Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MWR scrambles to find a driver for the No. 55 as Sadler backs out

The No. 55 and Mark Martin on track at Phoenix.
Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Michael Waltrip Racing is in a scurry to fill the seat of the No. 55 for five upcoming races after Elliott Sadler backed out of his deal with the team, citing focus on the Nationwide championship. MWR needs to find someone before Bristol, which was to be Sadler’s first race.

"I was going to drive the 55 car for five races for MWR, but actually, after the race on Saturday, after Victory Lane, Richard and I went to his bus. And I think Richard, along with some of the executives that he has, have just decided that it's probably not in our best interest to do that right now,” Sadler took SPEED earlier this week.

Now the pressure is on over who will race those five races. Mark Martin will not, he has said he is delighted with his part-time schedule. The new Twitter addict @55MarkMartin has shot down the idea of a full schedule in these tweets among others:

I love my schedule. Got to pick it myself. RT @RCRFan92:@55MarkMartin would you rather be driving full time this year?

No RT @smgdabest@55MarkMartin have you considered racing for the championship this year if your still in top 10 at bristol with maybe a win?

That being clearly stated, to whom could MWR be looking? One driver presently sits without a ride, has Toyota affiliations, can win races and can keep the car in the points…Of whom am I speaking? Brian Vickers! Sure, it is only five races, but five versus zero is a win/win situation in my opinion.

Tweeting with Bob Pockrass of SceneDaily.com, I seemingly set Twitter afire with this simple tweet and answer.

“He's possible b/c he has experience & no ride. RT @AmandaEbersole: Is it true that Vickers could be a possibility?”

@I_Grothe agrees with my assessment, saying “Yeah that would be a good driver to race it.”

@jde126hunter is also pro-Vickers. “And has links with Toyota. Good call!”

But not everyone is so keen on this possible move, @ScottNied1 states that “Vickers can't drive, makes bad decisions. He cost 48 win which got 14 points he should not have had at Mville.”

It is a tough call; I see both sides. I have nicknamed Vickers Bam-Bam on Skirts and Scuffs Happy Hour following last year, but I also believe in second chances. Vickers needs to find a quality ride, so get into the No. 55, show you can handle the car, keep it clean and get respectable finishes…teams will be beating down your door for 2013.

If all else fails, maybe Lucky is free? He already
has his own firesuit!
Besides, who else is available? (Maybe Lucky needs to suit up, his team needs him!)

Well, there is Reed Sorenson, who is also without a ride for 2012. Or maybe Trevor Bayne who is is search of a sponsor to continue in the Nationwide Series this season. Bayne does run part-time with Wood Brothers Racing in the Sprint Cup Series and the No. 21 is already scheduled for those races, so put Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in for those races, Bayne to MWR and problem solved, right? Wrong, it is complicated because Bayne is a Ford driver and MWR is a Toyota. Maybe there's some red tape involved and I do not think there is time for any red tape.

Another option would be pull a driver from the Nationwide or Truck Series to do double duty for some of the races. The Toyota Truck contingent includes Cup veterans Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine, while Nationwide offers Mike Bliss as a veteran with experience.

Honestly, I think the best and only option is for Brian Vickers to step into the No. 55 for Michael Waltrip Racing. That is, unless Michael Waltrip himself chooses to drive in those races, which makes this whole post null and void. Either way, a decision should be coming soon because Bristol is just a week-and-a-half away. 


  1. I think Bobby Hamilton Jr. should drive the car

  2. Good point from FB - Kenny Wallace would be an option, given the situation at RAB Racing.

  3. For Infineon (at least) and Watkins Glen, the driver should be Tiago Monteiro. He has done testing in ARCA and will be racing at Infineon in the WTCC later in the year. It would definitely give him the advantage over his peers there, give Portugal a better interest in NASCAR, and it would give Monteiro a whole new experience in auto racing.

  4. Bobby Hamilton, Jr. should be considered to drive. He would be a good choice Michael Waltrip!!!!~~~

  5. If you would have kept the best driver in NASCAR you wouldn't have this problem, o well at least TBR was smart and got DR.

  6. I thought MW was going to drive the races that MM didn't

  7. How about Johnny Benson---his truck deal blew up at the
    last minute and he has a lot of history with Toyota.

  8. Michael Waltrip is only scheduled for 4 more races this season, including both Talladega, Kentucky, and July's Daytona race I believe. The team is hiring a road course ringer for the road races - will be interesting to see who. The most important thing is that whoever they hire for these 5 races (both Bristol, both Martinsville and Loudon in July) keeps the car up in the points so that Mark Martin can stay in the Chase.

  9. 2010 mwr canned trevor bayne i don't think he'll return

  10. All signs point to Vickers at this point

  11. Vickers did have some issues last season - but, he was in the Chase in 2009, and did win a Nationwide Championship. Give the guy a break~~ his 2010 season was spent getting heart surgery - not that that is an excuse, but other drivers have had bad days...Stewart, Harvick...they were young & headstrong at one time. Yes, I'm for Vickers, hopefully he has learned from his mistakes of last season and will drive respectfully, and perhaps win a race!!