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Surprise team of 2012: Michael Waltrip Racing

By admin | April 19, 2012

By Richard Allen

Count this writer as one who has been more than a little surprised by the success experienced so far in 2012 by Michael Waltrip Racing. After all, this particular team has certainly never placed itself in the same conversations as Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing or Joe Gibbs Racing in terms of race wins and championship contention.

As a matter of fact, this team has been more commonly known for having an owner who makes multiple television commercials each year which use humor rather than lists of accomplishments as the primary means of selling products for sponsors.

However, that is very much in the process of changing this season as MWR seems to be establishing itself as one of the more competitive operations in NASCAR. Granted, the TV ads are still being shown but the team’s weekly performance is at least making the possibility of using a list of accomplishments a viable option.

Last season, this organization accounted for only four top-5 and sixteen top-10 finishes over the course of the entire season with drivers Martin Truex, Jr. and David Reutimann running a full schedule of events and team owner Michael Waltrip competing three times. Those cars led only 162 laps in thirty-six races.

Those numbers are looking much more impressive in 2012. Truex has been joined by Clint Bowyer as a fulltime driver for MWR while Mark Martin and Brian Vickers have shared another car throughout the season.

Already this year, MWR has amassed a total of five top-5s and twelve top-10s. And while none of their teams has won, Bowyer was in a three-wide position for the lead in Martinsville with less than two laps remaining.

MWR cars have led 238 laps in 2012.

Both Truex(4th) and Bowyer(10th) hold coveted top-10 positions in the current Sprint Cup standings. The #55 car shared by Martin and Vickers ranks as 7th best in the owners point standings.

While after only seven races it’s far too early to equate Michael Waltrip Racing with those teams mentioned above in terms of championship contention, they have most definitely been a major surprise so far in 2012. It remains to be seen whether or not that will continue but as of now there are number of teams who would like to exchange places with them.

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3 Responses to “Surprise team of 2012: Michael Waltrip Racing”

  1. Offkilter Says:
    April 19th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I thought it may be a one or two race fluke, but they have definately hit on something and found that extra tenth or two to run up front.

  2. zhills fan Says:
    April 20th, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Well they should, they got all new cars starting near the end of last season. All the drivers are good but the equipment and team work is the difference.

  3. Sue Rarick Says:
    April 20th, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Two words: Scott Miller.

    They got the guy that revitalized RCR so is it any wonder they’d do better?

    If there is one suprise it’s that that after 7 races they haven’t won a race yet. They are now running 3 full time top tier class cars. And still Reutimann has the only wins for MWR and those were in second and third tier cars.

    How important is Miller? Look at where RCR is. For all their movement they really are no better off than they were last year, and probably worse off.

    MWR is basically now building and racing RCR cars and the results show.