Monday, November 16, 2009

Gary and his Son Blake Bechtel Join Forces with MWR to Form Diamond-Waltrip Racing

PHOENIX, Ariz. (November 14, 2009) – The principals of Diamond Ridge Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today the formation of Diamond-Waltrip Racing which will enter a full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series team starting in 2010 for driver Trevor Bayne.

Diamond-Waltrip Racing, co-owned by majority owners, Gary and Blake Bechtel and owners, Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman, has purchased the assets and associated car owner benefits of Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 99 Toyota Camry team. Drivers Scott Speed, Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, Patrick Carpentier and Bayne have shared the No. 99 Camry this year. The No. 99 team’s best year was 2007 when Reutimann finished second in the Nationwide Series Driver points standings.

Diamond-Waltrip Racing will field its team for Bayne out of Michael Waltrip Racing’s Cornelius, N.C., facility and will continue to be managed by MWR personnel. The team has secured limited sponsorship and is seeking additional race sponsors for 2010.

“I am really excited to get back on the team ownership side with MWR,” said Bechtel. “MWR seems to be one of the fastest growing and most successful teams right now in NASCAR. They have been able to prove their success on and off the race track and have excelled in sponsor relations.”

“The Nationwide team is very important to me because it started in my garage behind my house and it’s where I first developed my relationship with Aarons,” stated Waltrip. “Having someone as passionate about that team as me is why I’m honored to have Gary and Blake Bechtel as my partners. They are all in for this team’s success and have given us the opportunity to race Trevor Bayne full-time. This is just another way Michael Waltrip Racing is securing its future with great sponsors and partnerships.”

Bechtel jumped onto the NASCAR scene in 1990 when he formed Diamond Ridge Motorsports. Bobby Hamilton was slated as the first driver for Bechtel’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. His first race was in the 1990 Coca-Cola 600.

Bechtel’s success on the race track didn’t come until he started his NASCAR Nationwide Series program in 1995. Steve Grissom was tabbed as Bechtel’s first Nationwide Series driver. In only 15 races, he notched two wins, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

The success continued over the next five years. All told, he earned 10 wins, 30 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes in 174 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts. At the end of the 1999, Bechtel sold his entire operation to Joe Gibbs and moved to California.

The new Diamond-Waltrip Racing team will make its debut next season during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Bayne will be behind the wheel of the DWR No. 99 Toyota machine as he makes his bid for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.

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