CHARLOTTE — Just a few years ago, who would have thought Michael Waltrip Racing would be leading a legitimate charge into the Chase for the Sprint Cup?
When MWR first launched – pardon the choice of words – it was with much more than a bang.
MWR was beginning its journey into the series along with Toyota in 2007, but its first race at Daytona saw NASCAR levy massive penalties on the organization for an illegal additive in its fuel.
MWR, however, found the ingredients necessary to lay a foundation for the future.
Co-owner Michael Waltrip and executive vice president for business development Ty Norris amassed a business and marketing team second to none in NASCAR.
With financial assistance from co-owner Robert Kauffman, the addition of director of competition Scott Miller, with a strong driver lineup of Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and veteran Mark Martin, the team that almost wasn’t is on the verge of its biggest season.
Truex and Bowyer are locked into the Chase with one race left before it begins. Both have contended for victories this season, with Bowyer reaching Victory Lane.
Good performance isn’t the only thing new faces have brought to the organization.
“I think what I brought to the table from the get-go is just make this fun. It’s such a grinding schedule. It’s a ton of pressure each and every week and you’ve got to make sure that your guys are having fun doing it,” Bowyer said.
Newman gets extension
Ryan Newman has agreed to a one-year extension with Stewart-Haas Racing, the Observer and News & Observer has learned.
The extension will ensure Newman is the driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet through 2013, two sources confirmed Wednesday night.
An official announcement could come as soon as this weekend, sources said.
Newman, 34, has 16 wins in his 11-plus Cup seasons, including one this year at Martinsville, Va.
Pastrana to debut with Roush
X Games and Rally Cross champion Travis Pastrana will pilot Roush Fenway’s No. 60 entry in this weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Richmond, Va.
60 Ford Mustang,” said Pastrana. “Roush Fenway Racing has a strong background as the most successful team in the history of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and I’m pleased to be driving for a legend like Jack Roush.”
Pastrana, who has eight Nationwide starts under his belt, made his series debut at Richmond this season, finishing 22nd. He scored a career-best 13th-place finish last month at Indianapolis and led his first lap last weekend at Atlanta.
Rockingham to host 3 season finales
Rockingham Speedway will host three series finales Nov. 3 with the inaugural running of the “Classic 3 Championship” featuring the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, UARA-Stars Late Models and Frank Kimmel Street Stock series.
The Nov.3 schedule will begin with driver introductions for the UARA-Stars Late Model Series at 11:30 a.m., followed by the green flag for their 75-lap main event. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will follow with a 100-lap championship race, with the 75-lap finale for the Kimmel Street Stock Series closing the program at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 at the gate on race day. Kids age 12 and under are half price. For more information, call 910-205-8800.
99 Toyota in Friday night’s Nationwide race at Richmond. He also will compete in the Sept. 29 race at Dover, Del., with the team.