Michael Waltrip Racing's history and full crews for Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer's teams
Race shop hosts event to promote science, technology, engineering, math CORNELIUS, N.C. -- The questions weren't surprising and ranged from "how much do you make" to "how did you get interested in racing ." Nothing too bizarre to start off, and with just enough feedback to keep the trip interesting and the attendees attentive. Last month, Michael Waltrip Racing and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers hosted approximately 30 teenagers from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte (Mecklenburg and Union Counties). It was one of four events the organization took part in this year to help demonstrate the importance of STEM, an academic curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math. According to the U.S. Department of Education ( www.ed.gov/stem ), "only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Even among those who do go on to pursue a college major in the STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a related career. The United States is falling behind internationally, ranking 25th in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations." Following the screening of a short video and the open discussion, the teens, ranging in age from 13 to 18, toured the expansive facility where MWR personnel explained the engineering and safety aspects of today's Sprint Cup Series cars in a more hands-on setting. Vickers, a three-time winner in Sprint Cup and a former NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, said he has tried to tailor his approach to the interest of each individual group. "I wouldn't say it's changed it dramatically but certainly there are some things you learn as you go through the process," he said. "It's interesting. Every group is different, some are totally engaged, absolutely thought it was the coolest thing ever, especially the younger kids. The older groups, when you're in high school ... they want to pretend like they're not impressed even though they are. They're just that age where all their peers' opinions really matter so you have to really pull it out of them. "One mistake I made early on was just hammering science, technology, engineering and math. Because that's what it's about, right? I think it should be an integral part of it but the reality is you're not going to get 100 kids in one room and they all want to be engineers." The bigger picture, he said, was the opportunity to promote the value of getting an education. And that was the message he tried to impress upon the teens. "Something I have learned is that everyone here is intrigued by different things. Maybe it doesn't involve STEM, but maybe it does," he said. "What I would say to you is you should take your education seriously, but do something you love. Maybe it is working on race cars or building rockets or building skyscrapers, whatever. Maybe it's writing a play, or maybe it's being the next great artist. I don't know. "I'm not going to stand here and tell you that you need to be an engineer if that's not something that intrigues you. But I will tell you that your education is one of the most valuable assets you're going to have in your life." He doesn't undersell the importance of the STEM program, however. Integrating it with the Boys and Girls Clubs has been a success from the standpoint of providing youngsters with hands-on learning opportunities. In addition to the tour of the race shop, the teens were also the guests of the team at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It works for us," Vickers said of the program. "Because that's what racing is about. It's engineering-based. One of the last ones we did was in Atlanta, and we got just some amazing responses. "Those kids were so engaged. They had these dreams, and yeah, some of them, a big group of them in fact, wanted to be engineers. We had two or three that really wanted to work on race teams. And one young boy wanted to be an architect, a couple wanted to be musicians. ... And that's great. "But to only talk about (engineering), I think, it doesn't go as well. So I've kind of opened it up a little bit more; still focus on that but talk to them about what do they want to do, what are they interested in?" So just how much does he earn? "I always get that question," he said, laughing. "I do pretty well."
Annual Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event recognized Darrell and Michael Waltrip have been selected by the National Motorsports Press Association as the organization's Spirit Award recipient for the fourth quarter of 2014. The brothers were recognized for their annual Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event, which raised $450,000 through an auction, dinner and golf tournament. The proceeds from the fifth annual event benefit several organizations including Motor Racing Outreach (a non-profit organization that ministers to the needs of families of those involved in NASCAR ), Feed the Children (a U.S.-based anti-hunger organization) and Tucker's House (an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities that require modifications at home for safety, accessibility and therapy). Darrell Waltrip was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, won three premier series titles and 84 premier series races in his storied career. Michael Waltrip is a four-time winner in the sport's premier series with two victories in the Daytona 500 and is also the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing , which fields two full-time cars in the Sprint Cup Series . Also receiving votes for the second quarter award were the Kyle Busch Foundation and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter . Lynda Petty, the late wife of seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty, Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr . and longtime car owner Junie Donlavey, who passed away in June, have also won the quarterly award this year. An overall winner of the 2014 NMPA Spirit Award will be determined by the members of the NMPA and announced on January 25, 2015 at the association's annual convention in Concord, North Carolina. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the race of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Alan Cavanna reports on the latest information concerning NAPA and the future of Martin Truex Jr. at Michael Waltrip Racing .
Michael Waltrip takes a stroll down pit road to talk with drivers and celebrities.
Complete news and notes for each driver in the Quicken Loans 400 fBelow is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Michigan International Speedway . 1. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch inherited the lead after a fuel-starved Kyle Larson pitted on Lap 133. Busch was pacing the field when the final, race-ending red flag was displayed five laps later. " RELATED: See what Busch said in Victory Lane 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Despite a loose-handling condition, Earnhardt climbed his way through the top 10 in the final 48 laps before NASCAR called the race. " WATCH: Find out what Junior is focused on 3. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . After Sunday’s third-place result, Truex became the first driver to score 14 top-10s in the first 15 races since Richard Petty did it in 1969. " WATCH: Truex reflects on run 4. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth snugged up to Carl Edwards on Lap 75 to get trash off his grille and continued his climb through the field once his temperatures returned to normal. 5. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . "Coming to you. Out of fuel,” Logano radioed his team after leading Laps 88-94. He rallied and earned his eighth top-five of the season. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 6. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Pitting after the fourth caution flag wasn’t a popular choice, but it didn’t hurt the Michigan native, who quickly climbed his way back into the top 10. 7. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray dealt with a loose-handling condition; he was one of several who opted not to pit during the fourth caution period with rain clouds looming overhead. 8. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard was running fourth when the caution flag was waved on Lap 125, but couldn't delay his pit stop much longer. 9. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne rallied from one lap down, thanks to skipping a pit stop during the last caution flag, and claimed his best Michigan finish. 10. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's team opted not to pit after the fourth caution flag; he dealt with a tight-handling condition en route to his fourth top-10 this year. 11. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Spotter Chris Lambert radioed Hamlin, "These are your best laps," as Hamlin ran second on Lap 90. " For lap times and more race data, sign up for RaceView today 12. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards lined up fourth and led all but one of the first 41 laps — including Lap 30, which was the fastest of the race at 196.457 mph. 13. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was one of the few who pitted during the Lap 125 debris caution and restarted 14th after taking four tires, fueling and making adjustments. 14. Ty Dillon , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. "Boy I hope the rain goes away," Dillon, a Michigan newcomer, tweeted during what would be the final red flag for rain. "We might have a shot." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 15. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne led one lap after starting from the pole position, his first of the year. 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick inherited the lead on Lap 95 and paced the field two circuits before hitting pit road for all kinds of adjustments, including wedge and packer. 17. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson stayed out during the late-race debris caution and unsuccessfully tried to stretch his fuel window as rain loomed nearby. " RELATED: No regrets over failed gamble for Larson 18. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman and his team figured out the handling on the No. 31 Chevy, but pit sequence and a rain-shortened race impacted their finish. 19. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . "All right, we gotta haul it, man," crew chief Chad Knaus radioed Jimmie Johnson shortly after the second red flag was lifted. "I'm trying to haul it man. I promise you," replied Johnson, who was mired in traffic after contact from Logano during an early restart. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 20. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Early on, Dillon ran as high as eighth and was trying to adjust his track bar and front fans to improve the handling of his car. 21. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon had to return to pit road after his Lap 90 green-flag stop because the left-front tire wasn’t tightened all the way down. 22. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola spent the final 23 laps holding down the broken track bar button to try to get the most out of his car. 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . A loose-handling condition led Allmendinger to pancake the right side of his ride. 24. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney qualified fifth and was running inside the top 12 during the opening 70 laps of his first Michigan outing when his engine temperatures started to rise. 25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was among those who took advantage of poor track position to pack in an additional fuel stop early on. He used that to improve his track position later on and ran as high as 23rd. 26. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish had a little better luck than his teammate with his track bar adjuster, but still struggled to find the right balance. 27. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . During the first real green-flag stretch, Allgaier radioed that he needed more grip to get around Michigan's two-mile oval. 28. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart made an unscheduled stop on Lap 75 while running inside the top 20 so his team could repair his damaged splitter. 29. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick paced a race-high 63 laps on Sunday, eclipsing the 1,200-laps led mark for the year. He is the first driver since Jeff Gordon in 2001 to achieve that within the first 15 races of the year. A cut right-front tire put a damper on the day. " RELATED: Harvick snakebitten at Michigan 30. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett spent the rain delays hanging out with his team under nearby cover, while teammate Justin Allgaier hitched a ride on the roller as crew members tried to dry his pit stall. 31. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill took an extra splash of fuel, despite a closed pit road, prior to the Lap 60 restart and picked up 10 spots after the field went green. 32. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt rolled off the grid 40th after spending his morning hanging out with current business partner Nate Burleson, a former Detroit Lions wide receiver. 33. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt ran as high as 12th en route to his best Michigan result. 34. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing . Wise stayed out to lead Lap 42 when the rest of the field hit pit road for the competition caution. 35. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan's team helped him find more side bite, and he picked up 10 spots to run 14th after the Lap 52 restart. 36. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Rear grip was a struggle for Biffle, who radioed "Thank God it’s raining" when a right-rear tire issue presented itself within the first 15 laps. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 37. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . The rookie earned his best Cup result at a two-mile track for the 2015 season. 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley quietly improved his position after starting 41st on Sunday. 39. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto lined up 43rd in his first Michigan appearance and picked up several spots during the first 45 laps. 40. Mike Bliss , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing . Bliss sustained some damage to his car after making contact with David Gilliland early on Sunday. 41. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman made an unscheduled stop during the first six laps after slapping the Turn 2 wall. 42. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland hit the wall hard around Lap 65 after receiving contact from Mike Bliss . 43. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Shortly after the Lap 52 restart, Busch got loose and slammed hard into the Turn 4 wall. Fortunately that area was reinforced with SAFER barrier, but unfortunately, several drivers cited heavy rainfall in that area at the time. " RELATED: How does Busch's Chase chances look? FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Michael Waltrip talks about racing at Talladega and why he loves the racetrack and the fans.
Goodyear tire test set for Tuesday, open test slated for Wednesday BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A week after testing at Darlington Raceway , it's off to Richmond International Raceway for Goodyear officials and a handful of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. The official tire supplier for NASCAR will test with four teams Tuesday at the 0.75-mile track in preparation for this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cutoff race, the Federated Auto Parts 400 scheduled for Sept. 12. Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ) and David Ragan ( Michael Waltrip Racing ) are scheduled to take part in the Goodyear tire test. NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Brian Scott ( Richard Childress Racing ) will also take part, stepping into the No. 27 for driver Paul Menard . The four will join several others on Wednesday for an open team test. According to officials, those scheduled to be on hand are Jeff Gordon ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Sam Hornish Jr . ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), Jeff Green (The Motorsports Group) and Clay Rogers (Beard Motorsports). "We had a good race there (in the spring); we had a good tire that lasted a gas stop, which is not that easy at Richmond," Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager for global race tires, said Sunday at Michigan International Speedway . "We're wondering if we can do a better job to make the racing a little bit better, so we're seeing what we can do from a tire standpoint to go back and improve that setup." Some teams were not satisfied with the multi-zone tread used at RIR for the spring race. The tire featured a smaller, more durable inside compound that enhances durability combined with a wider, softer outside designed for grip. Similar multi-zone tires have been used at several Sprint Cup events since debuting in 2013. Grant said several options would be considered. "We've got a pretty good baseline at Richmond," he said. "I don't want to move too far off of that. We're not going to test a whole lot of different things. We ran a (multi-) zone tread at Richmond; we'll try a couple of zone treads, we'll try a couple of non-zone treads to see what happens … we don't have a real big program (scheduled) so we can get that done in a day." Wednesday's test will be open to fans, with access to the grandstands through Gate 70 only. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR.com's Lesley Robins talks to Michael Waltrip about ABC's Dancing With The Stars, racing , crying, and his newly developed abs.
MWR hoping to rebound, re-establish credibility in crucial 2014