Marshall’s Madness: Future Looking Dim for MWRBy Marshall Gabell
Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) can’t catch a break in 2013. The highlight of their season in the NSCS has been Clint Bowyer backing up what he did in 2012 by finding his way in the Chase. Anyhow, the future is looking dimmer and dimmer as the day’s pass for MWR due to lack of crew chiefs and sponsorship.
Chad Johnston announced during a press conference on Saturday in the Kansas Media Center that he would not be the crew chief on the No. 56 Toyota in 2014. The departure of Johnston comes just a month after the MWR scandal in Richmond, but Johnston continues to deny he’s leaving MWR because of that.
With his third child on the way Johnston is thinking more of his family rather than racing.
“At the end of the day, we have to support our families and it’s a livelihood for us. It’s a well-known fact that we need to be looking. I just want to do it the right way.”
MWR has now given up very two important assets to their team including crew chief’s Chad Johnston and Rodney Childers. Sponsorship is also a concern in 2014 for the No. 56 squad after NAPA evacuated from the team after the Richmond scandal.
The cards are all over the place for this team. Martin Truex Jr. has been told the team won’t hold anything against him if he decides to leave; Truex has yet to release his 2014 plans. The rumor mill has been circulating that he could possibly join Joe Gibbs Racing if they due in fact open a four car team.
Clint Bowyer thought this could be the year he went all the way, but that hasn’t played out well either because he doesn’t even have a win. Bowyer is 9th in the Championship standings as they run, he is just over a race out of the points lead (-55).
Brian Vickers is the only crack of light shining through the dark alley of MWR. Vickers posted a win in New Hampshire Motor Speedway roughly 2-months ago and has been on a hot streak since. Despite a hard lick in Kansas this past weekend I believe Vickers is truly the future of MWR.
“Personally, I believe in what this team can do,” Vickers said. “I believe in Rob (Kaufmann) and Michael (Waltrip) as owners. I believe in the 55 program with Aaron’s and what we’re capable of next year.
That’s definitely a lot of confidence from a driver without a crew chief for next season. Scott Miller, vice president of competition at MWR, has been the crew chief on that No. 55 the past few weeks.
MWR still has a lot of unanswered questions for next season; they could be running only 2-cars. This in my opinion is where team owner Michael Waltrip needs to step out of happy world and put the business shoes on and lay down the law.