NASCAR

People problem at Michael Waltrip Racing

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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Change needed at MWR

Michael from Gurnee, Ill.: Larry, The question that came to my mind from the very start of MWR was how can Michael run three teams and drive when Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott found it too much to be owner/driver of one-car teams? And that's just the Cup side. I am surprised Toyota hasn't pressured him to get out of the car. I had hoped they would announce a new driver over this two-week period without a race. No cars in the top 35 is going to make for a long year. Larry McReynolds: Michael Waltrip stepping out of his race car is not the answer to the problems at Michael Waltrip Racing because the same people are still going to be involved. Surrounded by good people, Waltrip could easily do everything he's doing: run three race teams, drive the car, do television and radio, be a dad, son, father and husband. He's going to have to bring in people that won't sit there and shake their head up and down or back and forth depending on which way he's shaking it. That's what he has right now. He's got to get people that will say, "Michael, no. You can't do that. That won't work. We don't need to do that." The right people will still respect that he owns it, but they're not just ear massagers. That's what he has. They're just marching to the beat of his drum, and Michael doesn't have the right beat. If Michael doesn't change the structure of that organization, the performance won't change. I don't care if he puts Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart in that No. 55 car, it's not going to change. It's about the people.

Practice at tracks

Mike from Virginia Beach, Va.: If NASCAR is so expense-conscious, why aren't all teams that show up for a race allowed to practice in all the practice sessions even after the field is set? The teams spend a lot of money to get to these races and those outside the top 35 can sure use all the practice time they can get. Larry McReynolds: That's a great point, and I wouldn't argue it too long. But once qualifying is over, I'm not sure that any of the teams that missed the race would be interested in hanging around because the focus now is the race on Sunday. We only want 43 cars in case one of those cars that missed the race blew an engine and took out cars that made the race. That would be pretty bad. Plus, at a lot of places, we don't have enough garage stalls for everybody. But it is an excellent point. I can't 1,000% argue against it. But there are reasons.

Making their points

Zachary from Wessington Springs, S.D.: Could you please explain why Morgan-McClure Motorsports and James Finch's Phoenix Racing switched car numbers in the owner point standings with the No. 4 listed as Phoenix Racing and the No. 09 listed as Morgan-McClure Motorsports?

Speed Mail Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds: In NASCAR's eyes, they can't just swap points. There had to be a business deal between the teams. The biggest reason was Daytona. The No. 4 car missed the show and got little to no owner points, but that team is attempting to run all of the races. With Mike Wallace, Finch finished 4th, which is a lot of points. He hasn't run a race since then, and they don't plan to run again until Talladega. It's no different than Michael Waltrip's deals with Cal Wells No. 32 team this year and Doug Bawel's team last year. They're done for different reasons, but it's a good business decision for Morgan-McClure to get 4th-place points from Daytona. Is it an absolute guarantee that it's going to help them in some shape form or fashion? No, but it certainly can't hurt to have that many points in your bank.


FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

Tagged: Jeff Gordon, Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip

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