News & Media

MWR honors sponsor with No. 55 for Martin, Waltrip

November 23, 2011, Team Release,

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- Michael Waltrip Racing has announced that Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip's Toyotas will carry the No. 55 during the 2012 and '13 Sprint Cup Series seasons.

The number commemorates Charlie Loudermilk's founding of Aaron's Inc., in 1955.

"This is a new era for the Aaron's Dream Machine," Aaron's chief operating officer Ken Butler said "Our new driver lineup with Mark and Michael created a good opportunity for us to make more changes, including the car number. Every one of our employees knows the significance of the number 55 in our company, and I know they will have pride watching that number compete on Sundays while flying our colors."

Martin will drive in 25 Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the No. 55 with Waltrip, who will drive seven events with Aaron's sponsorship. Martin will join Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. in the MWR stable of drivers.

Martin will begin his tenure with MWR at the 2012 Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor-plate races plus the race in his home state of Kentucky. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.

"I love it, a new team, a new car and a new number," Martin said. "The car number means a lot to the driver. We talked about a lot of different number options, but the number 55 means a lot to Aaron's and to Michael, so I am proud to drive it."

Waltrip raced the No. 55 at Bill Davis Racing in 2006 and 2007-09, the first three years of MWR's existence.

"This means a lot to me," Waltrip said. "I know how far MWR has come since we started with the No. 55 NAPA Toyota and how much we've grown heading into 2012. To get back into the No. 55 Toyota in 2012 and share driving duties with a first-ballot hall of famer in Mark Martin is certainly an honor."

Aaron's relationship with MWR began in 2000 when the Atlanta-based company sponsored six races for Waltrip's Nationwide team and now is one of the most recognizable Cup sponsorships in the sport. Aaron's has grown from 400 stores to more than 1,900 since its initial sponsorship.