Tag:MWR
Posted on: July 9, 2009 8:29 am
 

Mikeyfan's Mid Season Report Card - Toyota

Ok, here it is Toyota time, How will I rate myself?

Starting off with Joe Gibbs Racing:

Here was the pre-season outlook:

Outlook for Joe Gibbs Racing   You can lock in Kyle Bush and Denny Hamlin into your chase picture.  These two team are solid and should have another solid year.  The question remains the 20 car.  They are a wild card to make the chase, but I think Zippy and the gang should be happy with a solid top 20 run this season and think about the chase at a later time.  The biggest question for Joey is will we see the Joey we saw in the Nationwide series or the one that struggled in the cup series?

Well Kyle and Denny seem to be pretty much in the Chase with Kyle in 8th and Denny in 6th, however, either one can still fall out with some bad racing luck.  Joey on the other hand has pulled himself up to 20th place after a slow start.  Joey even won a rain shortened race this year.

GRADE - "A-"  I'm giving myself an "A-" only because the chase is so tight right now.  But for the most part I think I hit this prediction pretty good.

Outlook for the remainder of the season:  Look for Kyle and Denny to both make the chase and give a solid run for the title come chase time.

Next up Red Bull:  Here is their preseason outlook:

Outlook for Red Bull Racing  I see Brian Vickers as having a chance to sneak into the top 12 and make the chase, The bigger question is can he win a race for Toyota and Red Bull this season.  As for Scott Speed he needs to worry about staying in the top 30 this year, make every race and learn the tracks and drivers.  If he starts pressing to run with the "big dogs" he could find himself in the go or go homers after 5 races.

Although Brian is having a good season and has just resigned with Red Bull, it looks like he is going to come up short on the chase and the win?  Well, he has had a couple of strong runs only to have something happen to knock him out of the running.  As for Scott, well he has missed 3 races and is the go or go homers.

GRADE- "B+"  Although I was pretty much right on, on both drivers I gave myself a "B+" because of Brian falling short in the chase department.

Outlook for the remainder of the season: Brian just may get that elusive win for Red Bull, but Scott needs to step it up a bit.  Also, look for some sort of disarray as Red Bull tries to decide if they are going to stay with Toyota or go with Chevy next season. 

Next Up MWR This is the one everyone is waiting for:  Wink

Their preseason outlook:

Outlook for Michael Waltrip Racing I think the outlook is positive for MWR this season.  Look for Both David and Michael to have cars in Victory lane and both viaing for the chase.  I see a top 20 for both the 00 and the 55 and look for the 47 to have a good top 25 season.

This has been a fairly strong Season for MWR,  David is viaing for a chase spot, got his first win and the first win for MWR and Marcos is having a stronger year than most predicted and is sitting 18th in the points.  The only downfall was Michael, who after a strong start has dropped out of the top 30 in points. 

GRADE: "C+":  I gave myself a "C+" because of how Michael has run, if he had been higher or I wouldn't have been over excited at the beginning of the year I probably would have done better here.  The grade could have been higher but I down graded it because of my loyality to Michael I didn't want everyone to think I went too high.

Outlook for the remainder of the season:  Look for David to make the chase and for Marcos to keep hold of his top 20 standings.  Hopefully, with the signing of Martin Truex Jr. to drive the NAPA 56 next season, Michael will be able to relax and have more success.  I still say he will win a race this year. 

 

Last is Robby Gordon and the rest:  I am going to combine Robby with the rest and grade myself on the total group:

Outlook for Robby Gordon Racing Robby should finish somewhere between 22nd and 30th in points.  As always he will be a force on the Road Courses.

27 Kirk Shelmirdine - Kirk has done well in the past qualifying on the plate tracks but don't expect him to last the season.

34 Tommy Baldwin Racing - Tommy has Scott Riggs as a driver and has a solid chance of making the top 35.  A new team with a craft veteran crew chief as owner.  This team could surprise and end up in the top 30 by seasons end.

41 Jeremy Mayfield - Jeremy is starting his own team and has solid sponsorship with "Big Red" Soft drinks.  Jeremy is a good driver and could end up in the top 35 by seasons end.

64 Todd Bodine - "Cue Ball" is moving up from the trucks to tackle the Cup series once again.  If he has the proper backing and lands sponsorship he could contend for a top 25 spot.

66 Prism Motor Sports - With Terry Labonte and Dave Blaney driving for this team I hope they do well.  I like both drivers but with Phil Parsons just starting out this team will struggle making the top 35.  I hope they end the season in the top 35.

87 Joe Nemechek - After being ousted from Furniture Row, Joe is going to try it on his own.  I don't see him making it through an entire season, unless he can find some major sponsorship.

 Well Robby was a little high in my preseason predictions but everyone else is pretty much spot on.  With that I give myself:

GRADE: "B":  I over reached a little on Robby and a couple of other teams saying they had a chance at a top 35 spot so I downgraded myself to a "B".

 

Well there you have it Let me know how you think I did.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: JGR, MWR, NASCAR, RBR, Toytoa
 
Posted on: July 7, 2009 1:38 pm
 

Good Move On Mikeys Part

Well, for those of us who have rooted for Michael Waltrip, it is kind of a sad day as he announced that he is moving to a part time driver next season.  However, he also announced that Martin Truex Jr. Will be moving into the number 56 NAPA Toyota next year.  This in my opinion is a great move.  Martin is a 2 time Nationwide champion and has won a race at DEI.  He was in the chase in 2007 and I believe his struggles this year is basically do to him trying to secure a ride with a solid team for next season. 

The rumors have been flying since last year that Martin would be moving to a new team, with most speculating that it would be with Tony Stewart.  However, Michael made a move that was shrewed and opened the door to Martin.  That move was he hired Martin's little brother as a development driver.  You can tell Martin has a lot of love for his little brother just listening to him talk about his win at Watkins Glen and maybe the chance to race as a teammate with him was a clincher to move to MWR.  That and the fact that he sees the 00 running up front and viaing for a spot in the chase was all he needed.

For those who have not seen the MWR shop, if you ever get the chance take the tour.  All areas are open to the public to be seen except on area, the expermint booth.  They have guides to tell you what is going on, you can even say hi to the crew members and they will acknowledge you.  It is a first class shop and for it to be so well run and less than 3 years old shows, Michael did it the right way. 

So to Michael and Martin, I say good luck, Michael, you picked a great driver and I'm sure we will see that NAPA Toyota in victory lane next season. 
Category: Auto Racing
Tags: MWR, NASCAR
 
Posted on: May 19, 2009 10:36 am
Edited on: May 20, 2009 6:41 am
 

Michael Waltrip Update and a Surprise!!!!!!!

Well, Mikey has put himself in a position where he has going to have to make a decision,  Does he sign someone to drive the 55 next season or does he and his team get their act together and improve their position in the standings.  Now for some defense for Michael, he was running well at 'Dega when he got caught up in the second big one and that killed him in the standings, along with his engine exploding at Darlington.  However, Mikey started off well and has fallen off bad here lately and that puts him in a postions of where he needs to really improve over the next 5 races and if he can't maybe he should seriously consider stepping down. 

As a fan that is hard to say but Mikey made a bold statement at the beginning of the season, to either put up or shut up, and if he doesn't improve he should step down.  Now who should he consider putting in the 55 next season if he decides to step down.  Well, there are two drivers who come to mind that will be free agents next season.

1.  Martin Truex Jr. - Martin is comtemplating leaving DEI and would be a good fit into the 55 car.  A strong driver who can help put NAPA back in the winner's circle.  Also, with Mikey having signed his brother, that may be just the thing to get Martin to come over.  Now you may ask why would Martin consider the 55 Car?  Well, all you have to do is look at how well David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose are running and you know the equipment is there.  So I think Martin would consider it.  Martin could also be signed even if Mikey runs next season, especially if he brings Bass Pro shop with him.  Mikey has room for a 4th car and it would set up Martin running with his brother eventually.

2.  Jamie McMurry - Jamie is a free agent and I'm not sure he is happy with the whole Jack Roush situtation.  Plus Jamie and Mikey have made a couple of commericals together, food lion, and that may be the interaction that brings these two together.  So Don't be surprised if Mikey steps down, Jamie steps in.

NOW FOR THE SURPRISE I MENTIONED IN THE TITLE:

I'm going to catch a lot of grief over this one so hang on.

Tony Eury Jr. will become Michael Waltrips Crew Chief if he is fired at HMS.  Now don't laugh.  but Mikey and Tony Jr. had a good releationship at DEI and Mikey liked the way he set up his car.  So if Tony Eury gets handed his walking papers after the 600 look for him to be in the MWR shop within a couple of days.  Booty will be given another assignment within the shop and will remain.  But right now Booty can't get the front end of the car to Mikey's liking and that is why Mikey has struggled lately.  I know I have maintained Junior would never do anything with Eury Jr as his crew chief, but I don't believe it has anything to do with Tony's ability it has to do with the bickering the two do when in each others company.  And I think Tony can keep up with the track if given proper feedback from the driver.  But listening to Junior this weekend it's like he expects Tony to read his mind.  And that doesn't work.  Anyway it would be best for Both I believe if Tony and Junior split. 

So you can say you heard it hear first.  That if Tony Eury Jr. gets fired he will end up at MWR.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 6, 2009 11:19 am
 

Mikeyfan's Pre-Season Predictions (Toyota)

Last season JGR brought Toyota to the forefront and almost won them the Manufacture Championship.  So how do the Toyota teams do this year?  Here are my thoughts.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Can Kyle Bush repeat last years regular season domination?  Will Denny keep his cool and stay in the chase?  What happens to JGR with Tony no longer in the fold?  Is Joey Lagono the Real deal or a dud?  These are the questions a lot of folks have.  JGR should have another good year.  Both Kyle Bush and Denny Hamlin should make the chase without a problem.  Joey on the other hand is a wild card.  Will he listen to a proven crew chief in Greg Zipadelli or will he figure, as a lot of 18, 19 and 20 year old do, that he already knows everything and starts tearing up equipment?  I guess time will tell

Outlook for Joe Gibbs Racing

You can lock in Kyle Bush and Denny Hamlin into your chase picture.  These two team are solid and should have another solid year.  The question remains the 20 car.  They are a wild card to make the chase, but I think Zippy and the gang should be happy with a solid top 20 run this season and think about the chase at a later time.  The biggest question for Joey is will we see the Joey we saw in the Nationwide series or the one that struggled in the cup series?

Red Bull Racing

Brian Vickers had a great showing for Toyota and for their second year team.  Brian was consistently in the top 20 all year and brought some legitimacy to this race team.  Brian should challenge for a chase spot but I'm not sure he'll make it.  Red Bull also made a driver change this year bringing in Phoenom Scott Speed and releasing AJ Allmendinger.  This upset a lot of people but we will have to see who was right at the end of the season. 

Outlook for Red Bull Racing

I see Brian Vickers as having a chance to sneak into the top 12 and make the chase, The bigger question is can he win a race for Toyota and Red Bull this season.  As for Scott Speed he needs to worry about staying in the top 30 this year, make every race and learn the tracks and drivers.  If he starts pressing to run with the "big dogs" he could find himself in the go or go homers after 5 races.

Michael Waltrip Racing

David Reutimann played the Brian Vickers role at MWR last season.  David was consistent and showed signs at the end of last season that he was going to be a force to reckon with in 2009.  David is also one of the many who could find himself making a run for the chase.  As for Michael Waltrip, well Michael put a lot of pressure on himself this year by stating if he doesn't make some major improvement he will probably step down and turn the car over to a younger driver.  I personnelly don't think that will happen, Michael finally figured out how he like the COT to feel and once he and Bobby Kennedy figured that out Michael ran well.  And even though he has a new crew chief in Bootie Barker, Bobby Kennedy will be their to help Bootie learn what Michael wants in a car.  Last the 47 car of Marcos Ambrose.  Marcos is a young driver and should hopefully put the car in the top 25.  He will contend for a victory on both road courses and could surprise some on the cookie cutter track.

Outlook for Michael Waltrip Racing

I think the outlook is positive for MWR this season.  Look for Both David and Michael to have cars in Victory lane and both viaing for the chase.  I see a top 20 for both the 00 and the 55 and look for the 47 to have a good top 25 season.

Robby Gordon Racing

Robby moves from Dodge to Toyota in 2009.  Robby wants to get back to the top 20 and win another race or too.  I admire him for being on his own for so long but I think its starting to take its toll. 

Outlook for Robby Gordon Racing

Robby should finish somewhere between 22nd and 30th in points.  As always he will be a force on the Road Courses.

Rest of the Toyota Teams and Their Outlook

I'm just going to list the rest of the Toyota teams as they are all new teams.  Don't expect any of these teams to contend for a chase spot.  Most will be battling for the 35th spot to stay out of the go or go homers.

27 Kirk Shelmirdine - Kirk has done well in the past qualifying on the plate tracks but don't expect him to last the season.

34 Tommy Baldwin Racing - Tommy has Scott Riggs as a driver and has a solid chance of making the top 35.  A new team with a craft veteran crew chief as owner.  This team could surprise and end up in the top 30 by seasons end.

41 Jeremy Mayfield - Jeremy is starting his own team and has solid sponsorship with "Big Red" Soft drinks.  Jeremy is a good driver and could end up in the top 35 by seasons end.

64 Todd Bodine - "Cue Ball" is moving up from the trucks to tackle the Cup series once again.  If he has the proper backing and lands sponsorship he could contend for a top 25 spot.

66 Prism Motor Sports - With Terry Labonte and Dave Blaney driving for this team I hope they do well.  I like both drivers but with Phil Parsons just starting out this team will struggle making the top 35.  I hope they end the season in the top 35.

87 Joe Nemechek - After being ousted from Furniture Row, Joe is going to try it on his own.  I don't see him making it through an entire season, unless he can find some major sponsorship.

 

Well there you have it the Toyota teams.  Toyota should have 2 in the chase and there are several possiblities for more.  The outlook for Toyota is looking better each year as more teams are moving in their direction.

Posted on: November 10, 2008 2:29 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2008 8:00 pm
 

Mikeyfans End of Year NASCAR Awards

Most of you remember I did a mid year awards blog, so now I'm going to do an end of year awards blog.  Using the same categories and I will even show who my mid season winner was.  Please feel free to comment as usual.

MVP:

Mid Season Winner: Kyle Bush

My how fortunes change - at mid season there was no question who should get this award Kyle Bush had it locked it seemed, but something happened at the start of the chase and well, to the joy of Junior fans everywhere, Kyle hit a rough patch and may not make the banquet table, imagine that. 

So who is this years MVP,  Well the obvious would probably be Jimmie Johnson, he has his 3rd championship virtually locked up, he would win the points battle even it was under the old system so why not JJ.  But no one ever accused me of going with the obvious.  My pick for this years MVP is:

CARL EDWARDS - Carl has been consistent all year, he won races in the begining of the year, mid-year and the end of the year.  And if it wasn't for a 100 point deduction at Vegas this year Carl would be leading under the classic points system by 46 points. 

Most Improved:

Mid Season: BRIAN VICKERS:

At the mid season I toyed with Brian and David Reutimann as the winner of this award, and while both have had great years my winner had a better year, we just didn't really hear about him until  the later part of the season.  So the end of year award goes to:

David Regan -  David looks like he will end up 13th in points and the last half of the season has consistently run in the top 10.

Most Disappointing:

Mid Season: Ryan Newman:

I based my mid season selection on the fact that Ryan did nothing after his 500 win and while he didn't win a race and did not compete for a chase spot, and yes while his season has been somewhat a disappointment I'm giving him a break for having his mind on his move to his new team the latter part of the season.  But the winner, in my opinion has no excuses and that person would be:

Elliott Sadler:  Elliott didn't do a thing this year,  Even when his teammate, Kasey Kane went on a small streak at the end of May, Elliott never threatened for anything.  others considered, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kyle Bush and Juan Pablo Montoya

Biggest Surprise:

Mid Season - David Regan

And the winner is:

David Regan: Not only was he my Most Improved but he remains my biggest surprise.  It seemed the latter part of the year everytime you looked at the final results David was in the top 10.  So Coodoos to David

Rookie of the Year:

Mid Season -Mike McDowell -

Boy did I get blasted for this pick and as it turned out rightfully so, Mike took a dive starting at Daytona and dove so far that he no longer has a ride.  This year there really wasn't a rookie that stood out like we have had in the past.  So I am going to go with:

Regan Smith: - Regan is currently 34th in points but more importantly he kept the 01 car in the top 35 all year.  Plus one has to consider where would Sam Hornish be if he hadn't had the points from the 2 car to guarantee him being in the first 5 races.

Now for Team Awards:

Most Improved Team:

Mid Season - MWR

Well I got blasted for my pick at mid season, everyone was saying it should have been "Red Bull"  Well guess what? I'm going to get blasted again because my winner is:

MWR: Michael Waltrip has put a lot of effort into this team and has all three cars in the top 35 at this time.  Plus the last half of the season MWR cars have been competitive a lot of the times.  With the 00 moving to the 47 next season and Mikey Bringing in some major engineers from F-1 and other personnel I expect bigger and better things for next season.  Also, one thing that turned me off on Red Bull, is how they handled AJ Allmendinger.  The 83 car is 20th in points but Brian sits 19th in Drivers Points and David 22nd so not a whole lot of differences there. 

Most Disappointing Team:

Mid Season - Ganassi Racing: 

Again I have to stick with my Mid Season Pick here and go with:

Ganassi Racing - Chip lost the 40 car early, Now he lost sponsors for his top driver with Texaco leaving and is looking to merge with another team.  

Most Shocking Event of the Season:

Mid Season - Ryan Newman leaving Penske Racing:

While Ryan leaving Penske was a shock, I think the biggest shock to NASCAR is:

Sponsors leaving by droves: A lot of sponsors have bailed on NASCAR for the upcoming season.  Army leaves DEI, Ganassi loses Texaco, No sponsors for the 43, 22 and others.  It appears NASCAR's Cash Cow is drying up and it will be interesting to see what, if anything, Brian France does in the off season.

Best Move by NASCAR:

Mid Season:

1.  Ryan Newmans 25 Point penalty for being too high.  To me this was consistent to all the past penalties.  Even though it was the COT it was nothing that kept the car from meeting the templates.

2.  The no penalty to the 66 car of JJ Yealy last week.  Initially, it was reported the team had put lead in the water bottle and then when they changed the water bottle the car would weigh about 30 pounds lighter.  Well it turned out that the bags contained Water and when they took the bag out the car was within standards but, the a violation had taken place by placing the bag in the car prior to tech, thereby changing the attitude of the car.  The penalty was a drive through on lap 1 and did not result into a loss of a lap. 

End of Year:

Boy its hard to come up with a Best Move by NASCAR but other than the two above I will have to say the Best Move is:

The changing of the Chase Schecule:  I'm not real crazy about California having a chase race and Atlanta losing it.  What the move did was bring the Labor Day Race back to the south where it belongs but it also pushed Talladega back to the 6th race in the chase.  This could make it very interesting with the 'Big One' lurking at every lap.  Make Contenders from Pretenders and make Contenders,  Pretenders.

Well there you have it.  Agree, Disagree,, but remember if you disagree let everyone know why and who you would pick for that category.  After all your opinion counts too.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: November 7, 2008 7:00 am
Edited on: November 7, 2008 8:54 am
 

Junior vs MWR Who had better Year?

Back to racing and anyone who has read my post or a lot of my blogs know by now I'm not a big fan of Junior Nation.  I have a lot of friends on this board that are fans of Dale Earnhardt Junior, but its those that think their driver is the greatest and can do know wrong that I like to get under their skin.  Anyway, being a Michael Waltrip fan I get a lot of ribbing and bashing about how bad Mikey is and how he is a failure after one year with his new start up team, with a new manufacture, on the other hand I have always maintained that Rick Hendrick signed Dale Junior for the money he would bring in.  So what the heck lets look at who has had the better season.

On paper you would say Dale Junior had the better year hands down, 1 win vs 0 wins for MWR, made the chase while 2 of the 3 MWR cars are in the top 30, 1 top 25 and the third car basically moved to another team sitting as the first go or go homer, in 36th.  But (did both Jr . and MWR meet their fans expectations) I want to break it down by expectations and see how both stack up.

When Junior was signed by HMS last year all I saw was how Junior was going to win 2 to 3 races a year and be fighting for a championship and be a top chase contender.  So lets look at what happened this year.  Junior ran consistent all season, I will give him that, but he only won 1 race, fuel mileage and if not for a lucky yellow, would have run out of gas on the backstretch and lost the race, but a win is a win and I will not take anything away from him just wanted to point out all the factors.  He finished the first 26 races in 4th in points and if the classic points were being used  he would be in 6th, but the way the points are reset Junior is sitting in 11th position with a very good chance that he will not make the podium.  Junior has led several races this year but his communication with his crew chief and some questionable calls from his crew chief, have lead to his demise in the later portions of the race.

Now lets look at MWR.  MWR started the season great for a second year organization.  All 3 cars were locked into the top 35 after the first 5 races of the season and for 1 week with David Reutimann, right after he moved to the 44 car, the 55 and 44 have been locked in all season.  The 00 fell out of the top 35 somewhere around the 26th race and is battling to get back in. MWR did have a sit back though as they lost the sponsorship of the 44 to Roush Racing.  But we are seeing sponsors moving to all the established teams and leaving the startups and some established teams without sponsors.  At least MWR has sponsors for the 55 and 00 (prior 44 car) for next season.  Anyway getting back to MWR they have been competitive somewhat throughout the year.  Mikey had a strong car a 'Dega in the spring and would have contended for the win but him motor gave up on the last lap.  Rain kept him from winning a fuel stragey race in New Hampshire, but he finished second, and David Led the most laps at Richmond in the fall and has, along with Michael, been running very well the later part of the season. 

So what was my expectations of MWR.  3 cars locked into the show, with the David and Mikey in the top 25 in points.  Well, David is in the top 25 but Mikey is in 29th so he has fallen short of expectations, But overall I am happy with the progress MWR has made this year and am looking forward to them competing for wins consistently next season. 

So who had the better year, MWR or Junior? : PUSH

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: October 23, 2008 11:40 am
 

Michale Waltrip and his 1000th NASCAR Start

Michael Waltrip will start his 1000th race this season in the NASCAR elite series, Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.  Not too bad for a driver that a lot of folks consider a clown and shouldn't be on the track.  Now Michael will be only the second in History to achieve 1000 starts, second only to the King, Richard Petty.

So how does a no talent like Michael Waltrip stay around long enough to make his 1000th career start?  Well, first you have to be able to drive a race car and give the owner the feeling that he/she has a chance to win. In Michaels early years he raced for Bahre racing.  This was a low budget team, similar to HAAS in todays world but Mikey was always capable of keeping the car in the top 20 in points.  No they never won a race but they were competitive.  After Bahre, dropped out of racing the Wood Brothers came calling.  The Wood Brothers, once one of the feared teams in NASCAR, hadn't done much the previous few years, even with drivers like Elliott Saddler, but in 1996 Mikey did something that no other driver had ever done.  He won the Winston Qualifying race then went on to win the Winston.  It was his very first victory in a cup car and although it wasn't a points race and therefore doesn't count in his record it showed that Michael could win at the top level against the best, when the best were going all out for the cash.

After a 3 year stint with the Wood Brothers, Michael went with another Start Up team, this time Jim Mattie/Jim Smith in the 7 car.  Being a start up team, the team didn't do a whole lot but Mikey was still competitive especially at the plate tracks.

Then came his big break,  Dale Earnhardt came calling.  When Dale hired Michael, a lot of questions as to why?  Dales response was that Michael had never had good equipment and given the equipment Dale fetl that Michael would win races.  He also went on to say that Michael would bring DEI their first Daytona 500 Victory.  Dale said Michael was one of the best in the draft and that past equipment was the only reason he had never won a plate track. 

Well we all know what happened the very first race Michael raced for DEI,  Michael won the Daytona 500 but didn't get to celebrate because of the tragic death of his friend and ledgen Dale Earnhardt.  Come July's race at Daytona, it was clear the 15 NAPA Chevy was the class of the field but he wanted his friend and the son of Dale Earnhardt to win.  So Michael did everything that he needed to do to make sure that Dale Junior won that race.  The last two laps Michael put blocks on Drivers that no one else would have attempted, putting himself at risk so Junior could celebrat at the track that took his dad's life.

After his stint with DEI Michael started his own race team.  He did this because Toytoa came knocking on the Door and asked him if he was ready to take his Bush team to the next level.  I know a lot of folks have really gotten onto Michael because of how his team ran last year and the first part of this season, but people forget this was a new team, working with a new car, new manufacture and those combinations take time.  I do believe though that Michael has shown that MWR is turning the corner and can/will be competitive in 2009 with David and Mikey.

But there is another side of Michael that keeps him in the cup series and that is his natural ability to pitch his sponsors.  Michael learned from his brother that the TV is your friend and he figured out that if you kept his sponsors in the forefront when being interviewed they will stay around.  This is what Michael has been able to do, he keeps his sponsors on the tip of your tounge.  How many people think of NAPA when you mention Michael's name.  Usually, the conversation turns to the commericals he makes.  Also, Michael welcomes the camera he doesn't want to hurry up the interview so he can run away, he wants the camera on him, his uniform showing his sponsors, as much as possible.  And as we all know air time is money, and money runs the show. 

So Here's to Michael, a good driver, not great, who has the charm and witt about him to last in the sport he loves for 25 plus years.  To take a talent and sell it to millions around the world not just for his benefit but for the entertainment that the sport is to bring.  May he and his organization have a very successful 2009 season, and many more success in the future. 

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: September 23, 2008 8:47 am
 

MWR Finally turning the Corner?

Well, I've been beaten up for being a Michael Watlrip fan and especially the fact that MWR hasn't been doing that well.  I have been defending by saying that this is a new team and you can't expect a new team to come out of the box and compete, it doesn't happen.  But now it looks like MWR is finally trying to turn that corner to respectability. 

I say this because when you look at the Runs David Ruetimann has made the past 5 races and then Mikey's top 10 last week, well there for a fan you can see light at the end of the tunnel.  It started when MWR finally started to make better, lighter chassis.  It took them awhile to pick upon the material other teams were using, and through Mikeys admission, this was learned with his relationship with JGR this spring. 

Now people are saying Michael doesn't have a chance because UPS just left the organization for Roush and the 6 car.  Well, while that hurt, MWR has stated they have sponsorship for the car David Ruetimann will drive next season, the 00. (the 44 will go back to Petty Enterprise it looks like).  And MWR is on the brink of signing a sponsor for the Car Michael McDowell will drive, (Guessing it will be the 66). 

Also, all you have to do is look at who Michael is bringing into the shop and you can understand that this team is in it for the long haul.  Michael just signed Steve Hallan, an Engineer who is the current Head  of Mclaren's Racing Operations.  Steve has worked as lead engineer and won F-1 Championships, for Ayren Senna, Nigel Mansell and Mika Hakkinen.  A pretty good resume if you ask me. 

I know I say this all the time but don't be surprised if Mikey wins at 'Dega this year and starts to consistently starts to run top 20's.  I think David and his team has now shown they can run top 20 week to week and the 00 car with McDowell, is still fighting for that 35th  spot, (now 36th) but they are turning things around too.  I look for a good weekend from the entire team at Kansas. 

MWR has made great strides this year compared to last year, IMO.  And I think the strides will be even greater next season.  MWR could be a contender next season believe it or not.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: MWR, NASCAR
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com