Thursday, December 15, 2011

Norris Denies Talk Of Pastrana Waltrip Shutdown

Michael Waltrip Racing General Manager Ty Norris is moving to quell speculation that the team will shut down its Pastrana Waltrip Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series team and highly successful NASCAR K&N Pro Series East operation due to lack of sponsorship.

Former Pastrana Waltrip Racing crewchief Jerry Baxter left the team recently to accept a new position as Cale Gale’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief at Eddie Sharp Racing. Since then, rumors have circulated that MWR will shutter its Nationwide and K&N Pro Series East operations and lay off a number of employees. Norris denied those reports today, saying, “I know where they came from, and they are absolutely untrue.”

Norris revealed that PWR is contractually committed to run seven NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2012 with Pastrana and sponsor Boost Mobile, saying the team “will absolutely honor that commitment. The plan was to run the full K&N Pro Series East schedule with Travis, then use the personnel from the K&N team to support our Nationwide effort,” said Norris. “But we simply don’t have the funding to do the K&N East Series right now. We’ve been hanging onto those (employees) since September because we don’t want to break up a championship team. The question is, how long do we wait when the funding is not there?

“We’re actually looking at doing some additional things with Travis next season; things I hope to be able to talk about more in January,” said Norris, who doubles as MWR’s Executive Vice President of Business Development. “There are three companies talking to us about doing more, and we absolutely want to. But right now, seven Nationwide races are all we have sold.”

This season, Pastrana Waltrip Racing ran 10 of the first 14 Nationwide Series races with driver Ryan Truex, posting a best finish of eighth at Richmond International Raceway in April. Pastrana was scheduled to take the wheel of the #99 Toyota for the second half of the season, but suffered a badly broken right foot and ankle in X Games competition on July 28; just days before his scheduled Nationwide debut at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. He underwent surgery to repair the breaks, and never raced in the Nationwide Series. The team made its final start at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October, with Truex finishing 34th after a mid-race crash.

MWR’s K&N Pro Series East team has dominated the circuit in recent years, claiming the 2009 and 2010 series championships with Truex at the wheel. MWR won three of 12 series races this year with driver Brett Moffitt, en route to third place in the final championship standings.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:51 PM

    I will bet that MWR doesn't enter a car in the K & N series and the #99 has not been a winner in years!