sprintmediatour_mwr_013014_waltripAug. 19, 2015

Staff Report
NASCAR Wire Service

Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer have mutually agreed to part ways at the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, MWR announced early Wednesday morning.

MWR also announced it will no longer field a full-time entry in 2016. The team, which has fielded full-time cars at NASCAR’s premier level since 2007, currently owns cars driven by Bowyer (No. 15) and David Ragan (No. 55). Both will continue to run fulltime for the remainder of this season.

“This decision was made after weighing several different options and scenarios,” said Rob Kauffman, co-owner of MWR, in a team release. “I felt it was important to make an announcement as soon as we had clarity, so that is what we are doing today. … Clint Bowyer has done a lot for MWR since joining us in 2012 and we appreciate the energy and effort he has given the organization. After many discussions, Clint and I agreed we would go our separate ways at the end of the season and I wish him well in whatever direction he pursues.”

Wednesday’s announcement did not signal the end of Kauffman’s involvement in NASCAR, however. On July 30, MWR released a statement announcing that Kauffman had agreed to buy an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, saying the group was “currently evaluating ways to field the most competitive race teams possible to provide an excellent platform for their partners and employees for the 2016 season and beyond.” Ganassi currently fields the No. 1 and No. 42 cars driven by Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, respectively.

After six seasons with Richard Childress Racing, Bowyer enjoyed a career rebirth after joining Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012, winning three races and finishing second in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings in his first season with the team.

Bowyer, an eight-time premier series winner, has earned berths in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in two of the last three seasons. Currently 16th on the Chase Grid, he is on pace to earn another playoff spot this season.

“I want to thank Michael, Rob and everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing that made these past four years special,” Bowyer, 36, said. “After extensive discussions with Rob and MWR, we came to the point that we mutually agreed our paths in the future just didn’t align but I think we all agreed on the next steps in a very professional manner. I am looking forward to what future opportunities may come but for now we have a championship to pursue in 2015 and we owe it to every one of our sponsors, partners, employees and fans to deliver on and off the track.”

MWR’s foray into fulltime NASCAR Sprint Cup racing began in 2007 with cars driven by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and David Reutimann. Reutimann landed the team its first of seven Sprint Cup victories in the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 in 2009. Throughout its eight-plus fulltime seasons, MWR won races with Bowyer (three), Reutimann (two), Martin Truex Jr. (one) and Brian Vickers (one).

“Rob joined MWR in 2007 and has helped give us the resources to build a competitive race team, and in 2012, Clint Bowyer took us to the doorstep of a championship,” said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner. “From where MWR started behind my house in Sherrill’s Ford to winning Sprint Cup races, poles and earning Chase berths, I am proud of what we accomplished. My family has been a part of NASCAR for almost five decades and I plan on being a part of it for years to come. I would not have had the opportunity to start this journey without so many great partners, sponsors and employees and I want to thank each of them for making Michael Waltrip Racing a reality.”

Statement from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

We confirm that Rob Kauffman has agreed to acquire an interest in the team. Further discussions regarding the 2016 season and beyond are underway.

Statement from Michael Waltrip Racing:

Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has agreed to buy an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The companies will continue to operate separately and compete against each other for the remainder of the 2015 season. They are also currently evaluating ways to field the most competitive race teams possible to provide an excellent platform for their partners and employees for the 2016 season and beyond. More details will follow in due course.

Statement from Michael Waltrip

“My focus is on 2015 and fulfilling the commitment we have made to our partners and Toyota which is placing our teams in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. There are a lot of details yet to be sorted regarding 2016. I will work closely with Rob Kauffman and our sponsors to formulate the best way forward.”

sprintmediatour_mwr_013014_waltripCORNELIUS, N.C. – Michael Waltrip Racing today announced personnel changes to its two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup operation, which include the reassignment of its crew chiefs.

Effective immediately, Brian Pattie will become the crew chief for the No. 55 Toyota Camry driven by David Ragan. Billy Scott will become the crew chief for the No. 15 Toyota Camry driven by Clint Bowyer.

Pattie has been the crew chief for the No. 15 with Bowyer since the team was established in 2012. He has scored three wins with the team, and finished second in the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup and seventh in 2013.

Scott has been the crew chief of the No. 55 since August 2013, and previously served under Rodney Childers as that team’s lead engineer.

Additional changes include a reorganization of lead, secondary and support engineers for each team. Car chiefs, road mechanics and pit crews will remain with their originally assigned teams.

“Our goal is to best position the 15 and 55 teams for a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup,” said co-owner Rob Kauffman. “MWR has an enormous amount of bright, motivated and quality people working to solve the endless challenges inherent to racing. We have won poles and races, we have made the Chase and competed for a championship with this core group of personnel. We just felt it was time to shake things up a bit to try and spark fresh ideas and more consistent results. There are 12 races left before the 2015 Chase field is set and we plan to be a part of it.”

David Ragan to Drive MWR’s No. 55 Toyota for Remainder of 2015 Season
Ragan Begins New Duties at Kansas Speedway; No Timetable on Brian Vickers Return

CORNELIUS, N.C. – Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that David Ragan will drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine for the remainder of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, beginning May 9 at Kansas Speedway. Continue reading “David Ragan Grabs MWR #55 Cup Ride for the Rest of 2015”

CORNELIUS, N.C. – Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has signed multiyear contract extensions with sponsor 5-hour ENERGY, driver Clint Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie to race its No. 15 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series starting in 2015.

The trio joined MWR in 2012 and has scored three wins and earned two Chase berths including a runner-up finish in 2012.

“This is big news for all of us,” said Bowyer, an eight-time winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. “It creates great stability and excitement about what the next few years can bring. MWR is my racing home and continuing this relationship with 5-hour ENERGY was a high priority. It’s time to put the paperwork in a drawer and focus on winning.”

“Since the first day 5-hour ENERGY, Clint and Brian showed up at MWR, we have been a contender for wins and championships. I am so thankful that we get to continue and add to what we have built,” said co-owner Michael Waltrip. “I am most happy for the employees of MWR who are the foundation of everything we do.”

The familiar red, black and yellow brand colors of 5-hour ENERGY will adorn the No. 15 in 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup events each year starting in 2015. Additional primary partners on the No. 15 include PEAK and AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“We have clearly aligned ourselves with one of the most competitive and energetic drivers in racing and we felt it was really important for us to continue the equity we have built over the past three years,” said Scott Henderson, president of 5-hour ENERGY. “We love Clint, the people at MWR and the sport of NASCAR. The extension decision was also based on our racing program’s success with our sales team and all of our participating retailers.”

Bowyer celebrates his 300th start Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.