MICHAEL WALTRIP – SUPER SALESMAN
MICHAEL WALTRIP admits that only MARK MARTIN can drive forever. Waltrip will move to a full-time managerial position with his team. And if Saturday’s media conferences were any indication, Waltrip has a full time career awaiting after racing, pitching products on TV.
LEE WHITE. President/GM of Toyota Racing Development confirmed that TRD will continue its association with MWR and the new team, with an extension of a multi-year contract.
MOBILE 1 AND TRD
Mobile 1 is a long-time NASCAR Official Sponsor of the Mobile 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race award in all three NASCAR top tier series, and that contract extends through 2012. Mobile 1 also has a technical partnership with Toyota Racing Development to customize Mobile 1 technologies and racing oil to supply TRD teams, and then available to all teams in all levels of motorsports.
White said the Mobile 1 focus is providing technology, — and key benefits for the company is gathering additional data and technology. There are extremely severe demands on Cup cars, especially on drive trains, extreme pressures (9800 pressures rpm at PIR). Mobile 1 has been providing custom lubrications to NASCAR for the past ten years.
TRD factory driver, MICHAEL WALTRIP said sixty percent of the race cars at PIR have Mobile 1 in them.
The Mobile 1 deal with TRD will change nothing with the current Mobile 1 partnership with Penske Racing which runs SAM HORNISH/No.77 Mobile 1 Dodge in NASCAR. “It is great partnership and will continue,” said White.
Michael Waltrip Racing (owned by Waltrip and ROB KAUFFMAN) is partnering with GARY and son BLAKE BECHTEL to form Diamond-Waltrip Racing for a full-time 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series team with MWR NASCAR Nationwide Series driver TREVOR BAYNE. The 18-year old driver will race No.99 Toyota out of the MWR shop in Cornelius NC, run by the existing team. Bayne has a multi-year contract and will run at least seven Sprint Cup races in 2011 towards his goal of a full-time Cup run in 2012.
Bayne’s 2009 season includes one pole at O’Reilly Motorsports Park, leading 34 laps, two top-ten finishes, and is currently thirty-fourth (of 158 drivers) in 14 NNS starts.
This MWR partnership is Gary’s first venture with son Blake. Gary had a NASCAR team before – Diamond Ridge Racing – and left in 1999, because he felt he was uncompetitive. He sold his team to Joe Gibbs Racing. Then Bechtel became a racing enthusiast. Now he is returning to NASCAR as a business venture, partnering with an already-established team and manufacturer. The first nine races in 2010 races will be sponsored by Aaron’s – a ten-year old sponsor with MWR. The team is pursuing other sponsorships.
CAL WELLS is behind the scenes with the new MWR effort. The long-time team owner has been involved with MWR. As always he says his job is to herds cats, keeps them in their swim lines, acting as a coach. Further than that he won’t say, just smiling enigmatically.
TORNADOS PARTNER WITH STEWART-HASS RACING
Tornados, a new-to-NASCAR food sponsor, will partner with Stewart-Haas Racing, and be the primary sponsor five races for driver RYAN NEWMAN/No.39 Chevrolet: Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, PIR in April, Daytona International Speedway in July, Michigan International Speedway in August and Martinsville in October. Tornado will also be an associate sponsor at other races.
Tornadoes are a frozen convenience food – crispy rolled wraps with meat or cheese fillings. The drivers will be helping to introduce the five-year old product, and grow the business and its awareness. It’s motto is “Bold is How We Roll.” Unlike many other foods found at NASCAR tracks, Tornadoes claim it has zero trans fat.
TRG AND BOBBY MAKES THREE
TRG (The Racer’s Group) will run BOBBY LABONTE in No.71 Chevrolet for the two remaining NASCAR Sprint Cup races, with Victory Lane Wealth Solutions as an associate sponsor. The company will also donate ten percent of its profits directly to the Bobby Labonte Foundation.
Earlier this year, Labonte had been racing for the Hall of Fame/Yates Racing team, but was replaced for seven races. TRG picked up his option for those races. It will be full-time for 2010. Nearly half of those races will have TaxSlayer.com as sponsor. The plan is to have several other companies filling in the blanks for the rest of the season.
Labonte’s Crew Chief is RICHARD ‘SLUGGER’ LABBE and the team’s General Manager is MIKE BROWN. These two and about 20 other crew members are expected to remain with the team. Additionally, on ‘Black Monday’ – the day after the season’s finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway when teams start their layoffs – TRG Team Owner KEVIN BUCKLER said he would be hiring – another ten people. In the meantime, Buckler has been talking with Chevrolet in hopes that something can be worked out with the manufacturer for 2010 support.
PIR AND NASCAR CAMPING WORLD WEST SERIES GOING FORWARD
Phoenix International Raceway will run two NASCAR Camping World Series West races in 2010 including the season’s finale event. The Series first race at PIR was in 1997 and has already run 33 races at PIR including nine races with the Sprint Cup Series between 1988 and 1996. Among the famous drivers who have run the West Series are RICHARD PETTY (three wins), BOBBY ALLISON, KEN SCHRADER (four PIR wins-the most of any driver), JOEY LOGANO, DAVID GILLILAND, KEVIN HARVICK and KURT BUSCH.