NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
The Voice Of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Wednesday July 8, 2009
While the majority of news media yesterday were trained on the Michael Jackson memorial, there was another announcement being made on the opposite side of the country in Cornelius, N.C., at Michael Waltrip Racing. A new driver is joining the MWR stable in 2010, as Martin Truex, Jr. was officially announced as the new full-time driver in the NAPA machine. With the move, he’ll replace the 46-year-old Waltrip, who is stepping away from driving full-time to focus on being an owner.
Waltrip will run at least four races next season, with possibly more should an associate sponsor be secured. He now joins the growing ranks of aging Cup veterans who are opting to partake in the popular “limited schedule” offering rather than continue the perpetual 36-race grind every year. When the opportunity came to turn over the flagship duties to the two-time Nationwide Series champion, it’s clear the veteran didn’t hesitate — but was it the right move?
Michael Waltrip is always a curious case if there ever was one. He came along in the mid- to late-1980’s, as NASCAR was transitioning from a regional sport to one with a national following. Well spoken, affable, and with a motor mouth shared only with his older brother, Waltrip was a sponsor’s dream – which probably afforded him a couple of years here and there with cars that other drivers would simply not have been given. While he didn’t have to make a way for himself as much as his older brother did, he didn’t always have big brother’s support and guidance coming up along the way, either. In fact, Michael Waltrip reminds me a bit of Kyle Petty – walking in the shadow of a last name and trying desperately to live up to those expectations, but at the same time, less obsessed with winning and more than happy to pursue other things along the way.
Some may contend that Waltrip had it a little too easy in his formative years, relying on his last name and influence to keep him in the game. But even if that’s the case, he has more than made up for it with a downpour of obstacles to overcome in recent years. After leaving DEI to start his own team following the 2005 season, Waltrip has endured a divorce, allegations of cheating prior to the 2007 Daytona 500, and a bizarre incident that saw him fleeing the scene of a rolled-over SUV in his socks later that year. All the while, the man was sinking himself over $20 million in debt while in the process of trying to put together a race team that actually got to race, not just tow their pretty trailers out of the track early on Friday evening.
So, what does all of this have to do with Martin Truex, Jr.? Their stories are somewhat related, if not completely intertwined.
While Truex was winning Nationwide Series titles in 2004 and 2005 for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Waltrip was in the midst of closing out his tenure at DEI. From 2001-2005, Waltrip scored four wins, including a pair of Daytona 500s in 2001 and 2003, before things went south in his last two years with the program. Ironically, Waltrip’s departure following the ’05 season paved the way for Truex to move up to Sprint Cup competition and become the new No. 2 — even though he was No. 1 — at DEI.
Meanwhile, the organization Waltrip left to create his own (DEI, now EGR) appears now to be passing MWR on the way up and down. It’s something no one would have ever expected, especially considering how they got there was a long, bumpy road to say the least.
In 2007, Michael Waltrip Racing was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. Picture the Hindenburg clipping high voltage lines, then striking an iceberg chock-full of baby penguins and you’ll get the idea. He qualified for the Daytona 500, then nearly got himself thrown out for using an illegal fuel source (hey, I thought alternative energy was all the rage), only to then miss qualifying for the next 11 events. After chasing his car halfway down the backstretch during qualifying at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, an exasperated and deflated Waltrip radioed to his crew from his crumpled Camry, “I can’t drive my race car.”
Things, however, were a bit rosier for Martin Truex, Jr. at this same time. Shortly after it was announced that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would be leaving the company his father founded, Truex was suddenly at the forefront of the organization, and won his first race at Dover in June, propelling him to a spot in the Chase for the Championship in only his second season of full-time Sprint Cup competition. Later that summer, it was announced that DEI would be acquiring Ginn Racing, adding an impressive array of equipment that had recently been purchased from the real estate developer. With Mark Martin coming along to drive the flagship No. 8 for 2008, things looked like they were going to be OK at DEI post-Junior after all.
Not so fast.
Truex would go winless in ’08, missing the Chase. During this time, the ground at DEI began to get a bit shaky. Paul Menard would not be back, choosing instead to head to Yates Racing – and more importantly, taking his Menards sponsorship with him – while Martin was lured out of his part-time gig to return to full-time competition at Hendrick Motorsports. This left Truex as the lone car at DEI, with Aric Almirola as his teammate in the No. 8 – albeit with no secured sponsorship.
Meanwhile, across the way in Cornelius, N.C., Michael Waltrip Racing rebounded – though when you’ve hit rock bottom, there really is nowhere else to go but up. Waltrip finished last year 29th in points, with a pair of top 10s, including a second-place finish in the rain-shortened June race at Loudon. His teammate, David Reutimann, was on his way to earning the nickname “The Franchise” with four top 10s and a pole-winning run at Homestead to close out the year.
Michael Waltrip Racing also has the distinction of proving unequivocally the safety and durability of the Car of Tomorrow, enduring Michael McDowell’s harrowing wreck during qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway. While that may not show up on any stats sheet, those images are etched in the minds of race fans everywhere for years to come.
As the 2009 season began, the auto industry was being turned on its ear. DEI was suddenly no longer a tangible entity – it merged with Chip Ganassi Racing, and was renamed Earnhardt-Ganassi. Truex had a new teammate in Juan Pablo Montoya, but by then the face of the team he signed to drive for just a few years earlier had morphed into something completely different. This, coupled with Chevrolet being forced to pull the majority of their motorsports funding, made his future clouded at best, bleak at worst, and impossible for him to resign with EGR. Truex made light of this in yesterday’s announcement saying, “there were too many unknowns to make a long-term deal.” With GM going bankrupt, and not able to fund their race teams, sticking around on the Titanic of NASCAR teams didn’t seem like the ship to be on.
To quote Paul Rudd’s character Kunu in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, “When life gives you lemons, just say >expletive< the lemons … and bail!”
A couple of years ago, Truex’s move would have been considered career suicide. Leaving one of the best rides in motorsports to join up with a driver who many considered to have his best days behind him — and with an upstart car company whose arrival was less than roundly applauded — would have raised an eyebrow or two. But if you move ahead to 2009, it looks to be possibly the smartest move Truex has made since originally joining DEI to drive its Nationwide cars back in 2004.
So far this year, Michael Waltrip Racing has earned its first win at the Coca-Cola 600, in the same race where it hit such a low point just two years prior. Reutimann’s No. 00 car sits 14th in points, just 74 out of Chase contention on the strength of that win, two poles, and five top-10 finishes. Not too far behind is the satellite operation of the JTG/Daugherty Racing No. 47 driven by Marcos Ambrose, clocking in with five top-10 finishes as well. And while Waltrip himself is languishing in 34th in points, he is still in the top 35, which, if he can maintain his position, will pay big dividends for Truex in 2010. As you might expect, the points from his No. 55 machine will transfer directly to Truex, Jr.’s No. 56.
With Waltrip stepping out of the car, he begins a new chapter in his career that began nearly 25 years ago in 1985. Coming up in the shadows of his older brother Darrell – a legend in the sport – he had some awfully big shoes to fill. While some have often criticized Waltrip, saying that if he would only drive as fast as he talks, he would have won a lot more races and possibly even a championship by now… the fact remains he’s enjoyed more success than many.
He has two Daytona 500 wins on his resume, which is a lot more than 99 percent of the field today can claim. And while Waltrip might not have set the record books on fire behind the wheel, I do see him following in the footsteps of Richard Childress. MWR may not have won a championship or a ton of races yet, but the business sense of its owner, his communication skills, and the ability to work with people and build relationships are strong suits for the company – ones that will serve as the main contributors to its growth in the future.
Besides, Waltrip still gets to run those four plate races each year. And with the right combination and a little luck, maybe he can join Tony Stewart as another owner/driver who gets to wheel his own car into Victory Lane before too long.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Great article, Vito. This the kind of insightful stuff I look for on The Frontstretch. One question, though… the photo on the homepage… is that the only file photo you have of Michael Waltrip? That’s about the scariest thing I’ve seen since Nick Nolte’s famous mugshot.
Thanks Carl; we couldn’t find Glen Campbell’s, so we used that one.
Kunu also said…“Looks like you have trouble behind those eyes.” Those words were never so true as they are for Michael
I think you overstated things just a mite.
With 742 starts, over 25 years. 4 victories, all on plate tracks with DEI, when they were masters of plate racing. I’d say this record, is a monument to mediocrity, that will stand forever.
While not being a MW fan myself, I feel for the guy and honestly say I wish him and MT well next year.
MW’s “…I’m at the wrong track…” commercial is a classic and one of the best ever.
The more I think about this move, the more I love it. I hope MWR kicks ass next year!
MW might have a yap on him,but I agree, he may very well be another RCR. As an owner/driver enduring all that he has, his determination is admirable. Unlike TS, a majority of Waltrip’s investment has been out of pocket and starting from scratch. But like TS, many may be eating another serving of that wonderful CROW dish served so humbly.