Team Preview: Michael Waltrip Racing

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Michael Waltrip Racing will head into its third season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in 2009 with drivers Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann.

New this season will be the addition of the JTG-Daugherty team, with driver Marcos Ambrose, under the roof at MWR.

After heading into their sophomore season outside the Top 35 in owner's points, Waltrip and Reutimann started 2008 off strong with great qualifying efforts at Daytona to help pave the way for both drivers making all 36 races. The effort put both cars into the Top 35 heading into 2009.

Ambrose, who will be taking the points from the No. 00, appears he will also be locked into the Top 35 at Daytona if one of the teams does not compete ahead of them in the standings as expected.

Waltrip, who will have crew chief Robert "Bootie" Barker calling the shots for his No. 55 NAPA Toyota, is excited about this season and his new alliance with JTG-Daugherty.

"We certainly feel good about what we've been able to pull together and accomplish over the past month at MWR," Waltrip said. "We've obviously secured Marcos Ambrose and Tad Geschickter with his JTG team in here keeps us at three Cup teams -- the same level we ended 2008 at.

"The support that we give our cars -- no support that trickles down to our race cars that goes out on the race track has diminished at all. We are at the same strength and we feel like that will help us be more competitive as we race into 2009. We feel good about what we're doing, the direction we're headed and looking forward to 2009."

Reutimann is coming off his best season in the Sprint Cup Series after recording four top 10s and his first career pole at Homestead-Miami. This year, Aaron's will sponsor Reutimann in 18 races when he switches back to the No. 00 Toyota.

"To see the Aaron's Dream Machine all ready to go to Daytona everything is looking really, really good," Reutimann said. "I've got a new crew chief this year with Rodney Childers and I'm really excited about the opportunity to work with him. Our organization has gotten stronger throughout the year. Last year, we made pretty good gains. Our newer cars are even better than the ones we had last year."

Although Reutimann does not have sponsorship for the entire season as of now, Waltrip does plan on fielding the No. 00 for the entire year.

"We'll just look at it as part of the investment in the future of our team," Waltrip said. "David is obviously a fast race car driver that can win races at the Cup level. We believe that. We think that the investment in the future we cannot afford to not run that car, so that's what we’re going to do."

This year will mark Ambrose's and JTG-Daugherty's first full-time season in Sprint Cup Series competition, and Ambrose hopes the partnership with MWR will help in the long run.

"We are trying to start up a new Cup team and we knew that we didn’t have the resources or infrastructure at JTG-Daugherty to do any justice to that so we partnered with Michael Waltrip Racing and we’ve taken on their car from last year with the points which is really going to help us out," Ambrose said. "We've got all of the technical expertise that Michael Waltrip can provide and basically building the car and he's running the team for us and it's really a great fit so I'm really excited about 2009."

Both MWR and JTG-Daugherty will continue their Nationwide programs in 2009. Waltrip and Team Red Bull driver Scott Speed will drive the No. 00 Toyota, while Michael McDowell will pilot the No. 47 in the first 16 races. The remaining races on McDowell's schedule are dependent upon sponsorship support.

Michael Waltrip
Car No: 55
Manufacturer: Toyota
Sponsors: NAPA Auto Parts
Crew Chief: Robert "Bootie" Barker

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
36
0
1
2
30.5
28.2


David Reutimann
Car No: 00 (Was 44)
Manufacturer: Toyota
Sponsors: Aaron's (18 races)
Crew Chief: Rodney Childers

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
36
0
0
4
24.5
23.3


Marcos Ambrose
Car No: 47
Manufacturer: Toyota
Sponsors: Little Debbie, Kingsford, Bush's and Clorox
Crew Chief: Frank Kerr

2008 Stats
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Start
Avg. Fin.
11
0
1
1
29.4
29.1


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