No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers has a lot to race for in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season’s final 10 races. Although, the Michael Waltrip Racing team won’t be in the Chase, the No. 55 crew has its sights set on a return trip to victory lane and preparation for its second season together in 2015. The No. 55 will carry a special paint scheme this weekend honoring Samsung as Aaron’s vendor partner of the year. In addition to the paint scheme, Aaron’s will host Samsung executives at-track in appreciation of their long standing partnership.
There is also a bit of excitement around the team and shop this week as MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip prepares for his appearance on Monday and Tuesday’s television episodes of Dancing With the Stars on ABC. The two-time Daytona 500 champion and his professional dancing partner Emma Slater watched the Richmond race from the Aaron’s pit box last Saturday. Slater, a native of Tamworth, England, also tried her hand changing lug nuts before the race. Fans will have the opportunity to vote for Waltrip and Slater online or on their phones Monday when the show begins at 8 p.m. ET. Waltrip returns to driving on Oct. 19 in Talladega when he drives the No. 66 myAFIBSTORY.com Toyota calling awareness to millions of Americans living with atrial fibrillation (AFib). Sunday’s Chicagoland race is the myAFIBSTORY 400.
MICHAEL WALTRIP ON DANCING WITH THE STARS: “Monday’s opening night of the 19th season of Dancing With The Stars is going to be crazy. I have practiced really hard, and I know my routine, proper technique, posture and positioning. Two weeks ago I had never danced before and Monday night we are going to dance for millions of people. I am going to rely on my confidence as a race car driver. That’s knowing that people are watching and just doing my thing. Hopefully this will be fun for people to watch. Despite the pressure, apprehension and nerves this is so fun. I love Emma, she is a wonderful professional dancer. So when you see me on stage, I’ll probably be a little unsure of my surrounding but very happy to be there. This is a wonderful opportunity.”
EMMA SLATER ON FIRST NASCAR RACE: “The 115,000 people at Richmond was such a shock to me. We did everything. We went to the Aaron’s display to meet the fans then we went to the drivers meeting. It was interesting to see how relaxed the meeting was, but you could sense how competitive everyone is. They had their game on. When we started I got to sit in the pits and watch the race. It was so loud and we followed Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers during the race. To watch their crews was amazing. They did pit stops in 11 seconds. It was so choreographed and amazing. I was eyes wide open the whole night.”
BRIAN VICKERS ON DANCING WITH THE STARS: “Sure I will be watching. This is a great opportunity for Michael, for MWR, our partners and all of NASCAR. There are 15 million people who watch Dancing with the Stars. If some of those fans see Michael and want to start watching our races then that helps all of us. Michael will represent our sport very well as he always has. I’ve never seen him dance but I know he and Emma have worked really hard at it the last few weeks. This will be fun to watch and I hope all of NASCAR gets behind and votes Michael and Emma on to the next shows.”
VICKERS ON 2014: “It's a little disappointing to not make the Chase, but I was really proud of the effort. We've had some really bad luck this year. I've said it before, I'll say it again, we made our own mistakes and every team is going to make mistakes throughout the year -- we just had too much go wrong out of our control to make up for our turn in the barrel. This team has done a good job for our first year together. We're going to go out and try to win a championship next year, and there's still 10 races left this year where we can win some races and get some top fives and top 10s. Everyone at MWR has done a really great job giving us some really great cars the last month or two, stepping up our downforce and car potential and it's showing in our performance. I'm proud of these guys."