CORNELIUS, N.C. — Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip gets help this weekend from nine-year-old Emery Beavis of Dyerbury, Tenn., who designed the No.55 Toyota’s paint scheme. Beavis won the grand-prize in the Aaron’s “2012 Color Your Way to Talladega” contest. She and three guests will attend the Aaron’s Dream Weekend in Talladega to watch Waltrip drive her design in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Sunday marks Waltrip’s 52nd Cup Series start on the 2.66-mile Alabama track. The 49-year-old driver owns one win (2003), seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes.
Michael Waltrip Quotes:
Best Memory of Talladega: “As a kid, in 1981, I remember going to Talladega sitting in the grandstands watching my brother (Darrell Waltrip) race. On the final lap Darrell came off turn four racing Terry Labonte for the win. Out of nowhere, Ron Bouchard shot past them and won the race right at the finish line. That was probably one of the coolest races I had ever seen, except that my brother didn’t win. Since that moment I always wanted to race at Talladega. I got my chance and in 2003, I came off turn four with the lead and Jeff Gordon tried to pass me. I was able to hold him off for the win. I remember that day in Victory Lane thinking about the race I watched in 1981. It felt great for me to finally do what I watched 22 years earlier.”
On Special Paint Scheme: “I love the paint scheme Emery Beavis colored for me. It’s a happy paint scheme, and I am a happy person so it suits me just fine. When I see that colorful paint scheme it just makes me smile. I think it’s really cool how Aaron’s gets the fans involved and it makes them feel like they are a part of the team. I can’t wait to meet Emery and her family this weekend in Talladega.”
- CAREER: Sunday’s Talladega race will be Waltrip’s 767th career start. He finished ninth in last fall’s race at Talladega.
- TALLADEGA STATS: Waltrip owns a win, seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 51 starts at Talladega Superspeedway. He’s led 212 laps.
- 2012: Michael Waltrip will race the No. 55 in four points races in 2012 and Mark Martin will drive in 24 races plus the All Star race. Brian Vickers will fill the seat for the remaining eight races.
- BIRTHDAY BOY: On Monday, April 30 Waltrip celebrated his 49th birthday.
- MWR 2012 Stats: In nine races this season MWR has collected three poles, six top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. The team’s drivers have also led 440 laps.
- MARK MARTIN OPEN HOUSE: After Saturday’s qualifying, Waltrip will fly to Batesville, Ark. for Mark Martin’s eighth annual open house at his car dealership and museum. The daylong event (8 a.m.– 5 p.m. CT) will include an Aaron’s display, Lucky Dog, Sirius Radio remote, race cars and souvenirs.
Date Friday May 4
Practice 2:00 p.m. SPEED
Practice 3:30 p.m. SPEED
Date Saturday May 5
Qualifying 12:00 p.m. SPEED
Date Sunday May 6
Race 1:00 p.m. Fox