Tag: Michael Waltrip

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

NASCAR: Entry list set for Sprint Unlimited; David Gilliland out, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the fourth driver to be added to Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited to fill the 25-car field.

Stenhouse is in the race after David Gilliland’s team withdrew. A spokesperson for Front Row Motorsports said the team did not have sponsorship for the event and elected to skip it.

Others who were eligible to compete in the 75-lap exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway but won’t are Brian Scott, Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger.

Replacing them are Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Casey Mears and Stenhouse.

NASCAR announced in December it was expanding the Sprint Unlimited field to 25 teams. The event is open to all 16 Chase teams from the previous season along with pole winners from last year, former Unlimited winners and former Daytona 500 winners. Any remaining spots go to the highest remaining drivers in points.


Entry List

1-Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing/McDonalds)
2-Brad Keselowski (Team Penske/Miller Lite)
3-Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing/Dow Chemical)
4-Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing/Jimmy John’s + Budweiser)
5-Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports/Great Clips)
10-Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing/GoDaddy)
11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing/FedEx Express)
13-Casey Mears (Germain Racing/GEICO)
14-Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing/Mobil 1 + Bass Pro Shops)
15-Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing/5-Hour Energy)
16-Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing/Ortho)
17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing/Fastenal)
18-Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing/M&Ms)
19-Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing/Arris)
20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing/Dollar General)
22-Joey Logano (Team Penske/Shell-Pennzoil)
24-Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports/AARP Drive to End Hunger)
27-Paul Menard (Richard Childress Racing/Peak-Menards)
31-Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing/Caterpillar)
41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing/Haas Automation)
42-Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing/Target)
43-Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports/Smithfield)
48-Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports/Lowe’s)
78-Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing/Furniture Row)
88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports/Nationwide Insurance)

Ryan Truex glad for brother Martin’s support while looking for next move in NASCAR

Aaron's 499 - Qualifying

Ryan Truex’s rookie Sprint Cup campaign last season was, in a word, rough.

The younger brother of Sprint Cup veteran Martin Truex Jr. netted just one Top-20 finish, sustained a concussion, and had eight DNFs in 23 races before being released in September by BK Racing.

Ryan Truex seeks a solid ride as the 2015 season looms. In an interview with the Press of Atlantic City (N.J.), he said he was still working to attain funding for a program in either Cup or the Xfinity Series.

But if anyone can teach him how to deal with obstacles, it’s his older sibling.

In 2013, Martin was caught up in Michael Waltrip Racing’s race manipulation scandal at Richmond International Raceway, which ultimately led to his departure from that team. Last year, his fortunes didn’t get better at Furniture Row Racing – but that paled in comparison to having to watch his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, battle ovarian cancer.

Still, Martin has soldiered on, and Ryan is learning by his example.

“He knows a lot about overcoming adversity and getting through the up-and-down times,” Ryan said of his brother. “I think that’s something he’s really helped me get through, and he’s been by my side the whole time and believes in me. He’s done all he can to help my career.

“It’s good to have that in your back pocket, and having that last name doesn’t hurt either.”

In the meantime, Ryan hopes he’ll land somewhere – and is happy that a miserable 2014 is done with.

“I felt like we had so many opportunities to capitalize on some strong runs and just had a lot of bad luck,” Ryan said. “Michigan, for example, that kind of hurt having the [concussion] and having to sit out for a week.

“For sure, the most up-and-down year of my career, by far. I’m glad I can put it behind me and move on.”

Mark Martin explains why he’s no longer driver development coach at Roush

Mark Martin

Mark Martin explained in a tweet Saturday morning why he no longer is working in a driver development role with Roush Fenway Racing.

Martin tweeted: “I didn’t want to go to the races. I’ve done enough of that for now. Except for dirt track.”

Martin answered a fan’s question Friday on Twitter confirming that he was no longer serving as a coach for Roush. Saturday, he answered another fan’s question as to why he wasn’t coaching Roush’s drivers.

Roush Fenway Racing announced last July that Martin would be helping its drivers. Martin was the first Cup driver for car owner Jack Roush. Martin won 35 in Sprint Cup races and finished runner-up for the championship four times while driving for Roush Fenway Racing.

Martin last raced in Cup in 2013, driving 15 races for Michael Waltrip Racing, 12 races for Stewart-Haas Racing in place of an injured Tony Stewart and one race for Joe Gibbs Racing in place of an injured Denny Hamlin.

Martin has 40 career Sprint Cup wins in 882 starts. He has 49 wins in what is now the Xfinity Series in 236 starts.



NASCAR: Michael Waltrip shares thoughts on what Daytona 500 means to him

TV Dancing with the Stars

The Daytona 500 means a lot to many people. Michael Waltrip is no different.

His love for the race began with a road trip to the 1975 running to see his older brother, Darrell, compete. Michael was 11 at the time.

Four decades have passed since. Michael Waltrip would experience the greatest joy and deepest sorrow in the event – two victories in 2001 and 2003, but also, the loss of team owner and friend, Dale Earnhardt Sr., in a last-lap crash during the 2001 race.

As Waltrip prepares to race in his 28th Daytona 500 in place of Brian Vickers (who is recovering from December heart surgery), he has put down thoughts on what this particular race has meant to him in a column for the Associated Press. Here’s a clip of that:

I remember driving through that tunnel for the first time, seeing those high banks, just soaking in the enormity of the facility and the fact that all my racing legend heroes had won there. It is a feeling that never leaves you and it is what makes the Daytona 500 so intimately special to me.

My career defining moments happened there.

My greatest wins.

One of my greatest losses.

Deep emotions, Daytona stirs them all.

Michael writes about Vickers and his determination to stay competitive despite health woes in recent years, as well as his own beliefs that Michael Waltrip Racing can contend for the win on Feb. 22.

For more of Michael’s thoughts, go to the link above.

The Race Doctor: Patrick Staropoli back in med school, but not giving up on racing dream

An aspiring doctor and racer, Patrick Staropoli won last spring at Irwindale Speedway in California. (Getty Images)
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About six weeks ago, Patrick Staropoli drove through the night from Charlotte to Daytona Beach, grabbed a couple hours of sleep and then proceeded to set the fastest speed of 40 drivers in an ARCA test.

Making that effort all the more impressive was the fact it was the first time the Florida native had raced on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway, and he did it as a fill-in driver, replacing another driver who was sick.

While Staropoli hoped that kind of performance would lead to a full-time ride for the 2015 season, unfortunately it didn’t, leaving Staropoli to revert to an unusual Plan B.

MORE: What’s up, doc? Aspiring M.D., NASCAR driver Patrick Staropoli featured in prestigious magazine

That’s why Staropoli, after taking a year off, is now back at the University of Miami, where he’s a fourth-semester medical student who soon hopes to add “Dr.” in front of his name.

As much as he wanted to race full-time in 2015, Staropoli had little choice. If he didn’t return to school when he did, the aspiring ophthalmologist would have forfeited all the schooling he had already gone through.

And if the Harvard University graduate ever chose to restart his plans to be a doctor, he’d have had to repeat the entire medical school program all over again.

“The cards that were on the table made the decision for me,” Staropoli told the Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) last week.

Still, Staropoli hopes to play hooky from school if he can find a ride for next Saturday’s (Feb. 14) Lucas Oil 200 ARCA race at DIS.

In other words, even though he still has to finish medical school, Staropoli is not giving up hope of continuing his racing exploits.

“I still think there’s a chance there,” Staropoli, 25, said. “I give myself an A-plus for effort.”

Staropoli spent the second half of last year working as a marketing intern for Michael Waltrip Racing. This came shortly after he won a K&N Pro Series West race at California’s legendary Irwindale Speedway.

While he had to tell UM that he’d be back in school in January, Staropoli was still holding out for a miracle – a racing miracle. He came close to one deal but it fell apart – and Staropoli was back in class on Jan. 5.

“My head’s been in a million different places,” Staropoli said. “I’m just trying to get back in the rhythm of school.”

But while Staropoli is continuing to progress towards one dream of becoming a doctor, he isn’t giving up his other dream of becoming a full-time race car driver.

At 25, he’d like to get a full-time ride – perhaps in the ARCA Series – and work his way up through the NASCAR ranks over the next several years, ultimately reaching his biggest dream of all of racing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series.

For now, he’s tempering racing with reality. He has board exams in June that, if he passes, will fulfill his doctor dream.

But if he gets a ride for next week’s ARCA race, wins it (or does very well), gets a sponsor and then a full-time offer, his mind is made up. So long school, hello full-time ride.

“The story is there, the performance is there,” Staropoli said. “I just need a certain amount of time, and a certain amount of luck. I’m not giving up.”

In the meantime, between studying and classes, Staropoli has mounted a social media campaign (“#Willwheelforfood”) that he hopes will attract some sponsors.

After all, the way he sees it, Staropoli has a long life ahead of him to become a doctor. But a racing career is much more finite.

“I keep telling myself everything happens for a reason,” Staropoli said. “If nothing else, the last year has been a pretty cool journey.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski