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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)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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