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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)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush’s Grillin Beans Charcoal  Chevrolet SS, races to a seventh place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a sixth place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Microsoft Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Sunday, August 2, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet SS, races to a third place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads during the NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 race, at Iowa Speedway on August 1, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, will be on the front row after qualifying for second position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Dillon is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Stewart is 26th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for sixth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Busch is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a ninth place finish Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with third place finisher Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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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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