Michael Waltrip Bill Davis Racing/Toyota bound? UPDATE #10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. See story on Hot News page.
09/22/05 Michael Waltrip will announce Friday [on Trackside] that he has signed a one-year deal to drive a second car for Davis next season. Davis entered two cars in most races from 2000 to 2003 but cut back last season and now fields only Scott Wimmer's #22 Dodge. Wimmer hasn't had a top-10 finish this season and enters Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway 33rd in points. Waltrip will bring NAPA Auto Parts, his current sponsor at Dale Earnhardt Inc., with him to Davis; Waltrip, 42, announced in July that he would not return to DEI in 2006. Davis' team fields Dodges in Nextel Cup but doesn't receive technical or financial support from the automaker. Dodge sued the team in 2003 after it discovered team members were doing development work for Toyota's Craftsman Truck Series program. Though Waltrip says the lack of factory support has "probably been a disadvantage" for Davis, the possibility of aligning himself with Toyota — which hasn't announced plans to join Nextel Cup but is expected to do so in 2007 — was part of the attraction. "I guess it was a consideration on my part to see what might be next," Waltrip said. USA Today
09/21/05 Michael Waltrip said on this weeks Inside Nextel Cup show that he would announce his 2006 plans on Speed Channel's Trackside show from Dover, which airs this Friday at 7:00 PM ET. 09/17/05 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong.' Michael Waltrip is set to join Bill Davis Racing in a second Nextel Cup team next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. An official announcement of Waltrip's move - speculated for several weeks - could come as early as Wednesday, sources said. NAPA, the current sponsor of Waltrip's No. 15 Chevrolet at Dale Earnhardt Inc., is also expected to make the move to BDR, which currently fields the No. 22 Dodges for driver Scott Wimmer. The future of Wimmer is not expected to be addressed in the announcement. He has struggled in his two seasons in Cup and is 33rd in points with no top-10 finishes this year.
08/22/05 Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis, said his team has had "no talks at all" with Michael Waltrip about joining their operation next season. Winston Salem Journal [Editor's Note: But it does not mean that Waltrip isn't Toyota bound.]
08/19/05 We could find Michael Waltrip racing under the banner of Bill Davis Racing in 2006, and he might be taking his current sponsor, NAPA, with him. Waltrip has informed his current team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., that he won't be returning to the #15 Chevy he has driven for the past five seasons. A move to Davis' team would mesh nicely with Waltrip's expected plans to join Toyota's team when that manufacturer moves to the Cup circuit in 2007 or 2008, because Davis already is running Toyotas in the Craftsman Truck Series. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
08/11/05 Sources close to Michael Waltrip say he is in the running to take a full-time ride with Joe Gibbs, after the departure of Jason Leffler. Gibbs may move the FedEx sponsorship from his new third team to Bobby Labonte's #18 team next season, and that would open up a quarter panel for NAPA, Waltrip's long-time sponsor at DEI. Winston Salem Journal
08/09/05 There have been whispers that [Michael] Waltrip is working with Toyota to become their flagship driver in 2007. Even though nothing firm has been announced in relation to Toyota, speculation is that they will have a car ready for the 2007 season. Don't be surprised if the team that Waltrip drives for in 2006 is in the final year of their manufacturers' contract. Suffolk News Herald 08/07/05 Michael Waltrip, current driver of the #15 NAPA DEI Chevy said: "I'm getting closer, I think. I have a couple of meetings this week that might shed some light on where I'll be. Maybe by Watkins Glen or shortly thereafter I'll be able to tell what I'm going to do. Just don't have it all worked out yet. I feel pretty good about where I wind up." As for leaving DEI before the 2005 season ends: "No, I would not ever do that no matter what. I mean, I would leave if they ran me off. I wouldn't hang around there. I wouldn't go I wouldn't do anything that would jeopardize what NAPA has put behind me and that team and what the contracts say that I will do. I can't imagine a scenario that you could paint that would that I would leave that place. GM Racing PR
08/03/05 Atlanta Journal- Constitution writer Rick Minter says that Michael Waltrip’s ’06 ride will be the No. 0 Chevy now driven by Mike Bliss, with a switch to a Toyota seat in ’07 when the Japanese company first enters Nextel Cup. His older brother Darrell already drives for Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Will the Waltrip brothers start a Toyota Nextel Cup team? Don't bet against it.
07/16/05 Michael Waltrip is headed eventually to the Toyota camp - along with Eury Jr., according to one Detroit source very close to the situation - in what is reported to be a top-dollar project. "Toyota has offered Michael and Tony Jr. so much money they can't turn it down," the source said. Waltrip has been eyed for a Toyota ride for more than a year, in part because older brother Darrell runs a Toyota team on the Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR has been pushing Toyota to step up its presence in the sport, for the added marketing punch that would provide. And Waltrip could give Toyota quick credibility. Toyota isn't expected to field a Cup team until 2007, although a Busch team is a possibility in 2006. Toyota does have a formidable presence in the truck series. The Toyota option? "I don't even know when that's a possibility, and I need a job for next year," Waltrip replied. Winston Salem Journal