing Network. “I ended up making the decision a couple of days ago. I told MWR yesterday and had to tell all my guys this morning. I was pretty much a mess trying to tell them. This team is the best group of guys I’ve ever been around and a pretty big family. After being here for five years, it’s pretty hard to walk away from that. Going to SHR and working with Harvick is an opportunity that not many people ever get. I was afraid if I didn’t take it I would regret it the rest of my life. That’s not something I wanted to do.” Childers told FOXSports.com that he was "not sure on (whether he would remain with MWR) the rest of the year. I will do what everyone at MWR wants me to do, and try to leave this team in winning condition."(FoxSports)(8-23-2013)
Michael Waltrip to run K&N Pro Series West race: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip flies to Spokane County Raceway this week to compete in Saturday night’s K&N Pro Series West race on the half-mile oval. The founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing will drive the #20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing in the 10th race on the 15-race schedule. Saturday night’s race marks the 50-year-old Waltrip’s first K&N start in 2013. In addition to Spokane, Waltrip is slated to race Oct. 12 at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. He owns one win (Pikes Peak—1997), three top-five and 5 top-10 finishes in six series starts. Waltrip finished sixth at Colorado in his only series start last year (MWR).(8-22-2013
Allmendinger just testing the #55: AJ Allmendinger will test the #55 Toyota for Brian Vickers this week at Richmond International Raceway. Vickers had scheduled a previous engagement and will be unable to make the session.(FoxSports)(8-20-2013)
Vickers to drive the #55 in 12 of final 13 races: Michael Waltrip Racing announced Monday that Brian Vickers will drive the team’s #55 Toyota in 12 of the 13 races remaining in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The announcement follows the mutual decision by MWR and Aaron’s Inc. to grant Mark Martin an early release, enabling him to replace the injured #14-Tony Stewart. Vickers was originally scheduled to drive three of the remaining races in 2013. The announcement increases that schedule to 12. Michael Waltrip, MWR founder and co-owner, will race the #55 at Talladega on Oct. 20 as originally scheduled. The move gives the 29-year-old Vickers an early start to his full-time role in the #55. Last week Aaron’s and MWR announced Vickers will drive the Aaron’s Dream Machine full-time beginning in 2014.
Waltrip said Martin achieved all of the goals both he and the team set when he began a 24-race schedule in the #55 in 2012. “With Mark, we accomplished everything we hoped to when he came to this organization, which was bringing that winning confidence to the team, the experience to help elevate our program and ultimately find the full-time driver for the future who can race for a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship,” said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion. “Mark’s leadership the past two years has been so impactful that he has left a mark on this company that will be here as long as we race. This opportunity to help two Hall of Famers in Mark and Tony Stewart at the same time, while getting the opportunity to run the rest of the year with Brian makes sense for MWR. But nothing could happen without the support of Aaron’s, Toyota and the other MWR sponsors. Each of them saw the same benefits in such a move and helped make it happen. This is a truly win, win, win situation.”
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done the last two seasons and I’m extremely thankful for the effort everyone on my team and at MWR put behind me,” said the 54-year-old Martin whose 870 Sprint Cup starts is the fifth most in NASCAR history. “I also want to thank Michael Waltrip and (co-owner) Rob Kauffman for giving me this opportunity. They are building a strong organization at MWR and one that’s going to be a force in NASCAR for years to come both on and off the track.”
Aaron’s thanked Martin for his work behind the wheel and with its customers and employees in the last two seasons. Aaron’s featured Waltrip and Martin in several national television commercials. "Aaron's is supportive of the arrangement with Mark Martin agreeing to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing," said Ronald W. Allen, Aaron's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We're energized about Vickers' availability to drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine for the remainder of the season. MWR talked about how this move would better position our team for 2014 while helping Stewart-Haas Racing so we believe this is the best of all possible outcomes for everyone. We appreciate everything Mark Martin has done for Aaron's over the last two years and wish him the best of luck in the future."
Vickers joined MWR in 2012 with plans to run a five-race schedule. That schedule increased as the performance improved and the Thomasville, N.C. native grew more comfortable with the organization. He won the July race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and posted four top-five finishes in 14 races with MWR. “No one wants to see Tony out of the 14, but I am appreciative of the opportunity to get more seat time in the 55 as a result,” said Vickers who is also seeking a second Nationwide championship in 2013. “I didn’t think things could get any better than last week’s announcement with Aaron's, but having a chance to run the rest of the 2013 season creates a tremendous opportunity for our team and we're excited that all of this came together the way it did. Mark gets to help out Tony and we get to start our program early in the No. 55. We’ve proven we can win races in a part time capacity so far in 2013 and I'm confident that spending more time working with the 55 crew will only to help improve our already strong performance to date, giving us the momentum needed to start the 2014 season off strong in Daytona.” Vickers will race the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Saturday night in Bristol.(MWR)(8-19-2013)
Stewart Out for Remainder of 2013 Season; Martin in for 12 races; Dillon one: Tony Stewart is out for the remainder of the 2013 season after suffering a broken right tibia and fibula in a sprint car crash Aug. 5 at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, is expected to return to the seat of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in time for pre-season testing in January 2014. In the interim, Mark Martin will drive the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy Aug. 23-24 at Bristol and in 11 other races. Austin Dillon, who filled in for Stewart this past weekend at Michigan and finished 14th in his 10th career Sprint Cup start, will drive the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy Oct. 18-20 at Talladega.
“After consulting with Tony’s doctors and speaking with Tony, we agreed it was best for him to focus on his recovery,” said Greg Zipadelli, competition director, SHR. “For the No. 14 team, our focus is on positioning them for a run at the owner championship. Mark Martin and Austin Dillon give us the best opportunity to do that, and we certainly appreciate Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing for making Mark and Austin available to us.”
“Obviously, I’m disappointed to be out of the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy for so long, but the team is in very good hands with Mark Martin and Austin Dillon,” Stewart said. “Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Austin is a great young talent, and he showed that Sunday at Michigan. Greg Zipadelli, Steve Addington (crew chief) and everybody at SHR supports them 100 percent. This isn’t a situation anyone wanted, but we’re going to make the best of it. In the meantime, my focus is on getting healthy and getting back into my Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy.”
The #14 team is 13th in [owner] points, 10 out of the top-10 and 160 behind the series-leading #48 team of Hendrick Motorsports. The #14 team is first in line to grab one of the two wild-card positions for the 12-team [Owners] Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(SHR)(8-19-2013)
Deal could put Martin in #14 seat UPDATE 2 announcement today: A deal is in the works that would offer Brian Vickers more seat time in the #55 Aaron's Toyota — and allow Mark Martin to pursue the opportunity to drive the #14 for the injured Tony Stewart. On Saturday, multiple sources told Fox Sports that Toyota offered Martin its blessing in order to enable Vickers — who was named the full-time driver of the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry on Tuesday — additional races to gel with the team. Vickers is currently racing for the Nationwide Series championship with Joe Gibbs Racing. He is fifth in the NNS point standings. Before SHR inquired on Martin's behalf, the plan was for Vickers to race at Bristol, Martinsville and New Hampshire, where he raced last month. Team owner Michael Waltrip is scheduled to drive the #55 at Talladega. Martin originally was signed up for the balance of races. Certainly, MWR and Aaron's would have to sign off on Martin before SHR can green light the deal. If everything goes according to plan, he could be part of SHR's roster announcement expected late Monday.(FoxSports)(8-18-2013)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing and its sponsors are still trying to decide whether Mark Martin can replace the injured Tony Stewart in his #14 Chevy. If Martin leaves MRW to fill in for Stewart, Brian Vickers would complete the season in MWR’s #55 Toyota, which he currently shares with Martin. MWR Executive Vice President Ty Norris declined comment Sunday morning on the status of the negotiations, while team co-owner Michael Waltrip said nothing had changed as far as Martin's situation. SHR officials also had no comment (Sporting News)(8-18-2013)
UPDATE 2: Mark Martin will be named Tony Stewart's substitute in the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing car. An announcement is set for Monday afternoon.(FoxSports)(8-19-2013)
Martin looking at options; #14 ride? #55-Mark Martin says he’s been contacted to drive Tony Stewart’s car but calls any such move "complicated."
"It’s more complicated than it looks at face value," Martin said Friday about driving the #14 car while Stewart recovers from a broken leg suffered in a sprint car crash last week in Iowa. Martin is in his last season driving for Michael Waltrip Racing with his contract expiring. Brian Vickers, who has shared driving duties with Martin the past two seasons, will drive Martin’s car full-time starting next year. That could make Martin available to drive Stewart’s car immediately, giving Vickers the chance to run the remaining races for MWR to prepare for next season. There are several roadblocks, though. A key challenge is that Martin’s ride is with Toyota and Stewart’s car is a Chevrolet. Both Martin’s car and Stewart’s car are battling to get into the Chase for the owner’s title. There also are sponsor considerations and other such contracts. If Vickers were to take over for Martin, then he would need approval from Joe Gribbs Racing since he’s running the Nationwide schedule for that team.
There are just as many questions about what Martin will do next season. "The reason I haven’t talked about 2014 is because I felt like the landscape was probably going to change, and it’s starting to change rapidly," he said. Martin says other competitors have asked if he’s going to share driving duties with Kyle Larson for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing next season after the team decided not to retain Juan Pablo Montoya after this year. EGR has not made any announcement on who will drive that car next season. Kyle Larson told Motor Racing Network on Friday that he’s focused on his Nationwide campaign. "I promise no one has talked to anyone on my side from Ganassi," Martin said. "I know that it’s really churning out there. There hasn’t even been the first discussion about that. I’m as interested as you guys are about what Chip Ganassi has up his sleeve." One thing Martin can say for certain is that he won’t drive full-time in Cup next year. "I wouldn’t (run full-time) for the world," he said. "I do love my schedule now."(Motor Racing Network)(8-17-2013)
What is up with #55 crew chief Childers & Mark Martin with MWR in 2014? There is still work to be done even before the 2014 season begins as Michael Waltrip Racing must sign crew chief Rodney Childers to the #55 car, something [Michael] Waltrip will want to do as soon as possible with Stewart-Haas Racing combing the garage to find a crew chief for #4-Kevin Harvick next year. "We’re really close to putting Rodney together with Brian for many years to come," Waltrip said. "Brian and Rodney have a great relationship. They’ve known each other since they were kids. They love working together. There is a lot of harmony and confidence in one another."
As far as Mark Martin (who is running part-time in the #55 car for MWR), whether he has any sort of role at MWR is still to be determined. "We’ve talked a lot and we haven’t made any formal decision," Waltrip said. "He certainly has put his footprint all over our company with the role he has played the last two years, not only driving the car but his commitment to physical fitness. … He’s just been a huge part of who we are today."(Sporting News)
AND The deal gives MWR two fully-sponsored cars for 2014 with Vickers and Aaron's on the #55, Martin Truex Jr. and NAPA on the #56. Waltrip said the #15 of Clint Bowyer still has 10 open races. He would like to find a sponsor that would fill the #15 and sponsor him for the Daytona 500 that he has won twice.(ESPN)(8-13-2013)
MWR to announce Vickers as 2014 driver of #55 UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing has scheduled a "major media announcement" for Tuesday morning at the Hall of Fame. The release has the Aaron's logo and a picture of Brian Vickers on it. Vickers has split the #55 with Mark Martin the last couple years and is widely expected to be the full time driver next season.(8-12-2013)
UPDATE: Brian Vickers on Tuesday will be named the full-time driver of the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Sprint Cup car for 2014, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com. Team officials were not available for comment, but team owner Michael Waltrip has made it clear for several months that Vickers was his choice to take over the 55 car after this season.(ESPN)(8-12-2013)
UPDATE 2: Aaron’s announced it has reached a multi-year agreement [2 year deal] to sponsor Brian Vickers in Michael Waltrip Racing's (MWR) #55 Toyota Camry in every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. “We at Aaron’s are thrilled about this partnership. We’re building a championship organization – and we know that Brian Vickers and the No. 55 team, under Michael Waltrip’s tradition of winning, are focused on building a championship caliber team," said Ronald W. Allen, Aaron's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “So many of our customers are enthusiastic and loyal NASCAR fans and we are proud to be a part of a sport they are passionate about. We are looking forward to continued success with Brian Vickers both on and off the track.” Vickers has raced the #55 on a part-time basis the last two seasons for MWR posting several impressive performances including his third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14. Beginning in 2014, he'll pilot the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine with a fresh new paint scheme, unveiled today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. in every race.
“I can’t put into words how this makes me feel,” said 29-year-old Vickers. “I’ve really found my home at MWR over the past few years, and I've enjoyed getting to know the Aaron's associates and customers. I am honored that Aaron’s is welcoming me into their family full-time. Knowing that I have a top-notch team and a dedicated sponsor for a full season is a really great feeling every driver dreams about, and like everyone else, I want to win races and win a championship. Michael and co-owner Rob Kauffman are really building something special at MWR and are giving me the tools to accomplish those goals.”
“Aaron’s is a cornerstone to MWR's success. This is a big announcement today because it shows a tremendous vote of confidence in the sport of NASCAR and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization,” said Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. “The relationship with Aaron’s is very personal to me because they helped place Michael Waltrip Racing on the map in 2000 when I was running a half dozen Nationwide Series races from a small garage in my backyard. Now they are enabling MWR to continue its growth as we will have three drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and beyond. So much of this confidence comes from the NASCAR fans who continue to support the sponsors of our teams. I want to sincerely thank the NASCAR fans who are Aaron’s customers because you make this all happen,” said Waltrip.(MWR)(8-13-2013)
Last time a race winner skipped the next race? With Brian Vickers not running the Sprint Cup Series race at Indy this week, yet winning the last Cup race run at New Hampshire on July 14th, who was the last race winner NOT to attempts the following event?
That would be Brad Keselowski, who won at Talladega in April 2009 running the #09 Chevy for Phoenix Racing and did not run the following race at Richmond in May 2009. Before that it was Jamie McMurray, who won at Charlotte in October 2002 in his 2nd career Cup start and didn't race the following week at Martinsville.(7-25-2013)
Vickers says win helps him for next year: #55-Brian Vickers' victory last week could provide a boost to his long-term future at Michael Waltrip Racing. "It definitely helped," Vickers said. "How could it not?" Vickers, who won last Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race for MWR at New Hampshire, is in discussions with the team about a full-time ride next season. He has been driving part-time for Waltrip's team for the past two seasons, and has a full-time ride with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. Vickers says he's optimistic about a deal coming together because he, Waltrip and sponsor Aaron's all want it to happen -- but he knows it would be unwise to assume anything until a contract is in place. Vickers says the team is exploring the possibility of adding other sponsors to help split the bill with Aaron's.(Associated Press)(7-22-2013)
#55 team looking for owners' championship: For the first time since the Chase for the Sprint Cup format was introduced in 2004, there's a distinct possibility that there might be different players in the drivers' and owners' championships. With Brian Vickers' win at Loudon, the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota--driven by Mark Martin, team owner Michael Waltrip and Vickers this year--moved into the second provisional wild card spot for the owners Chase. Since the three drivers all run part-time schedules, they're not a factor in the drivers' championship, but the car could win the owners' title since its active in every race. MWR executive vice president Ty Norris said MWR and #55 crew chief Rodney Childers have had their eyes on the owners' prize for a long time. "One of the very first things we talked about was racing for an owner's championship; let's shake up the system. We'll have multiple drivers but if we can win some races and be in a situation where we can run for an owner's championship, that can be just as remarkable as running for a driver's championship."(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-15-2013)
Vickers wins New Hampshire: #55-Brian Vickers won the Camping World RV Sales 301 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2013 and 3rd career win.
#18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #31-Burton, #2-Keselowski, #43-Almirola, #48-Johnson, #29-Harvick, #99-Edwards, #20-Kenseth, and #24-Gordon.
The race ended under a green-white-checker finish after a late caution. #14-Stewart restart second but ran out of gas and finished 26th.
#78-Busch led the most laps with 102 of 302 laps, but spun midway through the race and finished 31st.
There were 10 lead changes among 6 drivers and 12 cautions for 58 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 98.735mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial New Hampshire Race Results page (pdf) and check out the New Hampshire Penalty Report (pdf).
See drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf) and the owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(7-14-2013)
Waltrip participating in Goodwood Festival of Speed: Michael Waltrip is ready to spread the NASCAR message across the Atlantic Ocean as the two-time Daytona 500 champion makes his second appearance in front of 150,000 global motorsports enthusiasts at the 20th annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. Waltrip will drive a 2012 # 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota at the annual festival that features a hill climb by historic motor racing vehicles. The Goodwood Festival has become one of the largest and most diverse motorsports events in the world. The festival includes everything from modern concept cars to historical vehicles dating back to 1902, along with racecars from all disciplines. NASCAR stock cars, Formula 1 Grand Prix racers, Le Mans style cars and various forms of motorcycles will all make their run up the hill at Goodwood. The # 15 Waltrip will drive in England this month won three races in 2012 and finished second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with Clint Bowyer behind the wheel.(MWR)(7-10-2013)
Sixteen Cup teams found with modified roof flap spacers UPDATE: Sixteen teams found to have modified roof flap spacers (lighter) during NASCAR inspection. Teams listed: #1-McMurray, #2-Keselowski, #9-Ambrose, #11-Hamlin, #13-Mears, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #21-Bayne, #22-Logano, #43-Almirola, #55-Waltrip, #56-Truex Jr. and #99-Edwards. The modified/confiscated roof-flap spacers are on display at Daytona in the NASCAR hauler. NASCAR's Kerry Tharp addressed media on confiscated roof-flap spacers - "Spacers not in compliance with those kits." The roof-flap kits are supplied to teams for #NASCAR by one company (a Roush company) and are not to be changed.(SPEED's, Dustin Long Fox/NASCAR on Twitter)
AND Thirty-one cars, including 16 in the Sprint Cup Series, failed inspection before Thursday's practices at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR confiscated the teams' roof flaps, which are designed to keep cars on the ground during spins and wrecks at high speeds, for further inspection. Penalties could be possible. The roof-flap spacers had been illegally machined down to reduce weight. NASCAR inspectors made those Cup teams install new, unaltered roof flaps before drivers were allowed on the track for the first of two practices. Inspectors then went to the Nationwide garage and found similar issues on 15 cars. "When you find something in one garage, you communicate to the other garage," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We looked into it and this is what we found."(Associated Press)(7-4-2013)
UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams expect widespread penalties after 16 cars were found with illegal roof-flap spacers at Daytona Thursday, but they don't know how severe those penalties might be. The teams caught scrambled Thursday to make compliant spacers, which are used to attach the hinge of the roof flaps. Teams and manufacturers get roof flaps from Roush Composites and, according to the NASCAR rulebook, "the hinged air deflectors must be installed as specified in the instruction sheet supplied with the hinged air deflector kit." But it was apparent that many teams had lightened the spacers or changed them. It wasn't clear what tipped off NASCAR inspectors to the violations, but after a sweep of the Sprint Cup garage Thursday, NASCAR went through the Nationwide garage and took pieces from 15 Nationwide teams Thursday night. A non-compliant part might just be a monetary penalty but because it dealt with a safety piece — the roof flaps pop up during a spin to try to keep the car on the ground — a points penalty is definitely possible, as well as crew suspensions. NASCAR traditionally issues penalties the Tuesday after a race weekend. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said the widespread use of the illegal spacers most likely indicates that those pieces had gotten through inspection previously. "It's probably not something that was on a normal inspection routine," Pemberton said. "The teams are told that they must assemble all that stuff using all the parts that's in the kit. Once in a while you'll find things like that and it's probably something that teams have probably done a little bit in the past." Whether the number of teams involved will impact the penalties and whether crew chiefs who are on probation will face more severe penalties will be determined Monday and Tuesday, Pemberton said. Because teams didn't have extra kits at Daytona, NASCAR allowed the teams to make spacers that were compliant.(Sporting News)(7-5-2013)
Special scheme for the #55 at Kentucky: Brian Vickers should be a popular man at Kentucky Speedway this weekend. Vickers' #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota will carry a special paint scheme during Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race honoring the University of Louisville's men's national championship basketball team. At last year's Kentucky race, MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip drove an Aaron's/ University of Kentucky themed paint scheme. At the May 5 Talladega race, Aaron's and Michael Waltrip Racing honored the University of Alabama's BCS National Championship football team. It marked the fourth consecutive year Aaron's honored Alabama or Auburn University championship football teams with a special paint scheme (MWR), see images of the scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(6-27-2013)
Drivers, owners start looking to 2014: It was curious when [#78-Kurt] Busch slipped last Thursday after he was asked a silly question about who he would prefer to have dinner with when given a list of drivers. His focus turned to #39-Ryan Newman, his former Penske Racing teammate with whom he experienced a not-so-friendly feud on and off the track as the two free agents searched for rides last year. "Maybe Newman and I need to have a sit-down, because we're both out there charging hard and trying to get into the Chase, and we're looking for rides," said Busch, who almost immediately regretted the last few words. Busch, 34, signed a one-year deal with Furniture Row Racing last year. Although team owner Barney Visser attempted to extend the contract with Busch after he posted three consecutive top-10 finishes to close out the 2012 season, the driver believed it was best to hold off.
And as Busch learned on Sunday - before he made the error of speeding down pit road twice, dropped to 38th and battled back to a fourth-place finish - FRR can produce cars capable of winning. That's a prospect not lost on his rival Newman, who has inquired about the possibility of a second team at FRR for 2014.
Yes, Busch is accustomed to competing with high-profile teams but those coveted seats are few and far between. There have been talks with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing but the driver landscape remains in flux.
On Sunday, Childress admitted that Newman, who will likely have the support of sponsor Quicken Loans, is topping his list of candidates for the #29 ride being vacated by Kevin Harvick. In the winner's post-race interview, Michael Waltrip acknowledged that Brian Vickers "is our guy." "We're trying to get all the pieces together so he can drive the #55 and race for the championship next year," Waltrip said.
Furniture Row Racing has no issues with Busch testing the market - as long as it doesn't become a distraction for the team.(Fox Sports)(6-25-2013)
Vickers pulling road course double duty: As the only driver pulling double duty across half the country this weekend, #55-Brian Vickers is well aware of the special challenges ahead. Still, he's more aware of some challenges than others. There's the logistics of getting from one place to the other. There's the transition from his full-time role in the NASCAR Nationwide Series to his part-time detail on the Sprint Cup circuit. The biggest hurdle, however, might be the actual task at hand, adapting from NASCAR's longest road course -- a circuit he's never competed on -- to its shortest. Vickers goes into the great unknown in Saturday's Johnsonville Sausage 200 for the Nationwide Series at 4.048-mile Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., before he returns to a more familiar track -- 1.99-mile Sonoma Raceway, site of Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 for the Sprint Cup tour. The unique Wisconsin-to-California doubleheader will mark the first time he's competed in NASCAR national series events in different states in the same weekend. Part of Vickers' divide-and-conquer strategy includes making just one commute. He'll start the weekend with his #20 Joe Gibbs Racing team, focusing on regaining ground in the Nationwide title hunt. In the meantime, Jason Bowles will sub for him in the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in Sprint Cup practice and qualifying, meaning Vickers will have to start Sunday's race from the back of the field.(NASCAR.com)(6-19-2013)
MWR & Aaron's to honor NCAA Basketball Champ Louisville: When NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers climbs in the #55 Toyota at Kentucky Speedway on June 29 he and his Aaron's Dream Machine will sport University of Louisville colors and a paint scheme honoring the school's 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship team. The Cardinal Bird mascot on the hood and Vickers' red, black and white fire suit will pay tribute to the school whose campus is about 60 miles from the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.
"We're thrilled Aaron's and Brian Vickers have chosen to run the Louisville colors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Kentucky Speedway," said Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. "I know how many Louisville basketball fans are NASCAR fans, and like them I'm looking forward to seeing the car on the track. I think one of those die cast cars might eventually make it to my office. I've seen the paint scheme and it's really sharp."
At last year's Kentucky race, MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip drove an Aaron's/ University of Kentucky themed paint scheme. The Owensboro, Ky. native and 2010 Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame inductee admits seeing the Louisville colors on one of his cars makes him proud.
U of L supporters and alumni can support Vickers in his second Sprint Cup start at the speedway by taking advantage of a special Cardinal Takeover ticket package that includes admission to a hospitality tent with food and complimentary beverages, a Fan Zone pass that provides race-day admission to the infield for pit road access and a trackside view of a prerace concert with Billy Currington. The first 200 fans to attend the Cardinal Takeover also will receive a collectible red miniature Louisville Slugger bat with the race logo emblazoned in gold. Cardinal Takeover packages can be purchased at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com/CardinalTakeover, by calling (859) 578-2300 or visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 41086 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.(MWR), see image of the car/scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(6-13-2013)
Congrats: #55 Aaron's Dream Machine mechanic Chris Hall and his wife Denelle welcomed James Mason Dean (7 lbs 8 oz) into the world Thursday. Mother and baby are doing well.(MWR)(5-24-2013)
MWR cars to carry Feed the Children decals to support Tornado Victims: In 2010 brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip combined their philanthropic efforts and created the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship. The Waltrips selected Feed The Children as one of the golf tournament's benefactors in 2012. The Oklahoma City-based organization, whose mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life's essentials, saw deadly tornados strike at its doorstep this week. During this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Michael Waltrip Racing will carry Feed The Children decals on the roofs of all three of its NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyotas. The decals will bring greater awareness to an organization forced to turn its focus to its own Oklahoma community. The cars of drivers #56-Martin Truex Jr., #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Mark Martin will carry the decals in Sunday's 600-mile race. Founded in 1979, Feed The Children is on the front lines helping tornado victims and first responders in their hometown. Feed The Children is currently accepting product and monetary donations and providing help for Oklahoma tornado victims and first responders with ready-to-eat meals, disaster relief supplies, water and food. Feed The Children is a BBB Wise Giving Alliance accredited charity and uses a comprehensive and integrated program to combat hunger and poverty to make sure no child or family goes to bed hungry. To Donate text "DISASTER" to 80888 or visit feedthechildren.org/tornado.(MWR)(5-24-2013)
Waltrip comments on 2014 plans for #55 and Vickers: #55-Michahel Waltrip, team owners and part-time driver, discussed many things with the media on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, one thing was the future of the #55 team:
Q) When will you announce the driver of the No. 55 Camry for next season?
Waltrip: "Well, we're -- obviously I said we've raced with Aaron's for 14 years and we hope that we can sign something that will put that deal together for the near foreseeable future to come -- three years or so. And, we're working hard with Aaron's. We've targeted Brian Vickers as the guy that we want to drive our car. We think that Brian is a future champion of the Cup Series so we want Brian to drive it and we want Aaron's to sponsor it. That's the news and that's where it's at. I think both Aaron's and Brian are very into making that happen. It would just be a matter of getting the details worked out in order to be able to announce it soon. So, when it happens it won't be a surprise because that's what we're after. I think Aaron's growth in the business world, the amount of stores that they had when we started together and the amount they have now -- I used to kid people all of the time, I said I don't believe they think I had anything to do with that, but just in case I've been there the whole time and let's just keep him around. That was sort of the way that it started with Aaron's and now with the 'Aaron's Dream Weekend' and everything that they do in NASCAR, they've committed to this sport and hopefully that commitment will continue with Michael Waltrip Racing into the future."(Toyota Racing transcript in part)(5-5-2013)
Waltrip returns to the #55 at 'Dega: #55 Aaron's Dream Machine driver Michael Waltrip returns to the drivers seat at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday in the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The two-time Daytona 500 champion's #55 will carry a special paint scheme honoring the 2012 University of Alabama's BCS National Championship football team. Waltrip will sport an Alabama firesuit and a specially painted helmet similar to the school's football helmet. Waltrip, winner of the Talladega fall race in 2003, nearly won the October race before a last lap wreck. Waltrip celebrated his 50th birthday on Tuesday. Aaron's unveiled the #55 paint scheme in front of 78,000 fans at University of Alabama's spring football game on April 20. Coach Nick Saban signed the hood. This is the fourth consecutive Talladega spring race Aaron's Inc. and MWR have honored a national championship football team from the state of Alabama. Aaron's also honored Auburn University in 2010 as well as the University of Alabama in 2009 and 2011.(MWR), see an image of the scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(5-1-2013)
Waltrip returns to Talladega, will run Alabama tribute scheme: For the fourth consecutive year, Aaron's, Inc. and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) will honor a college football national champion from the state of Alabama during the May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega. Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will pilot the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine that carries a special crimson-and-white paint scheme in honor of back-to-back BCS champion University of Alabama during the May 5th race. Aaron's also honored Auburn University at Talladega with a special paint scheme for its 2010 championship season as well as Alabama's 2009 and 2011 championship seasons.
"Aaron's is not only celebrating 14 years as a sponsor in NASCAR, but has also enjoyed longtime sponsorships of both MWR and the University of Alabama athletic program," said Andrea Freeman, Aaron's Vice President of Marketing. "The events at Talladega are an exciting way to merge these partnerships and engage both racing and college football fans, many of whom are loyal Aaron's customers."
Waltrip, who will drive the #55 three times in 2013 sharing the duties with Mark Martin and Brian Vickers, said no matter which college football team you support, everyone agrees Talladega will be a 200 mph spectacle. "Aaron's is giving me the privilege of carrying this championship paint scheme to Talladega Superspeedway – one of my favorite places on earth," said Waltrip who nearly won the October race at the high-banked restrictor plate track. "I know all the Alabama fans will cheer me in driver introductions for sure. I'm not as confident I'll get as much support from the Auburn fans as we did the year I drove the Auburn car. But we're going to have a good time hearing all of them scream 'Roll Tide" and 'War Eagle' all weekend."
"Some of NASCAR's most exciting races happen at Talladega Superspeedway. It's a fan favorite because you never know what to expect – the race in October is a perfect example. It looked like I might drive the #55 to victory lane with just one more turn to go and all of a sudden there were cars flying around and I ended up with a wrecked race car and a 25th-place finish."
The Michael Waltrip Racing team is going all out with the Alabama theme with plans for the crew to sport #55 Alabama jerseys on qualifying day. Waltrip's racing helmet will be a replica of the University's football helmets. The #55's paint scheme will feature a logo proclaiming the University of Alabama's back-to-back wins, as well as a memorial decal to legendary Athletic Director Mal Moore, who passed away in March. The car will make its first public appearance on Saturday during the University of Alabama A-Day spring scrimmage.(Aaron's), see images of the scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(4-21-2013)
MWR teams to honor Boston Marathon victims: The events of this week's attack on the Boston Marathon hit especially close to Michael Waltrip Racing founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. As the only NASCAR Sprint Cup driver or car owner to have run the Boston Marathon, Waltrip will honor the victims of the marathon tragedy by running special door numbers on his three NASCAR Sprint Cup entries this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
The door numbers on the #15, 55 and 56 MWR Toyota Camrys will replicate the 2013 Boston Marathon runner "bib" numbers, which are pinned on each of the nearly 30,000 runners. Waltrip posted a time of 4 hours, 33 minutes in the 2000 event.
"The news coming out of Boston this week was very personal to me," said Waltrip. "When I ran the Boston Marathon in 2000, I remember thinking about what a privilege it was to be able to participate and all the hard work it took to be there. When you can see those international flags flying in Copley Square, you know you are about to complete your journey. I know the joy those runners were feeling at that moment when their worlds changed. It was a great moment of pride when they pinned the Boston Marathon bib on me, so I thought it would be great to pin bib numbers on our race cars this week in Kansas. I want to thank our sponsors, NAPA AUTO PARTS, 5-Hour ENERGY and Aaron's, as well as NASCAR, for giving us permission to show our support. We just want the victims of the attack, the brave men and women who helped after the explosions and the city of Boston to know that we are thinking of them and we will support them anyway we can."(MWR)(4-18-2013)
Vickers' understands Hamlin's situation: In picking Brian Vickers to substitute for Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing got a driver who can empathize with what Hamlin is feeling while he waits to return to his car. Vickers will start a stint of indeterminate length in the # 11 Toyota next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, as Hamlin continues to recover from a compression fracture. Driving the # 11 Camry is an important opportunity for Vickers, who is running a nine-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing, including Sunday's STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway. But Vickers has mixed feelings about the circumstances that will put him behind the wheel of Hamlin's car. Much of Vickers' ambivalence stems from a medical condition that forced him out of his ride at Red Bull Racing in 2011. Suffering from blood clots in his legs and lungs, Vickers missed the last six months of the season while he recuperated. "Next week I'm going to be in the 11 car, which I'm obviously excited about, but sad how the opportunity came about," Vickers said Friday morning at Martinsville. "I know what it's like to be pulled out of your car for health reasons -- I've been in that boat before and wish Denny a speedy recovery.(NASCAR Wire Service)(4-6-2013)
Jet Edge to sponsor Vickers at Martinsville: Water jet systems manufacturer Jet Edge, Inc. proudly announced that Brian Vickers will drive the #55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry April 7 at the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Last September, Vickers drove the #55 Jet Edge-Freightliner Toyota Camry to a ninth place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and led the race for five laps despite starting from the rear due to an engine change. MWR uses a Jet Edge precision water jet cutting system to cut more than 1,000 parts for each of its racecars. This spring, MWR is installing a second Jet Edge water jet system in its Cornelius, N.C. fabrication shop. MWR.s second water jet system will feature Jet Edge.s latest Permalign EDGE taper control and bevel cutting technology.(Jet Edge PR), see images of the car on the #55 Team Schemes page.(3-31-2013)
Sadler expected to fill in for Hamlin? Martin? UPDATES - Martin, then Vickers: Elliott Sadler has been chosen as the primary sub for Denny Hamlin. All that's preventing an official announcement, as of Wednesday morning is a few details to work out with sponsor Fed Ex. Sadler, who was long pegged as the likely choice is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series and was scheduled to drive a fourth Cup car in a limited schedule later this season. There are no conflicts on the Nationwide schedule that would affect Sadler until early June.(Frontstretch)(3-27-2013)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing said Thursday morning that they were not prepared to announce a replacement driver for Denny Hamlin yet. The Associated Press' Jenny Fryer tweeted, "the word on the street is [Mark Martin] is in play for #11 in a straight swap with [Michael Waltrip Racing] for [Brian Vickers], except Talladega."(3-28-2013)
UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing is looking at several driver scenarios, including fellow Toyota driver Mark Martin, to replace Denny Hamlin while he recovers from a back injury. Multiple sources told ESPN.com that one scenario that JGR has considered is Martin driving all five races in the # 11 car while Hamlin is out. Brian Vickers would pick up Martin's schedule in the Michael Waltrip Racing # 55 that includes Texas, Kansas and Richmond. Michael Waltrip is in the #55 at Talladega. Another scenario, according to sources, is that Vickers would pick up Hamlin's schedule for four races after next week at Martinsville, where he is scheduled to drive the # 55 for Martin. Martin or Elliott Sadler would drive at Martinsville. Sources said another scenario would have Sadler drive for Hamlin the entire way, although that is the most unlikely option. Both Vickers and Sadler drive a full-time Nationwide Series schedule for JGR. Gibbs said for the sake of continuity, he would prefer to go with one driver versus multiple drivers. MWR, according to sources, would like to keep Vickers in the 55 for as much as possible because he is the likely replacement for Martin next season.(ESPN)(3-28-2013)
UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Mark Martin will drive the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series while Denny Hamlin recovers from an L1 Compression Fracture suffered during an accident on March 24 at Auto Club Speedway. "We've been real fortunate to have never been in this situation with the need to find someone to fill in for an injured driver," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "A lot goes into a decision like this but we are really pleased to have someone of the character and caliber of Mark Martin to fill in while Denny is out. Obviously we're not exactly sure how long that is going to take, but Mark's career speaks for itself and our team knows it will have the opportunity to compete for a win every week." Martin will make his first start for JGR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 7. Martin has made one previous appearance for JGR when he started in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and finished second. "I'm happy to have this opportunity to help out JGR, FedEx and Denny," said Martin. "Hopefully I can keep those guys up front and compete for wins while Denny heals up."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-28-2013)
UPDATE 4: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Mark Martin will fill in for injured Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin in the #11 Toyota Camry next weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Martin will return to the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13 and resume his previously scheduled run of events with MWR for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint cup season. As previously announced, Brian Vickers will race MWR's #55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry for MWR at Martinsville.(MWR)(3-29-2013)
UPDATE 5: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Brian Vickers will take over behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for the injured Denny Hamlin starting on April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was previously released that Mark Martin would handle the duties behind the wheel for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team while Denny Hamlin recovered from injury. Martin will drive the car in Martinsville, but Vickers will now take over the duties beginning in Texas. "Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in and when you start a process like this you obviously begin to look at the drivers that are not only available but also able to drive for your race team and manufacturer. We were a bit premature in determining Mark's status past Martinsville however," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial.(JGR)(3-29-2013)
UPDATE 6: Rumors of Mark Martin's substitute role have been greatly exaggerated. It will now last only one race, after a series of conflicting announcements. Joe Gibbs Racing originally reported on Thursday that Martin would be competing for Denny Hamlin while Hamlin recuperates from a lower-back compression fracture, suffered during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. The sub-headline that read, "Veteran NASCAR Driver Mark Martin to Drive No. 11 FedEx Toyota Until Hamlin Returns" indicated that the affable 54-year-old veteran would sub throughout Hamlin's recovery. But apparently the deal was not cleared by Aaron's, which is sponsoring Martin in the #55 this season and has enjoyed a relationship with Michael Waltrip since 2000.(Fox Sports)(3-30-2013)
Vickers expected to pick up Martin's races at MWR: Michael Waltrip Racing didn't announce who will drive Martin's #55 Toyota in his absence, but it will most likely be [Brian] Vickers, who was slotted to drive nine of Martin's races this year. The team is believed to be considering Vickers as Martin's potential replacement, and this would give MWR a lengthier preview. Thursday [J.D.] Gibbs said his preference was to use just one driver in the #11 while Hamlin is sidelined. The organization has Elliott Sadler and Vickers running Nationwide Series cars, but neither was totally free of commitments to drive Hamlin's Cup car. Vickers had the Martinsville conflict and Sadler has a deal with sponsorship to run a fourth JGR car at Kansas and Talladega.(Associated Press)(3-29-2013)
Martin oversee's MWR training facility: #55-Mark Martin is overseeing the construction of Michael Waltrip Racing's new 7,500-square-foot training facility. The multi-level gym at the team's Cornelius, NC. shop will further the skills of pit crew members. The facility includes an inlaid car silhouette so crews can practice agility drills around a car, free weights, weight machines, Cross Fit elements, cardio equipment as well as locker rooms and offices. Construction should begin this week with completion expected within 90 days. Martin said: "I'm really enthused and excited about what we're working on getting at MWR. This has been a 10-month crusade to get the green light. It's fun. It's my second passion. I've been consulting with the strength staff and the coaching staff picking out equipment and designing the layout. We hope to have the nicest facility in the sport. You spend a lot of money on equipment in the sport and I think you are starting to see the teams invest even more in human performance." What is your normal workout routine? "Right now, it's five days a week -- five or four depending on what the schedule is, but usually five days a week. I only lift weights an hour and try not to let my weight lifting last beyond an hour because it's incredibly intense and somewhat counterproductive to go beyond 60 minutes."(MWR)(3-20-2013)
MWR hires models for Social Media Engagement efforts: The face of Michael Waltrip Racing's social media engagement is getting a new look that began Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Each NASCAR Sprint Cup race day, a team of digitally savvy models will roam the garage, infield, sponsor midway and hospitality areas to interact with NASCAR fans. The uniformed ladies will also lead a concerted social media effort from the track in 2013 in support of MWR's team initiatives and sponsors. Fans can interact with them via twitter by using the handle @MWRGirls. Uniquely, one of the @MWRGirls is Miss Florida Latina, speaks fluent Spanish and will lead MWR's effort to take the MWR/NASCAR experience to the Latino audience. Waltrip said over the years he noticed almost all of the social media communication from race teams is about cars, pit strategy, and the drivers. Instead, the @MWRGirls will take fans to a variety of events on race day, share insider information and show the magnitude of NASCAR Sprint Cup races.(MWR)(3-11-2013)
MWR Hires Christmas Abbout as full-time crew member: Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has hired professional CrossFit competitor Christmas Abbott as a full-time pit crewmember for its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation. Abbott, 31, will be a "weekend warrior" with MWR, traveling to all NASCAR Sprint Cup events in a pit support role. Her long-term goal is to go over the wall as a tire changer. "This is just the first step for me," said Abbott who competed in several CrossFit competitions since 2006 and can overhead squat 200 lbs. "I've been training for several months. This is the most challenging thing I have ever done. I'm here to do whatever my coaches ask of me, and I don't want any handouts. I'm ready to work three races a weekend if that's what it takes to get me where I want to be. I'm in this for the long haul." MWR's pit coaches have seen enough development of the 5'3 115-pound Abbott to name her to the MWR travel squad. "This is another first for Michael Waltrip Racing," said founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. "She is an incredible elite athlete and she has worked with our crews by bringing some cross-fit elements to their workouts. She is a competitor and when she decided to start working towards an over the wall position, we said we are the perfect place to make it happen. As Danica has seen, it takes a lot of work and dedication to get to the top level of her trade. With her Daytona 500 pole, it seems so much of that work has been worth it. I believe the same can hold true for Christmas. We expect her to excel or we wouldn't commit the position to her."(MWR)(2-21-2013)
NASCAR, Swan Racing and Waltrip to Pay Tribute to Newtown, CT, Community: Using the biggest race of the year as a backdrop, NASCAR, Swan Racing and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip announced today a special tribute to raise awareness and contributions for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Following a private meeting with town officials, community leaders, first responders and victims' families last week in Newtown, Conn., NASCAR, Swan Racing and Waltrip announced that the #30 Lean1 Swan Racing Toyota will instead garner the #26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota. Waltrip's ride for the Daytona 500 will honor the 26 victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School and prominently feature a call-to-action decal encouraging the NASCAR community to make $10 donations by texting NEWTOWN to 80888.
The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, established jointly by United Way of Western Connecticut and Newtown Savings Bank, supports the healing process for the broader Newtown community including children, teachers, first responders, families, residents, mental health professionals, counselors and others, following the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. One hundred percent of the funds raised for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund go to meet the needs of the Newtown community.
"Americans everywhere are heartbroken about the tragedy in Newtown and Swan Racing is proud to join NASCAR and the United Way of Western Connecticut to help the community move forward," said Swan Racing owner Brandon Davis.
In addition to piloting the #26 Newtown car in the Great American Race, Waltrip confirmed today that all three Michael Waltrip Racing entries will run the "text NEWTOWN to 80888" decal for the Daytona 500. "Driving the #26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota is like nothing I have ever been part of in my NASCAR career," Waltrip said. "It will be an emotional week knowing that we have the potential to do so much good for the Newtown community. I'm racing for a reason."
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France also announced today that he and his wife Amy would personally kick off the NASCAR industry support with a $50,000 donation that will be matched by The NASCAR Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit that embodies the compassion of the NASCAR family and its commitment to serving communities. "Being in Newtown last week and delivering a moment of happiness to that community was unlike anything I've ever experienced," said France. "Looking out at a room of smiling faces amidst the aftermath of a horrible tragedy was very powerful. It hit me that the NASCAR industry and our passionate fan base have an unbelievable opportunity to rally around this cause and make a huge difference for a community in need. I am excited to witness firsthand the NASCAR community's embrace and support of the Sandy Hook School Support Fund."
The Sandy Hook School Support Fund recently announced in cooperation with the Newtown Rotary Club Foundation that funds are available to help with the immediate financial and mental health needs for people impacted by the tragic events of Dec. 14. "One thing I can tell you for sure, is that there will be a whole lot of people in Sandy Hook and Newtown rooting for Michael and the No 26 car," said Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead. "It will be something positive to rally around, and there will be smiles on faces that haven't smiled in quite a while." The NASCAR community can contribute to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund by texting NEWTOWN to 80888. For fans without short-code texting plans with their wireless carriers, there are two additional opportunities to donate. Donations can also be made online at newtown.uwwesternct.org or by mail to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund, c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown, CT, 06470.(MWR/NASCAR)(2-14-2013)
MWR Names Tom German as Chief Technical Officer: Michael Waltrip Racing announced it has hired Tom German as Chief Technical Officer for the NASCAR Sprint Cup organization. German has spent nearly 15 years with Penske Racing most recently serving as technical director for Penske's NASCAR teams. German will begin his duties after the Feb. 24 Daytona 500. The highest-ranking technical position at MWR became available when long-time MWR Technical Director Nick Hughes informed MWR he would return to his native Australia some time in 2013. Hughes joined MWR in 2008 creating and managing one of the best engineering staffs in NASCAR.
"This is such a bitter-sweet announcement for MWR," said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. "It is so rare that a person of Tom German's experience and education comes along, period. It is even more remarkable that he became available at the perfect time. Nick has done such an amazing job and has become one of the most respected behind-the-scenes guys in NASCAR. The depth in our engineering department, the leadership that (Executive Vice President of Competition) Scott Miller has brought to us and now the addition of Tom German gives me so much confidence in the technical future of MWR. Every day is a new challenge and I am so proud of the team we have assembled to make those challenges opportunities."
German received his Master's degree in business administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management and his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron. "The first thing that attracted me to MWR was the culture of its employees. It is truly striking at first," said German. "After the first conversation it was obvious the ownership has committed to engineering excellence and that was the deciding factor. I can't wait to contribute to MWR's pursuit of a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship." Hughes will remain in the United States through this summer and will maintain a close relationship with MWR as a consultant over the medium term.(MWR)(2-13-2013)
Drivers to run Daytona Half Marathon: Prior to turning two high-speed qualifying laps in Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, several NASCAR drivers will first compete in the fifth annual Daytona Beach Half Marathon, which will start and end at historic Daytona International Speedway. The Central Florida Sports Commission and Daytona International Speedway, in partnership with Volusia County, will host the Daytona Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 17, just one week before the 55th running of the Daytona 500. The Daytona Beach Half Marathon, which will start at 6:30 a.m. ET, is being held for the first time during Budweiser Speedweeks. Among the NASCAR drivers that have submitted applications to compete in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon are #48-Jimmie Johnson, #30-Michael Waltrip, #5-Kasey Kahne and #43-Aric Almirola. The Daytona Beach Half Marathon is open to runners and walkers, at least 12 years of age or older, who can complete the course in less than 3 hours and 30 minutes.(DIS)(2-6-2013)
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)
2013 silly season notes for #55-Mark Martin - Brian Vickers - Michael Waltrip / Michael Waltrip Racing: The team will run the same three drivers in the #55 in 2013 with a slightly different schedule. Mark Martin will run in 24 points races and the Sprint Unlimited and All-Star race. Brian Vickers will run the #55 in nine races. And team owner Michael Waltrip will run three restrictor plate races: Daytona in July and both Talladega races. Waltrip will run the #30 Swan Racing Toyota in the Daytona 500. Looks like Aaron's will be the primary sponsor for most of the races. Vickers may have a few races with a different sponsor as he did in 2012. Martin said recently he doesn't expect to be back in the #55 in 2014 and Vickers could be the leading candidate to run the car full time in 2014. Martin does not plan to retire and no word on his plans after 2013.
See images of the #55 schemes on my #55 Team Schemes page. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(2-3-2013)
Martin doesn't expect to drive #55 in 2014, but not retiring: Mark Martin said Tuesday he doesn't plan to drive the #55 Toyota after this season. "My goal is to make this car one of the most wanted rides in NASCAR for 2014," Martin said Tuesday. "I want to help [crew chief] Rodney Childers get there and see him race for a championship." Martin still can race for a championship this year at age 54 -- an owner's championship. He is driving 25 of 36 Cup events this year, sharing the ride again this season with Brian Vickers and team owner Michael Waltrip. But Martin wouldn't say if his driving career would end after this season. "It's way too early to speculate on that," Martin said. "I really enjoy working at Michael Waltrip Racing. I'll be around no matter what. But I want to do everything I can to get this team in position to race for a [driver's] championship in 2014." Martin also would not speculate on who might drive the car in 2014, but Vickers is an obvious candidate.(ESPN)(1-24-2013)
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)
2012 #55 Driver Schedule, Mark Martin(25), Michael Waltrip(5) and Brian Vickers(8)
Feb. 18: Bud Shootout - Waltrip (1)
Feb. 26: Daytona 500 - Martin (1)
Mar. 4: Phoenix - Martin (2)
Mar. 11: Las Vegas - Martin (3)
Mar. 18: Bristol - Vickers (1)
Mar. 25: Auto Club - Martin (4)
Apr. 1: Martinsville - Vickers (2), RK Motors
Apr. 14: Texas - Martin (5)
Apr. 22: Kansas - Martin (6)
Apr. 28: Richmond - Martin (7)
May 6: Talladega - Waltrip (2)
May 12: Darlington - Martin (8)
May 19: All Star Race - Martin (9)
May 27: Charlotte - Martin (10), NASCAR Unites
June 3: Dover - Martin (11)
June 10: Pocono - Martin (12)
June 17: Michigan - Martin (13)
June 24: Sonoma - Vickers (3), RK Motors
June 30: Kentucky - Waltrip (3)
July 7: Daytona - Waltrip (4)
July 15: New Hampshire - Vickers (4), MyClassicGarage
July 29: Indy - Martin (14)
Aug. 5: Pocono - Martin (15)
Aug 12: Watkins Glen - Vickers (5), MyClassicGarage
Aug 19: Michigan - Martin (16)
Aug 25: Bristol - Vickers (6)
Sept. 2: Atlanta - Martin (17)
Sept. 8: Richmond - Martin (18)
Sept. 16: Chicago - Martin (19)
Sept. 23: New Hampshire - Vickers(7), JetEdge/Freightliner
Sept. 30: Dover - Martin(20)
Oct. 7: Talladega - Waltrip (5)
Oct. 13: Charlotte - Martin (21)
Oct. 21: Kansas - Martin (22)
Oct. 28: Martinsville - Vickers (8)
Nov. 4: Texas - Martin (23)
Nov. 11: Phoenix - Martin (24)
Nov. 18: Homestead - Martin (25)
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)
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)
Penske's Indy 500 offer drawing interest: [Roger] Penske is crafty, and he loves IndyCar, so he managed to turn the talk to his beloved Indianapolis 500 before the [Spring Cup Awards banquet] night was over by offering three-time NASCAR champion #14-Tony Stewart the chance to drive for him next May. Although Stewart has yet to publicly respond to Penske's offer, Indianapolis Motor Speedway started an online petition where fans can encourage the two-time Brickyard 400 winner to accept the ride. Should Stewart pass, drivers were using Twitter on Monday to inform Penske they wanted the seat. Among them were Chip Ganassi Racing development driver Kyle Larson, Conor Daly, who spent this year in Formula One support series GP3, and NASCAR driver #55-Brian Vickers, who tried to put together an Indy 500 deal last May but was stymied by IndyCar's engine shortage. "I'm serious about Indy. Would do it in a heartbeat, was not just tweeting to be funny," Vickers said Monday. And broadcast partner ABC seemed amenable to discussions with IMS about moving up the start time of the 500 to accommodate Stewart (or Vickers or Casey Mears or AJ Allmendinger or Danica Patrick or Sam Hornish Jr. - because there's a list of NASCAR drivers with open-wheel experience who could theoretically now be thinking about trying to run both the IndyCar race and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600). "ABC/ESPN would enthusiastically support the opportunity for said driver(s) to participate in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. We have strong partnerships with the league and speedway," said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming & acquisitions. IMS has not said if it's willing to move its start time, and the Indy 500 is a strong enough race that it doesn't need this additional buzz.(Associated Press)(12-4-2012)
Martin leads tour of his museum for MWR: On its way to Texas last Thursday the Michael Waltrip Racing team made a stop in Batesville, Ark. to visit Mark Martin's museum at his car dealership. The seven-year-old museum is packed full of photos, uniforms, newspapers clippings, trophies, cars and memorabilia since Martin started driving on Arkansas dirt tracks for his father Julian. "This is an amazing place," said Mike "Nook" McCarville, the #55 shock specialist. "There's so much history of the sport here. To look at these cars and equipment and to see all the pictures shows you how far the sport has come and how much things change." Martin circulated among the 50 team members adding commentary to many of the displays. The museum is also a working modern car dealership. "I've wanted to bring these guys out here all year and stopping in Batesville on their way to Texas was the most convenient time," Martin said. "Arlene and I are proud of what we've built here. There are a lot of people who've helped me along the way. If you worked on any of my teams you'll probably find a picture of yourself somewhere in this building." Scott Miller, MWR's executive vice-president of competition, even found an old photograph of he and Martin racing at Riverside Raceway in the 1982 Sprint Cup race. Miller finished 13th that day. Rodney Childers & Kevin White With Martin"Now that was something I never expected to see here," Miller said. "That's pretty cool. What an honor." The museum on state road 167 in Batesville is open to the public daily. In April, Martin holds a daylong open house for fans where he signs autographs and brings racing celebrities. "It's been a long road and it's been a lot of fun and we really wanted to put all of that on display," said Martin.(MWR)(11-7-2012)
Dollar General expanding sponsoring of Joe Gibbs Racing UPDATE Vickers full ride: As many companies are trending away from full-season sponsorships in the Sprint Cup Series, Dollar General is moving toward a 36-race commitment. CEO Rick Dreiling said the discount retailer will increase its spending on NASCAR for the sixth consecutive year, backing Joe Gibbs Racing's #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth for 17 races starting with next year's Daytona 500. That's up from 12 races this season. "Our goal is to grow into a full-time Cup ride," Dreiling told USA Today Sports. "But it's a little soon to commit if that's going to be next year or two to four years from now. That's all down the road." Dollar General also will sponsor a full-time car fielded by JGR for Brian Vickers in the Nationwide Series next season. Dreiling, who wouldn't disclose figures but called the deal part of an "orderly, methodical growth," said stock-car racing is the company's only national sports sponsorship because of internal marketing research that indicates its customers are 30 times more likely to be NASCAR fans than average consumers. Team owner Joe Gibbs said Home Depot, which has been sponsoring the No. 20 since 1999 but scaled back to 24 races this season, will pick up the other 19 races for Kenseth in 2013. JGR still is seeking more primary sponsorship in Sprint Cup to expand to a fourth car, but it will grow on the Nationwide Series in 2013. Vickers will drive one of three full-time cars next season on the second-tier circuit for JGR, which fielded two full-time Camrys this year.(USA Today)(11-6-2012)
UPDATE - Brian Vickers to run full NNS season with JGR: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it has signed a new expanded partnership agreement with Dollar General for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The new agreement means Matt Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, will drive Dollar General's familiar yellow and black #20 car in 17 Sprint Cup Races next season beginning with the Daytona 500 in February. In addition, Dollar General will return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and will compete with a full championship season sponsorship with Brian Vickers at the wheel. Vickers will return to the Nationwide Series on a fulltime basis in 2013, 10 years after he won three Nationwide races and became the youngest driver to win the Series Championship at the age of 20.(JGR)(11-6-2012)
Martin, Vickers, Waltrip continue to share #55 in 2013: UPDATE: Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip will continue to share the driving duties in Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 Toyota in 2013. MWR announced Friday that Martin will drive in 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup points races, plus the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona and the All-Star race in Charlotte. Waltrip's three races include the July Daytona race plus both Talladega races. Vickers' nine races include all the Bristol, Martinsville, New Hampshire and road course events, as well as the Kentucky Speedway race. "I love my schedule and I love our lineup," said 40-time winner Martin whose four poles in 2012 equal the most of any driver. "Brian has a tremendous amount of experience and talent for such a young driver and you saw at Talladega that Michael Waltrip is as good as anyone in a restrictor plate race." Martin and Waltrip will continue to drive the Aaron's Dream Machine paint scheme in 2013 while sponsorship for six of Vickers' nine races is available.(MWR)(10-26-2012)
UPDATE: Vickers, in negotiations to drive a full-time Nationwide Series schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing next year, has four top-10s in seven starts. He said there are no guarantees Martin will retire after next season and he'll get the #55 full-time in 2014. "(Am I) in the wings? Yes," he said. "I don't think I could be any closer to the wing. There's no contractual obligation to 2014, but that's my goal and that's their goal." Vickers said he had other opportunities to possibly drive full-time next year, but opted to stay with Michael Waltrip Racing because of the chemistry he has developed with crew chief Rodney Childers and the opportunity to win races. "For me, staying with MWR was a conscious decision to be in the best position to win races," Vickers said.(ESPN)(10-27-2012)
Vickers making final start of 2012: #55 MyClassicGarage.com Toyota driver Brian Vickers makes his eighth and final appearance of the 2012 Sprint Cup season on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver owns three top-five and four top-10 finishes in just seven races in the #55 in 2012. The Rodney Childers led team is 14th in owner points with a driver lineup of Mark Martin, Vickers and Waltrip in 2012.(MWR)(10-25-2012)
Childers will return to #55 team: Rodney Childers will continue working his magic at Michael Waltrip Racing. The former-driver-turned-crew-chief of the #55 Toyota extended his contract with MWR on Monday - and announced the news on Twitter. Childers, 36, joined MWR in 2008. The following year he was paired with David Reutimann and together they earned the company's first victory in the 2009 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and finished 16th in the standings, the organization's best finish until this season. Together the pair backed up the win with a second victory at Chicagoland Speedway in 2010. After Reutimann parted ways with MWR at the end of last year, Childers assumed responsibility for the # 55 Toyota team with multiple drivers - Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and team owner Michael Waltrip. Between the three racers the team has posted seven top fives, 14 top-10 finishes and four poles, by Martin. The car is currently 14th in owners points despite four engine failures this season.(Fox Sports)(10-17-2012)
Martin to make 850th Cup start at Charlotte: #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin makes his 850th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It's the fifth most starts in NASCAR history, but guess who is the least impressed with the feat? "That's just a number," said Martin. "It doesn't mean anything to me." Martin said he prefers to focus more on performance than frequency. "The number of starts doesn't impress me. It's what you did in those starts that can be impressive or not. The fact that I have started a lot of races doesn't stack up very high on the impression meter for me." In a 30-year career the 53-year-old Martin owns 40 victories, 55 poles and 270 top-five finishes.(MWR)(10-9-2012)
Elliott Sadler close to deal for 2013; part-time Cup with Gibbs? UPDATE: Elliott Sadler said Tuesday that he is "close" to determining where he will be working next season, but said first he must focus on taking care of unfinished business this season. Sadler currently drives the #2 Chevy full-time for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series, where he is the current points leader by a slim margin. But he already has said he and RCR will be splitting ways at season's end. He also has said that he would like to make a return to NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series as soon as possible, and reiterated that point Tuesday after an appearance at RCR where he helped promote the Bank of America 500 that will be run Oct. 13 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "My goal as a driver is to be back in the Cup Series and make the Chase as a Cup driver. That's my No. 1 goal," Sadler said. Asked if he expected to have that chance in 2013, Sadler hedged and replied, "Uh, I don't know. We're working on some different things. But my No. 1 goal is to have that opportunity, to be a part of the Chase again." Sources have confirmed that one of the teams he has been talking with is Joe Gibbs Racing, which appears willing to offer him a full-time Nationwide ride and a limited Cup schedule for 2013 with the possibility of a full-time Cup ride developing by 2014 if full-time sponsorship can be found for a fourth JGR Cup car. "We're close. We're talking to three teams right now, so we'll see," said Sadler, while declining to offer details on which teams he has been negotiating with. "I'm just kind of late to the party, getting out there and meeting and greeting with everybody."(NASCAR.com)(9-25-2012)
UPDATE: [Team president J.D.] Gibbs … confirmed the possibility that JGR could hire Nationwide Series point leader Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers to drive full-time in the Nationwide Series next season. "That's a potential,'' Gibbs said. "I think we have to wait a little while before we can say anything officially.'' Sadler, who has made it clear he will not return to Richard Childress Racing after this season, would drive one car with OneMain Financial as the primary sponsor. He also is expected to drive a part-time Sprint Cup schedule. Vickers would drive the second car with Dollar General as the sponsor. Gibbs said the plan is to field a third car for his Cup drivers and developmental drivers Drew Herring and Darrell Wallace Jr. to share.(ESPN.com)(10-1-2012)
Special scheme for Martin: Mark Martin's #55 paint scheme in the AAA 400 at Dover this weekend will celebrate Thursday's opening of Aaron's 2,000th store in the Bronx, N.Y. Just like the store design, the paint scheme will feature pinstripes made famous in the Bronx.(MWR)(9-27-2012)
Vickers hopes for more Cup races in 2013: No one can blame #55-Brian Vickers for looking ahead. "I can't wait for Martinsville," he said after Sunday's ninth-place finish in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Oct. 28 race is the next Sprint Cup race Vickers is scheduled to drive for Michael Waltrip Racing, and he knows there's a chance it could lead to an expanded role next season. Vickers has been sharing the ride in the #55 Toyota with Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip this season. Sunday was his sixth race of the season and the fourth time he's produced a top-10 finish. In his previous start in August at Bristol, he finished fourth, and he led 125 laps there in March en route to a fifth-place finish. He also could be in line for a Nationwide Series ride in 2013, perhaps with Joe Gibbs Racing, another Toyota team. But Vickers has designs on making his mark in Cup.(NASCAR.com)(9-24-2012)
#55 changes engines: #55 Toyota team of Brian Vickers changed engines Saturday after practice when the team found a bad valve spring, so Vickers will give up his 4th starting position and fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(ESPN)(9-23-2012)
Smith expects to be out of the #78 UPDATE: . Regan Smith, who piloted Furniture Row Racing to its breakthrough first victory on the Sprint Cup tour last season, has been told he won't be back in the organization's #78 car next year. Smith confirmed the news to NASCAR.com after qualifying Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I've been told it appears I won't be back here next year," Smith said. Furniture Row's general manager, Joe Garone, could not immediately be located for comment. Smith didn't want to speculate on the reasons behind the impending change and he said he's unsure if he will finish the season in the #78 Chevy (NASCAR.com).
AND Regan Smith does not believe he will return to Furniture Row Racing in 2013, possibly opening the door for much-maligned driver Kurt Busch. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone has expressed interest in hiring Busch since January and the team has been seeking sponsorship to field a second car for him. Busch confirmed Friday that he has talked with Garone as well as other teams. "They've shown good interest and so have others," Busch said. "There's a handful of contracts sitting on my desk and it's just a matter of going through some detail with each of the teams." Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said in an email Friday that his team is interested in Busch but that Busch has talked with other teams as well. Richard Petty Motorsports is among the organizations that has not signed its drivers for next season and also could be a candidate for Busch. When asked Friday if he would be back with Furniture Row next season, Smith said, "I don't believe so."
"There's a lot to it, is the best way I can put it," said Smith, who moved to Denver last year to be closer to the Colorado-based team. "It's a place where I've been for a while. I'm happy here. I like it here. But sometimes change isn't bad, either." Smith said he has been talking to other teams about 2013.(Sporting News)(9-21-2012)
UPDATE: That someone could be Kurt Busch or Brian Vickers. Both drivers are on the short list for Furniture Row – which recently re-signed its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. Busch met with Furniture Row principals back in early July.(FoxSports)(9-22-2012)
Martin to join sports legends in NYC: #55-Mark Martin might not be as tall as Shaquille O'Neal, enjoy the punching power of boxer Jake LaMotta or the foot speed of football star Marshall Faulk, but the 30-year NASCAR veteran's stature in the sports world is as large as any of the guests who will attend Monday's 27th annual dinner to benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. Celebrities across the sports world will gather at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City for the Great Sports Legends Dinner. "I can't wait for this," said Martin who won't be racing at New Hampshire this weekend but returns to action at Dover on Sept. 30. "It's humbling to be included with all those superstars. I feel very blessed. This is an awesome event to raise money for a fascinating project. I can't thank the folks at Toyota Racing for letting me participate. This dinner raises a lot of money so that someday paralyzed people can walk again. We've all had friends or family who've battled paralysis so we know what we are up against. But the doctors with the Buoniconti Fund and the Miami Project believe we will beat it someday. It's an honor to play even a small part in that effort." Martin, 53, a 40-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner, joins stars like Bob Costas, Tony Perez, Joe Torre, Alonzo Mourning, Lisa Leslie, Lorena Ochoa, and Emilio Estefan at the dinner.(MWR)(9-22-2012)
Vickers back in #55 with new sponsors: #55 Freightliner/Jet Edge Toyota driver Brian Vickers' limited but amazingly successful NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Michael Waltrip Racing continues this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Sunday's race marks the seventh of eight scheduled appearances for Vickers who has earned three top-five finishes in 2012. He finished fifth at Bristol in March and posted fourth-place finishes at Sonoma and at his most recent race in Bristol last month. Vickers shares the #55 with Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip. His only remaining Sprint Cup race is at Martinsville on Oct. 28.(MWR)
Jet Edge, Inc. announced that Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 Toyota Camry will be decked out in Jet Edge blue for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The special #55 Jet Edge/Freightliner Toyota Camry will be driven by Brian Vickers. Michael Waltrip Racing is running the special #55 scheme as a salute to sponsors Jet Edge and Freightliner. MWR uses a 90,000 psi Jet Edge waterjet system to cut more than 1,000 parts for each of its racecars. MWR builds about 56 cars per year (Jet Edge), see images of the scheme/car on my #55 Team Schemes page.(9-19-2012)
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)
Michigan will talk to NASCAR about Martin's pit road wreck: #55-Mark Martin walked away from his crash at Michigan International Speedway, but the side of his car was essentially impaled by the end of the wall, raising questions about whether that spot - a gap in the barrier on pit road that leaves the edge of the wall exposed - creates a safety risk. MIS later released a statement. "The safety of the drivers is paramount," a spokeswoman said. "So we will seek NASCAR's opinion and work with them on any recommendations they may have on how we can improve any part of the competition area - that includes pit road, pit wall, the track, anything competition-related."(Associated Press)(8-20-2012)
Vickers returns to the #55: Few drivers have done more in less races this season than Brian Vickers has in Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 Toyota. This weekend Vickers makes his fifth start in the #55 driving the MyClassicGarage Toyota. He owns two top-five finishes and has completed every lap in the four races he's run in 2012 for the Rodney Childers' led team. Vickers has finished no worse than 18th. Vickers will drive the #55 in eight races this season sharing driving duties with Michael Waltrip and Mark Martin. The car is 13th in owner points. Scott Miller, MWR's vice-president of competition, said Vickers' effort in 2012 is one of the many reasons for MWR's improvement. All three fulltime Sprint Cup teams are in the top-13 in owner points with Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer battling for berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(MWR), see images of the MyClassicGarage scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(8-9-2012)
Vickers returns to the #55 at NHMS, new sponsor: Brian Vickers makes his fourth 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup start Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He'll drive Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 MyClassicGarage Toyota on the one mile oval. Vickers owns two top-five finishes in just three starts this season. MyClassicGarage is the ultimate online tool for the classic, muscle, and high performance car collector (MWR), see image of the scheme on my #55 Team Schemes page.(7-11-2012)
Special scheme for Waltrip at Kentucky UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and sponsor Aaron's, Inc., will honor the 2011-12 Univ. of Kentucky NCAA Men's Basketball Championship during Kentucky Speedway's June 28-30 Quaker State 400 tripleheader weekend by racing a special paint scheme on #55 "Dream Machine" driven by Kentuckian Michael Waltrip and placing the Wildcats' National Championship trophy on display for fans throughout the weekend. Tickets, campsites and daily infield Fan Zone passes for all events can be purchased by logging on to kentuckyspeedway.com/tickets or calling 859-578-2300.(Kentucky Speedway)(6-23-2012)
UPDATE: When Michael Waltrip climbs in the #55 Toyota at Kentucky Speedway's NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Saturday night, he and his Aaron's Dream Machine will sport University of Kentucky colors to honor his – and probably most of the local fans' – favorite college basketball team. The blue-and-white paint scheme and the Owensboro, Ky. native's driver's uniform will pay tribute to UK's 2012 NCAA National Champion basketball team. "This might be my all-time favorite paint scheme," said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion and Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame member. "I'm so proud of all the people in Kentucky for not only their world class race track, but we have the best college basketball team in the country again. To race in Kentucky and wear the UK uniform will be a heck of an honor for me." Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart will visit the track Thursday to help Waltrip unveil the special paint scheme. Aaron's said it wanted to do something special for the fans at Kentucky Speedway. "Aaron's is a proud sponsor of the University of Kentucky athletic program, and we're thrilled to have an opportunity to honor the school in this exciting and unconventional way," said Ken Butler, Aaron's chief operating officer. "We know how much this means to the people of Kentucky. We hope to give the University of Kentucky something to smile about on Saturday night with a Wildcat-themed car in Victory Lane."(MWR), see an image of the scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(6-26-2012)
Vickers could be auditioning for full ride at MWR: After three starts with Micheal Waltrip Racing, #55-Brian Vickers has posted two top-five finishes. He'll return to the driver's seat at New Hampshire Motor Speedway next month after team owner Michael Waltrip runs the car at Kentucky and Daytona. Could it be an audition for a future seat with Waltrip? "Certainly," Waltrip said. "We structured MWR and built our building and Toyota believes in the fact that we could have four teams one day. Certainly (it) is a possibility to add Brian to our driver lineup with a fourth team or even have him hang around another year, and if Mark ever gets done driving -- which I wouldn't wait around for Mark to quit if I was him. I would put something else in my contract if I was him, because Mark is probably going to do it a while." Waltrip currently fields three full-time teams with #15-Clint Bowyer, #56-Martin Truex Jr. and Martin.(FoxSports)(6-25-2012)
Vickers back in #55 at Sonoma: Last weekend Brian Vickers finished sixth in the GTE-Am class in the 80th annual 24 Hours of Le Mans. This weekend he'll drive Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 RK Motors Toyota on the Sonoma road course in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Sunday marks the third of eight races Vickers plans to run in the #55 in 2012 with Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip driving in the remaining races. Vickers finished fifth at Bristol and 18th at Martinsville in his only two 2012 appearances. He'll also drive in both New Hampshire races as well as Watkins Glen, Bristol and Martinsville in 2012. "I'm really looking to getting back into the #55 Toyota at Sonoma — especially after being away for so long, but it has been great to continue to build a relationship and run with (owner) Rob Kauffman. The #55 team has been running very well with Mark and I hope I can continue that momentum. They were SO close at Pocono. Rodney and the guys gave me a great car at the VIR test. We ran very competitive laps times against some guys that are considered the road race experts. So I am pretty pumped about that. I've had some success at Sonoma too. The last being the pole in 2009 and leading a bunch of laps before getting caught up in an incident. The road racing laps and experience I have gained at Le Mans will hopefully help me in the Cup Series next week. All of that with the fact that it is indeed Sonoma, a great place to relax after a long day at the track — and it hopefully will be a successful weekend." RK Motors Charlotte is the country's leading classic car dealership, selling hundreds of classic and high performance collector cars each year. With more than 80,000 square-feet dedicated to "all things cars," the Charlotte campus holds a state-of-the-art showroom complete with a digital media studio, as well as a full restoration and customization shop. Created in 2010 by Kauffman and Joe Carroll of Best of Show Automotive, RK Motors Charlotte has established itself as the nation's premier restorer, re-seller and provider of classic, muscle and high-performance cars.(MWR)(6-19-2012)
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)
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)
Waltrip to run sticker in tribute to Junior Seau: Michael Waltrip will carry a tribute to the late NFL star Junior Seau in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega The MWR #55 Toyota driver was a fan of the All-Pro player and touched by his death reportedly by suicide earlier this week. Waltrip happened to be in San Diego when news of Seau's death was reported. Waltrip is piloting the car that has been primarily driven by Mark Martin this year. Sunday's start is one of a handful the team owner and television analyst plans to make this season for his organization.(CBS Sports)(5-5-2012)
"Color Your Way" scheme for Waltrip: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip gets help this weekend from nine-year-old Emery Beavis of Dyersburg, Tenn., who designed the #55 Toyota's paint scheme. Beavis won the grand-prize in the Aaron's "2012 Color Your Way to Talladega" contest. She and three guests will attend the Aaron's Dream Weekend in Talladega to watch Waltrip drive her design in Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Sunday marks Waltrip's 52nd Cup Series start on the 2.66-mile Alabama track. The 49-year-old driver owns one win (2003), seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. Waltrip on his special paint scheme: "I love the paint scheme Emery Beavis colored for me. It's a happy paint scheme, and I am a happy person so it suits me just fine. When I see that colorful paint scheme it just makes me smile."(MWR)(5-4-2012)
Vickers to drive for AF Waltrip in SPA & Le Mans: AF Waltrip Racing announced its driver line up for the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16 as well as the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium on May 5. Michael Waltrip Racing owner Rob Kauffman and NASCAR driver Brian Vickers will join Rui Aguas behind the wheel of the Ferrari 458 Italia competing in the LMGTE Am class at both events. The AF Waltrip entry is a joint effort by the Italian AF Corse team and NASCAR's Michael Waltrip Racing. Vickers replaces two-time Daytona 500 Champion Michael Waltrip whose television and NASCAR duties will keep him out of the driver lineup at both races. Vickers, who'll drive the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine in eight NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2012, said he relishes the opportunity to compete in major sports car races. The Ferrari 458 will carry the logos of RK Motors Charlotte in both races. RK is the country's leading retailer of investment-grade classic and collector cars, selling hundreds of vehicles each year.(MWR)(4-29-2012)
Special NASCAR Unites schemes to run UPDATES & Images: as part of the NASCAR Foundation's NASCAR Unites program, a few drivers will run special paint schemes at various races including #47-Bobby Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #55-Mark Martin, #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #99-Carl Edwards at Charlotte in May;
#2-Brad Keselowski (no image), #29-Kevin Harvick (no image) and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Charlotte in May and Daytona in July;
#16-Greg Biffle at Michigan in June. See links to the images of the schemes on the Paint Scheme Gallery page.(4-9-2012)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced the launch of "NASCAR Unites – An American Salute," a patriotic initiative uniting the NASCAR industry and fans this summer to celebrate America and support U.S. military families. NASCAR Nation will be covered from head to toe – and from splitter to spoiler – in red, white and blue to highlight the summer season, starting and ending at two traditionally patriotic summer NASCAR events held at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-27) and Daytona International Speedway (Independence Day Weekend, July 5-7). Additional activities related to the six-week initiative will take place between these "tent-pole" events, including retail programs and other sponsor promotions.
To launch the initiative, the "NASCAR Unites – An American Salute" paint scheme for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was revealed today in the nation's capital for more than 30,000 children and their guests attending the 134th Annual Easter Egg Roll event at the White House.
Among those NASCAR drivers already committed to "NASCAR Unites – An American Salute" paint schemes are Earnhardt, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart, #16-Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, #2-Brad Keselowski and #99-Carl Edwards. As part of the program, NASCAR and The NASCAR Foundation will work with charities to fund initiatives that support military families. A social media promotion utilizing a #NASCARUnites hashtag will highlight track activations as well as patriotic activities from teams, broadcast partners and sponsors.(NASCAR)
AND In the Nationwide Series, #88-Cole Whitt, will run in the Kentucky race in June and #7-Danica Patrick will run in the Nationwide race at the Daytona race in July. See images of the cars on the #7 NNS team paint schemes and #88 NNS paint schemes page.(4-9-2012)
Vickers will drive #55 at road course races: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that it has added two more events to Brian Vickers' 2012 Sprint Cup schedule in the #55 Toyota Camry. Vickers, who led 125 laps and finished fifth in his debut with MWR at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, will pilot the #55 at Infineon Raceway on June 24 and Watkins Glen International on Aug. 12. "Brian did such an amazing job at Bristol that we wanted to reward him with more races," said co-owner Michael Waltrip who will drive the #55 in four races. "It has as much to do with how he interacted with (crew chief) Rodney Childers and the crew as what he did on the race track. They really enjoyed his input and his professional approach, and he was a great teammate to Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Those guys were really impressed with how he engaged with them and managed his race car. Brian is a great young driver who is hungry to show what he can do. In my mind, he earned these extra races with his approach and attitude, and I'm so happy we were able to offer them. Brian's contribution to the team has continued the momentum Rodney and Mark Martin created pushing the #55 up to eighth in owner points."(MWR)(3-30-2012)
RK Motors sponsoring Vickers at Martinsville: Brian Vickers makes his second 2012 Sprint Cup start Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. He'll drive Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 RK Motors Toyota on the Virginia half-mile track. The 28-year-old Thomasville, N.C. native finished fifth in his first race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway. RK Motors Charlotte is the country's leading retailer of investment-grade classic and collector cars, selling hundreds of vehicles each year. RK Motors Charlotte's 80,000 sq./ft. facility features a 200-vehicle, state-of-the-art showroom complete with digital media studio, full restoration / customization shop and a full service area.(MWR)(3-29-2012)
Vickers to drive #55 in 6 races: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Brian Vickers will drive the team's #55 Toyota Camry in six NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2012 beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18. Vickers will also race the #55 at the August Bristol event as well as each of the two races at Martinsville Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway this season. "I am thrilled to get back behind the wheel of not just a race car, but a very fast race car," said Vickers who earned Toyota Racing Development its first Chase for the Sprint Cup entry in 2009. Vickers, 28, owns two victories and 11 poles. Until this season, the Thomasville, N.C. native competed full time in the Sprint Cup Series for eight years. In 2011, he scored three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Michael Waltrip drove the #55 in the Budweiser Shootout and will run in four more races in 2012. Mark Martin will drive the #55 in 24 races plus the All Star Race in Charlotte. MWR will name a driver for two road course events later.(MWR)(3-8-2012)
Sadler to drive 5 races for MWR: UPDATES: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Elliott Sadler will drive the team's #55 Toyota in five Sprint Cup races in 2012 beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18. Sadler will also drive the #55 in the August Bristol event, both Martinsville races and the July 15 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Waltrip explained how Sadler came to drive the No. 55. "Elliott has the experience and attitude we were looking for," said the two-time Daytona 500 champion. "We'll pair him with Crew Chief Rodney Childers who builds really fast cars. We believe Elliott will do a great job." Waltrip drove the #55 in the Budweiser Shootout and will run in four more races in 2012. Mark Martin will drive the #55 in 24 races plus the All Star Race in Charlotte. MWR will name a driver for two road course events at a later date.(MWR)(3-3-2012)
UPDATE: no driver has yet been named for the race at New Hampshire in September, that driver will be named later.(3-4-2012)
UPDATE 2: Elliott Sadler's plans to substitute for Mark Martin behind the wheel of the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series may have been a bit premature. Sadler, who won the Nationwide Series race Saturday for Richard Childress Racing, was hoping to pilot the Aaron's Toyota for five races that Martin has elected to skip, starting with the race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18. But multiple sources told FOXSports.com the deal blew up Saturday night, shortly after it was announced via a press release. While talks had been in the works for a couple of months, the manufacturer conflict for Sadler, who drives Chevys full time for RCR in the Nationwide Series, appears to have squashed the arrangement. With most rosters set for 2012, don't be surprised to see former Toyota driver Brian Vickers run the five races in place of Martin.(Fox Sports)(3-4-2012)
UPDATE 3: On Saturday, Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Elliott Sadler would drive the #55 MWR NASCAR Sprint Cup car for five races this season. But Monday afternoon, Sadler told SPEED.com that the deal was off. Richard Childress, Sadler's car owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and a longtime Chevy loyalist, told Sadler after his victory in the Bashas's Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway that he didn't want Sadler in Waltrip's Toyota. "I was going to drive the 55 car for five races for MWR, but actually, after the race on Saturday, after Victory Lane, Richard and I went to his bus," Sadler told SPEED.com. "And I think Richard, along with some of the executives that he has, have just decided that it's probably not in our best interest to do that right now."(SPEED)(3-5-2012)
UPDATE 4: Sadler said nothing in the meeting was discussed about RCR being a Chevy team and MWR being a Toyota team. "It was more about focus on what we are doing (in Nationwide)," said Sadler, who has a 10-point lead in the series after two races.(ESPN)(3-6-2012)
Waltrip to attempt Daytona 500: Hillman Racing and Aaron's Inc. announced that two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #40 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota in the 2012 Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. The race will mark Waltrip's 75th start at Daytona in one of NASCAR's top three touring series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World trucks) – the most of any driver. "Aaron's really does make your dreams come true," said Waltrip. "When I was a kid thinking about racing in Daytona I never dreamed I would start more NASCAR races there than anyone. That's amazing." He said it takes many factors for success.
"You have to have a great sponsor to race and Aaron's has been a great sponsor for a long time." Waltrip said. "I appreciate what the folks at Hillman Racing including Joe Falk are putting together. Hopefully my experience at Daytona will help them get out of the gate strong with their new team." Daytona's 2012 Speedweeks promises to be busy for Waltrip. He'll race the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota in the Feb. 18 Budweiser Shootout, oversee his three Sprint Cup teams at Michael Waltrip Racing and host several top executives from corporate America attending the races with the team. Waltrip will also continue his television work serving as a commentator for SPEED-TV's truck series broadcasts and begin his new role as an analyst for the Fox NASCAR Sunday broadcasts joining his brother and Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip. Aaron's Chief Operating Officer Ken Butler said the chance to have Waltrip drive the #40 and Mark Martin drive MWR's #55 Aaron's Dream Machines in the Daytona 500 is too good of an opportunity to miss. Hillman Racing is making its NASCAR debut this season, but the organization is anything but new to the sport. Team owner Mike Hillman Sr. played a key role in the founding of Germain Racing [was listed as the owner of the #60 Toyota in 2011 fielded by Germain Racing] and was the architect of the group's two NASCAR championships in 2006 and 2010. Hillman acquired the championship-winning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series assets following the conclusion of the 2011 season and is set to embark as the owner and general manager of Hillman Racing for the 2012 season.
"I can't think of a better way to start off the season than to have Michael Waltrip behind the wheel of our car at Daytona," said Hillman, who credits longtime friend and co-owner Joe Falk [was the owner of the #50 in 2011] for the inclusion of the Cup program under the Hillman Racing banner. "I've been in this sport a long time, but I've never been so excited to go to Daytona. To have two Daytona 500 champions at the start of the season – with Ward Burton in the truck and Michael in the Cup car – positions Hillman Racing for a strong debut and a chance to win both races."(Hillman Racing - MWR)(2-13-2012)
Some more odd owners points 'swaps? UPDATE: hearing that Frank Stoddard, owner of the #32 FAS Lane Racing team, has worked out a deal where the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing team [Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip as drivers] gets the 2011 owners points and a guaranteed starting spot in the Daytona 500 and next four races. Supposedly Terry Labonte will be the driver of the #32 Ford in the Daytona 500 and will have the past champions provisional to use if needed. Then the twist....after the Daytona 500, the #32 takes over the #6 owners points and will be guaranteed the next four races after the Daytona 500. This is all contingent on NASCAR's approval.(2-13-2012)
UPDATE: More points swapping and acquisition between race teams has landed veteran Mark Martin with a guaranteed starting position in this year's Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip Racing has worked out an agreement to transfer points from the FasLane Racing team to the #55 Toyota that Martin will pilot in 25 races this season. FasLane wound up inside the Top 35 of owner points last year and thus was guaranteed a starting spot in the first five events of the new year including the season-opening Daytona 500. While Waltrip will drive the #55 entry in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout, Martin will now not have to worry about qualifying for the Daytona 500 through time trials or the Gatorade Duel qualifying races. #32-FasLane is still expected to field a car this Sprint Cup Series season and veterans Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader remain part of the roster. Labonte brings a past champion's provisional with him that would guarantee a Daytona 500 start for the team if he is tabbed to drive in the season opener.(CBS Sports)(2-13-2012)
Several big name drivers still not locked into Daytona 500: The big question that continued throughout testing was whether or not Danica Patrick would be locked into the Daytona 500. Or Mark Martin. Or Trevor Bayne. It likely will be a few weeks before teams know the answer. With Red Bull Racing having closed, there could still be a deal done for the points earned by the #4 car (14th) and the #83 (25th) last year. If those points aren't used, next in line is the closed TRG Motorsports #71 car. If it does not enter and a deal is not done to use those points, next in line are the Wood Brothers #21 car (Trevor Bayne) and Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 car, which Gordon will drive in the Daytona 500. Among those looking for points are Stewart-Haas Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. There has been speculation that Stewart Haas would put together a deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing, possibly for points from the #36 car (33rd in 2011 owner points) to be transferred to Patrick. But it also could include a partnership where TBR would field a #10 car for David Reutimann in the 26 races in which Patrick doesn't compete, thus allowing that car to continue to earn owner points all season. MWR attempted to purchase Red Bull for the points and equipment, but that deal fell through. Team co-owner Michael Waltrip said last week no final determination of which two of his three drivers would have the MWR points from 2011, but it is expected those would go to the two drivers competing for the drivers championship - #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #15-Clint Bowyer - while #55-Mark Martin would have to get in the race on speed. It appears that Richard Childress Racing will enter a fourth car for the Daytona 500 and use its points from the #33 car last year. That fourth car would only run a handful of races throughout the year, possibly with Austin Dillon for select events although RCR could put in a more experienced driver such as Elliott Sadler or Brian Vickers for the Daytona 500.(Scene Daily)(1-18-2012)
Team cap would prevent Earnhardt, Jr. from operating Cup team: Whenever there was talk about JR Motorsports possibly moving to Sprint Cup, team officials noted that not only would Rick Hendrick have to divest his interest in the team because of NASCAR's four-team cap, but possibly so would Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR President Mike Helton confirmed that Friday at Daytona International Speedway, saying that if a driver owns a team but drives for another organization, then the total number of cars for both organizations counts toward the four-team cap. With Hendrick Motorsports already having four cars, Earnhardt Jr. cannot own a non-Hendrick Cup car. JR Motorsports is owned by Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury Jr. Earnhardt Jr. signed a contract extension with Hendrick last year. "It comes down to any attachments to more than four cars. … Dale Jr. with JR Motorsports, he drives for a four-car team, so a driver from a four-car organization can't fill a car," Helton said. "That would be considered a fifth car. Helton addressed the issue after Michael Waltrip expressed interest in competing in the Daytona 500 but possibly with another organization. Waltrip said earlier this week that if he wanted to drive for another organization, he would have to do it with a single-car team because he already owns three Cup cars.(Scene Daily)(1-14-2012)
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)
Mark Martin testing: This week's tests at New Smyrna (FL) Speedway and Daytona International Speedway mark the first two tests for Mark Martin and his #55 Aaron's Dream Machine race team. Martin begins his 30th NASCAR Sprint Cup season driving the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine in 25 races for Michael Waltrip Racing. Martin believes the work done this week is an important step toward running well at Daytona and the rest of the 2012 season. Martin's comments: "These tests aren't incredibly important from the car hardware side. It's more important for us as a new group working together to work through the areas like communication, flow, learning everyone's names, routines and things like that. That's really the critical part of the test. From the hardware side, we do have a number of things we want to run through at these tests, but all teams are doing those kinds of things. These tests are valuable because we want everything to be working like a smooth oiled machine by the time we get to the Daytona 500. Then, by the time we get to Phoenix, we want to be acting like we've been racing together for years. The one other thing that I am going to focus on this time at Daytona, more than I did a year ago, is working on tandem drafting. We didn't do that last year and it's going to be even more of a challenge this year. (Crew Chief) Rodney (Childers) and I want to look toward being ahead of the curve on the two-car tandem or explore areas that will give us an advantage."(Michael Waltrip Racing)(1-10-2012)
Martin driving for Gibbs at Las Vegas: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Mark Martin will drive the Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Las Vegas in March. "We've always hoped to have the opportunity for Mark to drive for us and to have him behind the wheel of our Interstate Batteries Toyota for the Nationwide race in Vegas is exciting," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "He is a great example to all drivers of the dedication it takes to be successful and certainly we're honored to have him part of our efforts in 2012." While Martin is only currently scheduled to race in Las Vegas for JGR, the team is still working on opportunities for the veteran driver to secure additional races.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-6-2012)
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)
Reutimann joins Tommy Baldwin Racing: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) added NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) driver David Reutimann to the team's 2012 driver lineup alongside Dave Blaney. Still seeking sponsorship for both Reutimann and Blaney, details regarding car number, sponsors and team members will follow in the upcoming weeks. "Tommy has built a really good organization from the ground up in a really short amount of time," said Reutimann. "One of the things I like about Tommy and what's refreshing about him is that he is just a racer. There are lots of things he could be doing but instead he is at the shop every day working hard to build the organization from the ground up. There are not a lot of true racers in the garage, and he is one of them. It's the way I was raised with my Dad, so we are on the same page. I'm just really looking forward to the season and see what we can do." TBR competed in every event in the 36-race NSCS schedule in 2011 and raced into the top-35 in NSCS Owner Points, meeting the team's 2011 season goals. Blaney drove to the team's best finish of third in the October event at Talladega Superspeedway. The team also fielded a second car for five events in the second half of the season.
"Reutimann will be a great addition to our program and to Dave Blaney," commented team owner Tommy Baldwin. "Last season, we met our goal of running the entire schedule and making the top-35 in points. This season, our goals is to continue our progress on the competition side. Having two veteran drivers in Reutimann and Blaney is a very important step in our program's growth. We are still working on finding funding for next year, but having a car guaranteed in the first five races, including the Daytona 500, is a big step for our team. We had success last year with our partners. Although Golden Corral will not return in 2012, they were very happy with the exposure they received. We hope they have shown other companies the value of our program and that our program will once again align with their business objectives."
TBR competed in every race and locked the #36 Chevy in the top-35 in NSCS Owner Points. TBR also fielded a second [#35 Chevy] car for select races in the past two seasons with multiple drivers.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)
MORE: Reutimann agreed to a one-year deal for 2012. Baldwin will start the season as Reutimann's crew chief, while veteran chief mechanic Philippe Lopez would again work with Blaney. Reutimann said he and Baldwin had discussed their schedule, with start-and-parking not in their plans. "As we talked [Monday] we're looking at 26 races -- not a full season but that's something we're obviously angling towards and trying to do and we're going there to race," Reutimann said. "They have a great group of guys over there who are really working their butts off and it's really cool. It's gonna be a different side of things, but I think it'll be a good fit for me. Baldwin said on Monday that sponsorships for the full seasons and which car numbers his two drivers will use were still being determined, "we've got some things etched on paper and hopefully we can get those announced and move ahead." Accell Construction, which has been with Baldwin in limited appearances the past couple seasons, has already committed to the team. Baldwin said his team would bring a new car to the season-opening test at Daytona Jan. 12-14, probably with Blaney driving "to see how it compares to the field." Reutimann said he has also been talking to some Camping World Truck Series owners about some 2012 races in that series.(NASCAR.com)(1-3-2011)
AND Tommy Baldwin Racing has also signed an agreement to run Earnhardt Childress Racing engines for the 2012 season.(FoxSports)(1-3-2012)
New look for the Aaron's car: The #55, which has run the #00 for many years with Michael Waltrip Racing, will have a different look in 2012. In the 25 races the Mark Martin is scheduled to driver the car will be blue sides and white roof/hood and in the 5-7 races that Michael Waltrip is scheduled to run the car it will have a blue rood/hood and white sides. No word if the scheme changes when the other driver(s) run the car in the remaining races that Martin or Waltrip do not run. See images of the schemes on the #55 Team Schemes page.(12-8-2011)
Martin and Waltrip's car will be #55 rather than #00: Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip's Toyota Camrys will carry the #55 during the 2012 and 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons. The number commemorates Charlie Loudermilk's founding of Aaron's, Inc. in 1955. Martin will drive in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine with Waltrip who will drive seven events with Aaron's sponsorship. Martin will join #15-Clint Bowyer and #56-Martin Truex Jr. in the MWR stable of drivers. Martin will begin his tenure with MWR at the 2012 Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor plate races plus the race in his home state of Kentucky. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(11-23-2011)
David Reutimann surprised by firing: #00-David Reutimann said Tuesday he had no idea he was about to be fired last week and that he expected to be with Michael Waltrip Racing at least through the end of his contract in 2012. Reutimann said his representatives are working with MWR to resolve his contract situation. "That was certainly a pretty big surprise," said Reutimann. "Last week was a rough week for sure. It was pretty rough all through the race weekend (at Texas). You go through different emotions. Sometimes you're upset. Sometimes you're angry. It flip-flops around time to time. It's just a bummer to be in this situation, but there's nothing I can really do to change it." Reutimann said he was told the change came at the request of sponsor Aaron's. "I had no indication," said the 41-year-old Reutimann, who is 28th in points after finishing 18th and 16th the past two years. "They never told me my job was on the line or in jeopardy." Reutimann is being replaced next year by Mark Martin and team owner Michael Waltrip in the #00. Reutimann doesn't know what he will do next season. His first choice would be to remain in the Sprint Cup series, but understanding the options are few he would be willing to drop down to the Nationwide Series or Truck Series.(ESPN)(11-10-2011)
Martin to MWR, Reutimann out. UPDATES: The puzzle pieces for the 2012 season continue to fall into place with the latest speculation putting Mark Martin in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable for a partial schedule next year. #56-Martin Truex Jr. will return to drive MWR's NAPA Toyota with newcomer Clint Bowyer coming on board in a partner Toyota entry carrying 5-Hour Energy sponsorship for the bulk of the campaign. Sponsorship for the #00 entry driven by David Reutimann will not be in place for the entire 2012 schedule opening the door for Martin to take over and compete on a partial basis. Michael Waltrip Racing has an announcement planned Friday at Texas Motor Speedway where it is expected the team's firm 2012 plans will be unveiled.(CBS Sports)(11-1-2011)
UPDATE: Mark Martin is expected to drive a part-time 2012 Sprint Cup schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the #00 Toyota currently driven by David Reutimann, multiple sources close to the situation confirmed Tuesday. Sources said team owner Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, likely will drive all or a portion of the four restrictor-plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. MWR's lineup for 2012 will be Martin, recently signed Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, and Martin Truex Jr. Sources said an announcement could come Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where MWR has a 10:30 a.m. local time news conference scheduled. MWR officials declined to comment. Reutimann, attending the SEMA Auto Show for Toyota, would neither confirm nor deny the information. "Talk to Michael," Reutimann told ESPN.com, referring to his owner.(ESPN)(11-1-2011)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that driver David Reutimann will not return to the team for the 2012 season. Team officials notified Reutimann this week. "David has been a significant part of Michael Waltrip Racing since the very beginning and will forever be a part of our heritage," said Co-Owner Michael Waltrip. "We want to thank David for his contribution to our growth and success over the past five years and wish him well in the future." Reutimann will remain with the team for the final three races of the 2011 season.(MWR)(11-3-2011)
UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing announced it has hired Mark Martin to share in driving duties of the #00 Toyota and extended its 30-race sponsorship with Aaron's, Inc. through the 2013 Sprint Cup season. Martin will drive in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine with Michael Waltrip, who will drive five events with Aaron's sponsorship. Martin will join Martin Truex Jr. and recently acquired Clint Bowyer in the MWR stable next season. Martin will begin his tenure with MWR at the 2012 Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor plate races plus the race in his home state of Kentucky. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.(MWR)(11-4-2011)
UPDATE 4: Before qualifying sixth for Sunday's AAA 500 at Texas, Reutimann told reporters "it's a bad time to be out of a job" in NASCAR. "I'm just struggling a little bit with it," said Reutimann, who had signed a multiyear extension last July after winning at Chicagoland Speedway. "You've just got to wonder if it's worth it in the long run. I don't know.' The alternative is not doing it at all and that's not a great alternative to have. I want it worse than anybody that's ever set foot in this garage and I still do. I can still win races, I can still get the job done. Let's not forget last year that we were able to win and actually had a shot at making it in the Chase. That's only been a year ago. I can still do that if I can get into the right situation. It's unfortunate that things worked out like they did."(USA Today)(11-5-2011)
NASCAR Confiscates Windshields: UPDATE: NASCAR confiscated the windshields from Michael Waltrip Racing's #00 and #56 Toyotas and from the #47 Toyota for JTG-Daugherty Racing on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. Each team was forced to switch out the windshield for a new one after they were found to have unapproved modifications. Any penalties for the infraction will come next week. The #00 and #56 cars went out and paced the final practice session.(Motor Racing Network)(10-21-2011)
UPDATE: NASCAR has issued penalties to the #00, #47 and #56 teams that compete in the Sprint Cup Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during opening day inspection Oct. 21 at Talladega Superspeedway. All three cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-3.2.1A (unapproved modification to an approved windshield) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book. Crew chiefs Rodney Childers (#00), Frank Kerr (#47) and Chad Johnston (#56) have each been fined $50,000 and have been suspended from the next four Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Car chiefs Steve Channing (#00), Raymond Fox (#47) and Anthony Lunders (#56) have likewise been suspended from the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Additionally, Bobby Kennedy, director of competition for Michael Waltrip Racing, has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Car owners Rob Kauffman (#00), Tad Geschickter (#47), and Michael Waltrip (#56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Drivers David Reutimann (#00), Bobby Labonte (#47), and Martin Truex Jr. (#56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship driver points.(NASCAR)(10-25-2011)
AND: "We are very disappointed in this entire situation and we will not appeal NASCAR's ruling," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "We look forward to racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend and getting ready for next season." Team chief race engineer Brian Burns will assume the role as crew chief for the #47 Toyota Camry replacing Frank Kerr and Bob Bechstein has been named car chief replacing Raymond Fox following penalties assessed by NASCAR.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(10-25-2011)
AND: "Michael Waltrip Racing is ultra-sensitive and very serious about working within the guidelines of NASCAR policy. We do not condone this type of activity and as such we will take appropriate internal corrective action immediately. We thank NASCAR for providing a fair and equitable platform for all of its competitors and respect its decisions; therefore, we will not appeal." The following team personnel moves will take effect until NASCAR reinstates the suspended crew members:
#56 Team: Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will serve as interim crew chief in place of suspended crew chief Chad Johnston at Martinsville. Allen Mincey, #56 race mechanic, will serve as interim car chief in place of suspended car chief Tony Lunders
#00 Team: Bobby Kennedy, executive vice president of race operations, will serve as interim crew chief in place of Rodney Childers. Chris Hall, #00 race mechanic, will serve as interim car chief in place of suspended car chief Steve Channing.
Both crew and car chiefs will return to their positions following their suspensions.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(10-25-2011)
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)
Pink Toyota for Reutimann: The #00 Aaron's Dream Machine is going pink for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In support of breast cancer awareness month, driver David Reutimann will race a pink #00 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race.(MWR)(10-12-2011)
JTG Daugherty ending alliance with MWR? UPDATE - Bowyer in, JTG out?: Michael Waltrip Racing currently fields two teams with #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #00-David Reutimann, and supplies cars for #47-Bobby Labonte and JTG Daugherty Racing out of its Mooresville, N.C., shop. Sources said JTG Daugherty Racing may cut its tie to MWR but remain in the sport with Labonte as its driver in 2012.(ESPN)(9-16-2011)
UPDATE: MWR has paved the way for a third full-time entry [with Clint Bowyer] by ending its affiliation with JTG Daugherty Racing, which had housed its #47 entry at the team's headquarters as part of its alliance. Team owner Brad Daugherty plans to keep his organization on track next season but is currently looking at options to align with another team, with speculation of a partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports. Daugherty's affinity to and admiration of Petty has even included the former college basketball and NBA star wearing the #43 throughout his career. An association as NASCAR business partners would further that connection. RPM was close to launching a third team with Bowyer before contract talks with the driver broke down so the desire to expand is evident.(CBS Sports)(9-22-2011)
UPDATE 2: JTG Daugherty Racing hasn't decided on an affiliation for next season, and retaining its relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing is still an option, team owner Tad Geschickter told Sporting News on Thursday. Geschickter said his phone had been "blowing up" in the wake of a report on CBSsports.com that MWR had terminated its relationship with JTG Daugherty, which fields Toyotas for Bobby Labonte, and speculation in the same story that JTG Daugherty might align itself with Richard Petty Motorsports. "I haven't talked with Richard Petty Motorsports," Geschickter said. "There's no truth to that at all." Geschickter said that, to his knowledge, MWR was still exploring its capacity to supply cars to JTG in light of possible expansion.(Sporting News)(9-23-2011)
UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing is preparing to add a driver but not a team. Team co-owner Michael Waltrip said Friday he hopes to have a deal completed with driver Clint Bowyer and a sponsor within seven to 10 days. The move will not necessitate the addition of new personnel or expansion, however. MWR has been providing resources for the JTG Daugherty team - in essence a third team - but that relationship will end at year's end. Beginning next season, all three Cup teams operated out of the MWR shop will be owned by the organization.(Charlotte Observer)(9-24-2011)
Scott Miller leaving RCR: UPDATES: Scott Miller and Richard Childress Racing have parted ways. Miller had served as director of competition since 2003 for RCR, whose drivers are Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard. After a short sabbatical, sources said Tuesday, Miller will fill a similar role at Michael Waltrip Racing. Kent Day will serve as interim director of competiton for RCR until a permanent replacement can be found. Miller was in his second stint with RCR, having initially worked with the team from 1997 to 2001.(Fox Sports)(9-20-2011)
UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing has promoted Kent Day to interim director of competition from his previous position as technical director with the 12-time NASCAR championship winning organization. Former RCR director of competition Scott Miller has taken a position with another motorsports organization."Kent brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position as interim director of competition at Richard Childress Racing," said Mike Dillon, RCR's vice president of competition. "As technical director, he played an integral role in the overhaul and turnaround of RCR's competition department beginning in mid-2008. He already understands our competition philosophy and will now play an even more important role in RCR's on-track success.(RCR)(9-20-2011)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing named industry veteran Scott Miller as executive vice president of competition effective at the conclusion of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Miller has served in several roles throughout his 16-year stint in NASCAR, most recently as director of competition at Richard Childress Racing. Miller has been a winning crew chief and has repeatedly guided teams into the Chase for the Sprint Cup from his management role. Miller will manage all competition aspects, including design, manufacturing and engineering, as well as the technical relationship between Toyota Racing Development's resource facilities in Salisbury, N.C., and Costa Mesa, Calif.(MWR)(9-21-2011)
Bowyer expected to sign with Michael Waltrip Racing: UPDATES: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Clint Bowyer is near agreement on a new, multi-year contract with Michael Waltrip Racing, with an announcement expected within the next 24-48 hours. Bowyer will leave Richard Childress Racing at season's end, after being unable to come to terms with the team for which he has competed for his entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. The Emporia, Kansas, native is reported to have spoken -- at least preliminarily -- with at least four teams; Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. MWR emerged as the leading candidate within the last two weeks, and now, final details are being wrapped up that will put Bowyer in an MWR Toyota Camry next season as a teammate to Martin Truex, Jr., and David Reutimann. Sponsorship will come from Five Hour Energy. The multi-year deal is in the final stages of negotiation, with an official announcement expected this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.(Sirius Speedway)(9-15-2011)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip issued the following statement Friday afternoon: "I can confirm we have had very productive conversations with Clint and a quality sponsor. Today, however, we don't have anything finalized and we're not in a position to make any formal announcements. Our goal has never changed. Rob (Kauffman) and I want to continue to improve the competitiveness of our team and be a consistent winner at NASCAR's highest level. Pursuing Chase-proven personnel, including drivers, has been a priority. As soon as we have more information to share, we will."(MWR)(9-16-2011)
UPDATE 2: During a Friday morning interview on Sirius Satellite Radio, Rusty Wallace confirmed that Five-Hour Energy was leaving his Nationwide team next year for Sprint Cup and was shopping itself as a package deal with Bowyer. "I hear they'll run about 20 races," Wallace said. "They've been with me for over four years and put a lot of money in our team and been awesome partners of mine, but they want to move to the Cup series, and I'm not in the Cup series. They aligned with Clint Bowyer because he was out of a ride with Childress."(USA Today)(9-17-2011)
RPM no longer interested in Bowyer: Richard Petty Motorsports has withdrawn its offer to Clint Bowyer to drive a car for the organization in 2012. Team owner Andrew Murstein confirmed to FOXSports.com that RPM has decided to go in another direction with the program. "We are no longer in discussions with Clint," Murstein said. "We just feel that RPM is in a great place today, especially how far we have come since last year. Both #9-Marcos (Ambrose) and #43-A.J. (Allmendinger) are not only having career years, but they are both moving in the right directions and improving. "Clint is a great driver and we wish him the best wherever he ends up. For now, we will continue to focus on our two teams and continuing to make great strides as we return the King and his unmatched tradition and legion of loyal fans back into Victory Lane." The most recent organization in the Bowyer sweepstakes is Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer was seen touring MWR last Thursday. If he ends up at MWR, expect the company to a run a third team along with current drivers #00-David Reutimann and #56-Martin Truex, Jr.(Fox Sports)(9-14-2011)
Aaron's Freedom Ride 2011 on the #00 at Bristol: At Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, David Reutimann's #00 Aaron's Toyota carries a special paint scheme honoring the Aaron's Freedom Ride 2011. About 25 Atlanta firefighters plan to ride bicycles 1,035 miles from Atlanta to New York City and through 13 cities along the way to commemorate the lives of the firefighters and first responders who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack. But it's more than just a paint scheme to Jack Weiss. Weiss has been Reutimann's motorhome driver since 2004, but on 9/11 he was driving a tractor trailer at a construction site in Yonkers, N.Y. about 10 miles from Ground Zero across the Hudson River. The 27-year veteran of the Yonkers Police Department watched as the buildings fell and spent countless hours in the months after the tragedy restoring the area.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(8-24-2011)
MWR's VP of Competition to leave at end of 2011: Steve Hallam has accepted the role of Managing Director of Walkinshaw Racing overseeing both the Toll Holden Racing Team, and the Bundaberg Racing Team. Hallam is currently Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR, and prior to that was Head of Race Operations for McLaren Racing. Hallam will start his role at Walkinshaw Racing at the beginning of 2012 once he completes his current commitments with Michael Waltrip Racing (v8supercars.com.au).(8-19-2011)
Berrier to MWR? Todd Berrier -- the star Sprint Cup crew chief for so many years with Richard Childress, first with #29-Kevin Harvick, lately with #31-Jeff Burton -- could be headed to the Toyota camp, according to those familiar with the situation. Perhaps some division of the huge Michael Waltrip empire, which include the Tad Geschickter team, as well as Pastrana-Waltrip.(MikeMulhern.net)(8-15-2011)
Travis Pastrana to make NASCAR National Series Debut UPDATE injured in Xgames: After back-flipping his way through the ESPN X Games, Travis Pastrana will catch a red-eye flight to Indianapolis to make his first ever start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway. The long awaited arrival of the action sports star is finally here. Pastrana has 16 X Games gold medals in addition to multiple titles in supercross, motocross and rally cars. He'll make his series debut for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing #99 Boost Mobile Toyota. Pastrana got a taste of NASCAR racing, having run a combination of five NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West races this year including his best finish of sixth in his NASCAR debut in January at the Toyota All-Star Showdown. His other NASCAR K&N Pro Series races were Phoenix (25th), Richmond (33rd), Iowa (22nd) and Loudon (22nd).(NASCAR)(7-27-2011)
UPDATE: Action sports star Travis Pastrana crashed on back-to-back "TP Roll" attempts Thursday night in X Games 17 Moto X Best Trick, ending the Pastranathon during its first event. Pastrana, who was taken off on a stretcher and transported to a hospital for X-rays, broke his right foot and ankle, according to medical officials working with ESPN. He was discharged from the hospital Thursday night. The injury will require surgery at a later date, Pastrana's planned NASCAR debut on Saturday will be put on hold. He is also out of the X Games. "I am sorry this happened and will be back in action as soon as I can. I look forward to Pastranathon 2012 at X Games 18," Pastrana told ESPN following his release from the hospital. Going into the X Games, Pastrana had planned to compete in Best Trick and Freestyle on Thursday and Friday, fly to Indianapolis to make his NASCAR Nationwide debut Saturday, then return to Los Angeles to compete in RallyCross on Sunday. X Games 17 will be the first X event since 2002 that Pastrana has been out of medal contention. Pastrana crashed while attempting the corked 720 that had made him a gold medal favorite in Best Trick. Riders usually get one shot each round at throwing tricks, but Pastrana tried the 720 twice after under-rotating the first time. His second attempt ended in identical fashion and he immediately grabbed his lower leg as medical staff rushed to his side on the landing ramp.(ESPN)(7-29-2011)
UPDATE 2: Pastrana Waltrip Racing announced Friday it will withdraw the #99 Boost Mobile Toyota from Saturday's race at Lucas Oil Raceway where action sports star Travis Pastrana planned to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut. Pastrana broke his right foot and ankle after back-to-back crashes during the Moto X Best Trick competition at the X Games in Los Angeles Thursday. "Like fans everywhere we were so excited about Travis' debut Saturday night," said team owner Michael Waltrip. "We have a long term vision with Travis which includes lots of NASCAR. We can't wait to get him healed and in our race cars. We talked to our sponsor Boost Mobile and agreed to withdraw from Indy and delay our debut. We've waited a long time for someone like Travis Pastrana. I guess we'll just have to wait a little bit longer." Pastrana had planned to compete in Best Trick and Freestyle on Thursday and Friday, fly to Indianapolis to make his NASCAR Nationwide debut Saturday, then return to Los Angeles to compete in RallyCross on Sunday.(Pastrana Waltrip Racing)(7-29-2011)
Cal Wells leaves Michael Waltrip Racing: Michael Waltrip Racing and Calvin Wells have mutually agreed to part ways it was announced by co-owners Rob Kauffman and Michael Waltrip. The separation is effective immediately. "We want to thank Cal for his strong contribution to getting Michael Waltrip Racing to where it is today. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors, " said Kauffman. "We plan to go forward now with the solid management team that is in place, and bring MWR to the next level."(MWR) Wells had been Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the team. Before joining MWR he was owner of PPI Motorsports' #32 Cup team.(7-25-2011)
Michael Waltrip Racing sues former engineer, F1 team: Michael Waltrip Racing is suing a former engineer who recently left the organization for a Formula One team before his contract allegedly ran out. MWR is suing Mike Coughlan and the Williams F1 team in U.S. District Court in Charlotte. It is asking for a unspecified amount in damages for breach of contract and, against Williams, interference with the contract. Coughlan was responsible for overseeing all design, production, engineering and quality control programs at MWR. The suit alleges that his departure impacted the team's performance, resulting in a loss of prize money and potential sponsorship.(Scene Daily)(7-16-2011)
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)
Milestone starts at Michigan: #00-David Reutimann will be making his 150th series start and #30-David Stremme will attempt to make his 125th series start at Michigan International Speedway.(NASCAR)(6-17-2011)
Drivers test at Infineon: Sprint Cup Series drivers #00-David Reutimann, #6-David Ragan, #71-Andy Lally and #66-Michael McDowell, as well as West Series driver and Hayward native Jessica Brunelli, completed a one-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Tuesday in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 24-26. Reutimann completed approximately 50 laps around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. Reutimann will compete in his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway next weekend. He posted a best finish of 20th in 2010. Reutimann was joined at the test session by Lally, who will race the #71 entry for Petaluma-based TRG Motorsports. Lally, who has competed in Sonoma in the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Series, will make his first Toyota/Save Mart 350 attempt. All four Sprint Cup Series drivers piloted late-model stock cars provided by a Northern California-based race team.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-15-2011)
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)
MWR Family of Teams & Drivers To Host Collections For Joplin Victims: Race fans can join Michael Waltrip Racing's teams and drivers at two locations in the Kansas City area Thursday night collecting donations for the tornado victims of Joplin, Mo. "I want to show the world that NASCAR has the best fans and I want everyone to come out and support our friends and neighbors in Joplin by bringing stuff they really need right now," said team owner Michael Waltrip. "If you bring it, my guys will drive it to Joplin." #00 Aaron's/TUMS Toyota team members and driver David Reutimann along with JTG Daugherty Racing's #47 Clorox Toyota driver Bobby Labonte will host collections at the Aaron's store in Shawnee, Kan. 6-8 p.m. Thursday [June 2nd] while #56 NAPA AUTO PARTS team members and Martin Truex Jr. will do the same 6-8 p.m. at the Bass Pro Shops in Olathe, Kansas. Waltrip will join the No. 00 team at the Aaron's store 6-6:45 p.m. before joining the #56 team 7:15-8 p.m. in Olathe.
Fans can meet, take pictures and collect autographs from the drivers and crewmembers at both sites in return for donations of canned foods, blankets, and toiletry items MWR will transport to Joplin on Friday. The first 200 donations at the Olathe Bass Pro Shops will receive a No. 56 die cast racecar while the first 200 donations at the Aaron's store will receive a nine-inch "Lucky Dog" stuffed animal. Waltrip said MWR sponsors NAPA, Aaron's, TUMS, Toyota, Best Western, Boost Mobile and Bass Pro Shops created the events as a response to the tragedy in Missouri. MWR employees at the team's Cornelius, N.C. race shop will also collect items for the truck going to Joplin. "Everyone has seen the devastation on television and we wanted to help those people who are suffering right now," said Waltrip. "We're racing in the area this weekend at Kansas Speedway and we just wanted to do something that gives back to this community and the people that mean so much to MWR and NASCAR. I hope everyone in the area will come out to the Aaron's store in Shawnee and the Bass Pro Shops in Olathe. We'll have some fun while we collect items the people in Joplin really need."
Aaron's, 12108 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Shawnee Kansas, is about 12 miles from Kansas Speedway while Bass Pro Shops, 12051 Bass Pro Drive in Olathe Kansas, is about 14 miles south of the track.
Michael Waltrip Racing will give fans outside the Kansas City area a way to help. The team will make Truex and Reutimann car hoods, fire suits worn during Sunday's race along with the racing gloves and shoes available through the NASCAR Unites online auction. During the week following the Kansas race, fans can bid on the MWR items at www.NASCAR.com/unites.
The death toll from the massive tornado that devastated the southwest Missouri city now stands at over 126. More than 900 people were injured in the May 22 tornado, which is now considered the nation's single-deadliest in six decades.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(5-29-2011)
Reutimann to run same car as All-Star race: #00 Aaron's/Armed Forces Foundation Toyota driver David Reutimann returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 with the same Toyota Camry that he finished third with in Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race. The original plan was to bring a different car from the Michael Waltrip Racing team's fleet, but after the strong run - the best finish of the year - the #00 team decided to call an audible and race the car from last weekend. That move required some extra work at the MWR shop this week but it was well worth the time if it means Reutimann has a better chance to repeat his 2009 victory in the Coca-Cola 600. Text "AFF" to 50555 from any cell phone to make a $5 donation to the Armed Forces Foundation. The Armed Forces Foundation is dedicated to providing comfort and solace to members of the military community through financial support, career counseling, housing assistance and recreational therapy programs to active-duty and retired personnel, National Guard, Reserve components, and their loved ones.(MWR)(5-26-2011)
Aaron's Dream Machine pit crew to donate winnings: The #00 Aaron's Dream Machine pit crew competes in the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Cable Arena in uptown Charlotte on Thursday and is donating the money won at the Pit Crew Competition to send a child to Victory Junction Gang Camp this summer. The #00 team participates each year in NASCARnival night at Victory Junction where they meet with the kids and demonstrate and perform pit stops for the campers. The #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Pit Crew Roster: Front Tire Changer—Ryan Langley, Front Tire Carrier—Chris Hall, Jack Man—Tony Cardamone, Rear Tire Changer—Lee Cunningham, Rear Tire Carrier—Don Marvel, Gas Man—Evan Marchal, Second Gas Man—Getty Cavitt.(MWR)(5-19-2011)
Michael Waltrip Racing's Fifth Annual Fan Fest, May 25th: #15-Michael Waltrip, #00-David Reutimann, #56-Martin Truex Jr., #47-Bobby Labonte, Ryan Truex & Brett Moffit are scheduled to sign autographs at Michael Waltrip Racing's Fifth Annual Fan Fest on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at its shop in Cornelius, North Carolina. Waltrip will sign autographs as well as his New York Times best-selling book "In the Blink of an Eye" from 1:00 - 3:00pm before joining all the drivers 5:30 - 7:30pm/et. MWR's Tim Brown, modified racer and star of the History Channel's 2010 reality series "Madhouse," will also sign autographs and display his No. 83 race car. Note: Pastrana-Waltrip Racing driver Travis Pastrana will not attend Fan Fest due to filming commitments for an upcoming movie, team merchandise will be available for purchase.
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 gift shop will be open to the public throughout the day. More info at the Michael Waltrip Racing website.(5-3-2011)
Ex-Formula 1 Designer with MWR: Briton Mike Coughlan, the former McLaren Formula 1 Design Director, is now working in NASCAR as the director of vehicle design for Michael Waltrip Racing in Cornelius, N.C. The British-born engineer suspended from McLaren after the infamous 2007 "Spygate" scandal after Ferrari engineer, Nigel Stepney, passed on secret design documents to him. In a forward-looking interview Coughlan spoke with Auto123.com about his impressions since joining the NASCAR world. He came back to racing after helping design the Ocelot, a composite-based light tactical vehicle for Force Protection based in Ladson, South Carolina. Through former McLaren colleague Steve Hallam, he was contacted by MWR's Cal Wells who asked him "to come back to racing". See interview at Auto123.com.(4-1-2011)
MWR drivers meeting with Chicago White Sox players: They affectionately call themselves Redneck Row and they are back for another season in the Chicago White Sox clubhouse. It's a line of lockers that stretches from Mark Buehrle to Matt Thornton, with guys like John Danks and Jake Peavy in between. And while one member of the group has moved on in Scott Linebrink, Adam Dunn has taken his place. Redneck Row is certainly buzzing this week since NASCAR has brought its traveling road show to the Arizona desert. The two groups are scheduled to hook up Saturday for a little action on the baseball field, before ending the day at Phoenix International Raceway. The drivers for Michael Waltrip's racing team will be in White Sox camp Saturday morning to see what they can do once they step outside of a car. Waltrip is scheduled to be on hand along with #00-David Reutimann, #56-Matrin Truex Jr. and Ryan Truex. The four are expected to take some cuts in the batting cage and field ground balls. Later Saturday afternoon, a group of White Sox players that includes Buehrle, Dunn, Gordon Beckham, A.J. Pierzynski, Danks and Peavy will attend the Nationwide Series race, the Bashas' Supermarkets 200.(ESPN.com)(2-25-2011)
Forbes names most valuable NASCAR teams & highest paid drivers: The weak economy has pummeled NASCAR over the past three years, with sponsorships, merchandise sales, race winnings and subsidies from automakers falling. Fans have tuned out, sending TV ratings down 24% since 2006 and leaving more than 40,000 empty seats at some races last year. One of its longest-tenured teams, Richard Petty Motorsports, was scrambling for cash on a week-to-week basis so it could race on weekends last fall. Is NASCAR headed for a full-blown meltdown? Hardly. Yes, the value of the top 10 teams slid 5% in 2010, on average, to $136 million by [Forbes] count, as prize money dropped and sponsors dialed back their commitment, but a rebound in 2011 for the sport is a strong possibility. NASCAR's strongest and most valuable team remains Hendrick Motorsports. With a valuation of $350 million on revenues of $177 million in 2010, Hendrick is worth 56% more than the next-highest-grossing team, Roush Fenway Racing, which [Forbes] value at $224 million on revenues of $140 million last year. Hendrick earned a NASCAR-high $18 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2010. Richard Childress Racing was third on the list, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. Rounding out the top 10: Stewart-Haas, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Red Bull Racing.
AND: Despite his lack of success in recent years on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR's highest-paid driver, earning $29 million in 2010 thanks to merchandise sales that are the best in the sport and reportedly account for one-third of all NASCAR licensed merchandise sales. Other income streams include a 10-figure annual salary from Hendrick and a 50% share of his $4.9 million in winnings and bonuses in 2010 from Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt also has a bevy of personal endorsements, including Chevrolet, Nationwide and Wrangler. Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon follows Earnhardt in the NASCAR money standings with earnings of $25 million last year. It is a clean sweep for Hendrick at the top with five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the third-highest-paid driver at $24 million. The rest of the top 10: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.(Forbes)(2-24-2011)
Classic car restorer, owned by MWR owner, opening new Charlotte headquarters: RK Motors Charlotte, a restorer, re-seller and builder of classic, muscle and high-performance cars, is opening a new corporate headquarters in Charlotte. The company has built a 40,000-square-foot showroom, which is open to the public, and broken ground on the second building, which will include a restoration and service area. The headquarters will encompass a total of 76,000 square feet and is at 5527 and 5523 Lakeview Road. The company, which was created last year, has been consolidating operations. The company was created by Joseph Carroll, RK Motors Charlotte president and CEO, and Robert Kauffman, a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, and expects to open the second part of its headquarters this spring.(Charlotte Observer)(2-8-2011)
Pastrana to make NNS debut at Indy: Boost Mobile and Samsung Mobile will sponsor Travis Pastrana when the action sports icon embarks on his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in 2011. Pastrana will drive the #99 Boost Mobile Toyota for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing in seven Nationwide Series races this season, including a mid-summer debut in Indianapolis designed to bridge NASCAR with the ESPN X Games. Pastrana plans to compete in at least 20 races in 2012. See full story on Jayski's Nationwide Series site.(1-23-2011)
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)
Aaron's is scheduled to be the sponsor in 24 races in 2010
Daytona - 2/14
Auto Club - 2/21
Atlanta - 3/7 - TBA
Tum's is scheduled to be the sponsor in 5 races in 2010
Las Vegas - 2/28
Martinsville - 3/28
Chicago - 7/10
New Hampshire - 9/19
Phoenix - 11/14
Best Western is scheduled to be the sponsor in 1 race in 2010
Phoenix - 4/10
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)
Pastrana to Make NASCAR Debut in Toyota All-Star Showdown: Motocross and rally racer-turned-budding NASCAR competitor Travis Pastrana announced Tuesday that he would be making his NASCAR debut on January 28th and 29th in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA. Pastrana will compete for the first time with his newly-formed Pastrana-Waltrip Racing team in a K&N Pro Series East car. Pastrana completed a test in a NKNPSE car at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) on Monday and Tuesday (Speed51)(12-15-2010)
Reutimann heading to Japan: #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota driver David Reutimann leaves next week to visit Toyota in Japan for its annual motorsports festival. Reutimann returns to Florida the first week of December [3-4] to host the annual David Reutimann Foundation Cookout and Golf Outing. Reutimann: "I'm really looking forward to going to Japan for Toyota Motorsports Festival. We're going to be over there for a couple days to spend some time with the folks at Toyota and meet some of the fans over there. I know the Toyota Motorsports Festival is a really big deal. I get to drive a little bit and run on the road course over there and I'm excited to see that part of the world. For a guy who has barely been out of the United States in his life ever, except to race in Canada and Mexico City in the Nationwide Series, it's a pretty big deal. Although, the 15-hour plane ride is not something I'm looking forward to, but it's all part of the experience."
Reutimann is wearing a specially-designed Habitat for Humanity race helmet this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Lisa Reutimann, David's wife, is involved in a Women of NASCAR initiative to help raise money to build a Habitat for Humanity home in the Lake Norman, N.C. area. Reutimann will auction the helmet at his annual charity event on Dec. 3. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Women of NASCAR initiative.(MWR)(11-17-2010)
MWR team trainer to head home to Italy: A familiar face in the NASCAR garage area will soon say "Ciao" to her boss Michael Waltrip and her NAPA Know How Pit Crew. Michael Waltrip Racing's team trainer Giovanna Lecis returns to Italy on Nov. 30 to resume work as a personal trainer near the Vatican in Rome. Lecis' hard work over the last two seasons contributed to the two-time Daytona 500 champion losing weight and improving his strength. She was also instrumental in the five Tissot Precision Pit Crew and two Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Quarter awards won by MWR's #00 and #56 teams' pit crews.
MICHAEL WALTRIP ON GIOVANNA LECIS: "Giovanna has inspired me. She not only trains me, but she makes me want to train because of her spirit. She's healthy physically as well as mentally. In my mind, the two are tied closely together. You have to like what you see when you look into the mirror and you have to like your commitment to improving yourself in order for a guy like me to like myself. When I started this process over two years ago, I don't think a normal trainer would have gotten me motivated enough to stay disciplined on a training regimen. Gio is a petite woman on the outside, but she is bigger than life on the inside. She makes me want to work hard for her. I am fortunate our paths crossed and I am grateful to call her my friend. She is going to be missed by everyone here at Michael Waltrip Racing."
PIT CREW COACH GREG MILLER ON LECIS' CONTRIBUTIONS TO MWR: "Her training is obviously very professional. When she came on board, it elevated our style of training in NASCAR. She's been a champion in her own right in a different sport and the way she trains kind of showed the guys here that there is a whole new level to what we can accomplish. Having her involved in our program has done nothing but elevate our guys to be a different kind of athlete and have a different mentality to training. She created a whole new perspective as to how we train our pit crews."
LECIS ON HER NASCAR PIT CREW EXPERIENCE: "It is the first time in my life that I had to learn to work in a group. I understand teamwork now. In Italy, I always worked as a personal trainer. It was one-on-one instruction. It was the same when I was in competition. It was just me and a coach. Here, it's a team of pit crew guys. I had to think differently. I had to think with 10 people in mind and how to train them all together. It was hard in the beginning. I had to build their trust. I had to show them I was just as strong as them. I did one-arm push ups. Now, they are like my brothers. This is an experience I will remember for my entire life."(MWR)(11-15-2010)
Travis Pastrana heading to NASCAR? UPDATE many reports out there that Travis Pastrana will leave Subaru Rally Team USA and head to NASCAR, supposedly siging with Michael Waltrip Racing / Diamond Waltrip Racing, supposedly running either the NASCAR K&N Racing Series or Nationwide Series in 2011. Supposedly Pastrana posted an image on his Twitter [but has since removed it] and an announcement could come as soon as Thursday. A few sites reporting this 'news' include: CBS Sports, NASCAR Examiner, AutoBlog.com [with an image of the car], SpeedFreaks and AutoWeekRacing.(11-10-2010)
UPDATE: Travis Pastrana is coming to NASCAR in 2011. After mining gold medals in the X Games, shattering jump records on both motorcycles and automobiles and starring as a cultural icon for the action sports world, the star of MTV's "Nitro Circus" is ready to turn his attention to America's most popular form of motorsports – NASCAR. Michael Waltrip Racing, Gary and Blake Bechtel and Pastrana announced today the creation of Pastrana-Waltrip Racing that will field cars in the NASCAR Nationwide Series beginning in 2011. Pastrana-Waltrip Racing will focus on creating programs that expose the action sports world's fans and participants to NASCAR and develop youth marketing initiatives designed to create greater awareness of both sports. Initial plans are for Pastrana to compete in seven NASCAR Nationwide races in 2011 and twenty races in 2012. "I've been following NASCAR closely for years as a fan of the sport with competing in the sport a life-long dream," Pastrana said. "I decided it was time to try and turn that dream into reality and with the help of the Bechtel family, Michael Waltrip Racing and Wasserman Media Group I'm now one step closer!" Pastrana-Waltrip Racing will field Toyotas out of the Michael Waltrip Racing shop in Cornelius, N.C. Waltrip noted the importance of the youth demographic Pastrana brings to NASCAR.(Pastrana-Waltrip Team/WMG)(11-11-2010)
Tums scheme for Reutimann at Phoenix: Tums Racing and the #00 TumsUMS Toyota return to the track at Phoenix International Raceway for the Kobalt Tools 500. This will mark the final time in the 2010 NSCS season that TUMS will appear as a primary paint scheme. The TUMS scheme previously appeared at Las Vegas, Martinsville in March, Chicago (Win) and New Hampshire in September (MWR), see images of the scheme on the #00 Team Schemes page.(11-11-2010)
#00 Pit Crew earned 3rd quarter honors: For their outstanding efforts on pit road, the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota pit crew for David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip Racing has earned third-quarter honors in the 2010 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award competition. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, is determined by a vote of each team's crew chief, is given quarterly to the top performing pit crew in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award presented during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas. This year, Reutimann and the #00 team have posted one win, five top fives and six top 10s. While Reutimann is turning fast laps behind the wheel, crew chief Rodney Childers' crew has been on its game as well, performing consistent, quick pit stops all year. Members of the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota pit crew include: Ryan Langley (front-tire changer), Chris Hall (front-tire carrier), Lee Cunningham (rear-tire changer), Don Marvel (rear-tire carrier), Tony Cardamone (jackman), Aaron Pieratt [not Art Harris] (gasman), and Jeff Seaberg (catch can). The team's pit crew coach is Greg Miller.(NASCAR)(10-13-2010)
NASCAR to talk to Reutimann & Busch; no penalties: NASCAR officials plan to talk to #18-Kyle Busch and #00-David Reutimann about Sunday's incident at Kansas Speedway before this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. Cup series director John Darby said no penalties will be levied, that NASCAR just wants both drivers to understand there are 41 cars on the track that may be impacted by their decisions.(ESPN)(10-6-2010)
Waltrip responds to the Reutimann-Busch incident at Kansas: As Kyle Busch entered turn two on lap 53 at Kansas, the front of his #18 Toyota made contact with the rear of the #00 Toyota of David Reutimann. The touch sent Reutimann spinning into the SAFER Barrier on the outside of turn two. Busch continued on and was still in the top-10 on lap 156 when he had another encounter with Reutimann. As the duo exited turn two with Busch on the high side and Reutimann's car on the low side, Reutimann's car moved up and slammed into the left side of Busch's machine, causing severe damage to the rear of the M&M's Toyota. Reutimann's car spun and was much more damaged and spent time in the garage, finishing 35th, 11 laps down. Some quotes:
Michael Waltrip quote:"There are 43 drivers on the race track each Sunday and there is no delineation between Chase participants and non-Chase participants when it comes to respect. Everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing is working hard to deliver great results to our owners, employees and sponsors. All organizations have a lot at stake each week as we are all measured by our performance and finishing position. When David Reutimann's chance to compete for a win at Kansas was taken away, it set off a series of events that have been well documented. I stand behind David because his record of sportsmanship is flawless. It is the duty of MWR's drivers to deliver for Toyota and our other partners, and I expect them to be treated fairly while doing so."(MWR)
Reutimann quote: "I don't care if you're in the Chase or not, you need to think about who you're running over when you're running over them. I don't care who you are. If you're in the Chase, you have as much responsibility to drive with respect as I do to everybody else. If you guys want me to feel bad about what happened today, I feel bad, yeah, that our car got wrecked and it ruined our day. That's what I feel bad about. He just rolled over me. I'm on the bottom of the race track and he had the whole top of the race track to go to, and he run over me. I got wrecked."(MWR)
Busch quote: "It's just really unfortunate," Busch said. "These guys work their butts off to put ourselves in the Chase and to have the opportunity to try to go after a championship and to have it end up like it did today is disappointing. The guy (Reutimann) was loose. He said it on the radio. He slid up off the bottom and I got into him unintentionally and just spun him out. My fault 100%, but then the retaliation to a guy that's in the Chase that's racing for something… he'll be here next year. He could've wrecked me in any of the first 26 races next year. That would've been fine. It's just hard to swallow something like a day like today where we had a solid top-five car going (M&M's Racing)(10-4-2010)
Tums returns to sponsor Reutimann: Tums returns as the primary paint scheme on the #00 Tums Toyota of David Reutimann for the Sylvania 300. Following this event at New Hampshire, Tums has one remaining paint scheme slated for Phoenix. Tums, Levy and New Hampshire Motor Speedway have partnered on the ultimate New England cooking competition…the TUMS "Chowdah" Cook-Off. After submitting entries online, five contestants have been selected to compete in the at-track cooking competition. Cooking will begin Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 am/et at the Tums Fast Relief Zone located in the fan midway at New Hampshire. NASCAR personalities Jimmy Spencer and Michael Waltrip will join the judging panel which takes place at 10:00 at/et.(Tums PR), see images of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(9-14-2010)
Waltrip, Kauffmann Suit up for Spa 24 Hour race: Michael Waltrip Racing co-owners', Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman have teamed up with the AF Corse team for the second time in 2010 to run this weekend's Spa 24 Hours endurance race on the Spa-Franchorchamps circuit [the 4.352-mile course] in Spa, Belgium. They'll be going up against a field made up of four different categories and consisting of top manufactures such as Ferrari, Audi, Porsche and BMW. The AF Corse will compete in a Ferrari F430 GT2 and has captured two wins in this prestigious event. The driver lineup will consist of Waltrip, Kauffman, Niki Cadei and Marco Cioci. Earlier this year, Waltrip joined Kauffman along with JTG Daugherty Racing's Marcos Ambrose for the fifth annual Dubai 24 Hour sportscar race at the Dubai Autodrome on January 14-16. The AF Corse team performed extremely well — running sixth overall and leading its class before getting involved in an accident.(more info at Michael Waltrip Racing)(7-31-2010)
MWR to make announcement at Indy: UPDATE: #00-David Reutimann, who won Saturday night's Spring Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway, has signed a new contract with Michael Waltrip Racing. The team scheduled a news conference for July 23 in Indianapolis to announce the deal. "We're in good shape," Reutimann said after his win. "We basically shook hands and got things all lined up. I'll be at Michael Waltrip Racing next year. I may be cutting grass, but I'll be at Michael Waltrip Racing." General manager Ty Norris confirmed an announcement is scheduled and that Reutimann and crew chief Rodney Childers will not be going anywhere. "Both these guys proved tonight they deserve a contract," Norris said. "They deserve to be around.".(ESPN.com)(7-11-2010)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that it has signed agreements extending its relationships with driver David Reutimann and primary sponsor Aaron's, Inc. on the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota through the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. "I'm glad both Michael Waltrip Racing and Aaron's want to keep me around," joked Reutimann. "I've been asked about my contract for the last month and we've had a handshake agreement, but now it's done and I'm glad I can finally talk about it. I'm thrilled. This is where I want to be - at Michael Waltrip Racing driving the No. 00 with Aaron's on the hood." Aaron's will increase its primary sponsorship of Reutimann's #00 from 24 to 30 races in 2010 with TUMS and Best Western completing the schedule. Aaron's will remain at 30 races in 2011 and 2012 and assume associate sponsorship position with all MWR Toyotas.(Aarons PR)(7-23-2010)
Reutiman wins at Chicago: #00-David Reutimann won the Lifelock.com 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway for his 1st win of the season and 2nd of his career. #99-Edwards finished 2nd for only his 2nd top-5 of 2010, followed by #24-Gordon, #33-Bowyer, #1-McMurray [pole sitter], #9-Kahne, #31-Burton, #11-Hamlin, #14-Stewart & #98-Menard. Points leader #29-Harvick saw his points lead dwindle to 103 after having fuel pump/cable issues late in the race, with Gordon in 2nd. #48-Johnson had some tire issues and made a few mistakes with a slide trying to pit while leading and a spin thru the grass. Johnson led the most laps with 92.
There were 10 lead changes among 7 drivers and 4 cautions for 21 yellow flag laps. The attendence was reported at 67,500, down from 70,000 last July.
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Chicago Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(7-10-2010)
Tum's returns at Chicago: Chicagoland marks the third of five primary paint schemes for TUMS this season. The #00 TUMS Toyota of David Reutimann will also next appear at New Hampshire and Phoenix in 2010 (MWR). See images of the car on my #00 Team Schemes page.(7-9-2010)
Reutimann signs contract extension: UPDATE: #00-David Reutimann has signed a three-year contract extension with Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Sponsor Aaron's will be on the car for 18 of those Cup races in 2011 as it enters the third year of a three-year contract. According to sources, the sponsor is looking to extend in 2012.(Fox Sports)(6-30-2010)
UPDATE: David Reutimann says he has a "handshake deal" to remain at Michael Waltrip Racing. Reutimann, who has driven in Cup for the team since its arrival to the series in 2007, said Friday that it was a multi-year deal. "I haven't signed anything," Reutimann said following Sprint Cup Series practice at Daytona International Speedway. "We've got a handshake deal basically, a verbal agreement, of what we're going to do." "We've been working on the contract for about a month," MWR General Manager Ty Norris said. "Basically, all the elements are done as far as we're concerned."(Scene Daily)(7-2-2010)
Armed Forces car for Reutimann at Charlotte UPDATE: #00-David Reutimann is scheduled to run a Aaron's / Armed Forces Foundation Toyota in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(5-18-2010)
UPDATE: Aaron’s and the Armed Forces Foundation have united in a collaborative effort to drive donations for military families this approaching Memorial Weekend. Aaron’s and the AFF first initiated a text-to-give campaign that allows participants to text AFF to 50555 to donate $10 to the Armed Forces Foundation which serves the military and their families. Ninety-four percent of all donations goes directly to military members and their families and helps with items such as every day living expenses, housing improvements and travel expenses. Additionally, Aaron’s will honor the AFF at the upcoming Memorial Weekend Coca-Cola 600 with a custom paint scheme for the Michael Waltrip Racing #00 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, driven by David Reutimann. The paint scheme will feature the AFF logo and a patriotic red, white and blue design. Aaron’s will also donate a minimum of $10,000 to the AFF. However, if Reutimann finishes in the top five, Aaron’s will double the donation to $20,000. If Reutimann wins the race, Aaron’s will donate $200,000 to the AFF.(Aaron's PR) See an image of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(5-28-2010)
Reutimann negotiating to stay at MWR: David Reutimann is negotiating a multiyear extension that will keep him in the #00 Sprint Cup car at Michael Waltrip Racing past this season. "I'm looking for us all to get on the same page so we can get it done," Reutimann said Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he was promoting the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 he won a year ago. "I'm not running around the garage talking to anybody. They put something in front of me and we're working around some things. Hopefully, we'll be able to come up with a good compromise where everybody is going to be happy." Reutimann said there are no major sticking points for either side that should keep him from re-signing from the team. "Contract stuff, you have to go back and forth a little bit," he said, noting he's never had a real negotiation in the past. "I'm trying to get used to that. Usually I just walk in, 'Yeah, you want me to drive? Where do I sign?' They've been very good to me. I don't not like where I am. I like the people around me. I like our team and what we've got going on there. It's something I think we need to keep going."(ESPN.com)(5-12-2010)
Reutimann’s Crew Wins Tissot Pit Road Award in Talladega: David Reutimann’s over-the-wall crew claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The fast pit stops by the #00 crew at the 2.66-mile tri-oval helped Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) attain its third Tissot win of the season. The #56 MWR crew for Martin Truex Jr. leads the Tissot standings with two wins. Reutimann’s Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota spent the least amount of time on pit road – 208.560 seconds – during the 200-lap overtime race, which saw a maximum of three green-white-checkered restarts. David Ragan’s UPS Ford was second (214.115) and Kyle Busch’s M&M’s Toyota was third (238.719). Reutimann’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ryan Langley (front-tire changer), Chris Hall (front-tire carrier), Eric Maycroft (rear-tire changer), Donnie Marvel (rear-tire carrier), Tony Cardamone (jackman), Aaron Pieratt (gasman), Jeff Seaberg (catch can) and Nate Kennedy (Eighth Man). The team’s crew chief is Rodney Childers. The winning pit crew in each Sprint Cup race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver.(Tissot)(4-29-2010)
Parts confiscated from #13 and #47 teams UPDATE 2 Penalties announced: NASCAR confiscated the lower radiator pans from Max Papis' #13 Toyota and Marcos Ambrose's #47 Toyota during post-qualifying Sprint Cup Series inspection. The pans are considered "unapproved ballast weight mounting" according to Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby and is in violation of NASCAR Rule 20-2.3 (added car weight). Darby said the violation could carry a penalty. The piece confiscated on the #13 Toyota was 45.2-pounds, while the #47 Toyota's pan weighed 25.7 pounds. One crew chief who was observing the steel pieces in the NASCAR hauler after they were confiscated said the pans "should weigh a couple of pounds at best" and be composed of one-eighth inch aluminum. Frank Kerr, crew chief of the #47 Toyota said it was the same radiator pan the team has used all season. "We asked the inspectors when we first put it on the car at California if it was 'OK' and they said it was 'on the edge, but OK.' There hasn't been any question about the piece until now."(FoxSports)(4-17-2010)
UPDATE: The long steel pieces also were installed in an unapproved mounting location, according to the tags on the parts which were on display in the NASCAR hauler. "We'll know a lot more how NASCAR views these pans [next week]," said Michael Waltrip Racing Executive Vice President Cal Wells, whose organization builds the cars for Ambrose and Papis. "We'll have to wait and see. NASCAR likes to have parts submitted if you have got something new or different. I believe there was some confusion on what should or shouldn't be submitted. … In this particular case what we designed was a modular piece that holds a radiator, the pan up front and the duct work and a host of different things. There's no intent to do anything [around the rules]. We'll see what they decide to do."(SceneDaily)(4-19-2010)
UPDATE: NASCAR has issued penalties to the #13, #47, #00 and #56 teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a result of rule violations committed at Texas Motor Speedway last week. Robert “Bootie” Barker, crew chief of the #13 team, and Frank Kerr, crew chief of the #47 team, have each been fined $75,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 20-2.3A (unapproved added weight); 20-7 (all engine cooling system components must be approved by NASCAR prior to being used in competition); and 20-7.3A (radiator mount; failure to submit components) of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rule book.
Car owners Robert Germain (#13) and Tad Geschickter (#47) have each been penalized with the loss of 50 championship owner points for violating Sections 12-1 and 20-2.3A. Drivers Max Papis (#13) and Marcos Ambrose (#47) have each been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver points for violating Sections 12-1 and 20-2.3A.
Rodney Childers, crew chief of the #00 team, and Pat Tryson, crew chief of the #56 team, have each been fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for violating Sections 12-1; 20-7; and 20-7.3A. All of these violations occurred during post-qualifying inspection on April 16.(NASCAR)(4-21-2010)
MWR Statement: Executive Vice President of Michael Waltrip Racing Cal Wells: “NASCAR indicated we were running a part, a radiator pan, which had not been officially submitted for approval. We accept NASCAR’s ruling and will not appeal because we cannot debate whether the part was submitted, only whether or not the part needed submission. This gives us a clear line of sight on how parts need to be submitted for approval. We will work diligently with NASCAR in the future on all new parts to ensure this does not happen to MWR again.”(MWR)(4-21-2010)
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)
Reutimann offered extension: David Reutimann has been offered a contract extension from Michael Waltrip Racing to continue driving the #00 Toyota. Reutimann, who has struggled this season with three engine failures – including Monday at Texas – says he’s been more interested in turning this season around rather than concentrating on the future. “This is my last year,” said Reutimann of his contract. “I haven’t talked to anyone else. The only people I’ve talked to is our own team. I really haven’t put the focus on what’s happening next year like I should because we’ve had a terrible start to the season.”(FoxSports)(4-20-2010)
Best Western on the #00 at Phoenix: The #00 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing also will sport a new look as longtime partner Best Western becomes a first-time primary sponsor for a Sprint Cup Series entry. Best Western's relationship with Michael Waltrip dates back to 2004 when the World's Largest Hotel Chain became a primary sponsor for a Nationwide Series entry and served as an associate sponsor of Waltrip's Cup Series entry.(MWR PR), see a graphic of the car on the #00 Team Schemes page.(4-7-2010)
TUMS Racing Returns at Martinsville Speedway: TUMS Racing and the #00 TUMS Toyota return to Martinsville Speedway for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. David Reutimann's #00 TUMS Toyota will showcase the second of TUMS’ five primary paint schemes at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. TUMS also will appear on the #00 TUMS Toyota at Chicago and the fall races at New Hampshire and Phoenix.(Tums Racing), see images of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(3-26-2010)
Special Aaron's scheme for the #00 at AMS: Sponsor Aaron’s operates 1,695 stores in America but is headquartered in Atlanta. This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, David Reutimann will drive the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine team with a new paint scheme on the Mitsubishi/Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry to honor Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc their 2009 Vendor Partner of the Year. Ken Butler, Aaron's COO about the paint scheme: “Mitsubishi has been a terrific vendor for many years, duly earning our Partner of the Year distinction. Designing a custom Mitsubishi paint scheme for the Aaron’s Dream Machine is not only an exciting, but valuable means of showing our appreciation for the partnership. Both companies will undoubtedly be pulling for Reutimann to bring the Mitsubishi car across the finish line first at Aaron’s home track.” Reutimann currently has the longest streak of consecutive races finished without a Did Not Finish (DNF) at 44 races of drivers to start every race during that period. Reutimann’s last DNF was Oct. 5, 2008 at Talladega Superspeedway. Aaron’s, sponsor of the No. 00, will give away an autographed hat to a lucky race fan through Facebook and Twitter following any top-10 finish.(MWR), see images of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(3-3-2010)
Tums scheme for Reutimann at Vegas: Michael Waltrip Racing’s #00 Toyota Camry of David Reutimann is featuring new partner TUMS as the primary sponsor at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first of five primary paint schemes this season. The #00 TUMS Toyota also will appear at Martinsville-1, Chicago, New Hampshire-2 and Phoenix-2. Reutimann currently has the longest streak of consecutive races finished without a Did Not Finish (DNF) at 43 races of drivers to start every race during that period. He was also one of only three drivers to finish every point race in 2009 - Juan Pablo Montoya and Casey Mears were the other two [Montoya DNF'd at Auto Club and Mears has failed to qualify the first two races of 2010]. Reutimann’s last DNF was Oct. 5, 2008 at Talladega Superspeedway.(MWR), see images of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will runs a Tum's scheme at Talladega in April.(2-23-2010)
#100 for Reutimann: #00-David Reutimann is making his 100th start in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race in the 2010 Daytona 500.(MWR)(2-12-2010)
Drivers Test at New Smyrna: Tuesday Marcos Ambrose tested his #47 Kroger NASCAR at the half-mile high-banked New Smyrna Speedway. Preparing for his second full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the Australian driver shared the track today with #13-Max Papis, #00-David Reutimann and #5-Martin Truex Jr. It's the first time Ambrose has been in a car in over two months. "I just want to dust off the cobwebs," said Ambrose.(MarcosAmbrose.com)(1-27-2010)
Aaron's adds six Sprint Cup races as sponsor: Aaron’s, Inc. announced it will add six more Sprint Cup races, plus the Sprint All-Star Race to its 2010 schedule. The additional races increase Aaron’s total to 24 races as the primary sponsor of the Michael Waltrip Racing #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine driven by David Reutimann. The six additional point races coming in the first half of the season include: Auto Club, Dover, Pocono, Michigan, Infineon and New Hampshire. “We are pleased that Aaron’s expanded our involvement with David and the #00 team this season,” said Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer for Aaron’s, Inc. “We have developed an excellent relationship with David, Michael Waltrip and this organization over the years and they have continued to deliver solid results for Aaron’s. Adding these six races reinforces our commitment to this team and confidence in this sport. We look forward to another exciting year on the track.” Aaron’s is in the second year of a three-year Sprint Cup sponsorship agreement with Reutimann and MWR after serving as the team’s Nationwide sponsor since 2000. In addition to Reutimann’s 24 Sprint Cup races, Aaron’s plans to sponsor nine races on the #99 Toyota for newly-formed Diamond-Waltrip Racing and 18-year-old Trevor Bayne in the Nationwide Series. Aaron’s will also sponsor Waltrip’s return to the Nationwide Series at the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24.(MWR)(1-20-2010)
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)
Alabama scheme for #00 at 'Dega: Aaron's proudly announced it will honor the new BCS National Champion University of Alabama with a commemorative Crimson Tide-themed NASCAR paint scheme. The Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) #00 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, to be driven by David Reutimann, will make its on-track debut April 25 in the Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway. As a corporate sponsor of Alabama and the University of Texas, Aaron's supports both teams and wanted to celebrate the winner no matter who it turned out to be. With Alabama's win, the racecar is sure to be a fan favorite as it will feature the school's trademark Crimson and the official national championship logo when competing at the school's home racetrack. "Aaron's couldn't be more proud that two of its partner universities were represented in this year's national championship game," said Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer of Aaron's, Inc. "While Alabama clinched the title, Texas put up a tough fight making the game one of the most outstanding in BCS history. We are honored and excited to take Alabama's triumph a step further with the opportunity to put this commemorative racecar in victory lane at our race in Talladega." The program will kick off at the University of Alabama A-Day game scheduled for April 17 where the racecar will be unveiled and displayed prior to the football game. The car will then move on to Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's Dream Weekend, before starting a tour throughout the state making stops at select Aaron's stores. Fans and collectors can pre-order limited edition 1/24-scale collectable die cast replicas of the racecar at Aaron's stores nationwide starting January 22. Quantities are limited and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The replicas are expected to arrive in stores by the middle of May. For more information, details about how to pre-order and Aaron's store locations, visit www.shopaarons.com. Register to WIN a trip to the Aaron's Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.(Aaron's), see an image of the car on my #00 Team Schemes page.(1-12-2010)
Aaron’s to Celebrate BCS National Championship Winning Team with Paint Scheme - it'll be Alabama: Aaron’s is already a winner when it comes to this year’s BCS National Championship football game between the University of Alabama and the University of Texas. As a corporate sponsor of both universities’ athletic programs, Aaron’s is guaranteed a victory no matter which team wins tonight’s game and will create a celebratory race program for the winning school that incorporates Aaron’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team.
Aaron’s plans to produce a special National Championship paint scheme that will be featured on their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecar driven by David Reutimann. If the University of Texas wins, the Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) #00 Sprint Cup Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota will sport the UT burnt orange and official national championship logo at Texas Motor Speedway April 18. If the University of Alabama collects the victory, the car will feature ‘Bama’s famed crimson along with the championship logo in the Aaron’s 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway April 25 [Note: Alabama won the game].
“Aaron’s is in a unique position to be able to commemorate the achievements of this year’s national football champion with our racecar program,” stated Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer of Aaron’s, Inc. “We look forward to unveiling this racecar during a celebration on campus just before it goes to the racetrack to compete. We can’t think of a better way to honor the winning team’s achievements.”
“This paint scheme is going to be a huge hit with fans, and it’s a privilege for me to be able to drive this car,” said driver David Reutimann. “But the pressure is going to be on me to win. Aaron’s is in a ‘no-lose’ situation with these two great football teams, so I am going to have to get this car to victory lane to keep the winning going.”
The racecar program will be supported with a traveling showcar that will make appearances at Aaron’s stores throughout the winning state weeks before and after the race. Aaron’s is also making available a limited edition line of collectable merchandise that will include a 1/24-scale die cast replica of the racecar and a racing t-shirt. The merchandise will be available exclusively at Aaron’s stores in the winning state, the winning university’s bookstores, the MWR trackside merchandise trailer and at www.shopaarons.com.(Aaron’s PR)(1-8-2010)
Best Western to sponsor Reutimann: Phoenix-based Best Western will be primary sponsor of David Reutimann's #00 Toyota at Phoenix International Raceway next April.(Arizon Republic)(11-15-2009)
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)
Tums to sponsor Reutimann: TUMS announced a multi-year partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) to sponsor David Reutimann’s #00 Toyota Camry starting with the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. TUMS will be prominently displayed as the primary sponsor on the #00 Toyota Camry for five races during the 2010 and 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons with Coca-Cola 600 winner Reutimann as the driver. The brand also will have visibility as a full-time associate sponsor beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach. TUMS will continue to be featured as a primary sponsor for one race and a full-time associate sponsor on the #42 Chevy driven by Juan Pablo Montoya through a partnership with Target.(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the scheme on the MWR site or on my 2010 #00 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2009)
Aaron's increases their sports marketing budget: Aaron’s has boosted its sports marketing budget by 10% — about $1 million a year — inking deals with the University of Alabama, NASCAR [Michael Waltrip Racing's #00 Toyota] and Philips Arena, home to the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. Aaron’s, which has seen its sales grow during the Great Recession, leases and sells residential and office furniture, consumer electronics, and home appliances and accessories. With an 18% increase in customers compared with a year ago, Aaron’s has the cash flow to spend on sports sponsorships, which the company has found to be a very effective way to reach its target market: households with annual incomes of $50,000 or less. Aaron’s has existing sports partnerships with Georgia Tech, the University of Texas and NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip Racing. “Companies continue to tighten their marketing dollars,” said William Chipps, senior editor at IEG Sponsorship Report. “It doesn’t surprise me that Aaron’s has ramped up [its sports marketing]. They’ve been involved in sponsorships for years. They’ve played a lot in motor sports.” Aaron’s sponsorship with NASCAR, in particular, “gives them a chance to directly communicate with people who tend to be their customers,” Chipps said. IEG has seen other “value retailers” increasing their sports sponsorships, as the economy has sagged, to more effectively reach their customers, he said. “Dollar General has also been increasing its involvement with motor sports, too,” Chipps said. And Aaron’s is looking for even more sponsorship opportunities, Aaron’s CEO Robin Loudermilk said. “A lot of opportunities are coming our way and we’re taking advantage of it to increase our exposure,” he said. “Sports marketing will be a major part of marketing in our foreseeable future.”(in part from the Atlanta Business Journal)(10-19-2009)
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)
Reutimann's Auto Club qualifying time disallowed: UPDATE: #00-David Reutimann, who was second fastest in qualifying, had his time disallowed after the rear shock was determined to have a gas level too high. He will now start the race in 42nd. No other penalties are expected.(10-9-2009)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip twittered Friday night that there were 25psi more than the maximum allowed in the shock. Michael Waltrip Racing checked their gauge against NASCAR's and found that MWRs was off.(10-10-2009)
Drivers racing at East Lincoln Speedway: Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger will join Ray Evernham at East Lincoln Speedway on Wednesday night September 30th as Stanley presents a special night to help raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Charlotte Affiliate to help fund life-saving breast cancer community outreach programs. Kahne, Sadler and Evernham will be aboard specially designed open wheel race cars in a match race and Sadler will also be the guest commentator for the event.(East Lincoln Speedway PR)
AND: David Reutimann and Erik Darnell are set to join a host of NASCAR stars at East Lincoln Speedway on Wednesday night September 30th as Stanley presents ‘Real Drivers Wear Pink.’(Gaston Gazette)(9-29-2009)
Reutimann to run camo scheme at Atlanta: #00-David Reuitmann is scheduled to run the Aaron’s Outdoors/Mossy Oak Brand 'Tree Stand' Camo paint scheme in the Pep Boy's Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. See many images of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(Aaron's Sports)(8-18-2009)
Hamlin surprised about Reutimann's comments: #00-David Reutimann said Wednesday he was not ready to forgive #11-Denny Hamlin for the accident at Pocono Raceway that essentially ended his championship hopes. That, apparently was news to Hamlin. "I was surprised," Hamlin said Friday at Watkins Glen International. "We actually talked that night and he seemed fine. He didn't say that he was angry or anything. I've been in that situation before where you're battling for a Chase spot. It's not always about one race. There's a lot of races that lead up to it. I'm apologetic about it for sure. It's something that I didn't mean to do, but you can't put the blame all on me if he doesn't make the Chase."(ESPN/AP)(8-8-2009)
Reutimann still miffed at Hamlin over Pocono wreck: #00-David Reutimann doesn't buy the explanation #11-Denny Hamlin gave for the wreck in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono that may also have wrecked his chances of making the Chase. Reutimann said he never brake-checked Hamlin, as the eventual race winner claimed occurred prior to the accident on Lap 174 that not only took out Reutimann but also Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #47-Marcos Ambrose. He said Hamlin basically ran over him in an effort to get position. "I was just trying to get away from him," Reutimann said on Wednesday. "In the end, if you push a guy sideways enough he's not going to be able to bring it back. I didn't hear [his] explanation, but I can tell you it's pretty inaccurate. I was in the throttle all the time to the point I was hung out so far I kind of had to do something." Reutimann went on to say he was as "mad as heck" at Hamlin, even though the two have exchanged text messages in which Hamlin apologized. "If a guy says he's sorry I tend to believe it," Reutimann said. "Look back at Daytona at what I did to Ryan Newman. Everybody's capable of making mistakes. I'm a forgiving guy if he sincerely apologizes or says he was in the wrong. In the end I'm still confused at why it happened. It wasn't just one shot. It was multiple shots." Reutimann entered the race in 13th place in points, 68 out of the top 12 who would qualify for the Chase. He was in position to possibly move into the top 12 with a solid finish after having run up front most of the day. The wreck left him 16th in points, 121 off the cutoff point, after finishing 29th.(ESPN)(8-6-2009)
Reutimann testing road course: #00-David Reutimann is testing today at the Carolina Motorsports Park road course in Kershaw, SC in preparation for the race at Watkins Glen on August 9th.(7-27-2009)
Races  that Microsoft Small Business Specialist is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Dover - 6/1
Races  that NAPA was the primary sponsor:
Sonoma - 6/22