Michael Waltrip tried to keep a smile on his face despite Wednesday being one of the darkest days in his race team’s history.
The NASCAR owner spoke about Michael Waltrip Racing’s impending shutdown in 2016 at the beginning of the Fox Sports 1 telecast of Wednesday morning’s Camping World Truck Series practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“It’s a sad day for MWR,” said Waltrip, who called Michael Waltrip Racing a “perfect workplace.”
Waltrip, who is part of Fox Sports 1’s Truck Series broadcast team, tried to maintain a positive outlook, hinting that his Cornelius, N.C.-based shop might stay open and keep some of its employees if it were sold.
“My hope is somebody wants to have a really nice shop full of really cool people that work together well and want to have a race team, and we can provide that for them,” Waltrip said. “But Rob’s (team majority owner Rob Kauffman) going to be a part of Chip Ganassi Racing going forward.
“Rob and I are best of buddies. Rob has done an amazing job of stabilizing MWR at the beginning and then we raced for a championship, finished second in 2012.”
MWR has fielded cars full time in the Sprint Cup Series since 2007.
“My heart goes out to all the employees, all the people who worked at MWR,” Waltrip said. “Hopefully, somebody wants to have a team, and they can have it right there at our place.”
Waltrip concluded by adding, “I’m thankful. I’m happy. It’s a great run that we’ve had. We’ll just see what’s next.”