Michael Waltrip Racing owner Michael Waltrip says the #00 Toyota team for driver David Reutimann will run the full Sprint Cup season this year despite not having full sponsorship.

Waltrip said on a national conference call with reporters on Wednesday that Reutimann will be sponsored by Aaron's for "half a season" as the company steps up to the Cup series for the first time after many years as a Waltrip sponsor in what is now known as the Nationwide Series.

Waltrip said the first race Reutimann would be without sponsorship would be the Feb. 22 event at Auto Club Speedway in California.

"We will definitely run the full season with David driving the #00 car," Waltrip said. "We'll just look at it as part of the investment in the future of our team. David is obviously a fast racecar driver that can win races at the Cup level. We believe that. We think that the investment in the future we cannot afford to not run that car, so that's what we're going to do."

The search for sponsorship for Reutimann continues, Waltrip said, and a potential backer would be getting a bargain.

"We understand that at this late date it's really tough to pull together sponsorship because of the timing, but we certainly want people to know we're open and available for partners that might want to run not only a race or two at a specific track, but also a program for the whole season," Waltrip said. "We're very cognizant of it being a late date, and the price of the sponsorship would reflect that."

Waltrip's car, the #55, again will be sponsored by NAPA. MWR is also in an alliance with JTG Daugherty Racing to field the #47 Toyota for Marcos Ambrose that is fully sponsored.

MWR will field one full-time car in the Nationwide Series, with Waltrip and Red Bull Racing's Scott Speed splitting most of the driving duties. Waltrip will have sponsorship from Aaron's and Best Western, while Red Bull will back Speed. A driver and sponsor for some remaining Nationwide races will be determined.

by Sporting News



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