JTG-Daugherty Racing merges with Michael Waltrip
JTG-Daugherty Racing announced today it has chosen to field Toyotas during its inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign in 2009, after forming a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
JTG-Daugherty, co-owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter and former NBA All-Star and current ESPN broadcaster Brad Daugherty, will enter the #47 Toyota Camry sponsored by primary sponsors, Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox Laundry and Household Products, and Little Debbie’s Snack Cakes.
JTG-Daugherty will move its Sprint Cup operation into MWR’s 140,000-square foot facility in Cornelius, North Carolina, and receive cars, engineering, mechanical and other technical support from MWR’s existing infrastructure. TRD will support the JTG-Daugherty team with engines from its Costa Mesa, California, facility, and vehicle engineering support from its Salisbury, N.C., facility.
Co-Owner Tad Geschickter commented, “We are extremely excited that Toyota chose to support us as we move to the Sprint Cup Series. Their engineering expertise and commitment to excellence is sure to expedite our development into a competitive Cup team.”
Frank Kerr has been named crew chief of the #47 car.
Geschickter formed the Company in 1994 and has competed in the Nationwide Series over the past 14 seasons. Team drivers have included most notably, Mike Dillon, Stacy Compton, Robert Pressley and current drivers Kelly Bires and Marcos Ambrose.
Ambrose, a former Australian V-8 Supercar Champion, has been named driver of the #47 Sprint Cup entry. He scored his first NASCAR victory earlier this season at Watkins Glen and is currently tenth in points in the Nationwide series.
MWR will enter its third season as a full-time Sprint Cup operation and currently fields the #55 NAPA Camry with Waltrip, the #44 UPS Camry with David Reutimann and the #00 Champion Mortgage/Aaron’s Camry driven this year by rookie Michael McDowell. MWR secured itself as a charter team for Toyota in 2007, helping launch the Camry brand in NASCAR’s premier racing division.
Michael Waltrip commented, “The alliance with Tad, Jodi and Brad happened because MWR has shown over the past few months that we can field a competitive product. This allows MWR to maintain the economies of scale we currently enjoy as a three-car team. We continue to invest in our development and this alliance helps keep the momentum we’ve gained in our fabrication and engineering departments this summer.
“We wanted to help Tad and Brad in their transition into NASCAR Sprint Cup ownership. If anyone can identify the hidden demons of a start-up team it is me. Having JTG-Daugherty operating in our shop helps our NAPA Toyota and our Aaron’s Toyota with David Reutimann. So this is one of the classic examples of win-win-win for everyone involved, most importantly JTG-Daugherty and MWR employees.
This alliance does not change MWR’s desire to run a fourth car in 2009.
“This doesn’t change anything from our original plans as our sales team is working hard on securing sponsorship for another MWR Cup entry. And those plans currently include McDowell. That’s the same position we were in before the JTG-Daugherty alliance was formed.”