Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip are sharing driving duties of the #55 Aaron’s Dream machine next year. Mark Martin will drive in 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup events including the Daytona 500 and Michael Waltrip will drive in seven other events. What is not clear is if the events Michael Waltrip will drive in include the Bud Shootout or the Sprint Showdown Race as they only mentioned the three other restrictor plate races and the race at Kentucky. Which is only 4 races. In a statement during the press conference Michael indicated they had 30 races with Aaron’s and there would be 6 races that remain unsponsored. I will speculate that Michael Waltrip will run one of the Martinsville races plus the four mentioned above and the two exhibition races for the total of seven.
In reviewing last season, the #21 Wood Brothers car ended the season 37th in points while only racing 18 races or 1/2 of the season. That is an incredible feat. They were 147 points out of 35th. If they raced another 7 races and finished 22nd or better they would have been 35th in points. That is only 25 total races. That is only the total amount of races that Mark Martin will be running. Mark Martin finished the season last year 22nd in points.
With Michael Waltrip running another five Sprint Cup races the #55 car should easily be able to end next season 35th in points. if Michael Waltrip Racing is able to get additional sponsors and run the car with another driver, even a rookie driver, this car will end the season locked into next year’s Daytona 500.
The only problem with this plan is if Michael Waltrip can’t buy a car and it’s owners points from last year to get the #55 car locked into the first five races of this year they will have to qualify for the first five races on time. If that happens and Mark Martin cannot qualify the car for the first five races, such that they miss one or more races, they might succumb to the fate of the other teams not locked into the top 35. That scenario might keep them out of the top 35 most of the season and make them miss even more races.
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