Michael Waltrip

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born on 30 April 1963, Michael Curtis Waltrip showed enthusiasm for racing from a young age. His older brother Darrel Waltrip became a three-time NASCAR champion and it didn’t take long for Michael to start following in his big brother’s footsteps. He got involved in kart racing in his teens and switched to stockcars by the time he was eighteen years of age. In 1981, he won a division of the track championship at the Kentucky Speedway. In 1983 he won the Goody’s Dash Series and he also took the prize for Goody’s most popular driver in 1983 and 1984. These early successes were certainly indicative of greater things to come.

In 1985 the Kentucky-born racer made his Cup debut at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. Though his success at the race was minimal, it was the just the start of his climb to cup success. In 1988, he won at Dover in his fourth start at the Busch Series. At the time he was racing for his brother’s team and his win made quite an impact. Unfortunately, it took quite some time before Waltrip actually enjoyed a Cup race victory. Eventually, at his 464th race he took the chequered flag at the 2001 Daytona 500. He also came in second at the Pepsi 400 that same season. He won the Daytona 500 again in 2003 and his last win was the EA Sports 500 in Talladega in 2003.

During the course of his career, Michael Waltrip has driven his #55 car with great skill. He is known, amongst other things, for his loyalty and skill in the driver’s seat. Today he spends much of his time with his family in North Caronlina where he is an ardent supporter of the Dallas Cowboys. He is still involved with a number of different aspects of racing and he also enjoys participating in numerous marathons. Both he and his brother are often called on to appear in advertisements and he currently serves on the SPEED Channel’s NASCAR Inside Nextel Cup panel of experts. Waltrip has enjoyed four wins, 122 top tens and three pole positions. He continues to be involved in racing and will likely continue to enjoy a long and successful racing-related career.

Todd Bodine

February 9, 2009 by  
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The younger brother of Geoff Bodine and Brett Bodine, both of whom were race drivers, Todd Bodine is a great stock car racer. He made his big debut at the Busch Series in 1986 where he finished 27th out of 30 due to an engine problem. At the time he was racing for Pistone Racing at Martinsville. From there he went on to suffer three years of misfortune, driving a number of races but not winning any of them. In 1990, things started to change for the better, and by the end of the year he had come 8th, 7th and even 3rd at various races around the country.

The following year proved to be even more successful. Not long after signing to drive for Frank Cicci, he won his first career race. That same year he also finished in the top ten as many as fifteen times and he won his first two poles. By the end of 1991 he was ranked seventh in points. In 1992, Todd Bodine began his career as a Cup racer at the age of 28 years old. His first Cup race took place at the Watkins Glen International Raceway where he finished 37th. New to the Cup race game, Todd had some catching up to do before he would again make it to the top. In 1994 he raced his first full-time season for RahMoc Enterprises. During that season he missed only one race and he finished in the top five twice and in the top ten seven times. By the end of the year he was ranked 20th. It was a brilliant year for him – one of his best overall.

In 2001 Todd Bodine went back into full time Cup racing when he raced the K-Mart Ford Taurus for Haas-Carter Motorsports. Despite a somewhat mediocre run, he did manage to win two of the first three races of the Busch Series later that year. Todd Bodine has since driven for a number of companies and organisations. His greatest accomplishment was when he won the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.

By the end of 2009 Todd Bodine‘s stats included 21 top-ten finishes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 15 wins and 160 top-tens in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and 17 wins with 81 top-ten finishes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Ward Burton

February 9, 2009 by  
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Ward Burton was born on October 25, 1961, later becoming a famous American NASCAR driver. After High School Burton joined and graduated from Hargrave Military Academy and then attended Elon College for just under 3 years. Ward is NASCAR driver Jeff Burton’s older brother. In the early years Ward and Jeff were strong competitors at South Boston Speedway, their hometown track.

During the 1990 season Ward started off his NASCAR Busch Series career and competed for a full four seasons. His first season ended with 23 starts and three finishes in the Top-10, with an overall completion of the season in 21st place. Over the next three years his results improved, with his second season made up of 29 starts, two Top-5 finishes and 10 top-10 finishes, completing the overall season in 18th place.

Ward’s second to last season in 1992 was the year he had his first win at Rockingham, on February 29 in a car owned by Alan Dillard. That year he finished the season with one win, three Top-5 finishes and 10 Top-10 finishes, with an 8th place placement. His final season in 1993 was his most successful year with a total of three wins, nine Top-5, ten Top-10 finishes with an end result of 6th place in the final points standings. From there Ward moved up to Winston Cup, taking part in 26 out of the 31 races in a #31 Hardee’s Chevy.

His accomplishments grew when he moved to #22 Bill Davis Racing MBNA Pontiac where he completed 21 races. The years to follow showed a progressive advancement from 33rd spot to 16 in the final points standings. The year 1999 saw Ward Burton’s career peak, as he finished ninth in the final points standings.

In 2000 he won at Darlington Speedway and was 10th in the points. He won the Mountain Dew Southern 500, finishing 10th in 2001. In 2002 he had a bit of a dip but still managed to win the prestigious Daytona 500 and the New England 300 at Loudon, New Hampshire. In 2003 he had even poorer finishes, putting him in 21st place. The following year Ward Burton was released from the team and since then has not raced in NASCAR.

Bill Davis Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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This team stopped racing at the conclusion of the 2008 season.

Bill Davis Racing (BDR) fields the number 22 Caterpillar Inc. Toyota Camry for driver Dave Blaney, the number 5 Toyota Tundra for Mike Skinner, the #36 Toyota Camry for Jeremy Mayfield, the #22 Toyota for Bill Lester and last of all the #23 Toyota for Johnny Benson. The Bill Davis team is a NASCAR team that is based currently in High Point, North Carolina.

Truck rental owner Bill Davis, a former motorcross racer, founded the Bill Davis Racing team. When the team was moved to Carolina, the Ford Motor Company asked Davis to hire the up-and-coming Jeff Gordon from the Midwest. Gordon took the NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 1991 as well as having won 11 pole positions a year later. Another team took Gordon but this did not deter Davis from moving to the Cup series in 1993 full time.

At first Davis took on rookie and Busch Series driver Randy LaJoie to drive their car. LaJoie did not last long and was soon fired halfway through the year. He had to be replaced by a series of rotating drivers to keep the car and the team in the game. Later, Ward Burton was hired to finish the rest of the season, impressing the Bill Davis Racing team when he won at Rockingham Motor Speedway.

The next win only took place again in 2000 when Burton won the spring Darlington race as well as the 2002 Daytona 500. Burton moved to Haas CNC Racing in 2003 after a disappointing season, leaving Davis to use his Busch driver Scott Wimmer. In Wimmer’s first race, during his rookie season, he finished third and continued to race full-time. A year later it was announced that Wimmer would be released from the Bill Davis Team and Dave Blaney would take his place for the following season. Previously Blaney had driven for BDR in #93, this time he would drive #22 at the start of the 2006 season.

Blaney left the BDR team later on when Amoco decided not to renew the team’s contract and instead joined the Jasper Motorsports. The team then hired Hut Stricklin when Hills Brothers took on sponsorship. But Stricklin showed no real potential and was fired in the final quarter of the season. In 2005 Michael Waltrip and his sponsors NAPA took the car over for the 2006 season, going under Michael Waltrip’s own team name to ensure it qualified. Jeremy Mayfield drove the car full-time in 2007.

Hendrick Motorsports

February 9, 2009 by  
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The story of Hendrick Motorsports started in 1984. Rick Hendrick was a businessman with a passion for racing, and a dream to be a part of the racing world. Harry Hyde, a veteran racing driver, was not ready to retire from the sport he loved. Together, they created All Star Racing, just a small company that would only compete in a few events. But All Star Racing was not destined to take a back seat. Hendrick Motorsports, or HMS, raced only Chevrolets, and were seen in the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup circuits.

With nine Sprint Cup Series Championships, one Busch (now Nationwide) Series crown and no less than three Craftsman (now Camping World) Truck Series titles, Hendrick Motorsports has become one of the leading and celebrated racing organisations in the world of stock car racing. Starting with only one entry into a series, HMS now boasts four Sprint Cup Series vehicles.

Situated in Concord, which is in North Carolina, is the 250 000 square meter HMS complex, where all their racing cars are built from scratch. The entire manufacturing process takes place here. Each year, more than 550 engines are either built or rebuilt at this facility, with other NASCAR outfits leasing them from the team.

At present, HMS has over 500 employees that each contribute to the success of the company. They are the people who manage, take care of the team store, do the marketing, ensure the licensing, stay on top of the merchandising, run the public relations department, update the company’s website, and look after the HMS museum, which is 1400 square meters in size.

The drivers of the cars and the sponsors such as Corporation, Pepsi, Go Daddy, Lowe’s, DuPont, Delphi, National Guard and Carquest all play an important role in the success and growth of the company. It never occurred to either Rick Hendrick or Harry Hyde that the little “All Star Racing” company would grow up to be the mighty Hendrick Motorsports, but just as with many success stories, it started with a dream, loads of passion and a strong sense of commitment.

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