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Bowyer joins MWR team for Rolex 24

January 03, 2013, Staff report,

Michael Waltrip again has entry in Daytona spectacle

Michael Waltrip will again race in the Rolex 24, and the team owner is bringing one of his drivers with him.

Clint Bowyer -- who pilots the No. 15 car for Michael Waltrip Racing -- is one of three drivers joining Waltrip in the AF Waltrip entry for the 51st annual Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 26-27.

Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, and road racing veteran Rui Aguas round out the four-driver entry.

Bowyer finished second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings in 2012. This is his first foray into the event.

“I’m not really sure what I got myself into,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “Rob asked me to race and I said I would do it. Everyone has told me how much fun this race is. So, I’m ready. Running 24 hours is a long time, but we will give it our best shot.”

"Daytona is always special."

-- Michael Waltrip

Bowyer is the newest member in an AF Waltrip lineup that previously has included Travis Pastrana and Brian Vickers. Pastrana, who recently announced he’d run a full NASCAR Nationwide Series slate in 2013, drove in the event last year.

The AF Waltrip entry is a joint project between MWR and AF Corse, an Italian championship sports car team. The team finished 22nd in the GT Class last season.

A two-time Daytona 500 champion, Waltrip is thrilled to return to the fabled location.

"Daytona is always special, whether it’s the 24 Hours or the Daytona 500,” he said. “Last year was my first year in the Rolex 24 and it was so cool. The road course is awesome. … The drivers are having fun and the fans are having fun.”

The twice-around-the-clock race serves as the kickoff to the international motorsports calendar, in addition to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

"The Rolex 24 at Daytona is the pinnacle of sports car racing in America and a world-class event with huge historic relevance,” Kauffman said. “We made it to the finish last year in our first attempt. The GT category is large and strong this year, but we are going to give it our best shot. You have to be in it to win it.”