Race Weekend Central

Michael Waltrip Racing Boasts New Driver Lineup, Expects to Contend in 2012 Chase

Michael Waltrip enjoys the spotlight and Monday’s Sprint Media Tour stop at Michael Waltrip Racing (Jan. 23) 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 played the age card with 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, and Truex returning after an up-and-down year in 2011. 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 teams.

“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, adding the team’s partnership with TRD has elevated MWR to a top-tier team.

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.”

About the author

Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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