Truex Jr. to Waltrip, CONFIRMED

UPDATE #7 Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that Martin Truex Jr. will take over the full-time driving role in the organization's NASCAR Sprint Cup entry previously driven by Michael Waltrip starting in 2010. Waltrip, who has been driving the car as an owner/driver, will drive a limited schedule in 2010.

Waltrip, who has four wins in his Cup career, including two Daytona 500s, said that he knew there would come a time when he no longer drove full time as an owner.

“That time is now," he said.

Waltrip said he doesn’t know his schedule yet, but he will run the 2010 Daytona 500 with the familiar No. 55 and sponsorship from NAPA Auto Parts. Truex will complete this season with his No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team and drive MWR’s No. 56 Toyota next season.

07/07/09 Tuesday’s Michael Waltrip Racing and NAPA Auto Parts press announcement will be televised live on SPEED and streamed on starting at 12:30 p.m. ET. At that press conference, MWR is expected to announce that Martin Truex Jr. will drive the #55 NAPA Toyota next season, as team co-owner Michael Waltrip will focus on management responsibilities. SPEEDTV PR

07/05/09 Martin Truex Jr. will be named on Tuesday the newest addition to Michael Waltrip Racing, multiple sources confirmed on Saturday at Daytona. A press conference including sponsor NAPA is scheduled for noon at the team's Cornelius, N.C., shop. Truex is in the final year of his contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. NAPA, the long-time sponsor of team owner Michael Waltrip, will be become his primary sponsor. Waltrip will move from a full-time to part-time schedule that will include the Daytona 500 in February. He could remain in his familiar #55 with Truex taking another number, possibly the #56.

06/30/09 The company line at Michael Waltrip Racing is that despite the expected announcement on July 7 that Martin Truex Jr. will join the fold (hearing in the #56 Toyota), he will not drive the car until next season. And Waltrip will likely continue to run a limited 10 to 12 race schedule in the #55 car in 2010. But the consensus in the garage is that Truex could be in a MWR car as early as the Chicagoland Cup race in two weeks. A press release from NAPA announcing Waltrip's brother Darrell (also a NASCAR on FOX analyst) as an honorary pit crew member for this weekend Coke Zero 400 has only fueled the speculation that it will be Michael's last race. For now, MWR Vice President and GM Ty Norris and COO Cal Wells' say that the teams will remain status quo for 2009. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing president Steve Lauletta says he expects to have Aric Almirola back in the #8 Chevy by mid-August if sponsorship can be secured. Lauletta echoed MWR's sentiments that Truex will not be departing from the #1 Chevy before season's end. FoxSports

06/28/09 Michael Waltrip Racing has set a July 7 news conference to talk about the future of the organization, MWR Ty Norris vice president and general manager said Sunday morning. It appears MWR is set to announce the hiring of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

06/27/09 According to sources, this rumor is 'fact.' We await the announcement.

06/13/09 Michael Waltrip hinted Friday that he's closer to a decision on his future – and that future may involve Martin Truex Jr. Waltrip reiterated his stance that he needed to run better in order to remain the driver of the NAPA-sponsored #55 car at Michael Waltrip Racing, the race team he owns. Truex, whose contract at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing expires after this season, has been frequently tied to the possible opening in the #55. "You just have to figure that he's one of the ones that no one knows where he's going," Waltrip said. "He's been a Chase guy. He stumbled in and has run up front from the beginning, so I don't know what the future holds. But he might be one of those on that list that would be better than me." Asked if he was any closer to a decision on his future on Friday, Truex smiled. "I'd love to share it with you, but I can't," he said. Scene Daily

05/24/09 The word on the street is that #1-Martin Truex to Michael Waltrip's team in 2010 is a 'done deal,' but Truex and Ty Norris, the general manager for Waltrip's operation, both insist their 2010 deals are still up in the air, for at least another three weeks. "We've been hearing the same things," Norris concedes. "But we're still in discussions with NAPA and trying to figure out things (sponsorship) for 2010 and beyond. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made before we can even pursue something or get anything done. The biggest issue right now is we're in negotiations right now with NAPA and Michael, to see what the future looks like. We met a week ago and decided to give ourselves three or four more weeks, and then we'll make some decisions. So we're three or four weeks away from making the decision about what Michael and NAPA are going to do. Only after we make that decision can we look at the second decision." All that would seem to imply that Waltrip himself has to make a good case for sponsorship-driver renewal with NAPA between now and the July Fourth 400 at Daytona.

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