Thursday, January 26, 2012
Michael Waltrip Racing Boasts New Driver Lineup, Expects To Contend In Chase
(Note: This story was originally published in the Frontstretch.com newsletter. Be sure to visit the site and sign up for free.)
Michael Waltrip enjoys the spotlight, and Monday’s Sprint Media Tour stop at Michael Waltrip Racing was no different. Instead of the normal press conferences where owners tout the talents of their drivers, Waltrip hosted a talk show-style event where he interviewed his new team.
The over-the-top owner prodded Clint Bowyer about letting him run a dirt car, which Bowyer laughingly declined. Waltrip then played the age card with 53-year-old Mark Martin, saying when he gets out of the car and Mark gets in he likes to say, “Out with the old and in with the older.” He then pointed out Martin Truex, Jr. had done a lot of the hard work in paving the way at MWR, to which Truex told his new teammates, “I took all the lumps for you guys.”
All kidding aside, MWR is in a no-excuse year with new drivers Martin and Bowyer joining the team, pairing with the "veteran" Truex who endured an up-and-down year in 2011. But new technology, new chassis and a partnership with Toyota Racing Development have the organization poised to move into
that next level of Sprint Cup Series organizations in 2012.
“The hopes have been replaced with confidence that we can contend, we can win and we can earn a spot in the Chase,” Waltrip said, claiming the team’s partnership with TRD has elevated MWR into the top tier.
After a rough few years in the sport, MWR has honed its technology and the resources at its disposal to run consistently week-in and week-out.
“I feel like we have the best I’ve ever seen in the engineering department,” Truex, who joined the team in 2010, said. “Our simulation stuff is second to none. You can ask anyone in the garage, they’ll tell you
that. We have a lot of things going for us, and we need to make it happen now.”