NASCAR: Mark Martin, Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip to share No. 55 car next year

John Harrelson

Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 55 car has been one of NASCAR's fastest rides this season.

So when it came time for Brian Vickers to decide whether or not he wanted to stay in the 55's seat on a part-time basis or seek out a full-time ride for 2013, the answer was easy.

"For me, staying with MWR was a conscious decision to be in the best position to try to win races," he said Friday Martinsville Speedway in announcing his choice to sign with MWR for nine races next season.

Vickers will split the car with primary driver Mark Martin (24 races, plus the Shootout and All-Star Race) and Michael Waltrip (three restrictor-plate races). The trio will be paired with underrated crew chief Rodney Childers, whose cars have nearly won on several occasions this season.

"I love my schedule and I love our lineup," Martin said in a statement. "Brian has a tremendous amount of experience and talent for such a young driver and you saw at Talladega that Michael Waltrip is as good as anyone in a restrictor plate race."

After next season, Vickers hopes to have the car all to himself – though he said there's "no contractual obligation" as of now.

"That's my goal and that's their goal and that's what we're working toward," he said.

The No. 55 car will have Aaron's sponsorship for Martin and Waltrip's races, while six of Vickers' nine races are still unsponsored.

Additionally, Vickers may drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series but wouldn't comment specifically about JGR other than to say he was exploring all options.

Here's the complete schedule for the No. 55 car next year so you can check which driver will be in which races instead of asking Martin on Twitter:

Feb. 16: Daytona Shootout – Martin
Feb. 24: Daytona 500 – Martin
March 3: Phoenix – Martin
March 10: Las Vegas – Martin
March 17: Bristol – Vickers
March 24: Fontana – Martin
April 7: Martinsville – Vickers
April 13: Texas – Martin
April 21: Kansas – Martin
April 27: Richmond – Martin
May 5: Talladega – Waltrip
May 11: Darlington – Martin
May 18: All-Star Race at Charlotte – Martin
May 26: Coca-Cola 600 – Martin
June 2: Dover – Martin
June 9: Pocono – Martin
June 16: Michigan – Martin
June 23: Sonoma – Vickers
June 29: Kentucky – Vickers
July 6: Daytona – Waltrip
July 14: New Hampshire – Vickers
July 28: Indianapolis – Martin
Aug. 4: Pocono – Martin
Aug. 11: Watkins Glen – Vickers
Aug. 18: Michigan – Martin
Aug. 24: Bristol – Vickers
Sept. 1: Atlanta – Martin
Sept. 7: Richmond – Martin
Sept. 15: Chicagoland – Martin
Sept. 22: New Hampshire – Vickers
Sept. 29: Dover – Martin
Oct. 6: Kansas – Martin
Oct. 12: Charlotte – Martin
Oct. 20: Talladega – Waltrip
Oct. 27: Martinsville – Vickers
Nov. 3: Texas – Martin
Nov. 10: Phoenix – Martin
Nov. 17: Homestead – Martin

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