- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
- Hillary: ‘Dead broke’ comment was ‘inartful,’ but insists it was ‘accurate’
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
Auto Racing Package: MWR making big large strides
Question of the Day
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Michael Waltrip Racing made a commitment last season to become a player in NASCAR’s top series _ an effort that would require more money, more people and a change in philosophy for the entire organization.
The team isn’t ready to declare mission accomplished, but its strong showing last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway proved MWR is headed in the right direction. Martin Truex Jr. finished third on Sunday, Clint Bowyer was fourth and Brian Vickers, in his first start of the year, finished fifth.
Three cars in the top five, for a team that had four top-fives all of last year.
And, through the first month of the season, MWR has seven top-10 finishes. Last year’s total? 15.
“Michael and Rob really took a step back as an organization … kind of restructuring how we did things,” Truex said. “We started building some new cars. … Toyota had a lot of influence on the direction we headed. Really kind of started from scratch almost.”
Among the wholesale changes made to the organization was the addition of Scott Miller, who left his job as competition director for Richard Childress Racing.
The organization expanded to three cars by signing Clint Bowyer, whom Miller had worked with at RCR, and crew chief Brian Pattie. And, in a move that was somewhat controversial at the time, the owners told David Reutimann with less than a month to go in the season that he was being let go at the end of the year.
Although the upgrades have helped tremendously, Miller doesn’t believe the team had all that far to go.
“I was very, very pleasantly surprised with what I found when I came in the door,” he said. “Obviously, there are still things we are working on, but MWR was not in bad shape at all when I got here. They had started working on new cars and new chassis in the summer. We just needed to clean up and get a little more efficient at what we do.”
It’s still a long way from the beginning, when MWR launched amid much fanfare in 2007 only for Waltrip to fall flat on his face. He was embroiled in a cheating scandal at season-opening Daytona 500, struggled to get any of MWR’s cars into races and quickly ran out of money.
Although the team stayed in business, it struggled to compete with the NASCAR elites.
MWR has yet to put a driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, and Reutimann’s two victories _ the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 in 2009 and at Chicago in 2010 _ are the only wins for the organization.
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- California's Jerry Brown cites God, 'religious call' to embrace illegals
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Appeals court upholds Obamacare tax as constitutional
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world