Michael Waltrip still plans to run 2016 Daytona 500 despite MWR closing

GASTONIA, N.C. -- Michael Waltrip still plans to run the 2016 Daytona 500. He just needs to figure out how he'll do it.

A two-time winner of the Daytona 500, Waltrip had announced in April that he would attempt to make his 29th start in the sport's biggest race with sponsorship from Maxwell House. But when Waltrip announced in August that Michael Waltrip Racing would shut down after this season, it created an obvious question of whether the deal would fall through.

Waltrip, at an event Wednesday where Maxwell House gave away a free tank of gas and coffee to 250 people, said the deal is still on and he plans to put on the helmet to compete next February. He could field the car himself -- the process of shutting down MWR will take until April -- or bring the sponsorship to another team that fields Toyotas.

"I'm going to Daytona in February with Maxwell House," said Waltrip, who retired from full-time racing after the 2009 season but still competes in select restrictor-plate events. "There will be some cars left over at MWR and I'm probably in line to get a good Toyota engine, being a partner with those guys from the beginning."