Michael Waltrip's final start to come in 2017 Daytona 500
RELATED: Driver Tracker for 2017 FOX Sports analyst Michael Waltrip will make one final run at the Daytona 500 next month and then call it a career in NASCAR. Waltrip , 53, made the announcement in a release with sponsor Aaron's on Thursday afternoon. He is a two-time winner of the "Great American Race," prevailing in the Daytona International Speedway opener in 2001 and 2003. Premium Motorsports will prep the "Aaron's #15 Thanks Mikey Toyota" for his 30th consecutive start in the Daytona 500 . Waltrip has had more than a 17-year association with the Atlanta-based sponsor. Waltrip's entry is from a chartered team, meaning he is guaranteed a spot in the 40-car field. "I have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows at the Great American Race," Waltrip said in the release. "But when you are a NASCAR racer who has the privilege of racing here, you love Daytona no matter what happens. In my 30th and final Daytona 500 , I am just going to enjoy every moment and be happy that Aaron's has given me one more opportunity to hoist the Harley J. Earl trophy." Waltrip has four victories in 783 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . All of those triumphs have come on restrictor-plate tracks -- three at Daytona and one at Talladega Superspeedway . Waltrip has been a part of FOX Sports' coverage of NASCAR's top division since 2012. The Kentucky native has entered no more than four races a year -- primarily at Daytona and Talladega -- for the last seven seasons.
Daytona 500 qualifying order
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! # Car Driver Team 1 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt Little Joes Autos/Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet 2 51 * Timmy Hill (i) Spoonful of Music Foundation/Bubba Burger Chevrolet 3 83 * Corey LaJoie Dustless Blasting Toyota 4 96 * DJ Kennington Lordco/Castrol Toyota 5 55 * Reed Sorenson Toyota 6 23 Joey Gase (i) Best Home Furnishings Toyota 7 15 Michael Waltrip Aaron's Toyota 8 72 Cole Whitt Florida Lottery Ford 9 37 Chris Buescher Cottonelle Mega Roll Chevrolet 10 7 * Elliott Sadler (i) Golden Corral Chevrolet 11 75 * Brendan Gaughan (i) Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet 12 38 David Ragan Camping World Ford 13 32 Matt DiBenedetto EJ Wade Construction Ford 14 34 Landon Cassill Love's Ford 15 95 Michael McDowell K-Love Radio Chevrolet 16 3 Austin Dillon DOW Chevrolet 17 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger Click List Chevrolet 18 10 Danica Patrick Aspen Dental Ford 19 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna McDonald's Chevrolet 20 78 Martin Truex Jr . Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER BOATS Toyota 21 13 Ty Dillon # GEICO Chevrolet 22 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Chevrolet 23 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Ford 24 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota 25 27 Paul Menard Menards/Peak Chevrolet 26 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 27 77 Erik Jones # 5-hour Energy Extra Strength Toyota 28 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 29 20 Matt Kenseth DeWalt Toyota 30 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 31 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford 32 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr . Nationwide Chevrolet 33 14 Clint Bowyer Mobil 1 Ford 34 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 35 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . Fastenal Ford 36 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 37 19 Daniel Suarez # ARRIS Toyota 38 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 39 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 40 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 41 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Foods Ford 42 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford * Required to qualify on time, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
What's in a Number? Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Daytona 500 dominance
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! The 59th annual Daytona 500 is just around the corner, so we sifted through the numbers on Racing Reference to find some interesting tidbits for you to chew on while you wait for the Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) running of The Great American Race. 10 Dale Earnhardt Jr . leads active drivers with 10 victories on restrictor-plate tracks. That's double the amount for the next-closest competitors, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson , who have five apiece. Two of Junior's 10 restrictor-plate wins have come in the Daytona 500 , his last being in 2014. 9 Dale Earnhardt Jr . also leads active drivers with nine second-place finishes in restrictor-plate races. Tony Stewart had eight, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson all tied at six apiece. So in 19 of Junior's 67 restrictor-plate races, he has finished either in first or second place. RELATED: More restrictor-plate stats 1967 The last time the Daytona 500 was run on Feb. 26 was 1967, and the winner was Mario Andretti. It was Andretti's only win in 14 NASCAR premier series starts. He drove for Holman-Moody and beat Fred Lorenzen in a race that ended under caution. Andretti, of course, was better known for his open-wheel career. No. 11 When Andretti won the Daytona 500 he was driving the No. 11 car. That number has been on the Daytona 500 -winning car just two other times: In 1977, eventual NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough drove it to Victory Lane. Last year, Denny Hamlin won in the race's closest finish ever (.010 seconds over Martin Truex Jr .). RELATED: Stats by car number 22 The number of DNFs for Michael Waltrip in his restrictor-plate racing career, tying him with Bobby Labonte for third-most all-time. However, Waltrip has the most starts in restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega with 108 and has won four times, including twice in the Daytona 500 (2001 and '03). Waltrip will be making the final start of his career in this year's Daytona 500 .
All-Star Grid Walk: 'Only Michael Waltrip I know is a dancer'
Michael Waltrip and Bryson Byrnes, son of Steve Byrnes, stroll the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race grid to see if Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and others can lay claim to $1 million.
Michael Waltrip driving in Daytona 500
RELATED: 2016 Driver Tracker " Daytona Speedweeks schedule Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip announced Thursday that he will compete in this year's season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event as driver of the BK Racing No. 83 Toyota. Waltrip , 52, made the announcement during the FS1 program "Race Hub." "It's a great opportunity for us to expand our team and go racing," Waltrip said, adding that Maxwell House will provide sponsorship. BK Racing will field three teams at Daytona, with Waltrip joining current BKR drivers Matt DiBenedetto and David Ragan . DiBenedetto competed for the team in the No. 83 last season while Ragan, who joined BKR during the offseason, will be in the team's No. 23 Toyota. With Waltrip in the No. 83, the organization will field a third entry for DiBenedetto at Daytona International Speedway . It is believed to be a one-race deal for Waltrip , who made three starts last season and has made no more than four starts annually since 2010. Waltrip scored his first NASCAR premier series victory in 2001 when he won the Daytona 500 , a race that was marred by the death of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt. Waltrip came back to win the 500 again in 2003. He also won the summer race at Daytona in 2002 and the fall event at Talladega Superspeedway in 2003. Waltrip was also a team owner – his Michael Waltrip Racing organization fielded full-time teams with the backing of Toyota, which entered the series in 2007. MWR drivers won seven times before the organization closed its doors at the end of the 2015 season. Waltrip has 28 career starts in the "Great American Race." The 58th running of the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 21 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
Michael Waltrip : 'I gave it all I had'
Michael Waltrip Racing will run its final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The two-car team is shuttering its doors at the end of the season. Team owner Michael Waltrip was in a sentimental mood on Twitter late Thursday night and shared some thoughts: Ever built something really special? Where everyone involved in it was really proud to be part of it and then see it end? Happened to me — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 When from the beginning it was a struggle but you persevered, never taking no for an answer. Then you overcame the seemingly impossible.. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 You provided jobs for 100s of families, you gave young racers a chance, you won, and contended for a @NASCAR Cup championship. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 Sunday it'll be hard, but I'll choose to smile. We were underdogs who nearly survived in a grown ups world. Ultimately we didn't win it all — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 But what I will remember is more important to me than the statistics that @MWRteam will be judged by. People appreciate coming to work. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 So don't feel sorry for me. I think we get more from what we give. And I gave it all I had. And that's all I have to say about that. ✌️ — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015
Michael Waltrip Racing penalty upheld in appeal
RELATED: Official release on appeal A three-member appeals panel upheld P4-grade penalties issued to Michael Waltrip Racing 's No. 15 Toyota team Wednesday, severely hampering driver Clint Bowyer 's hopes of advancing from the first round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. The National Motorsports Appeals Panel -- which heard the team's appeal at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina -- ruled that the Waltrip -owned organization violated the rules set forth in the penalty notice and the panel affirms and upholds the original penalty assessed by NASCAR. On Sept. 23, NASCAR handed down punishment for an illegally mounted track bar and suspension infractions as part of pre-race technical violations after the postseason-opening race Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway , stripping Bowyer of 25 points in the drivers' championship standings, suspending crew chief Billy Scott for three races and fining the team $75,000. The penalties were issued at the P4 level of discipline in the NASCAR deterrence system, which went into effect in the 2014 season. Scott, who was also placed on probation for six months, was atop the No. 15 team's pit box last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after MWR deferred the penalty until after the appeals process. RELATED: Bowyer to drive No. 14 car for SHR in 2017 Michael Waltrip Racing plans to cease operations at season's end and it was announced on Wednesday that Bowyer will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017, while he hinted that light will be shed on his 2016 plans shortly. The team announced later Wednesday that it would not appeal the ruling. "We are disappointed with the outcome of today's ruling and still feel our interpretation is within the guidelines," according to the statement. "Rather than continue the appeals process, MWR is ready to focus 100 percent of our company's resources on winning at Dover and trying to advance to the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ." With the penalty upheld, Bowyer remains last among the 16 playoff drivers in the Chase, 39 points behind 12th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who holds a tenuous grip on the final berth to avoid elimination and move to the next postseason segment. The title-eligible Chase field will be whittled to 12 after the Challenger Round finale, Sunday's AAA 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Dover. The three members on the National Motorsports Appeals Panel chosen to hear Wednesday's appeal were Paul Brooks, Bill Lester and Bill Mullis.
Appeal date set for Michael Waltrip Racing
RELATED: Bowyer drops to 16th in Chase standings after penalty Michael Waltrip Racing formally filed its appeal of the No. 15 team's P4 penalty on Thursday, one day after NASCAR handed down the original punishment. MWR's appeal will be heard Wednesday, Sept. 30, but the team's request to defer suspensions was granted -- that means Clint Bowyer 's crew chief Billy Scott is permitted to sit atop the pit box at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. The team's original penalty consisted of Bowyer losing 25 driver points, team co-owner Rob Kauffman docked 25 owner points and Scott fined $75,000 and suspended for three races. Scott was also placed on probation for six months. RELATED: MWR caught with hand in cookie jar
Drivers celebrate Valentine's Day, get mushy on Twitter
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Read more Inside Groove Ah, can you feel it? Love is in the air -- and on the interwebs. Some NASCAR drivers took to Twitter to celebrate Valentine's Day 2017 and give special shoutouts to their sweethearts, while other, more single drivers took the opportunity to channel their inner Kate Winslet (looking at you, Noah Gragson.) Here's the best V-Day tweets we've seen on Twitter this February 14. Since we aren't spending this years Valentines @ the track I have been alerted that trip 2 drug store 4 candy/stuffed animal wont pass tech. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) February 14, 2017 How Junior celebrates at the track " Dale gets V-Day gift from ... 'Rowdy? ' ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4nu6yx7Fdv — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentine's Day to my girls! #luckyman #valentines pic.twitter.com/5xHoGWphus — Ryan Newman (@RyanJNewman) February 14, 2017 I saved % on Valentine's Day this year by switching to single — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) February 14, 2017 Scrolling through tinder on Valentine's Day like: #ThankGodILostTheBeerGut pic.twitter.com/GnxV7uhk34 — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) February 14, 2017 I love you with all my heart. Happy 1st Valentine's Day My Wife. pic.twitter.com/7PUJ1Om3NA — Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentines Day Trish! This year was a great one! Looking forward to the rest of our lives… https://t.co/gO0ZPpDToY — Casey Mears (@CJMearsGang) February 14, 2017 It's moments like these when my heart finds a way to get just a little bigger in loving you. ❤… https://t.co/GKudbGOglB — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) February 14, 2017 My man knows the way to my heart - workout equipment!!!!! He also got me a @trueformrunner for… https://t.co/YEUDddOTtc — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) February 14, 2017 Happy #ValentinesDay . Remember @landoncassill Love's you. pic.twitter.com/BXUeNV9ihK — FrontRow Motorsports (@Team_FRM) February 14, 2017 This i promise you https://t.co/euJ9vb4yk3 — landon cassill (@landoncassill) February 14, 2017 Hello Gorgeous. This one is for the ladies out there. Happy Valentine's Day! #TextMe pic.twitter.com/iZ7HOhLeDR — Noah Gragson (@NoahGragson) February 14, 2017 Feeling love today Love for my Snapchat that is. Lol. Fun photoshoot w/ @KBMteam today. Add my Snapchat for something special @DISupdates pic.twitter.com/ow4mMpnL1H — Myatt Snider (@MyattSnider) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentine's Day and thank you @ZappaOMatic for this awesome card haha ❤️ https://t.co/UxY1mKMdC6 — Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentine's Day!! Especially to my beautiful wife @ShannonLKoch pic.twitter.com/vNJiGVGrdR — Blake Koch (@BlakeKochRacing) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentines Day beautiful you have been with me threw good and bad and have always stood by me. I love you @HaliBerger pic.twitter.com/9hdZkBItbV — Cameron Hayley (@CameronNHayley) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentines Day @LucyK_Says ! Thanks for making everyday special! pic.twitter.com/Gx231d3gfU — Timmy Hill (@TimmyHillRacer) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! ❤️ — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentines Day @Caseyhaimes13 ! Love you pic.twitter.com/jmSVkZqwMX — Chad Boat (@ChadBoat) February 14, 2017 ❤️ — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) February 14, 2017 Happy Valentine's Day to my beautiful, fun loving fiancé @cortneydryden ! Love ya babe https://t.co/V2G8okTI67 — Jeremy Clements (@JClements51) February 14, 2017 Happy ❤ Valentines to my two favorites in the whole world. Love you both more than you will… https://t.co/4McSQL1vba — Justin Allgaier (@J_Allgaier) February 14, 2017
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