Wednesday, August 19, 2015

CONFIRMED: Bowyer Departs Michael Waltrip Racing, Team Will Not Compete Full-Time In 2016

Bowyer: Ganassi-bound?
Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer announced today that they have agreed to separate at the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

A written statement issued by the team said Bowyer “will be free to pursue other career options in 2016 and beyond.”
MWR will continue to field the No. 15 and No. 55 Toyotas for the remainder of the season, but will not field a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup entry in 2016. 
Kauffman commented on that decision today, saying it “was made after weighing several different options and scenarios. I felt it was important to make an announcement as soon as we had clarity.
“Clint Bowyer has done a lot for MWR since joining us in 2012 and we appreciate the energy and effort he has given the organization,” Kauffman said. “After many discussions, Clint and I agreed we would go our separate ways at the end of the season and I wish him well in whatever direction he pursues.”
Rob Kauffman
Bowyer echoed Kauffman’s comments, saying, “After extensive discussions with Rob and MWR, we came to the point that we mutually agreed our paths in the future just didn’t align, but I think we all agreed on the next steps in a very professional manner. I am looking forward to what future opportunities may come. But for now, we have a championship to pursue in 2015 and we owe it to every one of our sponsors, partners, employees and fans to deliver, on and off the track.”
Widespread reports have both Bowyer and Kauffman joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates next season; Bowyer as a driver and Kauffman as minority owner. CGR confirmed last month that Kauffman had agreed to acquire an interest in the team, but Sabates said recently that the deal is not yet complete.
Michael Waltrip
“We don't have anything concrete," he said. "We'd like to do something with him, because I think he can add a lot to our team. (But) we don't have anything signed."
Today’s statement is believed to be the first step in terminating Bowyer’s existing contract with MWR, clearing the way for him to accompany Kauffman to the Ganassi camp in 2016. That move would leave Waltrip without a majority stakeholder, while reducing his former three-car team to a single entry; the No. 55 Toyota. Multiple sources say longtime backer Aaron’s was likely to return in only a limited capacity next season.
Waltrip commented on his team’s withdrawal from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, saying, “Rob joined MWR in 2007 and has helped give us the resources to build a competitive race team and in 2012, Clint Bowyer took us to the doorstep of a championship. From where MWR started behind my house in Sherrill’s Ford to winning Sprint Cup races, poles and earning Chase berths, I am proud of what we accomplished.
“My family has been a part of NASCAR for almost five decades and I plan on being a part of it for years to come. I would not have had the opportunity to start this journey without so many great partners, sponsors and employees and I want to thank each of them for making Michael Waltrip Racing a reality.”


  1. Anonymous10:28 AM

    It is interesting that the statements say Rob and Bowyer have decided to go their separate ways. You would think if they are going together to CGR, the statements would say Bowyer and MWR are separating. I believe Bowyer is staying in the Toyota camp and will go to Furniture Row in a second car, possibly with Five Hour Energy. That contract would have been with MWR and most likely voidable with the MWR demise. Rob will probably invest in CGR with Chevrolet. It is sad to see a company go out, however, it has been expected after the Richmond scandal. Michael Waltrip wants only to be a showman and the star of TV, not a businessman, and it shows.

  2. Brandon in TN11:09 AM

    Sad to see for all the employees of MWR, but karma has a way of.playing when nefarious acts have played themselves out.

    My guess is Bowyer ends up at CGR.

  3. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Expect to see more of this over time as NASCAR's tv ratings continue to drop since races are shown more on cable channels that many people do not have. With ratings down, popularity will continue to go down. When popularity goes down it becomes harder to get the dollar$ teams and NASCAR are asking to sponsor race teams, races, and/or the series.

    You know someone mentioned about this earlier "do we watch races cause we want to see them or out of habit?" Well with less people being able to watch the races they are going to be coming out of that "habit" and when the races are put back on channels more people get; they won't feel the need to watch the race cause it's already been so long since they last saw one...

  4. You reap what you sow. I hate to see a business go away. I hate it for the employees and their families. NASCAR needs teams to grow, not disappear.

    However, NASCAR needs teams that smash the lines between cheating and creative interpretation of the rules, like America needs another terrorist attack.

    Not only did this team blatantly cheat, they did it at two of the most inopportune times for NASCAR, during two of the biggest events on the calendar. I'm not going to lose any sleep over MWR fading into the sunset.

    Now if they can only find a way to get the Waltrips out of the booth, NASCAR might actually get a bump in the ratings.

  5. Agree that this was coming after the Richmond fiasco; Michael spends too much time acting like a goof on TV (pit walks? really?); you'd never see any other owner go on TV and act like a buffoon like Michael does. I like his brother, but am honestly tired of both of them and I doubt if MWR and RK got any share from the hundreds of hours 'Mikey' spent on TV instead of hitting the pavement and banging the phones looking for the sponsorship money they needed to stay afloat. I hate it for the employees of MWR and look forward to the day Michael is out of the TV booth. I'm not a hater - just tired of the same 'ole, same 'ole...blah blah blah...