Brian Vickers Behind the Wheel of the No. 55
Aaron’s has reached a multi-year agreement to sponsor Brian Vickers in Michael Waltrip Racing’s (MWR) No. 55 Toyota Camry in every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
“We at Aaron’s are thrilled about this partnership. We’re building a championship organization – and we know that Brian Vickers and the No. 55 team, under Michael Waltrip’s tradition of winning, are focused on building a championship caliber team,” said Ronald W. Allen, Aaron’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “So many of our customers are enthusiastic and loyal NASCAR fans and we are proud to be a part of a sport they are passionate about. We are looking forward to continued success with Brian Vickers both on and off the track.”
Vickers has raced the No. 55 on a part-time basis the last two seasons for MWR posting several impressive performances including his third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14.
Beginning in 2014, he’ll pilot the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine with a fresh new paint scheme, unveiled earlier this year at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. in every race.
“I can’t put into words how this makes me feel,” said 29-year-old Vickers. “I’ve really found my home at MWR over the past few years, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know the Aaron’s associates and customers. I am honored that Aaron’s is welcoming me into their family full-time. Knowing that I have a top-notch team and a dedicated sponsor for a full season is a really great feeling every driver dreams about, and like everyone else, I want to win races and win a championship. Michael and co-owner Rob Kauffman are really building something special at MWR and are giving me the tools to accomplish those goals.”
“Aaron’s is a cornerstone to MWR’s success. This is a big announcement today because it shows a tremendous vote of confidence in the sport of NASCAR and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization,” said Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing.
“The relationship with Aaron’s is very personal to me because they helped place Michael Waltrip Racing on the map in 2000 when I was running a half dozen Nationwide Series races from a small garage in my backyard. Now they are enabling MWR to continue its growth as we will have three drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and beyond. So much of this confidence comes from the NASCAR fans who continue to support the sponsors of our teams. I want to sincerely thank the NASCAR fans who are Aaron’s customers because you make this all happen,” said Waltrip.
Aaron’s support of NASCAR goes beyond its support of MWR. In 2002, the company became a title sponsor of Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, with the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race and the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Chase Elliott, Bill Elliott Racing No. 9
Birth date: Nov. 28, 1995
Hometown: Dawsonville, Ga.
Current residence: Dawsonville, Ga.
Hobbies: Snowboarding, riding dirt bikes, playing and watching sports.
Types of cars raced: Stock cars, late models, legends, bandoleros and go karts.
Career highlights: Becoming the youngest driver to win the 2011 Snowball Derby, being voted as the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Most Popular Driver award and winning his first K&N Pro Series race at Iowa Speedway in May 2012.
Chase Elliott was 6 years old, sitting on the No. 9 pit box at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when his father Bill Elliott won the 2002 Brickyard 400. That victory, while significant for Bill Elliott, was equally life-changing for his son, and Chase Elliott’s heart was set on a career in racing from that moment forward.
The youngster spent as much time as he could in the garage with his father, while his mother Cindy continued to show her son other sports like golf and baseball. But as time passed, Chase Elliott’s passion for racing only grew stronger, particularly after he had the opportunity to meet and observe drivers like Tony Stewart and current teammates Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne.
Now as a 16-year-old, Elliott is competing fulltime for the second straight season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, this time with crew chief Lance McGrew at the helm. Elliott has been a consistent contender as the 2012 season unfolds and won his first career victory in the K&N Pro Series on May 19 when he took the checkered flag in the East-West combination event at Iowa Speedway.
Growing up in Dawsonville, Ga., Elliott worked his way from gokarts all the way up into late models. By his early teenage years, Elliott already had competed against some of the best short-track racers in the nation. He started driving late models nationwide in 2009 and recorded four wins, 13 top-five finishes, 24 top-10s and three pole positions in 31 starts that season.
During the 2010 season, Elliott recorded 42 late model starts, posting 13 victories, 29 top-five finishes, 39 top-10s and six pole awards. That year, Elliott became the youngest driver to win the Blizzard Series at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., the Miller Lite Series at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway and the overall Sunoco Gulf Coast championships. The Dawsonville, Ga., native also scored victories in the prestigious Winchester 400 and at the re-opening of historic North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway.
Elliott opened the 2011 season by signing a multi-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports. With support from the 10-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship powerhouse, Elliott entered the 2011 season with optimism, driving for his family-owned team Bill Elliott Racing.
As the youngest driver to race in the 2011 K&N Pro Series East season, Elliott earned three top-five finishes and six top-10s in 12 starts and was honored at the conclusion of his rookie season after fans voted a record number of times to name him the Most Popular Driver in the K&N Pro Series East. Being a fan-favorite was also something his father exceled in, as Bill Elliott was awarded the honor a record 16 times on the Sprint Cup level.
In addition to his driving duties in the NASCAR regional touring series events in 2011, Elliott also drove his No. 9 Chevrolet in 24 late model races and was crowned the Champion Racing Association National Super Late Model champion in November. He finished the year with eight wins including the prestigious Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla., where he bested Cup-level talent to become the youngest winner in the event’s history. Elliott also tallied 24 top-five finishes and 26 top-10s in 2011.
Winning Most Popular Driver wasn’t the only compliment the Dawsonville, Ga., native received in 2011. In April, he was recognized as Sports Illustrated’s High School Player of the Week. In December, Elliott was voted by fans as ESPN Magazine’s “NEXT” racer, which highlighted up-and-coming young athletes that ESPN considers on the cusp of stardom. Most recently in January, Elliott was named one of the NASCAR drivers 25 and under to watch in 2012 by FOXSports.com.