Michael Waltrip could run multiple Truck races for Billy Ballew Motorsports

Calypso

Queen Calypso
Apr 29, 2009
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carsandcombat.com
Michael Waltrip might be going into semiretirement next season from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, but he could see more time on the track than originally planned.

Waltrip, who is scheduled to run only select Cup events in 2010 with the Michael Waltrip Racing team he co-owns with Rob Kauffman, has been in discussions with team owner Billy Ballew about a full-time ride in the Camping World Truck Series, Ballew said in a phone interview with NASCAR News, Blogs, Race Schedules, Photos, Videos | SceneDaily.com on Monday morning.

Waltrip, however, sounded less intent on a full Truck season when asked about his plans Monday afternoon.

“He’s working on sponsorship, and if it comes through, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll run a couple races for him,†the two-time Daytona 500 champion said of Ballew.

Billy Ballew Motorsports, which has enlisted the services of Kyle Busch on a part-time basis since 2005, is looking to name drivers for its two trucks after Busch announced plans in December to compete for his own Kyle Busch Motorsports operation that he is bringing into the series.

Ballew expects an announcement about Waltrip’s future with BMM by Jan. 15 and is still in the process of securing funding for Waltrip and a second driver, Aric Almirola.

Almirola made 16 starts for the organization last season after lack of sponsorship forced him out of a Cup ride at Dale Earnhardt Inc., but 25-year-old Tampa, Fla., native is not under contract with BMM.

Waltrip would join a Billy Ballew Motorsports organization that won seven Truck races last season, all with Busch as a driver. The No. 51 Toyota shared by Busch and others also finished second in the owner standings.

“I’ve had numerous conversations with Michael Waltrip,†said Ballew, a Georgia businessman whose organization first entered the Truck series on a part-time basis in 1996. “He is interested in running a full Truck deal if we can secure sponsorship. I’d love to do it with him because I think we could be very successful together.â€

The 46-year-old Waltrip will run the season-opening Daytona 500 and a handful of other Cup races, sponsorship permitting, next season as he scales back to a partial schedule. Filling Waltrip’s old seat at MWR is incoming driver Martin Truex Jr., who is moving over from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

Waltrip has spent 25 seasons in NASCAR’s top series, scoring four points wins in 759 starts, in addition to a victory in the all-star race in 1996. The veteran driver has eight career Truck starts, all between 1996 and 2006.

“I think we could definitely contend for the championship with him also, just as Aric,†Ballew said. “It would probably be easier on our program having one driver per team than having five drivers with one team. … If you have one driver in one program to work on, it makes it a lot easier, I think, from a communication standpoint with the crew chiefs and drivers if they’re working with the same person every week.â€

Ballew has yet to name crew chiefs for either of his trucks. The organization is looking for a replacement for No. 15 crew chief Doug George, who has joined Kevin Harvick Inc.

Richie Wauters, who called the shots for Busch after a midseason swap with George last year, has remained in a leadership role in the company and could serve as a crew chief once again.

“We’ve got plenty of crew chiefs that are great crew chiefs that really, unfortunately right now are out of a job, even at the Cup level,†Ballew said. “And a lot of them are good friends of mine that we can bring on board for whichever team. Just a lot of unknowns right now.â€

Ballew said that Steve Wallace, who is slated to return to Rusty Wallace Racing in the Nationwide Series, is also “still in the mix†for a part-time Truck ride for BMM.

“It’s unfortunate the way times are right now,†Ballew said. “Thereâ€s a lot of great drivers that don’t have rides. Thank goodness Steven has got one.â€
 

dpkimmel2001

Well-Known Member
Nov 6, 2008
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The part that gets me is the Steve Wallace remark. Wow, throw that guy in a truck and let the mayhem begin.