Friday, November 4, 2011

NASCAR: Michael Waltrip Racing hires Mark Martin and extends Aaron’s through 2013 in the #00; Reutimann out. UPDATE

Update - 11/23/2011: MWR announced that Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip will honor the sponsor (Aaron’s which was founded back in 1955) by driving the #55 in 2012 and 2013. (Read article)

Original Article:
Last month, the first domino fell at MWR as Michael Waltrip Racing announced that they had signed Clint Bowyer to drive the #15 Toyota with 5-hour energy starting in 2012.

But then came the second domino earlier this week as after a few days of rumors and speculations, MWR announced that they will be parting ways with David Reutimann at the end of the season (2011). This would leave an open seat, the #00 at MWR.

Now the third, but not last domino has fallen as MWR announced earlier today at Texas Motor Speedway that they have hired Mark Martin and extended the Aaron’s sponsorship through 2013.

The deal will give Mark Martin what he has been looking for, a part time ride in the Cup Series for the next two years as Martin will share the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machie with car owner Michael Waltrip. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.

Martin will drive in 25 races starting at the 2012 Daytona 500. While Michael Waltrip will drive the 5 races including the three other restrictor plate races and the Kentucky Cup race in 2012 and 2013. (Read PR)

Personally I have mixed feelings on this announcement. Sure its a good for MWR to continue to improve on there Cup Series program with the addition of Clint Bowyer and especially Mark Martin. And I was really hoping that Mark Martin would find a ride for the next few seasons in NASCAR that he truly wanted.

However there are two downsides or sticking points for me, one Mark Martin will be driving a Toyota, instead of a Chevrolet, Ford or Dodge. I’m a Toyota fan and wouldn’t own a Toyota and that includes Scion period. Of course I should note that if VW was in NASCAR, I wouldn’t have a problem with them.

And second, this move puts David Reutimann out of a ride as of now for 2012. I believe that Reutimann is a talented driver and in the right equipment and good people around him, he can be a contender for race wins. MWR, why couldn’t they part ways with Martin Truex Jr. instead of David Reutimann, things aren’t working with him neither, why not make a change there instead. Truex Jr. doesn’t seem to be able to put things together in the #56 over the last few years.

I guess time will tell what will happen at MWR, but with the addition of Bowyer and Martin, this is a step in the right direction.