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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
Michael Waltrip Racing supports STEM initiative
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."
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
Darrell, Michael Waltrip earn fourth quarter NMPA Spirit Award
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
Michael Waltrip responds to MWR announcement
Michael Waltrip responds to the announcement that Michael Waltrip Racing would allow Clint Bowyer to pursue other teams at the end of the year, and that his racing team would not field a full time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2016.
Bowyer back at home track, eagerly awaits move to SHR
MORE: Bowyer brings fan to tears with surprise " SHR to switch to Ford in '17 KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The emails are already starting to hit his inbox. " Clint Bowyer , No. 14 Ford driver, Stewart-Haas Racing ," the mocked-up, soon-to-be-sold merchandise reads. With six remaining races in the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season -- the one in which Bowyer drives the No. 15 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet -- it's hard for the veteran not to look ahead to next year, when he'll replace the retiring Tony Stewart . "Certainly, it's always natural to start thinking about next year. You better be this time of year no matter if you are moving or staying the same and nothing changes," Bowyer said Friday at Kansas Speedway , site of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "That is how far in advance you have to look in this sport and work. All the organizations are lining themselves up and gearing up for next year, all the while, there is a lot of racing left to do in 2016." It's a trying request for Bowyer not to start licking his chops thinking about his soon-to-be ride when he's struggled with an ill-performing car most of the season and has a mere three top-10 finishes, by far a career low. ANALYSIS: Bowyer, HScott playing catch up It doesn't help to stem the anticipation any when he sees his future teammates battling for wins and titles. Last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a prime example, according to the 37-year-old Emporia, Kansas native. "I look over and I see all the Stewart-Haas cars up front, qualified well, Danica (Patrick) was fast, all the cars raced well," he said. "Those are the things that you look at and get excited for next year. But, hey, you've got an opportunity to come back home and race and compete in front of your hometown crowd. Like I said, there is plenty of racing to do and things to accomplish this year. We've got to cap it off well and start to get focused on next year. "It is exciting. … An email came across my phone and I look over and its No. 14 merchandise approvals for next year. You are like 'holy cow,' it's becoming reality. It's fixing to pick up in a big way." There's basically nowhere to go but up in his impending season with SHR, as a tumultuous 2013 campaign with Michael Waltrip Racing set his career on the path of a winless downward spiral in which his performance declined from every measurable aspect -- a year after finishing runner-up to Brad Keselowski for the Sprint Cup Series title. Last year’s announcement that he’d replace the three-time champion Stewart at season’s end was the first good news he’d had to share publicly since the birth of his son, Cash. RELATED: Baby No. 2 on the way for Bowyer Apart from the increase in performance he can expect from an organization that took home the 2014 title with driver Kevin Harvick , that has five wins this season and put three drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , SHR offers Bowyer a welcoming environment in which he's already comfortable with their top-tiered talent, many of which are longtime friends of his. "Just a great outfit over there, everybody from the top to the bottom; the teammates, I've worked with Kevin (Harvick) for many years. I'm looking forward to Kurt (Busch). Kurt is the one that I've never really known a lot about. Always raced against him, but never worked with him in any way, shape or form. Danica, I'm closer to her than probably some of the others, so I'm just looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be a neat atmosphere and something that 10 years into this thing one of the best opportunities ever is at your doorstep and fixing to happen. " … Just looking forward to being in a situation where you can go out and know that if the equipment is there that you will have a good weekend. That is all you can ask for as a race car driver.” While it's likely that Bowyer will have to wait until next year to finally win a Sprint Cup race at his home track, he knows that there were valuable lessons he'll take away from a frustrating season. "I think I've learned a lot from the racing on the race track and I’ve learned a lot about myself (this year)," he said. "This isn't easy and I think hopefully we can get back in (the media center) and there are going to be these seats filled again. "And I've got a beer in my hand because the trophy is sitting right there, right? That is what we do this for." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Truex's 400th start a 'wow moment' for contender
RELATED: Why Truex won't be at Homestead-Miami test KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Martin Truex Jr . enters this weekend's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway set to cross the milestone of 400 career Sprint Cup Series starts. Looking back to the not too distant past, the Furniture Row Racing driver wasn't even sure he'd hit 300. "There was a point in time there, Monday or Tuesday after Richmond, I was, like, worried if I'd ever get to race again," Truex said Friday at Kansas Speedway , site of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Following events that occurred on track at Richmond International Raceway in 2013, NASCAR deemed that Michael Waltrip Racing manipulated the results of the regular season finale, levying the now-defunct organization with hefty penalties. NAPA, the long-running MWR sponsor and Truex's primary sponsor at the time, decided to leave the team -- saddling the veteran with the burden of finding a new home and support, late in the season and after many open rides had already been snatched up. Truex landed on his feet with Furniture Row Racing for the following year, but struggled mightily with the single -- soon to be two -- car organization, with just five top 10s and one lap led on the season. A major turnaround came in 2015, as he notched a career high in top-10 finishes (22) and raced for his first title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Championship 4. Undoubtedly difficult for Truex to see the forest for the trees at the time, he now understands that those series of events -- speedbumps, if you will -- set him up for the success he's finding today, especially as he stands as arguably the favorite to win the 2016 title. "There's a few big (crossroads in my career). Obviously 2013 after Richmond that was probably the big one which ultimately led to today," said Truex, who won two races in the Chase-opening Round of 16. "You never know in this sport. It was so late in the season, you don't know what rides are open, all that stuff. To be sitting here just a few years later going for a championship is pretty amazing, so as bad as that week was it led into some really good opportunities and you never … when bad things happen, you never really know what the future holds for you and I just feel fortunate to be here and have another shot at it and hopefully we'll take advantage of it." Truex's 400th start -- which he referred to as a "wow moment," once he was told he was going to hit the mark this weekend -- has high potential to be a celebratory one. Much of his 2016 success has come predominantly at intermediate tracks a la Kansas' 1.5-mile layout -- as evidenced by marquee wins at Charlotte and Darlington (1.366 mi.) -- and he led 172 of 267 laps from the pole in the spring race here before a parts failure relegated him to a 14th-place finish. RELATED: Tough luck trips up Truex in Kansas night race "Yeah, I definitely get a positive vibe coming here; a positive feeling that we've been so close. We've done just about everything here but win and I feel like it's time for us to make that happen," Truex said. "I don't think there's ever been a time where I've come here more confident and so, yeah, I mean I'm looking forward to seeing how the weekend goes and seeing if we can finally close the deal here. "I feel like we can do it and just ready to go out there and give it a shot." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Bowyer: Racing is 'about what you're going to do tomorrow'
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Those heat-of-the-moment tirades that fans are able to hear during the course of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race might be entertaining, but they don't always tell the whole story, according to HScott Motorsports driver Clint Bowyer . "Whether I'm frustrated or happy or whatever … whether it's a (celebration) or a pissed off moment that happens, the wick's pretty short," Bowyer said Thursday at Kansas Speedway , site of Saturday's GoBowling 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "It burns out in about five minutes. The next thing out of my mouth is 'Alright, now what are we going to do to fix it?' " Bowyer, 36, is in a transition year, spending the 2016 season as driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet for HSM. He'll move over to Stewart-Haas Racing in '17, inheriting the No. 14 ride currently occupied by co-owner/driver Tony Stewart . An early-season start that saw the driver finish inside the top 20 only once in seven races frustrated the eight-time winner, and that frustration often could be heard as he vented to his team on the radio during races. But it's what takes place after the pot has boiled over, he said, that determines what occurs next. "I don't ever care about yesterday or what happened in a practice or a race," he said. "… This sport is all about what you're going to do tomorrow. That's what you have to instill into yourself and everybody around you to be able to go out there and get the job done, compete at the level I know we're capable of competing at for our sponsors and for ourselves." Bowyer hasn't been to Victory Lane in a Sprint Cup race since the 2012 season, a span of 123 races. He did qualify for last year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup based on points earned, but was eliminated in the first round. HScott fields two Sprint Cup teams -- the No. 15 of Bowyer as well as the No. 46 for driver Michael Annett . Bowyer enters this weekend's race 27th in points while Annett is 35th. But two of the last three races have seen Bowyer finish inside the top 10 -- he was eighth at Bristol and seventh most recently at Talladega. "I was struggling to get that kind of consistency where I was last year," he said of his final season at the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing . "When you're down, most of the time there's a reason, especially when you're down as far as we' re down. We had work to do; we're starting to get some new waves of cars built, get some things to where we are satisfied with them and excited about bringing them to the track and seeing what our hard work has done. That's all you can do." Anyone should be frustrated, he said, if they felt their performance as a driver or their team's performance wasn't up to par. That doesn't mean a team no longer attempts to improve. "When you're running good, it's easy," Bowyer said. "When you're running bad, it's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life. I don't care what organization you're at or how much depth you have or anything else. It's that simple. … "This is hard. This is a hard business and it's very competitive. If you're good, you better work hard to stay good or you're not going to be there long. If you're bad, you've got to work hard to get caught up."