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Key MWR sponsor quits over Richmond 'rigging'

Michael Waltrip Racing has lost a major sponsor over the events that occurred at Richmond International Raceway at which the team attempted to manipulate the race outcome.
NAPA Auto Parts has confirmed that it is to end its sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing's #56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. at the end of the current season. The company had been in the first year of a three-year extension to their sponsorship deal with the team worth up to estimated $18 million per year that had been expected to last until 2016.

Truex was at the eye of a storm after the Chase decider at Richmond International Raceway after it emerged that the team attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race by having two of the other MWR drivers, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers, make extra pit stops in order to ensure an outcome that would see Truex make the title play-offs.

NAPA said at the time that it viewed the team's actions as "very concerning" and had questioned the team's "significant error in judgement," adding that it would review its sponsorship of the team, the outcome of which was announced on Thursday.

"After thorough consideration, NAPA has made the difficult decision to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing," a statement on NAPA's Facebook page said. "NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR. We remain supportive of the millions of NASCAR fans and will evaluate our future position in motor sports."

“Michael Waltrip Racing respects the decision NAPA announced today following the events at Richmond," the team replied in statement of its own. However, it insisted that it still planned to maintain its full line-up in 2014 despite today's setback.

"MWR has the infrastructure and support of Toyota for three teams plus three Chase-calibre, race-winning drivers," the team statement continued. "With the support of our corporate partners we are preparing to field three teams in 2014. MWR is a resilient organisation capable of winning races and competing for the championship and that remains our sole focus.”

Ironically, the the driver and crew now hit most hard by the fall-out from the events two weeks ago at Richmond - Truex and the #56 team - were all completely innocent of any race manipulation charges, but has still ended up being booted out of the 2013 Chase as well as losing its main financial backing for 2014.

NAPA had been one of the few companies left in the sport that still acted as a car's primary sponsor for all 38 races of the Sprint Cup season. Its involvement with the sport goes back to the 1970s with track sponsorships, and began its Cup race sponsorships in 1995.

Nationwide ends championship-level sponsorship

Insurance giant Nationwide announced on Wednesday that it was to end its sponsorship of NASCAR's second-tier championship once the current seven-year deal expires at the finish of the 2014 season.




Related Pictures

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Owner Michael Waltrip, driver Brian Vickers, Aaron`s CEO Ronald W. Allen and Aaron`s VP of Marketing Andrea Freeman unveil the new 2014 No. 55 Toyota Camry Aaron`s Dream Machine on August 13, 2013 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Aaron`s and Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Vickers will pilot the car for all 36 Sprint Cup races in 2014.
Michael Waltrip, driver of the #26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota, stands by his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
#56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota (Martin Truex Jr.) (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, and Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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Bear1

October 14, 2013 2:36 AM

I Really hate this,,,, to me,,, being a racer all my life,,, I prayed that I'd Never see the day that this would happen, ,, I mean I know it goes on in other types of sports, ,, & THAT is expected today,,, & is why I've never paid them no mind,,, but racing ?? Come on folks,, is Nothing sacred anymore ?? & MWR at that !!!! Of all the different sports out there, , the true test of mans skills & ability, ,, added to the challenge of building a fast & competitive machine, ,, yes,, with today's technology, ,, ABOUT the ONLY things that gets you a win is the drivers ability & endurance, , now dont get me wrong,,,, I was raised to read the white space between the LINEs in the rule book, ,, but to put a TEAM EFFORT INTO KNOWINGLY CHEATING ??? NO !!!! AS MUCH AS I --USED TO RESPECT MWR --- EVERY DRIVER SHOULD BE MANDATOROLY OUT OF THE CHASE !!!!! IM SORRY CLINT,,, BUT YOU'VE REALLY HURT MY HEART !!!! & FURTHER MORE,,, MWR SHOULD BE TOTALLY OUT OF RACING FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR !!!!! IF T



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