[to top of second column]
The MWR drivers all finished 2008 inside the critical top-35 mark, and David Reutimann last season gave the team its first victory with a Coca-Cola 600 win. He also flirted with making the Chase for the championship.
And they were able to sign Truex, who was one of the most coveted free agents last season.
"I'm proud and impressed that he got through the ramp-up, the issues that happened, he continued to press on and made a successful program out of it," NASCAR president Mike Helton said of Waltrip. "Whatever he does next, he will continue to draw attention because he's charismatic and fans like him. The further away he gets from racing, the more that character will be followed."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he hoped his former teammates legacy will be what he offered off the track.
"You can't be around the sport as long as he was and not influence someone. He was a good friend to a lot of people, and for me, he always made it easier to be around here," Earnhardt said. "He was one of the personalities that would help you understand not to take (stuff) so seriously. He was great friends with my dad, I got to know him pretty good, and I appreciated him for being a good person.
"And I think he's going to be an even better car owner, so he still has quite a lot to accomplish."
Waltrip doesn't want his driving record to define his career, nor does he want to be judged by his colorful personality. His true mark in NASCAR may not come for several decades, after MWR has a chance to build its own record.
"I think the main thing that I hope to get out of this is just respect that I know what I am doing, there's a method to the way I do things," he said. "I don't mind making fun of myself, I don't mind people thinking I am crazy or goofy, but I do have a plan. When I showed up in 1985, I didn't have a plan, I just wanted to race a car.
"But now I have a plan to make MWR a destination -- for drivers, crew members and sponsors, because they appreciate the way we conduct business and that we are thankful for the opportunity to be here."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor