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Who is Legacy Motor Club’s New CEO Cal Wells?

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Bob Pockrass recently reported that Legacy Motor Club has a new CEO, Cal Wells. A name that may be familiar to some NASCAR fans, but a name that has not been prominent in the sport for a long time.

This is another in a list of major changes at Legacy Motor Club throughout the year, from Jimmie Johnson buying into the team alongside Maury Gallagher to the move to Toyota coming in 2024.

Who is the man behind this next major change at Legacy Motor Club? You may be more familiar with him than you may realize.

PPI Motorsports

PPI Motorsports may not be a name that you would be familiar with, but you have certainly seen the car before, the number 32 “Tide Ride” from the early 2000s. Yes, that was the car was owned by Cal Wells.

Wells first entered the car in 2000 with Scott Pruett. Pruett attempted the full schedule, and he started the season solid with a top-20 finish in the Daytona 500. However, the season itself was up-and-down.

The team failed to qualify the following week at Rockingham, and they failed to qualify for five more events that season. The team’s first career top-10 came at Indianapolis in August with a 10th place finish.

Wells also began a second team with Andy Houston, running five races in the number 96 McDonald’s car in 2000. In 2001, the team expanded to two full-time entrants with Ricky Craven taking over the 32 car and Houston driving the 96.

Houston’s season was a complete, unmitigated disaster with nine DNFs and eight DNQs in 25 entries. When he did finish, he never finished in the top-15.

Craven, on the other hand, had one of the best seasons of his career. He won Wells his first career pole at Michigan in August. In October, Craven took home both his and the team’s an first victory at Martinsville in a thrilling battle with Dale Jarrett.

2002 was the team’s best season yet. Craven finished a career-high 15th in points, and he also set a career high in top-10 finishes with nine. The team failed to win a race, but they seemed to be slowly on the rise.

The 2003 season started great for Wells, Craven, and PPI Motorsports with a fourth place finish in the second race at Rockingham. The team’s shining moment came at Darlington in race five.

The story has been told many times before, as Ricky Craven ran down Kurt Busch from three seconds back in the final laps. The two banged on each other seemingly non-stop for two laps before Craven won in a photo finish. This is still the closest finish ever recorded in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Unfortunately, that was the team’s peak. PPI Motorsports slowly tumbled down the standings after that race as Craven finished a career-low 27th. After 25 races in 2004, Craven was gone from PPI after failing to record a single top-10 finish.

From 2004 until 2006, PPI struggled with Travis Kvapil, Bobby Hamilton Jr., and Ron Fellows on road courses. The team’s final top-10 finish came in 2005 at Sonoma with Ron Fellows behind the wheel. Following the 2006 season, Tide left, and PPI Motorsports shut their doors. Wells was not done in NASCAR, however.

Michael Waltrip Racing and Beyond

In 2007, Wells sold the owners points, essentially 2007’s version of a charter, to Michael Waltrip Racing. That was used to help the 00 car, driven by David Reutimann. Wells soon became the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Michael Waltrip Racing.

During his time there, MWR was just starting out as a full-time team. They were one of the first teams to run Toyota in NASCAR, a manufacturer Wells had a relationship with during his time in CART.

After a couple of trying years, the team began to turn a corner in 2009. Reutimann won the first race in a rain shortened Coca-Cola 600. In 2010, Reutimann won once again at Chicagoland Speedway, as he passed NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon in the final 100 miles.

Wells soon left MWR. However, He was a large part of building MWR into what it became. He also was a large part of bringing Toyota to NASCAR.

What Does Cal Wells Bring to Legacy Motor Club?

Wells brings two major things to Legacy Motor Club. First, he brings NASCAR Cup Series executive and ownership experience with race-winning teams. Sure, his teams were never Championship contenders, but they did win races.

Secondly, he brings a connection to Toyota. He worked with Toyota during his days as a CART owner, and it seems that relationship has never fully ended. Bob Pockrass further explained these two points.

In the Stands

Michael Curry thinks CART first when he thinks of Cal Wells.

It’s now a rule to wear helmets as a part of the over the wall crew.

That is the question isn’t it Phantamasmicality.

It will be interesting to see what else he brings to Legacy Motor Club. The big question is, will the 32 “Tide Ride” return?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts