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Waltrip thrives as NASCAR deal maker

Michael Waltrip Racing announces new Nationwide Series deal and an extended Toyota engine contract
Owner/driver Michael Waltrip loves a parade - especially when he's leading it.

On Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, Waltrip marched into the media centre for the second, third and fourth times this weekend, each time with a new piece of news.

First was the official announcement that Waltrip had orchestrated a deal with Gary Bechtel to bring promising 18-year-old Trevor Bayne to full-time Nationwide Series racing next year. Bechtel has purchased Waltrip's #99 Nationwide operation and has retained MWR to manage the team.

The team will race under the name Diamond-Waltrip Racing. When Bechtel fielded his own Nationwide and Sprint Cup teams, which last ran in 1999 and 1998, respectively, he raced under the Diamond Ridge Racing banner.

In addition, Waltrip has an option on Bayne's services in the Cup series through 2014, intending to run him in a minimum of seven races in 2011 and a full schedule in 2012.

Aaron's will sponsor a portion of Bayne's Nationwide schedule next year. Jerry Baxter, who has worked with Bayne in his races with MWR this season, will remain as crew chief.

"Since the first race we ran with MWR (June 6 at Nashville) we started working on this," Bayne said Saturday. "It's great to see it finally come together and be able to announce it and to know that we're going full-time racing next year. I think that really helps the team to have the solidity in crew chief and driver combination, being able to work together and not just be bouncing around from race to race."

Bayne won the pole at O'Reilly Raceway Park in July and finished seventh. He matched that season-best result at Richmond in September.

In the Coca-Cola 600 in May, MWR driver David Reutimann gave Toyota its first victory in a car with a Toyota Racing Development-built engine. On Saturday at Phoenix, the Japanese auto maker rewarded Waltrip with a multiyear extension of its manufacturers agreement with MWR.

"At Charlotte, the win at the Coca-Cola 600 brought TRD the first TRD-built engine victory," said Lee White, president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A. "We're very proud of that and obviously the way that the whole team is running with the addition of Trevor Bayne to the Nationwide Series program - and, of course, the previously-announced addition of Martin Truex Jr. coming to the program and Michael Waltrip moving into a full-time management position, but still running the places where he runs the best.

"I think it's very exciting and we have a lot to look forward to and we couldn't be more pleased with knowing that our relationship is moving forward."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

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Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 99 Aaron`s Outdoors Toyota, sits in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 6, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, July 27, 2014 the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, July 27, 2014 of the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, kisses the Brick after his win Sunday, July 27, 2014 of the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
The #24 Axalta Chevrolet crew celebrates in pit lane after driver Jeff Godron`s victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, salutes the fans after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, center, celebrates with team owner Rick Hendrick, left, daughter Ella Sophia and wife Ingrid Vandebosch by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars into the pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, races the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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