When Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) put together the team of Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip to run 30 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup races they surely weren’t contemplating running for a championship. One might also think that staying in the top 35 in points guaranteeing a spot in the race regardless of how they qualify was more of the goal. Even that goal would require some very good race finishes knowing they would be at least 43 points times six races or 258 points behind even a last place car that ran all the races.
In order to eliminate the automatic 258 point deficit Michael Waltrip Racing has been looking for drivers and sponsors for those six races. Originally they thought they had Elliott Sadler for four of them but that didn’t pan out. They then added Brian Vickers for those four and most recently committed him for the two road courses. That means the #55 MWR car will be in every race.
Mark Martin was able to pilot the #55 Aarons Dream Machine to 10, 9 and 18th place finishes in the first three races of the year. Brian Vickers finished fifth in the fourth race. Mark Martin finished 12 in the fifth race. Brian Vickers finished 18th in the sixth race of the year. This collective effort has the car ninth in Owner points. With the performance of the MWR cars the previous years, no one would have thought this team of part time drivers could be in the top 20 little alone the top 10 in owner points. To further put this in perspective, Jeff Gordon is 21st in points and Mark Martin in spite of running 2 less races is 25th in points.
This could be one of the biggest stories of the year. If this team of drivers can keep this car in the top 10 in owner points then there would be 13 cars in the chase for the Sprint Cup. If they could win the Owners Championship like has been done in the NASCAR Nationwide series several times, we could have two separate champions, an Owner Champion and a Driver Champion.
This story will be talked about more and more as the season progresses. Currently we are almost ¼ into the season. Follow me on Twitter @brian_jr1 for more.