C'mon. Did you really think Michael Waltrip was going to sit this one out?
Waltrip found a sponsor (Aaron's) and a team (the brand-new Hillman Racing) willing to back his 2012 Daytona 500 efforts on Monday, which the driver/team owner hopes will allow him to make his 75th career start at Daytona International Speedway.
Hillman Racing has never raced in NASCAR before – or anywhere, for that matter – but is owned by former Germain Racing architect Mike Hillman Sr. At the end of last season, Hillman bought the assets of his ex-Truck team and plans to field a full-time entry in the Camping World Truck Series (Ward Burton will race it at Daytona).
Waltrip will drive the new No. 40 Sprint Cup Series car, but will have to make the race via qualifying or by transfer spot in one of the Gatorade Duels.
In other news, Waltrip will also race the Budweiser Shootout in the No. 55 car – which he is splitting with Mark Martin this season at Michael Waltrip Racing – while Martin watches from atop the pit box.
Martin became locked into the Daytona 500 after MWR made an owner points purchase from FAS Lane Racing, SceneDaily.com reported Monday.