(WOMR file photo)
Martin Truex, Jr., an innocent victim in this whole thing with MWR and NAPA, is handling things with class! But he points out that he now has to look out for himself, and that means making some quick decisions about 2014.
Immediately after NAPA’s decision to pull the plug on the Waltrip-Truex team, there were hopes that NAPA, perhaps with Truex, might move to another stock car operation and continue its sports marketing here. NAPA is one of this sport’s long-time sponsors. However Sunday here an individual close to the situation that said NAPA has now decided simply to drop out of NASCAR racing If so, that could be a devastating blow; the sanctioning body itself just lost Nationwide as sponsor of its Triple-A tour (following the 2014 season).
Where might Truex land, if he does move on?
Well, Toyota’s Joe Gibbs has been looking to fill a long-proposed fourth Cup team slot. Joe Gibbs Racing tried to get Kurt Busch earlier this year, KuBu landed at Stewart-Haas Racing, instead. Additionally, Richard Childress is still filling out his 2014 roster. Truex says simply “life moves on. I’ve moved on from it.”
Michael Waltrip has said that if Truex could find another deal, he wouldn’t hold him back, even though two years remain on his contract. Right now, there’s only one other real deal out there, the Furniture Row Racing #78 car. That team is self-funded by Barney Visser, who owns the furniture chain. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said he was interested in Truex, and he likely could wait a while for Truex to make a decision.
That organization, FRR, likely would go with a young driver, if not with Truex. Meaning all those drivers from which to choose probably would be available well into November, before having to make a commitment for 2014.
The big “if” is whether NAPA will return and sponsor another Cup team. NAPA likes to have a car for the full season but several sources in the garage said the $16 million that NAPA is reportedly paying likely includes a hefty Chase bonus, and might be too low to garner a full season with other organizations.
Team owner Richard Childress said he wasn’t going to call NAPA, but he could start a fourth team if there is interest. “You’re always interested, but we’re going to see what shakes down here with those guys,” he said. “I hope NAPA stays in the sport. I really hate it for Martin. I’m sure they’ll see the value in our sport and hopefully stay in with whomever. We’re not going to beat their door down. We can do a fourth team. I don’t believe in going out and chasing somebody in a bad situation. Let them make their decision.”
Chip Ganassi had no comment on the possibility of pursuing Truex, while Roger Penske said he is set with his two Cup teams for next year. “Martin’s one of the good young drivers here,” Penske said. “We’re committed (to) two cars next year. We have plenty of drivers. What we need to do is stay focused. & At this point, I don’t see us going with Truex or NAPA.”
As you can see, the Martin Truex,Jr.-NAPA topic has gotten some long legs among the team owners. This is a very interesting, and somewhat twisted, storyline for the late 2013 season! It is WOMR’s opinion that there is more behind the scenes phone calls between a few of the team owners and NAPA than what meets the public eye! Here is a talented race car driver that is caught between a rock and a hard place regarding his 2014 plans, as well as his future in NASCAR.
All of this bad press, the circus-like juggling between NAPA and MWR, the loss of a huge sponsorship contract, is completely out of Truex’s control. Nevertheless, the fate of Truex’s future in NASCAR is squarely on the line. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Truex to make a expeditious, and very solid, decision on his plans for 2014. His entire future in NASCAR rests squarely on this very strategic move!
Tick, tick, tick! Time is of the essence for Martin Truex,Jr.!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!