After months of speculation, Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip Racing have officially announced their partnership going forward. The three-year deal will put Bowyer behind the wheel of the No. 15 Toyota with sponsor 5-Hour Energy on board for 24 races in 2012.
Joining a new organization for the first time in Bowyer's career, the move is a win-win situation for all parties involved.
For Bowyer, the move brings about an opportunity for a fresh start. Driving for Richard Childress Racing for the entirety of his career, Bowyer said the decision to leave was the "hardest part of the decision," but that he was eager to start a "new chapter" in his career.
Bowyer credited MWR for "hiring a lot of the right people" and said he felt the team is "on the brink of breaking out."
The addition of Bowyer also brings more than just a solid sponsor to the team – it will also benefit David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr., both of whom have had limited success but have not lived up to expectations.
In talking with media at Kansas Speedway, Bowyer said he is eager to work with his new teammates and grow the organization in the future.
"You've got to be able to pull on the rope in the same direction, if not you're not going to move forward," he said.
With a number of teams interested in adding Bowyer to their organization, Michael Waltrip Racing's ability to land a proven race winner and Chase contender is a strong statement for a young organization that struggled in its early years.
Team owner Michael Waltrip called the partnership "a watershed moment" for the organization.
For Richard Childress Racing, Bowyer's decision is also a positive one. While Bowyer brought a lot to the table, his departure now allows for a potential move to the Sprint Cup Series by team owner Richard Childress' grandson Austin Dillon.
Expanding to a four-car team for the 2011 season, if RCR cuts back to three cars now that Bowyer is gone, the potential pit falls and disappointments felt this year may be eliminated. When the team cut back to three teams in 2010, the organization seemed to turn itself around and find success. The opportunity to repeat that trend is now there.
For 5-Hour Energy, the announcement is nothing but positive. Bucking the trend of sponsors in these hard economic times, 5-Hour Energy's move from the Natiowide Series to the Sprint Cup Series is one that will lead to greater exposure on a week-to-week basis with a proven race winner carrying their colors.
There are few instances in which a driver's move from one team to another creates such a win-win situation, but that seems to be the case with Bowyer's decision to join Michael Waltrip Racing.