Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion, will pilot Swan Racing’s No. 30 in the 2013 “Great American Race,” reuniting him with former crew chief Tony Eury Jr. The race marks Swan Racing’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut since announcing its new ownership this month.
“I am thrilled to drive the No. 30 Toyota for Swan Racing and the chance to win a third Daytona 500,” said Waltrip about the one-race deal. “Reuniting with Tony Jr. and Steve Hmiel brings back a lot of good memories and is going to create new ones.”
“Swan Racing is here to compete and to build a championship contender,” said Swan Racing owner Brandon Davis who has vowed to end the practice of habitual “start and parks” for the team. “This one-race partnership with Michael puts a two-time champion behind the wheel and the No. 30 in the mix at the Daytona 500.”
Waltrip qualified for 25 consecutive Daytona 500s between 1987 and 2011 winning his first in 2001 and a second in 2003. In 2002, Waltrip won the July race at Daytona International Speedway, bringing his total to three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at the “World Center of Racing.”
“This is a great move for Swan Racing,” said David Stremme who will be the regular driver of the No. 30 Toyota.”Michael and I have been friends for a long time. We got to talking last year and from my perspective I thought this would help to further our relationship with Toyota and be a good building block for Swan Racing.”
Swan Racing is building its team from the ground up by hiring veterans of the sport who share a common long term vision for success. Steve Hmiel, named competition director last week, has over 35 years of experience as a crew chief, car chief and competition director. He has worked with NASCAR greats such as Richard Petty, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Waltrip. Hmiel was Waltrip’s crew chief for 12 races in 2001.
Tony Eury Jr. will be the crew chief for the No. 30 Toyota. The addition of Waltrip for the 2013 Daytona 500 reunites another driver and crew chief combination. Eury was Waltrip’s crew chief in 2005 where they teamed up for 26 races.
“Michael is a familiar face for a lot of us here at Swan Racing,” said Eury. “We know each other’s habits, wants and needs on the track. We’re going to Daytona to compete and hopefully we’ll make a mark for Swan Racing.”
Eury has been a part of 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories with Waltrip and Earnhardt Jr. He was part of teams that won the Budweiser Shootout twice at Daytona International Speedway in 2003 and 2008 with Earnhardt.
The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday February 24, 2013 and will be broadcasted live on Fox.
From Ramsey Poston / Tuckahoe Strategies