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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)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS celebrates his 4th victory of the season with Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motor Sports, and his girlfriend, Amy Reimann, after winning Sunday, October 26, 2014 the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. This is the 10th anniversary of a Hendrick Motorsports plane crash which killed 10 in Martinsville. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS races to a second place finish and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS finished in third place Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Both Gordon and Newman are in the The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 4th win of the season with his crew Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. This was also Earnhardt, Jr.`s first career win at Martinsville. The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase, which Earnhardt, Jr. is not a contender, continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS, races to his 4th win of the season with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishing second Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. This was also Earnhardt, Jr.`s first career win at Martinsville. Gordon now leads the standings in the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 4th win of the season Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. This was also Earnhardt, Jr.`s first career win at Martinsville. The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase, which Earnhardt, Jr. is not a contender, continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, applies the winners decal in Victory Lane after his victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #34 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota, and Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #34 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/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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