CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Michael Waltrip returns to the driver’s seat at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The two-time Daytona 500 champion’s No. 55 will carry a special paint scheme honoring the 2012 University of Alabama’s BCS National Championship football team. Waltrip will sport an Alabama firesuit and a specially painted helmet similar to the school’s football helmet. Waltrip, winner of the Talladega fall race in 2003, nearly won the October race before a last lap wreck.
WALTRIP ON RACING AT TALLADEGA: “Every time I go to Talladega I just have a lot of confidence because of all the success I have had there before. 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.”
ON RACING THE ALABAMA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TOYOTA: “It’s going to be really fun to race the Alabama National Championship car this weekend. There are a lot of passionate fan in that part of the world that love Alabama football and NASCAR. It’s a special opportunity to mix the two together. I really look forward to representing all the Alabama fans this weekend in Talladega.”
A-Day Game: Aaron’s unveiled the No. 55 paint scheme in front of 78,000 fans at University of Alabama’s spring football game on April 20. Coach Nick Saban signed the hood.
Happy Birthday: Waltrip celebrated his 50th birthday on Tuesday.
Waltrip at Talladega: Waltrip will make his 54th career NSCS start at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. In 53 previous starts, he has one win, seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. Waltrip has led 32 races for a total of 233 laps.
Alabama Football Power: This is the fourth consecutive Talladega spring race Aaron’s Inc. and MWR have honored a national championship football team from the state of Alabama. Aaron’s also honored Auburn University in 2010 as well as the University of Alabama in 2009 and 2011.
No. 55 drivers: Mark Martin will drive the No. 55 in 24 races, Brian Vickers in nine races and Michael Waltrip in three races (Daytona in July and both Talladega races.)