|Waltrip will steer the No. 30 at Daytona|
“If David had not brought (this idea) to me, the conversation never would have happened,” said Davis. “He and Michael talked, then David came to me. We discussed it and felt it was the best thing for the team.
“I’ve had a permanent smile on my face ever since we started working on this deal,” said Davis. “I’m grateful that David was willing to step back and let us do this for the betterment of the team over the long run. It’s a big deal.
“Earlier today, when we landed at the airport and were driving over to the race track, David and I were both wishing he had a car here for testing,” he admitted. “I know it’s going to be difficult for him (not to race in the 500), but he’s doing this for the future (and) for the long haul. I have a lot of respect for him being humble enough to do this.”
Davis said Waltrip was “extremely excited” about joining the team, which now employs a number of his former colleagues from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. “I think having Tony Eury, Jr., Steve Hmiel and the team we’re building here definitely helped him come to us and talk about (Daytona), rather than another team that runs Toyotas.
“We keep trying to talk Tony Jr. into bringing Pops (Tony Eury, Sr.) around to spend some time at the shop and hang out with us,” joked Davis. “But that hasn’t happened yet. I think he’s too busy fishing.”
Asked if Waltrip’s name adds instant credibility to his new operation, Davis said, “I think so. All the moves we’ve made and the personnel we’ve been able to grab; they all add to our legitimacy. At the end of the day, though, we’re going to have to go out and prove it on the race track. Not just for a few races, but for an entire season.
“Our expectations for the season haven’t changed,” said Davis, “but when we’re sitting around talking about what we expect in 2013, we’ve gone from `back of the mid-pack’ to `mid-pack’ to `back of the front.’ In our own minds, at least – based on the energy in the shop and everything that’s going on – we keep moving ourselves up. We’ll see what happens, but I’m excited to get this season humming, then look back in six months and see what we’ve been able to accomplish.
Davis said he expects to make more announcements before the start of the season, adding, “We’re working on several things, and there are a couple that I think will be quasi-big. We’ll see what happens.
“There are a few (potential sponsors) out there,” he said. “We’re close, but we haven’t closed anything yet. I think we have some announcements coming in short order, and not just for Daytona, either. For the whole season.”