Ride sharing again for MWR

Team owner Michael Waltrip talks to Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. –In 2013, for the second straight year, Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and team owner Michael Waltrip will share driving duties in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, the team announced Friday.

Martin will compete in 24 Cup points races plus the Daytona Shootout, Vickers in nine races and Waltrip in the Daytona 500 and the two events at Talladega Superspeedway.

Vickers will drive the car twice each at Martinsville, Bristol and New Hampshire, as well as at the Sonoma and Watkins Glen road courses and at 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway. Waltrip ran the Kentucky race this year.

Whether the part-time ride will lead to a full-time ride for Vickers remains to be seen. Martin will turn 54 Jan. 9, but he shows no signs of slowing down. With three cars on its roster, MWR could add a fourth, if sponsorship is available.

“There’s no contractual obligation (for) 2014, but that’s my goal, and that’s their goal,” Vickers said. “That’s what we’re working toward. Right now we’ve got a couple things on our task list — run good. We’ve got nine races next year. Three are with Aaron’s (sponsorship), and six are unsold.

“We have to sell those six races, and part of that is going to be performing. Then, in 2014, we have to sell all of them. That’s what we need to do to make that happen.”

Vickers has posted four top-10 finishes in seven starts so far this season. He was fastest in Friday’s opening Cup practice session at Martinsville with a lap at 97.679 mph before qualifying second for Sunday’s race.


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