The MWR Discussion Continues…

As expected, Michael Waltrip Racing’s PR department came out with a response today to our report from last week (June 3rd) that they were having some financial difficulties.  They, of course, denied that there were any problems with the team and that they were as strong as ever.

After having our post picked up by Jayski yesterday, our site was inundated with traffic, comments, and emails from readers.  Some good, some bad.  And we appreciate both kinds.  So I thought I’d take a minute to respond to some of them. 

First, the information that our post was based on was not made up, fabricated, or some sort of wild speculation.  Employees were let go, and given the reason we specified.  And it wasn’t just one employee.  Beyond that, the fact remains that both NAPA and UPS have sponsorship contracts that end after this season and UPS has been openly shopping for another team.  All three Cup Series teams are lower then 28th in the points, with Waltrip’s #55 team falling out of the top 35 last Sunday at Pocono.  In the current climate of NASCAR, sponsorship has been very difficult to come by, with some very successful teams having limited or no sponsorship.  Knowing that both companies may be looking, its not a stretch to think that a lot of Cup Series owners have made phone calls inquiring.  And, with good teams being available, why wouldn’t UPS and NAPA look elsewhere?  The return on investment could be a lot better with another team.

Second, at no point in the post did we say that Michael Waltrip Racing was closing its doors.  Financial trouble does not mean bankrupt or dead.  We just stated that they are in trouble.  With that said though, if MWR can’t secure sponsorship for its three Cup teams and Nationwide Series program for 2009 and beyond, teams will be shut down.  That is a fact of racing that nobody can dispute. 

In terms of Michael Waltrip’s partners and Toyota, I’d like to remind people that although racing is a sport, at the end of the day its a business.  It doesn’t matter how much money and resources Toyota, Robert Kauffman, or Cal Wells have.  If the team doesn’t have sponsorship and isn’t at least breaking even, they won’t continue to back it.  Kauffman and Toyota didn’t get to where they are today by making bad investment decisions.  They will not continue to sink money into the team just because its a NASCAR team with a famous name on the front door.

As the season progresses, I certainly wish all the best to Michael Waltrip and his race team.  I believe both David Reutimann and Michael McDowell are very solid drivers to build a successful team off of and hope they do have success.  And, being a crew member myself, I definitely don’t want to see anybody lose their job.  Especially since I know people at MWR.  But facts are facts, and when you really sit down and start putting them together, MWR has a very tough road ahead.

We here at The Nascar Insiders are working very hard to bring the best possible content to our readers.  Both Journo and myself have a lot we would like to share in terms of the sport and our involvement with it.  Our posts will continue to include experiences, commentary, and the occasional breaking news.  Those that question our authenticity are certainly welcome to.  I would probably do the same.  We are still a very young blog and know that respect and integrity aren’t something built over night.  But we are indeed who we say we are, and will continue to bring you an inside view on a sport that very few people ever get a chance to be apart of.

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39 Responses to “The MWR Discussion Continues…”

  1. Karah says:

    You go boy, or girl, not sure which or what. :-) But go on with your bad self. If anybody thinks MWR is doing just fine and dandy then they need to check out their brain cells… anybody with the slightest bit of common sense would see otherwise.

    MWR would probably do a lot better if Michael got out of the car.

  2. racerrob6m says:

    Agreed there Karah!!!
    Especially the “remove Mikey” from the car part.
    They never should have tried 3 new teams !!
    And whatever the edge in HP that Gibbs motor boys have found they sure are not sharing in the Toy camps!!
    While Mikey “sucking” makes for funny NAPA ad material, ya gotta wonder how happy NAPA really is with being a “tail dragger” for all of the money they have thrown to MWR.

    Hey Mikey, fire the driver of the 55 car, shrink back to a 2 car team, & then try to get those cars on a par with the top 15 guys!!

  3. SearsPointer says:

    Food for thought (all this is based on California labor law, but should apply to NC as well):

    If you want to let go people that you don’t think are performing, there’s two ways to go about it: you can fire them or you can lay them off. Firing somebody is a tricky proposition, because it puts immense burden on the employer to prove that the person getting fired committed…well, fireable offenses. Laying off people is easily justified when economic reasons demand it. If the company says that it cannot feasibly support its current staff because of economic hardship it can lay people off. Economic hardship needs to be the main reason (and would certainly be given in the exit interview), and there’s hiring restrictions on the company for the next few months. But it’s still a good way to deal with the situation from a corporate standpoint.

    Theory: MWR is restructuring and wants to get rid of people that don’t fit the organization (for whatever reason). They are using “money trouble” as the official reason to lay off these people. Of course that doesn’t look good on anybody’s reputation card, especially when Jayski picks it up, so when this got reported MWR PR needed to do damage control to assure sponsors and fans that “No, the company is alright, don’t worry!”
    So MWR might indeed be fine financially (I can’t see NAPA departing, they are getting great PR out of Michael Waltrip even when he doesn’t make the race). Either way, this whole scenario would explain the mixed messages that you’re currently getting from/about MWR.

  4. Deborah says:

    Searspointer is likely right – it’s very tricky these days for employers when it comes to hiring and firing employees in terms of what they can say and do. There’s all sorts of laws to consider, unemployment benefits, trying to avoid lawsuits, etc… Given the performance issues it would be surprising if MWR didn’t lay people off in hopes that making personnel changes might lead to improvements.

    Cal Wells said quite a bit on XM yesterday in response to all of this and he was pretty strong about saying that the rumor that they have financial difficulties is completely false. He said they have no debt and are in a very good financial position. Unlike the rumor in this space which doesn’t even cite a number of employees that were laid off, he said they have 238 employees and that instead of shrinking they are growing, that when people are let go, others are hired in their place, sometimes more than one person. He gave specifics about various departments that have added personnel, and also various projects that MWR is spending money on including $1 million to improve their facilities as a way to show that they’re in good shape financially. He also indicated that MWR isn’t sitting back idly and waiting for things to play out with UPS – according to him MWR has been talking to multiple sponsors as a back-up for the #44 and also for the #00. Cal finished the interview by saying “hand on heart” MWR has no financial difficulties, is debt-free and is in better shape than ever. Teams do damage control and spin things all the time but it seems unlikely that Cal would give a lengthy interview on XM that was all lies, particularly when it included so many specifics.

  5. Lug says:

    Mikey must be dizzy from all that spinning.

  6. former mwr says:

    this is such a crap team They have let go well over 100 employees No team has ever said they are having troubles
    they hold on as long as they can !
    proven fact if a team tells people that they are introuble everyone will bolt
    Then they will have no chance to stay open sponsers will not talk to a team that is having this much trouble
    they own severance pay to people why not pay them if you have so much money or is it there is very little money
    i think that the labor board , Dot , and IRS are on there way

  7. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    former mwr were you let go because you were not doing your job? you seem pissed at the world over this once again were you let go because money was not there for you!

  8. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    Or i forgot this former mwr are you just flapping your lips to hear yourself talk!

  9. George says:

    Is North Carolina a “right to work” state. I lived there in the early 1990 and seem to remember that was the case. If so, then an employee or employer can terminate a job with no reason given. Just say goodbye. as competitive as the racing scene is, I would be surprised if there were any labor agreements or tenure for employees.

  10. former mwr says:

    No i was let go along with 100 plus more great body hanger and chassi men That we brought on to get them up and running with the promise of leaving Dei Gibbs Hendricks and childress That i had a part in talking these great people to come to mwr that it would be great to work there so checker or wrecher if you were in this buisness instead of being a race fan or thinking that ur driver is a good friend of yours who wouldnot piss on you if you were on fire
    unless you bought his hat ! keep living in your dream world untill you work in nascar you would not understand
    But like they all say with out those stupid race fans buyng hats an tee shirts they couldnot have a big house , planes , an all those toys so wipe your chin and wake up

  11. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    The CAPS lock button is certainly not necessary to get your point across, and the personal attacks are done. We want this to be an open forum for discussion, and it is perfectly fine to disagree with us and the other commentors. But berating and attacking people will not be tolerated.

    -Admin

  12. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    ok sorry

  13. strom says:

    As mentioned previously, Mike is the Goober Pyle of Nascar and Cal wells must be Tooth Fairy if he wants us to believe all this. What is totally amazing is why good sponsors would have ever bought into the Mayberry bunch in the first place…..just rolling sponsors names off your tongue doesn’t get it done.

  14. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    i was just wondering why doesent former mwr give his real name out?

  15. mikeytoyo55 says:

    People get laid off all the time. You very seldom get the real reason for it. And, they continue on with their business just like nothing ever happened. And, they continue to hire people even after you are let go. You just have to accept it and move on. The reason for people getting laid off at MWR is a mute question, it could be for any number of reasons. I for one wish MWR all the luck in the world, and will continue to support them. It is very disheartening to read so much negativity about one driver/owner all the time. For goodness sakes he fell out of the top 35, not the end of the world. And, it does take more than a year and a half to really get a company up and going. Give them a little more time and see where they are. That’s all I ask.

  16. Brian says:

    I think your numbers a tad bit off. If there were more than 100 people fired, I think you’d hear a lot more than 1 disgruntled former employee, not just here… but anywhere. I guess if you all were as excellent body & chassis hangers, the problem must of been, trouble must of been somewhere else, because they couldn’t make a race back when you all appeared to be there. I don’t blame them, I would do a “clean sweep”, but like I said… I think you’d hear more than just something from 1 disgruntled employee….. if they really didn’t fire 100+ people…. which they did not.

    I support and wish Michael, Cal Wells, Ty Norris… all those guys the best, and keep going.

  17. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    yes i agree 100 people that would be on nascar now heck even on jayski he put laying people off and yes if 100 they would be everywhere i asked for his name no response i was going to call mwr racing to see if he actually worked there or just someone claiming he did to get his day in the spotlight!

  18. Adam says:

    If you guys didnt see this coming your crazy! In over 20 years, Mikey has never been able to get it done in any aspect of Nascar whether it be as a driver or an owner. He belongs down on pit road as a pit reporter or something. Yes that would be very annoying for alot of us but its a fact. He belongs on the sidelines, is a benchwarmer and has no business taking the reigns in any way, shape, or form in this sport!

  19. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    or are you a former employee to?

  20. former mwr says:

    I as many others are taking them to court . Most Would rather not say any thing thinking they will be black balled My self i have been in this for close to 20 years My main problem was not that i got screwed But that all the people that I Yes i told it was going to be a great place to work were let go i was the one that was going to have to fire them I dont do that to peoople i know !!!! so i left after standing up for them ! Or should i say was told you fire these peoople on this list or We dont need you any more ! So i like to think i have some morals i left And told a lot of the ones that there was a list and they were on it But like you Race fans They thought i was wrong and they could never do that . The week before homestead 8 were let go then right after the last race 22 were let go if you see the pattern they did not want to get ride of all at once untill the season was over !!! And if you worked in racing you would know that you dont get your bonus untill Christmas and you have to be working there to get it after i left i got a call from Todd Meradeth if you dont know who that is he is the man behind Joe Gibbs To go there and work But right now this is my mission to make sure they can not do this to any others maybe its just me but i thought it was shity to let them all go around the holidays
    But i dont expect you to under stand being a fan ! living on that they are untouchable Lets see i am sure you think that the 55 car at Daytona had been just picked on and there was nothing in the fuel and that Michael was not drunk the night he laft the bar and wrecked is land cruiser and that Buffy never Caught him with someone in bed and that michaels coach driver doesnt like girls ??? And call wells never filed bankrupcy or that he owes a manufacture 15 mill and Lie norris never Cheats on his wife unless he is not sitting in front of her !!!!and that the crew cheif for the 55 couldn;t set up a erector set but i have no proff or was never there for any of this it must be all here say so you wonder why i get pissed when people fall for all there crap ya iI stand up for whats right maybe more people in this country should
    Or we could sit back and watch the world of make beleive and think we are all part of the team we pull for and they love us like familey YA right wake i am sorry if i have ruined your dream of make belieave sorry about the spelling its been a long day agian sorry that i came on this and upset any of you

  21. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    dude sorry yau doont maek scense!

  22. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    im like everyone else clean house get better workers change is good sorry former mwr you got to keep up in this sport if your team stinks got to change!

  23. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    oh and by the way i know nationwide crew cheif on the aarons car jerry baxter from his california days he said all this stuff your claiming is bogus and would be hard to prove! JMO

  24. former mwr says:

    ya thats a good one to know but he did not disput it though or are you going to say that oh now he does ????? keep living in youe dream world stuck up someones u know what As for the other Toyotas they are kicking ass also ask baxter how he ran David out of gas 8 laps short at nashville a floor sweeper to crew cheif if david was not there that car to would be running so far back the race would be over bye the time they got up to speed also ask baxter how he get the Noses done with the fake numbers oh man i could go on an on now this is fun we will all laugh are asses off when eric warren sends him packin along with the rest of the micheal coat tail hangers later and thank you tell baxter that all us fab guys would love to meet up with him some night to have drinks maybe we will go to red rocks where mikey drives home from after a few ohhhhh sodas haaaaa

  25. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    i will look for you in the corner singing there a tear in my beer hahahaha lmao

  26. ddsbstrb says:

    former mwr—I am really enjoying reading your information. I am one of those fans, but a very curious fan, especially what is and has gone on at MWR.

    Please explain to a non-shop-guy about that nose with the fake numbers on it? I know NASCAR had issues in Cup with Robby Gordon’s nose, when he made the change right at the start of the season from Ford to Dodge.

    Am I reading between the lines enough to say that the #99 might be running an illegal nose on it, but with correct factory TuRD part #’s and making it through tech? Or, is my imagination running wild, tonight?

    I really appreciate your information to this discussion and keep it coming.

    Wish I were closer to Cornelius or Huntersville as I would gladly meet you at the Red Rocks or the Rusty Rudder and discuss this over a beer or two or three. Might have to hit Five-Guys for my burger-fix, first!

  27. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    then where former mwr is working has illegal noses on there cars to?

  28. former mwr says:

    LOVE THOSE BURGERS AND YA U MIGHT BE RIGHT OL BAXTER IS A BOOBY KENNEDY THROW BACK THEY WILL GET CAUGHT JUST LIKE THEY HAVE WITH THE FUEL
    WHAT ABOUT WHEN THEY BURNED THE CAR TO THE GROUND AT DOVER YOU HAVE TO ASK YOUR SELF WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD ANY ONE DOING THAT IN THE GARAGE
    WHERE THE NASCAR RULE STATES NO ONE NOOOOO ONE STARTES A CAR INSIDE BUT OL BAXTER THE FUEL MIXER KAAAA BOOOM WOW WASH THAT SWEPT UNDER THE RUG ASK UR BUDDY BAXTER WHAT HE WAS MIXING
    AND WHY WOULD YOU MIX FUEL ITS NOT A DRAGSTER
    AND OH YA THE BODYS I HANG LEAVE AT 100 PERCENT AND HAVE WON A LOT OF RACES THIS AND TOYOTA LOVES US
    IF MWR DOES NOT RUN THE FULL SEASON WITH ONE OF THERE CARS THEY WILL LOSE TOYOTA FOR THAT CAR THEY ARE JUST WAITING

    THOUGHT YOU WOULD WANT TO KNOW THAT

  29. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    you dont need to write in caps that makes you even harder to understand what does lose toyota that car they are just waiting?

  30. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    former mwr will not be happy until waltrip is hurt really bad in a crash bottom line.

  31. ddsbstrb says:

    Checkers, might you add something to this discussion instead of going after former mwr? Do you know what a personal-attack is, as it seems to be the main-focus of quite a few of your posts on here and on jayski, currently.

    Why not discuss his content or furnish some facts you might bring to the table, as a rebuttal to his facts and statements.

    Why must you insist that former mwr is responsible for this entire story getting onto this website and then onto Jayski in the first place, I might add?

    Do you have any solid, proof that he is responsible for this story leaking onto Jayski from this website?

    There are plenty of current and former employees over in Cornelius who could have assisted with this story, also. I am sure there are shop technicians moving from race team to race team, probably on a month basis, some by their choice and some by the management’s choice. Is this different than most any manufacturing-type industry or shop?

    Why place the blame for your unhappiness about this story getting into this website and then onto Jayski, on former mwr?

    There has got be be different things to discuss, like Benito the coach driver——right former mwr?

  32. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    are you the motorcoach driver?

  33. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    besides thats the way i like it former mwr can stir it up so can i just like you can!

  34. ddsbstrb says:

    Frontstretch has also picked-up on this story. They ran a paragraph in my daily update, I received last evening.

    Frontstretch is already claiming that UPS is already done.

    BTW, have you thought it quite interesting that UPS, even though they knew that Jarrett was doing his “Six and Done” last winter, have never done any ad-work with Reuti in the ad?

    I surely have not seen any ads, with his “persona” being utilized at all, just those stupid Aaron’s commercials where Jaws and POS do all of the talking and Reuti gets this stupid grin on his face and “bobs” his head, right on cue!

    A “Rock-Star” like UPS is looking for to be the “new” spokesperson—-I seriously doubt it.

    The lack of Reuti in any UPS commercial is giving me a very loud signal————-they are done, over at Cornelius and are moving to a much better team for 2009!

    Sorry!

  35. CHECKERSORWRECKERS98 says:

    who needs ups for every sponsor that leaves another one pops up Sorry buttercup! let ups have old man burton and 31 car 3 years they will be looking again to bad you and former mwr will be sad when they are still around and if you guy’s have documents showing they are shutting down put up or shut up!

  36. ddsbstrb says:

    checkers or former mwr——what do you make of this. Check-out this link:

    http://www.obeo.com/Public/Viewer/Default.aspx?ID=435558&RefURL=topix.com

    Look familiar to you? It is back on the market, once again and might be know to some of POS’s fans as……”The Compound”.

    It was listed at $12M (A lot of YEN!) but I see it has been reduced to $10.5M. I am hearing the price was cut, because the door-bell doesn’t work.

    Remember the evening of that “tipsy-sock-walk” over on Dog Leg Road, where POS rolled the Land Cruiser and hiked home in his socks, to “The Compound”? The cops came and rang the door-bell and he didn’t answer, remember? Come to find out the door-bell was broken, thus the price has been reduced a little, for this modest defect in the home.

    Wonder why this is up for sale? The impending divorce or creditors are wanting some cash to cover some of his huge debt over at Racertainment in Cornelius?

    Check those very public court records in Mecklenburg or Cataba Counties and you can see for yourself some of the real estate and loan “paper” in the legal system. That should keep you busy for days, baby cakes!

    Former mwr—-got any further information to add to the discussion about “The Compound” and its sale as it relates to the current financial outlook, over at Motormouth Motorsports?

  37. former mwr says:

    sorry its so late just got back to the hotel>
    We all knew that they were getting the big D
    Ya when mikey took his walk of shame
    we were all told by Lie Norris that there was nothing to the story that ol uncle drunkle was just sleepy
    that people love to make up rumors about sleepy
    that there is no truth to it that no one saw a thing
    then ol bull shit baxter told us the same
    well then they called a man at the shop to go find out who knew what he was the fixer a guy that did every thing or should i say cover up what ever they needed
    He went out to sleepy ville with the company roll back and hid the landcruiser then he had to lie to toyota (again)
    that it was a big misstake but he would not do it so they started making it hard on him so?????????
    he started tell some of his close friends like me about all the crap and man is it long they dont want him to go public with all that he knows all has i know Buffy is now very happy with her new lover and she is thank full to be out of the crap
    thats all for know there is so much more
    one more thing if the race team was worth so much why wasnt it listed today with the other teams of the top 10 richest teams i mean kaufman being worth so much unless he has shut them off ???????????????????? and will not waist any more money

  38. Admin says:

    I am going to say this one more time and then I am going to shut off comments. If you don’t have anything nice to say please don’t say anything at all. This is a forum of discussion, not a forum for name calling and mean spirited attacks against each other. We appreciate you all being here and engaging each other, but we ask you once again to play nice.

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  39. strom says:

    Same as when somthing said about NASCAR….the discussion is usually shut off!

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