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Michael Waltrip Racing.

TY NORRIS

Vice President and General Manager

Ty Norris builds more than just good race teams. In the mid-1990s the now 45-year-old Delaware native joined others in helping the late Dale Earnhardt create Dale Earnhardt Inc. and guided that company to unprecedented success on and off the track.  

The NASCAR industry took notice. When Michael Waltrip began laying the foundation for his 40-employee Nationwide team’s move into a Sprint Cup program in 2005, he selected Norris as one of the cornerstone employees. His 15 plus years experience in the sport with companies like DEI, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and RJ Reynolds would be a key to success in the Sprint Cup arena.  

After just five years, it appears Michael Waltrip Racing has a prominent place among the top teams in the sport. MWR boasts more than 200 employees and long-term relationships with corporate partners like NAPA AUTO PARTS, Aaron’s, Toyota, Best Western and TUMS. In 2010, MWR earned its second trip to victory lane when David Reutimann won at Chicagoland Speedway and young Ryan Truex delivered MWR a second consecutive K&N Pro Series East title.  

MWR pulled off one of the sport’s biggest coups in 2010 by inking a deal with action sports star Travis Pastrana to drive several races in 2011 and 2012 for the newly created Pastrana-Waltrip Racing team co-owned by Pastrana and Waltrip along with Gary and Blake Bechtel. The initiative aims to attract a more youthful demographic to the sport.  

The 2011 season promises to be a year of change for Norris. With increased success expected at the Sprint Cup level, the emergence of Ryan Truex in the Nationwide Series, the addition of Pastrana and the sport evolving at a rapid pace, Norris plans to relinquish the spotter duties he enjoyed since the early 1990s and spend more time at the race shop guiding the all-important business and marketing side of MWR.  

Norris studied journalism at Delaware State University and covered races for the local paper before he took a media relations job with RJ Reynolds in 1990. He caught the attention of Earnhardt as the seven-time champion began building his own organization. In 1996, Earnhardt hired Norris to serve as executive vice president of motorsports for DEI as they prepared for their Sprint Cup entry in 1998. During the next eight years, Norris, Earnhardt and others helped build DEI into a motorsports juggernaut, winning 65 NASCAR races and four truck and Nationwide championships.  

Norris left DEI in 2004 and after a stint with SMI decided his passion was on the competition side of the sport. In 2005 when Waltrip began making overtures to Norris about growing MWR, it did not take long for Norris to jump at the chance of guiding an infant Sprint Cup operation to success then growing it to a force within the garage and sport.