Michael Waltrip has a ride for the Daytona 500.
Waltrip will drive the No. 40 for Hillman Racing, a single-car team attempting the 500 for the first time. Sponsorship will come from Aaron's, a longtime sponsor of Waltrip.
Aaron's is also sponsoring the No. 55 that Waltrip and Mark Martin (and a third driver) will share in 2012. While Waltrip, a two-time winner of the Daytona 500, is running the No. 55 in the Bud Shootout on Saturday, Martin will be in the No. 55 for the 500.
The start will be Waltrip's 75th at Daytona in NASCAR's top three series, the most events of any driver at Daytona in NASCAR. Waltrip won last year's season-opening race at Daytona in the Camping World Truck Series.
"Aaron's really does make your dreams come true," Waltrip said in a release. "When I was a kid thinking about racing in Daytona I never dreamed I would start more NASCAR races there than anyone. That's amazing."
Hillman Racing is running full-time in the Camping World Truck Series and is run by Mike Hillman, Sr., who was formerly involved with Germain Racing. Hillman purchased the assets of the truck team a the end of the season. (Germain Racing is still in the Cup Series with Casey Mears.)
If he wasn't to drive for his own team, Waltrip needed to drive for a single-car team in the 500 because of NASCAR's four-car limit. Since Waltrip owns MWR, a three-car team, driving for a two- or three-car team would have put him over the allowable limit. (For example, had Waltrip driven a second car for JTG Daugherty, a team that has a technical relationship with MWR, the two JTG and three MWR cars wouldn't have been allowed.)
Waltrip will need to qualify on time for the 500, but Martin will not. The points from the No. 32 of FAS Lane Racing have been "transferred" to Martin and the No. 55.