Waltrip, NAPA team up with Bill Davis Racing
Michael Waltrip has a new ride next season with Bill Davis Racing and will continue to be a valued pitchman for NAPA Auto Parts.
Two months after announcing his departure from Dale Earnhardt Inc., Waltrip said Friday that he's joining Davis. Separately they have accounted for three Daytona 500 victories. Waltrip won twice, and a car owned by Davis took NASCAR's most prestigious race with Ward Burton behind the wheel. Together, they have nine Cup victories overall.
"I like the way Bill does business and he has created a strong organization," Waltrip said. "NAPA and I look forward to continuing our winning ways on the track as well as extending our successful marketing efforts off the track."
"NAPA and Michael Waltrip are the perfect combination to re-establish our two-car Cup team in 2006," said Davis. "NAPA and Michael are held in high regard in our sport and have been successful in each Series they have competed. We plan to build on their success and create a very competitive team next year and beyond."
Waltrip got his first career victory in his first race under the NAPA sponsorship in the 2001 Daytona 500. But the 42-year-old driver with four career victories has become one of the most popular figures in the sport in large part because of his humorous NAPA commercials.
That wasn't lost on the sponsor, which decided to go with the driver to a new ride rather than remain as a backer of DEI.
"It's no secret that our association with Michael has been a key ingredient of our marketing efforts," NAPA president Bob Susor said in a statement. "Michael has promoted our brand in his own unique style."
Davis said the deal is for one year and that the team will continue to field Dodges. His continuation with Dodge had been subject to considerable speculation since the automaker pulled factory support because of the car owner's flirtation with Toyota, which is expected to enter the Nextel Cup series as early as 2007.
"There are a lot of things on the horizon," Davis said, declining to elaborate on his plans beyond next season.
--Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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