CORNELIUS, N.C. —  Three drivers in the first three races — 11th in owner points.

That phrase sums up the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota’s 2015 season so far at Michael Waltrip Racing.

In a sport that places a premium on communication between the race team and driver, success with that much change is rare.

“I think it is tribute to the guys on this race team, the folks at MWR  as well as the three drivers who came in here and worked hard to make this a success,” said second-year crew chief Billy Scott.

“We certainly didn’t plan to begin our season like this, but once we learned of Brian’s (Vickers) heart surgery everyone has done a good job adapting to a new plan.”

After announcing in December that Vickers would miss the season’s first two races, MWR and Aaron’s implemented a plan that saw two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip drive in the Daytona 500. Following Waltrip’s 26th-place finish in the season-opener, 22-year-old Brett Moffitt drove the No. 55 to an eighth-place finish at Atlanta.

Vickers made his return last weekend finishing 15th at Las Vegas.

“A lot of the crew on the Aaron’s team worked here in 2012 and 2013 when we rotated Mark Martin, Brian and Michael in the No. 55. It’s a big adjustment when you do that, but everyone has a great attitude and we made it work.”

Scott said having drivers like Waltrip and Moffitt who are familiar with the cars and MWR crew, both at the track and at the shop, “sped up a lot of the communication.”

In addition, quick pit stops have played a key factor in 2015.

Make no mistake, as pleased as the team is with its early success, it believes there is a lot of work to be done. Missing two races will likely require Vickers to win a race or run well enough to make up a point deficit to qualify for NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“Our plan is for Brian to win a race,” said Scott. “That’s always been the way we race here. We will probably take a few more chances for victory than many who have the luxury to rely on points. I mean we can still make up the points from the first two races with Brian, but all of us would sure rather win a race.”

The team’s next chance comes Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

 

ASU FOOTBALL PLAYER NOW JACKMAN: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine jackman Wes Evans is a former tight end on Arizona State’s 2008 football team. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder made four starts and played in all 12 games for ASU in 2008. That year he won the team’s iron man award for exemplary work ethic in the weight room, on the field and in the community. Evans became interested in NASCAR after meeting pit crew members who visited the ASU campus for a workout in 2007. That contact led Evans to a life as a NASCAR pit crew member and his ASU degree led him to a job in the Michael Waltrip Racing marketing office. Each week Evans hosts the “Wednesday’s With Wes” video feature.

 

NOTES:

 

  • CHASSIS: Primary: 803–  Vickers finished fourth at Texas in April, eighth in All-Star Race, 19th at Indy and 24th in Chicago. Backup: 802— In 2014, Bowyer finished 23rd at Las Vegas, eighth in Texas, seventh in All-Star race and 39th in Chicago.

 

  • 2015: Michael Waltrip finished 26th in the Daytona 500 and Brett Moffitt eighth at Atlanta. Vickers finished 15th at Las Vegas.

 

·      AARON’S: The Atlanta-based company, with more than 2,100 stores across the country, helps customers own the life they want. Aaron's carries only the best brand names in furniture, electronics, and appliances with a variety of flexible payment options. It's really easy to “Own It” at Aaron’s with customers who are now pre-approved for up to $2,500 in merchandise - no credit needed. During Aaron's 60th Anniversary Sale, for the first time in Aaron's history, get 6 months same as cash on ANYTHING IN THE STORE! And lease select items at just $60 a month. See the full selection of $60 products at your local Aaron's store or at Aarons.com/60.

 

  • CREW CHIEF BILLY SCOTT: Scott began racing motorcycles as a 5-year-old and stock cars when he turned 15. He worked in the truck series as a mechanic before he returned to college to obtain an engineering degree. After graduating in 2005 Scott worked at Robert Yates Racing and began as an engineer at MWR in 2008. The 36-year-old served exclusively as the No. 55 team’s lead engineer before taking over crew chief duties in 2014.

 

  • 55 CREW:

Billy Scott

Crew Chief

Ryan Langley

Front Tire Changer

Chris Hall

Front Tire Carrier

Shannon Myers

Rear Tire Changer

Blake Haugland

Rear Tire Carrier

Wes Evans

Jack Man

Jeff Kerr

Gas Man

Steve Channing

Car Chief

David Cropps

Interior Mechanic

Roman Pemberton

Spotter

Brandon Pope

Race Engineer

Joe Bisson

2nd Engineer

Jeremy Sharpley

Shock Specialist

Kevin White

Front Mechanic

Joe Zanolini

Rear Mechanic

Scott Swift

Tire Specialist

Kirk Butterfield

TRD

Tim Bruce

TRD

Stump Lewis

Truck Driver

Al Nelson

2nd Truck Driver

 

 

·         FOLLOW US ON TWITTER:

            @brianlvickers

            @mw55

            @mwrteam

            @aaronssports

@aaronsinc

            @toyotaracing

 

  • TELEVISION SCHEDULE:

 

Friday, March 13
3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1
4:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1
6 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FOX Sports 2
7:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2

Saturday, March 14
11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1
12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1
2 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1
2:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1
3:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Day: XFINITY Series, FOX
4 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200, FOX

Sunday, March 15
Noon, NASCAR Race Day, FOX Sports 1
3 p.m., NASCAR Race Day: Phoenix, FOX
3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500, FOX
11 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1


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