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Michael Waltrip gets Daytona ride

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Add Michael Waltrip to the entry list for the 2012 Daytona 500.

The two-time winner of "The Great American Race'' will drive the No. 40 Toyota for newly-formed Hillman Racing with Aaron's as his primary sponsor.

Should Waltrip make the field, it will be his 27th start in the 500 and 75th start at Daytona International Speedway between the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series. No other driver has more starts.

"When I was a kid thinking about racing in Daytona I never dreamed I would start more NASCAR races there than anyone,'' the 2001 and 2003 Daytona 500 winner said in a statement. "That's amazing.

"I appreciate what the folks at Hillman Racing, including Joe Falk, are putting together. Hopefully, my experience at Daytona will help them get out of the gate strong with their new team."

The owner of Michael Waltrip Racing already was entered in the Feb. 18 Budweiser Shootout in the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine. He will be busy outside the car as well.

Waltrip will continue as a television commentator for SPEED-TV's Truck Series broadcasts and begin his new role as an analyst for the Fox NASCAR Sunday broadcasts.

Waltrip said last month during a test at Daytona that he hoped to go from the pre-race broadcast booth to his car for the 500.

Waltrip is scheduled to drive in the three other restrictor plate races this season at Daytona and Talladega in the No. 55 MWR ride he is splitting with Mark Martin this season.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.