Monday, January 19, 2009

Ambrose, Waltrip Attend Daytona Fan Fest and Gear Up for 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season

// Courtesy : Autostock Images //

Saturday afternoon, Michael Waltrip (MW) and Marcos Ambrose traveled to Daytona Beach , Fla. for the annual Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). 

The two signed autographs for hundreds of fans and also participated in a question and answer session on stage in the infield.

There were a lot of fans wearing NAPA gear asking Waltrip multiple questions. To Ambrose's surprise, there were also a few people in the audience from his home country of Australia with questions as well.

One question in particular posed to Ambrose and Waltrip from the audience was “What was the best racing advice they had ever received and from who?”

MW immediately responded, "Well from Richard Petty of course. He told me ‘if you want to be in the NASCAR Cup Series, then go get a ride in NASCAR Cup and don't be messing around with 100 other things.’ So, I wandered over to Statesville and found a guy named Dick Bahre who had a car. I talked him into letting me drive it and I even bribed him a little bit. Basically, I did whatever I had to do to get in that car. I made my first attempt with him in the Coca-Cola 600 in 1985 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Ever since then, in some form or another, I have been doing this job."

Ambrose followed by saying, "Mine was from Ken Schrader in passing, but I really took it to heart. He said, ‘just don't cause any trouble in NASCAR and you'll be able to hang around for a while.’ So, I've tried not to cause any trouble. If you don't cause any trouble with your team owner, they will keep you in the car and if you don't cause any trouble with NASCAR, you'll get to race and as long as you don't knock out Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) then the fans will like you."

Both Waltrip and Ambrose wrapped in the evening after four hours that included interaction with fans, a press conference in the DIS media center and interviews with ESPN and SPEED Channel.

The two were also guests on SPEED Channel's Trackside Live with regulars Darrell Waltrip, Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond that will air next week.

This week marks a busy week for them and also David Reutimann, who was not able to attend Daytona’s Fan Fest.

Ambrose, Reutimann and Waltrip have a full schedule of media activities. Monday kicks off the week with sit down interviews for "The Road to Daytona", which is a one hour show that will air on FOX leading into Daytona 500.

On Tuesday, Ambrose will be in SPEED Channel's new studio as a guest for the Preseason Thunder show. Following that, he will participate in a NASCAR video teleconference.

On Wednesday, Reutimann and Waltrip gear up for a commercial shoot with Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership. They are shooting a few commercials at a Charlotte area Aaron’s store. One of those commercials will include Waltrip’s daughter Macy.

Speaking of commercials, Waltrip along with NHRA driver Ron Capps wrapped up four this past week in the Charlotte area. When a fan asked Waltrip if there would be new NAPA commercials as funny as the ones last season, Waltrip lit up with a smile assuring his fans there will be.

"We just shot a Toyota commercial that is really funny and we shot four NAPA commercials and they are really good," Waltrip said. "I'll give you a hint. Ron Capps and I go to people’s houses in Charlotte and we play different games with them like Clue, 20 questions or charades. You will love seeing them.

“I am really thankful and I have been lucky over the years to be able to do great commercials thanks to my sponsors,” continued Waltrip. “I appreciate being a part of it all. Now, we have the Aaron's commercials this week and Macy is going to be in one of them. So, I am really looking forward to that."

Ambrose is also on a commercial shoot this week before a Toyota photo shoot Thursday afternoon. NASCAR is shooting a national commercial at Lowe's Motor Speedway featuring the Australian driver.

Ambrose, Reutimann and Waltrip are all getting back into the swing of things before competing in The Great American Race. Ambrose will star in his first Daytona 500 for JTG-Daugherty Racing in the No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota hoping to top his career-best finish of third-place (Watkins Glen International)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

David Reutimann to Pilot the #10 Beringer Camry in Four Nationwide Series Races

// Courtesy : Auto Stock Images //

Mooresville, NC (January 16, 2009) – Braun Racing is pleased to announce the return of Beringer Vineyards to their sponsor line-up for the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. The California based, Beringer Vineyards, will serve as the primary sponsor of Braun Racing’s No. 10 Toyota Camry to be driven by veteran driver, David Reutimann, in four Nationwide Series races in 2009. 

Beringer Vineyards had their first taste of NASCAR sponsorship in 2007 when they served as the primary sponsor of the No.10 Braun Racing entry in one Nationwide Series event. Last season, they expanded their marketing partnership with Braun Racing to three events as primary sponsor with driver, Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the “merlot” colored Camry.

Reutimann, who will pilot the No.10 Beringer Camry at California Speedway in February, Texas Motor Speedway in April, Michigan International Speedway in August and Phoenix International Raceway in November, has been a familiar face in the Nationwide Series since 2002. In 101 cumulative series starts, the Zephyrhills, Fla. native has collected one win (Memphis Motorsports Park, 2007), 15 top-five and 34 top-10 finishes as well as three pole awards. Currently, Reutimann drives full-time for Michael Waltrip in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, piloting the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota.  

“David Reutimann is an extremely talented driver, having finished as high as second in the Nationwide Series standings in 2007 and seventh last season. We feel very fortunate to have him represent Beringer Vineyards during the 2009 racing season. With a talent like him behind the wheel, we look forward to watching the Beringer Camry running up front and competing for wins,” said Barry Sheridan, Vice President of Marketing for Beringer Vineyards.

Reutimann is pleased to have the opportunity to carry the Beringer Vineyards colors and to be able to continue competing in the Nationwide Series, if only on a limited basis.

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to join forces with Braun Racing and Beringer Vineyards during the 2009 season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Reutimann. “Braun Racing is a top-notch organization in the Nationwide Series, something I know very well having competed against them over the last couple of years. I look forward to working with them next season and competing to give Beringer their first win as a primary sponsor in the Nationwide Series.”

Friday, January 16, 2009

About MWR

Michael Waltrip Racing enters three full-time Toyota Camry's in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup. Beginning as a modest family-owned operation in Sherrills Ford (N.C.) nearly a decade ago, team owner, Michael Waltrip quickly developed his team into a top-notch organization.

After overseeing a winning NASCAR Busch Series team, Waltrip raised the bar for MWR and began fielding cars in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on a limited basis. His trial run as a NASCAR Cup Series team owner (coupled with Toyota's entrance into NASCAR's premier division) was the driving force behind his vision to become a full-time NEXTEL Cup Series owner.

Waltrip will continue to pilot the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry and will be joined on the track in 2009 by David Reutimann, Josh Wise and Marcos Ambrose. The team fields development entries in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Eddie Sharp Racing and USARacing for Ken and Brett Butler.

Michael Waltrip Racing Holdings LLC is a company formed as a 50-50 partnership between Robert Kauffman, the 44-year-old founder and managing partner of Fortress Investment Group, and Michael Waltrip, who first established the team in 1996.

Lights, Camera, Action!

// Courtesy : Auto Club Speedway //

Lights, Camera, Action!

During the off season, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers participate in numerous photo and commercial shoots.

For Michael Waltrip, it is no different. In December, the two-time Daytona 500 champion flew to New York City to shoot a commercial for Auto Club Speedway to promote its upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend. It was the first of many commercials that Waltrip will be featured in this season. Both NAPA and Aaron's are shooting at least four commercials each with the charismatic driver.

For the Auto Club Speedway commercial, Waltrip stars with Hollywood actor Greg Germann, who has been in at least 25 films, including a favorite of Waltrip's, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. He was also on hit TV shows like Ally McBeal, The Bernie Mac Show and Desperate Housewives.

Click here to see the finished product between the two stars:

For tickets to the NASCAR event weekend February 20-22 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California visit or call 800-944-Race.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Waltrip Goes Boar Hunting with Aaron's Outdoors

// Courtesy : Michael Waltrip Racing //

Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine and No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camrys, joined Aaron's Outdoors for a Hog Hunt on October 22nd at Briar Patch Plantation in Toomsboro, Ga. 
The Aaron's Outdoors television show featuring Michael Waltrip's wild boar hunt is scheduled to air: 
Saturday, Jan. 31 at 9:30 AM on CSS 
Monday, Feb. 2 at 8:30 PM on Pursuit (Direct TV channel 608) 
Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 10:00 AM on Pursuit

Aaron's Outdoors features Jarrod Brannen and family as they explore some of North America 's finest hunting and fishing opportunities. Aaron's Outdoors strives to promote and preserve the great American tradition of families in the outdoors. Make time for traditions, tune in each week with your entire family for a wholesome, entertaining, sometimes comical outdoor adventure with the Brannen Family

For more photographs and details about Aaron's Outdoors, you can visit:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Michael Waltrip, Darrell Waltrip, Dierks Bentley Head List of Latest Additions to Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust Lineup

// Courtesy : Autostock Images //

Nashville, TN (Jan. 7, 2009) – Two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip, Capitol Records recording artist Dierks Bentley and country legends Connie Smith and Charlie Louvin have joined a slew of racing and country music celebrities announced today for Saturday’s (Jan. 10) Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust Fan Festival at downtown Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.

The two-day celebration of music and motorsports kicks off with a concert Friday night (Jan. 9) at Nashville’s Sommet Center: Montgomery Gentry featuring Rodney Atkins with special guest Julianne Hough beginning at 8 p.m.

At Saturday’s Fan Festival, fans of racing and country music will once again have the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with drivers, team owners and top-name artists. The blockbuster event will also feature show car and sponsor displays, as well as a charitable auction with memorabilia from the racing and entertainment industries.

Among the NASCAR celebrities already announced for the Fan Festival are Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kyle Petty, Ray Evernham, Reed Sorensen and David Stremme. New to this year’s NASCAR celebrity lineup are “Driver Legends” Waltrip and Ernie Irvan, as well as current Sprint Cup Series stars Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) and Aric Almirola (No. 8 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet), NASCAR Nationwide Series competitors Bobby Hamilton, Jr. (No. 25 Rensi Hamilton Racing Ford), Brad Keselowski (No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) and Burney Lamar (No. 32 Braun Racing Toyota). From the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle (No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara). From the National Hot Rod Association will be Doug Herbert (Doug Herbert Parts/B.R.A.K.E.S. Top-Fuel Dragster). And Sam Bass, one of the most highly acclaimed artists in the history of American motorsports, also joins the illustrious lineup.

Country music artists already announced for the Saturday Festival are Jason Michael Carroll, Richie McDonald, Josh Turner, members of Diamond Rio, and Rick Huckaby. Joining Bentley (“What Was I Thinkin,” “Every Mile a Memory,” “Come a Little Closer,” “Settle for a Slowdown,” “Free and Easy [Down the Road I Go]”) on the list of new additions are Randy Houser (“Anything Goes,” and writer of many hit songs including “Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk”), Kate and Kacey (winners of CMT’s “Can You Duet” with the new single “You’re Not My Judge” on Big Machine Records), Josh Osborne (“You Only Call Me ... ” “Hard Times”), and “Artist Legends” and members of the Grand Ole Opry Louvin (inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame® best known as one of the Louvin Brothers) and Smith (“Then and Only Then,” “Baby’s Back Again,” and her record-setting chart-topper “Once A Day”). 

More NASCAR and country music celebrities are expected to join the lineup before the weekend.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series show car lineup for the Saturday Fan Fest includes the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (driven by Joey Logano), the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing (Kevin Harvick), and the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet for newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing (Tony Stewart).

Tickets for the concert and the Sprint Sound & Speed Festival Presented by SunTrust are available through TicketMaster ( and through the Web site Concert tickets are priced at $35 (Level 1), $25 (Level 2) and $17.50 (Level 3). Festival tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Combination tickets, good for the concert and the fan festival, are priced at $50 (Concert Level 1), $40 (Level 2) and $35 (Level 3).

For the fourth consecutive year, charitable beneficiaries of Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust are Victory Junction (a year-round camping environment for children, ages 6-16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses) and the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. The first three Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust events drew an estimated 40,000 fans and raised more than $800,000 for its designated charities.

For more information, visit


Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving nearly 51 million customers at the end of the third quarter 2008; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit


SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the nation’s largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients. As of September 30, 2008, SunTrust had total assets of $174.8 billion and total deposits of $115.9 billion. The Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels. The Company also serves customers in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries the Company provides mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, investment management, equipment leasing and capital markets services. SunTrust’s Internet address is


Victory Junction is a year-round camping environment for children, ages 6 to 16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam, the camp is located in Randleman, N.C. with a second location opening soon in Kansas City, Kan. Victory Junction offers programs for 24 disease groups and maintains strong relationships with 22 partner hospitals. Victory Junction’s mission is to provide life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment. As a not-for-profit organization, the camp operates solely through the support of generous donors to provide this experience at no charge to children and their families. For more information, visit


Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The Foundation also operates CMF Records, the Museum’s First Library and Archive, the CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print. The educational programs of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum are funded in part by grants from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission through an agreement with the National Endowment for the Arts. Preservation of Historic RCA Studio B made possible by the Mike Curb Family Foundation. More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at or by calling (615) 416-2001.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Hallam Ready for New Life in America with Novel Role at MWR

// Courtesy : Associated Press //

Cornelius, NC (January 5, 2008) - Steve Hallam, an engineer and manager the past 27 years in Formula One, is settling into his new office at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and a new life in America after leaving his post as head of operations for team McLaren based in Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom.

In September, it was announced that Hallam would be making the move to MWR to work in NASCAR leaving behind a rich history in Formula One. He has now assumed his new role as Director of Competition after moving around the globe to North Carolina to set up shop in the 140,000 sq. ft. factory.

"It would have been easy to stay at McLaren until I retired," Hallam said. "But what attracted me to Michael Waltrip Racing was the opportunity to work with a young team and, in particular, to be part of the continued development and growth of the multi-car Cup operation as they strive to provide the best equipment and support for their teams. This is a great opportunity to join a closely knit team who are looking to build success by harnessing Toyota engines and technical support to build cars at a level where we can improve upon the tremendous foundation that has already been built."

Toyota’s commitment to racing in NASCAR peaked Hallam’s interest. As he wanted to learn more about opportunities with NASCAR teams, Pete Spence, Group Vice President and Technical Director for TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) put him in contact with Calvin Wells III at MWR.

"Toyota was very influential with me coming here," Hallam said. "When Pete (Spence) started to talk to me and took me to a Cup race in November 2007, I realized there is life outside of Formula One and it is very exciting, different and challenging. I was converted and it didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to be a part of that. Pete asked if I minded that he put someone in touch with me. I said no and in no time, Cal called me about a position at MWR. I finished out the season with McLaren and accepted MWR's offer."

Hallam, 56, joined McLaren in December 1990 and was a race engineer for seven years until becoming McLaren’s head of race engineering, a role he remained in until being named head of race operations in 2007.

After announcing his move to MWR, Hallam rounded out his last season with McLaren by guiding Lewis Hamilton to the 2008 World Driving Championship with the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team. It was the sixth time Hallam had been part of a Formula One championship team, all with McLaren or Team Lotus, both British-based teams. In addition to working with Hamilton, the tech ace has also worked with drivers such as Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Michael Andretti, Gerhard Berger, Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen.

The native of Great Britain has participated in over 435 Grand Prix winning five World Championships and now is ready to make his mark in NASCAR. Hallam will be leading the MWR organization into the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season as they field the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry and No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry full-time with drivers Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann. With the JTG-Daugherty Racing and MWR technical alliance in place under the same roof, Hallam will also assist the No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota Camry team and driver Marcos Ambrose.

MWR owners Robert Kauffman and Michael Waltrip are proud to have someone of Hallam’s caliber leading the engineering staff as they embark upon their third full season of competition.

"Steve is a remarkable asset for any organization and I'm proud that he is joining ours," said MWR co-owner and driver Michael Waltrip. "He will be in a key position that will both allow him to learn about the NASCAR world while implementing the knowledge he has gained over the past 27 years in Formula One. This is another step that shows our employees, sponsors and all of NASCAR that MWR is serious about our desire to elevate our organization to an elite status in the Sprint Cup garage."