Michael Waltrip Racing Making Big Strides in Third Year of Full-Time Competition CORNELIUS, N.C. (March 4, 2009) -- Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) is continuing to make strides since its first full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in 2007....
Michael Waltrip Racing Making Big Strides in Third Year of Full-Time Competition
CORNELIUS, N.C. (March 4, 2009) -- Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) is continuing to make strides since its first full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in 2007. Both Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann have had noticeable performances in the first three events that have resulted in strong finishes.
Waltrip knows you cannot base a season on three races, but it gives him an indication that his organization is pointed in the right direction.
"We have come a long way and it's really beginning to show," Waltrip said. "David had a top-five finish at Vegas and we are really proud of where we are headed. Hopefully, we can keep it going because that is what it is really about. We know that three races does not make a season, but it's certainly enough of a trend to show us that we are heading in the right direction."
Waltrip's best finish this season is seventh at Daytona International Speedway and he currently sits 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings. Meanwhile, his teammate David Reutimann is fifth among the company of points leader Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. Reutimann recorded his career-best finish of fourth place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday which gives Michael Waltrip Racing more promise for a bright future.
"The future is bright for us," Reutimann said. "When I first walked into this place being built and I saw a Bobcat stuck in the mud being pulled out with the crane. I remember leaving the site just shaking my head thinking, 'Man, how will this place come to be what it is supposed to be?' The first year was a struggle because we were working out of three or four shops and it was midseason before we even got all the cars under one roof. The second year started out shaky, but as the season progressed, we made some big strides and huge leaps forward. All the sudden, I started looking around and thinking, wow, this deal could actually work out."
Being a part of the Waltrip family since 2004, Reutimann delivered a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory and a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory and is hungry for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
"To win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this year would be huge for us," Reutimann said. "About the three-quarter-way mark through last season, I was thinking this deal is showing some promise. Then you start noticing the people they are bringing in. They have an extraordinary work ethic and it has always been there. You really started to see results. I started noticing it in the cars and in people's attitudes. We finished out the year with that mentality. MWR will keep working at it and get better."
If progress continues and opportunity arises, MWR may indeed be on the brink of victory. That's one of many goals Waltrip set out for his company this year.
"We had a goal when the season started," Waltrip said. "There are four super teams and there are 16 cars those teams represent. We wanted to infiltrate those 16 and put a car or two of ours in the middle of them and hope that was good enough to be in The Chase. We've stepped up and been able to compete with them so far.
"Obviously, we've got a long way to go," continued Waltrip. "We didn't say we could be in The Chase in 2009. We said we could contend for The Chase. So far, it looks like we can indeed contend for The Chase. Even Marcos Ambrose has had a great start to the season. He's finished in the top 20 twice and is comfortably seated in the top-35 owner points. If we can get one of three of us in The Chase, it would be awesome."
The technical alliance with JTG-Daugherty Racing and the No. 47 Toyota Camry team has helped make the organization stronger. Ambrose has had a good start to the season and has contributed immensely to the program and so has his crew chief Frank Kerr.
"Aligning with JTG-Daugherty has helped us and they have contributed so much to our program," Waltrip said. "I walked around the other day and I told some people that work here that when we unload our cars now that they are faster than the used to be. All of our crew chiefs - Rodney Childers, Bootie Barker and Frank Kerr -- and engineers are working closely together. We really have a solid infrastructure right now led by our director of competition Steve Hallam, who has six Formula One championships to his credit. We know we are way better off than we have been in the past two years and I am so grateful for that."