CORNELIUS, N.C. – A driving career that has spanned a quarter of a century, defined by two emotional winning performances on NASCAR’s biggest stage, will be celebrated during the 2010 Daytona 500.
Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion, announced today that he will drive a limited schedule beginning next season as he begins to focus on being one of the youngest multi-team owners in the history of NASCAR.
“This sport, this race and this sponsor are very special to me,” said Waltrip. “The first race I ever ran for NAPA AUTO PARTS was the 2001 Daytona 500. I won it. I wore the blue and yellow when I was fortunate to return to victory lane once again to proudly hold up the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy in 2003. Those wins and what NAPA and I have accomplished over nine seasons have helped define my career.”
The relationship between Waltrip and NAPA is one of the longest sponsor-driver partnerships in the history of NASCAR. Together, they have produced solid results both on and off the track. On the track, they have visited victory lane six times. Off the track, they have activated one of the most successful sponsor-driver marketing campaigns in all of motorsports.
“It was a good day in September of 2000 when the late great Dale Earnhardt gave us the opportunity to advance to the top level of NASCAR with Michael Waltrip behind the wheel. We have enjoyed many successes together with multiple wins including two Daytona 500 victories,” said Bob Susor, NAPA President. “Michael has been key in our marketing efforts through the years and we look forward to honoring him as he takes the wheel of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota once again in the 2010 Daytona 500.”
Since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1985, Waltrip has over 1,000 NASCAR starts that include two Daytona 500 victories (2001 & 2003), wins in Daytona’s 400-mile event (2002), Talladega Superspeedway (2003) and the All-Star Challenge (1996). Plus, he has earned four pole positions. In the NASCAR Nationwide Series, he has collected 11 victories and 14 poles. In total, he has earned over $47,000,000. Currently, Waltrip drives the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as well as the No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry in select NASCAR Nationwide Series events. He is the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing that fields two NASCAR Sprint Cup and one Nationwide Series entry. MWR is also technically aligned with JTG-Daugherty Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
In addition to his role of driver and owner, Waltrip has been a popular television personality on SPEED since 1996. He’s an original member of one of the longest running shows on the cable network, “This Week in NASCAR” that airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. He’s also an analyst for its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcasts.