For the fourth consecutive year, Aaron's, Inc. and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) will honor a college football national champion from the state of Alabama during the May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will pilot the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine that carries a special crimson-and-white paint scheme in honor of back-to-back BCS champion University of Alabama during the May 5th race. Aaron's also honored Auburn University at Talladega with a special paint scheme for its 2010 championship season as well as Alabama's 2009 and 2011 championship seasons.
"Aaron's is not only celebrating 14 years as a sponsor in NASCAR, but has also enjoyed longtime sponsorships of both MWR and the University of Alabama athletic program," said Andrea Freeman, Aaron's Vice President of Marketing. "The events at Talladega are an exciting way to merge these partnerships and engage both racing and college football fans, many of whom are loyal Aaron's customers."
Waltrip, who will drive the No. 55 three times in 2013 sharing the duties with Mark Martin and Brian Vickers, said no matter which college football team you support, everyone agrees Talladega will be a 200 mph spectacle.
"Aaron's is giving me the privilege of carrying this championship paint scheme to Talladega Superspeedway - one of my favorite places on earth," said Waltrip who nearly won the October race at the high-banked restrictor plate track. "I know all the Alabama fans will cheer me in driver introductions for sure. I'm not as confident I'll get as much support from the Auburn fans as we did the year I drove the Auburn car. But we're going to have a good time hearing all of them scream 'Roll Tide' and 'War Eagle' all weekend."
"Some of NASCAR's most exciting races happen at Talladega Superspeedway. It's a fan favorite because you never know what to expect – the race in October is a perfect example. It looked like I might drive the No. 55 to victory lane with just one more turn to go and all of a sudden there were cars flying around and I ended up with a wrecked race car and a 25th-place finish."
The Michael Waltrip Racing team is going all out with the Alabama theme with plans for the crew to sport No. 55 Alabama jerseys on qualifying day. Waltrip's racing helmet will be a replica of the University's football helmets.
The No. 55's paint scheme will feature a logo proclaiming the University of Alabama's back-to-back wins, as well as a memorial decal to legendary Athletic Director Mal Moore, who passed away in March. The car will make its first public appearance on Saturday during the University of Alabama A-Day spring scrimmage.
Race fans interested in purchasing souvenir t-shirts, diecasts or hats may do so at MWRTeamStore.com and the NASCAR.com Superstore.