Michael Waltrip returns to driver's seat for Talladega


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Michael Waltrip will climb into the No. 55 Toyota he owns this weekend to drive in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sunday. It’ll be his second Sprint Cup start of the season, but the first of the year in his own equipment. He competed in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February, driving the No. 30 for Swan Racing.

Waltrip plans two additional starts in the No. 55 — the next race at Daytona on July 6 and the return trip to Talladega on Oct. 20. This weekend, his car will carry a special paint scheme commemorating the 2012 national championship won by the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team.

“Every time I go to Talladega I just have a lot of confidence because of all the success I have had there before,” Waltrip said. “I have been able to win there and I came pretty close to winning there last year. It’s awesome going to a track that you know you have a chance to win. For me, this weekend, it’s all about putting that No. 55 Aaron’s/Alabama National Championship Toyota into victory lane.”

Waltrip has 53 previous Cup-level starts at Talladega, resulting in one win, seven top-fives and 15 top-10 finishes.

The seat in the No. 55 is normally shared by Mark Martin and Brian Vickers. Martin has been driving the car recently, while Vickers has been filling in behind the wheel of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing entry for the injured Denny Hamlin.

– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

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