(WOMR file photo)
Martin Truex Jr. suddenly finds himself in a limbo created by the mistakes of others.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver turned out to be an innocent victim of the team’s manipulation of the finish at the Richmond race two weeks ago.
The ultimate result of NASCAR coming down hard on the Waltrip team was the announcement this week that NAPA, a longtime sponsor with the team, is leaving at the end of the season, aborting a big dollar contract (reportedly $17 million annually) that was to run through the end of 2015.
Worse yet, NAPA was that rarity, a majority sponsor for all 36 Sprint Cup races.
The net results is that the #56 Toyota, driven by Truex, is without a sponsor for next season and beyond, leaving him uncertain of his racing future.
After qualifying fifth on Friday for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Truex was asked where he stands with MWR for next season.
“I don’t know,’’ he replied. “It’s too early to tell, to be honest with you. I wish I knew and I wish I could say, but a lot of circumstances have to play out and it’s so late in the game and late in the season.
“People already know what they’re doing next year. This is definitely not the time of year you want to find out that you really don’t have a ride next year, so to speak.’’
Earlier Friday, team boss Michael Waltrip said he’s still hopeful that a sponsor can be found in time to keep Truex. But he also said he would not stand in the way if another ride becomes available in the meantime.
“I’ve enjoyed my four years at MWR,’’ Truex said. “And I feel like we’re getting to where we wanted to be when we started four years ago. This is obviously going to set us back. But I would love to be there. There’s no guarantees right now. It just depends on how everything goes down.’’
Asked about the possibility of moving to another team with NAPA, Truex said, “We do have a great relationship and again, this has happened so fast. Obviously, they’re going to need a little time for the dust to settle and figure out what their next move is. (We’ll) just have to wait, (but) I guess it’s an option, yeah.’’
Depending on what 5Hr Energy Drink decides to do with the Clint Bowyer #15 team, it appears that Michael Waltrip Racing could be in severe financial troubles for 2014. This latest set back from NAPA has put MWR behind the 8 ball, when it comes to fully funding three race teams next season. It is certain that MWR is going to hard pressed to find another $17 million sponsorship package for the #56 team to replace the vacated NAPA lost deal.
Could this be the precursor to the financial collapse of MWR?
Additionally, do you think that there is a lesson to be learned from this apparent attempt to manipulate the net results of how The Chase was going to shake out? Is the MWR fiasco any different than the baseball scandal from the early 1900’s, known as ” the black socks scandal”? Likewise, is what happened at Richmond any different from any other cheating scandal that has come to light in the past?
You be the judge!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!