NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Michael Waltrip Racing originally planned to have veteran driver Jeff Burton behind the wheel of its No. 66 Toyota for the June 15 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., but instead, Brett Moffitt will drive the car. Burton is now slated to drive the car July 13 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
“Our No. 66 team was originally scheduled to run some new components at Michigan with Jeff, but those plans were delayed last week, causing us to debate running Michigan at all,” MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip said. “However, after the great effort we saw with Brett in his debut at Dover, we decided to move forward with Michigan, allowing Brett more seat time and to work towards his NASCAR eligibility to race on bigger tracks.”
The Michigan race will mark the second-career Sprint Cup Series start for Moffitt. He drove the No. 66, then fielded by Jay Robinson Racing, at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on June 1. He finished 22nd in that race after starting 18th.
“Brett did an amazing job in Dover, not only to gain experience, but more importantly respect from the other competitors,” Waltrip said. “The best part is we are now taking Jeff Burton to New Hampshire where he has a lot of success and can really impact the performance of all MWR cars.”
Burton is a four-time winner at New Hampshire, making him the winningest driver at the Loudon track.
“When the testing plans for Michigan changed and the ability to run New Hampshire became available I jumped at the opportunity,” Burton said. “This gives Brett a chance to get some well deserve race time and the ability for me to race at one of my favorite race tracks. This is a win for all of us at MWR.”
Moffitt, a nine-time winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, has been a test driver for Michael Waltrip Racing the past two years.
“It seems like this is all happening very fast, but I feel like we have been working towards this kind of opportunity for a long time,” Moffitt said. “At Dover, we set some goals and I feel like we accomplished all of them and exceeded most of them. Heading to Michigan our goals will be much of the same. I want to get comfortable and I want the greatest drivers in the world to be comfortable around me.”
The No. 66 is competing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2014, but in most races, it’s a Jay Robinson Racing entry. MWR fielded the car at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway with team owner Michael Waltrip behind the wheel and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Burton as driver.
– Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images