With Wednesday morning's news that Michael Waltrip Racing will no longer field full-time Sprint Cup Series teams after the 2015 season, we look back at the relatively short history of MWR. In 2006, MWR was introduced as one of the three teams to lead Toyota’s entry into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. MWR’s original drivers were Dale Jarrett, David Reutimann and Waltrip himself.
Michael Waltrip Racing joined the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2007, and it was a tough first-year for the team, as the team’s three drivers combined for 29 DNQs and only two top-10 finishes, both by Waltrip.
A new face
After spending millions of dollars to launch Michael Waltrip Racing, the founder soon figured out he needed a financial partner. In October 2007, investment banker and racing enthusiast Rob Kauffman purchased an ownership share in MWR.
Getty ImagesJohn Harrelson
Michael Waltrip Racing driver Michael McDowell was uninjured during a spectacular crash during qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway in April 2008. McDowell walked away after barrel-rolling his Toyota and spent much of the next week on a nationwide publicity tour.
Getty Images for NASCARKevin C. Cox
Michael Waltrip Racing scored its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in one of the biggest races of 2009, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. When rain brought out a caution, MWR’s David Reutimann stayed on track and took over the lead. That proved to be the difference, as the race was called after completing just 227 of the scheduled 400 laps.
Getty Images for NASCARRusty Jarrett
In late 2009, Michael Waltrip Racing signed up-and-coming driver Martin Truex Jr. to drive for the team starting in 2010.
Getty ImagesJason Smith
Do it again
There were no rain delays or asterisks in the summer of 2010, when David Reutimann dominated at Chicagoland Speedway to give Michael Waltrip Racing its second victory. Both of Reutimann’s triumphs for MWR came when Rodney Childers was his crew chief.
Getty Images for NASCARJason Smith
For the 2012 season, Michael Waltrip Racing signed Clint Bowyer, and he proved to be a huge and critical asset to the operation. Paired with crew chief Brian Pattie, Bowyer scored his first victory with MWR on the Sonoma Raceway road course.
Getty Images for NASCARJerry Markland
Twice as nice
In the final race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season, Clint Bowyer drove the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota to a popular victory at Richmond International Raceway. Bowyer and teammate Martin Truex Jr. gave MWR its first berths in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Getty Images for NASCARPatrick Smith
Third time a charm
With a victory in the fall night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer established himself as a legitimate title threat in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Getty Images for NASCARChris Graythen
Hitting the fan
After a series of on-track incidents between them during the 2012 season, Jeff Gordon deliberately wrecked Clint Bowyer in the closing laps of the fall race at Phoenix International Raceway. Bowyer then sprinted to the garage as the two crews began brawling.
Getty ImagesTyler Barrick
Clint Bowyer finished second to Brad Keselowski in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. That remains a high-water mark for any Michael Waltrip Racing drivers.
Getty Images for NASCARJeff Bottari
Road course ace
When Martin Truex Jr. won on the Sonoma Raceway road course in June 2013, it marked the second victory by a Michael Waltrip Racing at the majestic Northern California track.
Getty ImagesRobert Laberge
Driving a part-time schedule, Brian Vickers scored an emotional victory for Michael Waltrip Racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the summer of 2013. This would be the third victory with MWR for crew chief Rodney Childers.
MWR announced July 30, 2015, that co-owner Rob Kauffman had agreed to buy an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and that the companies would continue to operate separately and compete against each other for the remainder of the 2015 season.
Getty ImagesTim Bradbury
Michael Waltrip Racing announced Aug. 19, 2015 that it will not field a full-time car in 2016. In addition, MWR driver Clint Bowyer was granted a release from the team and is free to sign wherever he wants for next year. Bowyer and David Ragan, who is unsigned for 2016, will finish out the season at MWR.