The announcement came in August — Michael Waltrip Racing would cease operations after the 2015 season. Suddenly, about 200 employees would be out of work within three months.
They were pit crew members, drivers, crew chiefs and all those people back at the shop a driver thanks after a good day.
Some continue to look for work five months later. Some have gone into other professions. Some found jobs with other teams as the Daytona 500 nears.
Hendrick Motorsports hired 14 former MWR employees. BK Racing added 11 and that number could grow. Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske each hired about 10.
All told, Sprint Cup organizations reported to NASCAR Talk that they had hired more than 80 former MWR employees. Some moves are well-known. Scott Miller moved to NASCAR to become senior vice president of competition. Clint Bowyer is at HScott Motorsports, while David Ragan moved to BK Racing. Billy Scott is Danica Patrick’s crew chief, and Brian Pattie is Greg Biffle’s crew chief.
Other moves are not as well-known. Tim O’Brien went to Hendrick Motorsports to be an engineer on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team. Neal Hood moved to Furniture Row Racing, a team looking to find additional sponsorship to start a second team, to be director of marketing and sales. Blake Haugland will be the rear tire carrier for Matt Kenseth’s team.
Here’s where former Michael Waltrip Racing employees landed in the Sprint Cup garage (not every team identified all the former MWR employees they hired. Teams are listed in alphabetical order):
- Scott Miller … executive vice president of competition at MWR … NASCAR senior vice president of competition.
- David Ragan … driver of the No. 55 car … driver of the No. 23 car.
- Joel Cox … fabricator at MWR … fabricator and pit support at BK Racing.
- Tim Kean … mechanic at MWR … works on suspensions for organization.
- Scott King … mechanic at MWR … works on suspensions with organization.
- Kyle Turner … pit crew member at MWR … serves on pit crew for BK Racing.
- Andy Turner … pit crew member at MWR … serves on pit crew for BK Racing.
- Greg Schaefer … was at MWR … oversees in assembly shop at BK Racing.
- Eric Shirley … was at MRW … works in finish fab department at BK Racing.
- Dick Claveloux … was at MWR … serves on pit crew and decal department at BK Racing.
- Greg Carpenter … was at MWR … serves as lead body hanger at BK Racing.
- Kevin White … front suspension on the No. 55 car … mechanic and front suspension.
CHIP GANASSI RACING WITH FELIX SABATES
(Organization has added additional MWR employees)
- Rob Kauffman … co-owner at MWR … minority owner at Chip Ganassi Racing
FURNITURE ROW RACING
- Neal Hood … director of business development at MWR … director of marketing and sales for Furniture Row Racing.
- Rick Wainright … senior director, partner services at MWR … director of sponsor relations for Furniture Row Racing.
- Lee Cunningham … rear tire changer for No. 15 car … rear tire changer for No. 78 car of Martin Truex Jr.
- Chris Hall … front tire carrier on No. 55 car … front tire carrier for No. 78 car.
- Tim O’Brien … engineer with No. 55 team … engineer for No. 88 team of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Travis Stock … rear mechanic for No. 15 team … mechanic on No. 88 team.
- Mike O’Malley … worked in shop at MWR … supervisor production in the 48/88 shop.
- Zachary Yarnot … fabricator at MWR … fabricator in the 48/88 shop.
- David Funderburk … fabricator at MWR … fabricator in the 48/88 shop
- Greg Campbell … fabricator at MWR … fabricator in the 48/88 shop
- Nick Steger … fabricator at MWR … fabricator in the 5/24 shop
- Evan Marchal … development pit crew member at MWR … backup pit crew member in the 5/24 shop
- Diane Holl … director of vehicle design at MWR … manager of aerodynamics.
- Kell Kirby … senior design engineer at MWR .. an engineer at HMS.
- Perry Taylor … software engineer at MWR … an engineer at Hendrick.
- Grant Fain … quality control engineer at MWR … an engineer at Hendrick.
- Catalin Popa … structures engineer at MWR … engineer at HMS
- Kevin Dean … aerodynamics engineer at MWR … engineer at HMS
- Clint Bowyer … driver of the No. 15 car at MWR … moves to HScott Motorsports for this year and then to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017
- Brett Griffin … spotter for Clint Bowyer … moves to HScott Motorsports to continue that role.
- J.D. Frey … front mechanic for No. 15 car at MWR … setup mechanic at HScott Motorsports.
- James Davis … tire specialist for No. 15 car at MWR … same role with No. 15 team at HScott Motorsports.
- Kristine Curley … media relations for Clint Bowyer … same role with HScott Motorsports.
- Jeff Kerr … gas man for the No. 55 team … gas man for No. 47 team of A.J. Allmendinger
- Joey McCarthy … worked in shop at MWR … works on the set-up plate with JTG Daugherty.
- Jeffrey Shano … hauler driver for the No. 15 team … same duties for No. 47 team.
- Eric Gillon … electronic technician at MWR … similar role with JTG Daugherty
JOE GIBBS RACING
- Blake Haugland … rear tire carrier on No. 55 car … rear tire carrier for the No. 20 car of Matt Kenseth.
- Adam Hartman … backup rear tire changer at MWR … rear tire changer for No. 20 car.
- Jaik Halpainy … shop engineer at MWR … engineer with JGR.
- Mark Cehon … mechanic at MWR … front suspension mechanic at JGR.
- Lee Hallman … lead trackside support engineer at MWR … race engineer at JGR.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
- Terry Spaulding … front tire changer for No. 15 car … on developmental pit crew and will work on the No. 95 of Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing.
- Alan Steele … front tire carrier for No. 15 car … same role with RCR’s No. 2 Xfinity Series car.
- Brian Chase … jackman for No. 15 car … same role for the No. 3 car of Austin Dillon.
RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS
- Roy Crump … design engineer at MWR … in engineer role at RPM.
- Cameron Kirksey … engineer at MWR … oversees quality control at RPM.
- Craig Noble … aero engineer at MWR … same role at RPM
- Tyler Hill … design engineer at MWR … same role at RPM
- Barry Helms … chassis fabrication … same role at RPM
- Robert Berrier … chassis fabrication … same role at RPM
- Wes Evans … jackman on No. 55 car … same role for No. 43 car of Aric Almirola.
- David Cropps … interior mechanic on 55 team … same role with No. 43 car.
ROUSH FENWAY RACING
- Dr. Kent Day … specialized in vehicle dynamics at MWR … will serve as manager of simulation at Roush.
- Vojin Jaksic … was R&D engineer at MWR … is special projects manager at Roush.
- Brian Pattie … crew chief of the No. 55 team … crew chief for Greg Biffle
- Billy Curwood … engineer on the No. 55 team … car chief on the No. 16 team of Greg Biffle.
- Roman Pemberton … spotter on the No. 55 car … spotter for Trevor Bayne on the No. 6 team.
- Joe Zanolini … rear mechanic on the No. 55 car … front end mechanic for the No. 16 team.
(Organization has hired close to 10 former MWR employees)
- Billy Scott … crew chief for Clint Bowyer at MWR … Danica Patrick’s crew chief
- Walt Smith … pit coach at MWR … same role at SHR.
- Dax Gerringer … engineer for No. 15 team … same role with No. 4 team of Kevin Harvick.
- Richard Waldeck … lead mechanic for No. 55 team … front mechanic for SHR.
- Drew Brown … media relations at MWR … media relations for Tony Stewart.
(Organization has hired close to 10 former MWR employees)
- Kevin Chrencik … director of vehicle performance at MWR … vehicle dynamics engineer at Penske.
- Brandon Pope … engineer on No. 55 team … engineer for No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski.
- Joe Bisson … engineer at MWR … moves to No. 22 Xfinity car for Team Penske in that role.
TOMMY BALDWIN RACING
- Chad Walters … engineer at MWR and an R&D manager … oversees TBR’s engineering efforts.
- Doug Trader … was at MWR … moves to body building shop at TBR.
- Brent Patzack … was at MWR … moves to body building shop at TBR.
- Ryan Langley … front tire changer on No. 55 car … serves on pit crew for No. 21 team.
- Shannon Myers … rear tire changer on 55 car … serves on pit crew for No. 21 team.
SPIRE SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
- Ty Norris … executive vice president at MWR … President of Spire Sports + Entertainment.
TOYOTA RACING DEVELOPMENT
- Bill McDonald … vehicle dynamics engineer at MWR … senior engineer for TRD.
- Brandon Hartsell … vehicle dynamics engineer … simulation engineer at TRD.