Kenny Wallace in the #00 at Talladega Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Kenny Wallace will attempt to qualify the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway for the Sprint Cup Series AMP Energy 500 on Sunday. Michael Waltrip Racing made the decision to make a driver change starting this weekend. The team is regrouping after failing to qualify last weekend at Kansas Speedway.
The status for the remaining six races this year is being determined. Michael McDowell, who has five top-25 finishes in 20 starts during his rookie season, is still an option. Each event will be determined by who may be able to best help the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota team reach their goal of finishing the season in the top 35 owner points standings. "We have a singular focus with the #00 team now and that is to get it in the top 35 in owner’s points when the checkered flag falls at Homestead-Miami," Waltrip said. "This is not about an individual, it is about an organization. Kenny has a lot of experience restrictor plate racing and a lot of friends who trust him, which is critical at that race. He has a great record at Talladega and we felt like he was our best shot at scoring maximum points.
We’re going to make the same evaluation for the remaining 2008 Sprint Cup races," Waltrip continued. "That could include multiple drivers based on their experiences at particular tracks. Teams have done this at road course events and we have the flexibility to do this with the remaining oval races." Wallace drove the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine for Waltrip at Talladega Superspeedway in 2004. Now, Wallace returns to the organization looking to top his runner-up finish he scored at the 2.66-mile tri-oval in 2000 where he pushed the late Dale Earnhardt to his final Cup victory. Wallace was driving for Andy Petree in the #55 numbered car. Wallace’s best qualifying effort at Talladega to date is third and in his most recent attempt he started sixth.
"Michael and I have been friends for a long time," said Wallace, who has two top-five and six top-10s in 23 starts at Talladega. "I watched him bring his vision to life and become a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner. I’m proud of everything he has accomplished and I’m proud that I was able to be one of the first Cup drivers to help him. I vividly remember the small garage he worked out of before taking his organization to the top level. I'm looking forward to returning to Michael Waltrip Racing and helping the team get back inside the top 35." Michael Waltrip Racing PR
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