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Waltrip hires Pemberton to direct Reutimann; Andrews, Pappas also onboard

12/15/2007 - NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Waltrip Racing has hired three
new crew chiefs, including Ryan Pemberton.

Pemberton, who left Dale Earnhardt Inc. earlier this week, will
be the crew chief for David Reutimann. Paul Andrews, who will work
with Waltrip, and Bill Pappas was hired to lead MWR's third entry.

"The degree of difficulty in our monumental start up in 2007
was evident and standing flat-footed heading into 2008 was not an
option for us," Waltrip said. "I could not be more proud of the
recent developments. MWR is here to stay and I think these moves
show our commitment to long-term success."

Waltrip had a rough first season as a team owner, with his three
cars struggling to make races. Dale Jarrett, Reutimann and Waltrip
combined to qualify for just 64 of 108 races.

He's worked hard to improve his program, bringing on a partner
while adding a new technical director and a director of business
operations. Now he's shaken up the leadership of his three teams by
bringing in new crew chiefs.

Pemberton spent last season working with Mark Martin, and was
scheduled to do so next year before leaving DEI. He'll replace
Frank Kerr on Reutimann's team.

"Michael Waltrip Racing is a team that's growing and I want to
be a part of that," Pemberton said. "I have respect for this team
because I know how hard it is to start up an organization from
scratch.
"There's a lot to overcome just to make it to the race track
when you are developing a new program especially of the magnitude
they did. I can appreciate all of their hard work and dedication
last season."

Andrews will direct the No. 55 car for Waltrip. Andrews, who won
the 1992 Cup title with Alan Kulwicki, also has served as crew
chief at Penske Racing, Roush Racing and Petty Enterprises. Andrews
replaces Buddy Sisco.

Pappas comes from the Indy-car ranks, and worked with Chip
Ganassi Racing and Panther Racing. He was the lead engineer for
Juan Pablo Montoya's 2000 Indianapolis 500 victory.

He will direct the No. 44 car when Jarrett starts the season and
then move to the No. 00 car. No driver has been announced for that
team, yet, but MWR development driver Michael McDowell is
considered the top candidate.

Pappas replaces Jason Burdett, who left to become Jeff Gordon's
car chief.