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On track success pays off for MWR

Motorsports Notebook

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Apr. 20, 2012

The much-improved performance at Michael Waltrip Racing has already paid big dividends.

Five-Hour Energy, which began the year planning to sponsor MWR driver Clint Bowyer for about two-thirds of the season, announced on Friday at Kansas Speedway it would pick up the remaining races of the year on Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota.

The energy drink will now sponsor Bowyer in 37 of 38 Sprint Cup Series events.

“We have measured real growth through our retail partnerships, in-market activation, sales growth and brand awareness,” said Scott Henderson, the company’s president.

“The numbers show we’ve exceeded all expectations. This increase allows us to target even more markets. It was kind of a no-brainer.”

MWR had all three of its Cup cars finish in the top five last month at Bristol, Tenn., and currently both of its fulltime drivers – Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. – are ranked in the top 10 in the series standings. Bowyer is 10th and Truex is fourth.

“Now that we are starting to see the on-track performances, it’s been phenomenal,” said Ty Norris, MWR’s executive vice president for business development. “You have to have that element at some point to complement what you’re doing off the track.”

Bowyer, who moved to MWR from Richard Childress Racing in the offseason, has been impressed with the results thus far.

“We’ve had some adversity but you exclude that – a 17th at Texas last weekend was our worst run – if I can keep those stats going, everything will be fine,” he said. “We’re not where we need to be yet but certainly the consistency across the board has been awesome.”

Dale Earnhardt Day set: The annual “Dale Earnhardt Day,” a celebration of the life of the late seven-time NASCAR champion, will be April 29 at Dale Earnhardt Inc. headquarters in Mooresville.

Fans will have access to DEI’s Grand Showroom, which includes a display of DEI championship cars and other special vehicles. The DEI Museum will also be opening a new display, “Dale Earnhardt Inc. – A Racing Heritage,” which highlights the early beginnings of Dale and Teresa Earnhardt, and how their separate racing backgrounds combined to bring success.

Activities run from 1 to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Johnson signs with Octagon: Five-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson has signed with Octagon, which will spearhead his marketing and brand-building initiatives through endorsements and other commercial opportunities.

“He is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and his commitment to sustained excellence over the long term is second to none,” company president Phil de Picciotto said of Johnson.

Kyle Busch puts brakes on texting: Kyle Busch will appear at the Subway at the Food Court at Concord Mills Mall on Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m. to support a campaign to stop distracted driving as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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