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Martin Truex Jr. Filling Role Of Innocent Bystander

Mike Harris | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 20 2013

Martin Truex Jr. is paying for the sins of others. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

LOUDON, N.H. – 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 key 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 that was to run through the end of 2015.

Worse, NAPA was that rarity, a majority sponsor for all 36 Sprint Cup races.

The upshot is that the No. 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 yout. 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 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.’’

– Mike Harris can be reached at mharris@racintoday.com

Mike Harris | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 20 2013
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  • NASCAR No Credibility says:

    I hope NASCAR is happy with what they have caused in their over reaction. Why would any sponsor want to come into NASCAR and why would most want to stay knowing that NASCAR so heavily favors Rick Hendirck and his satellite teams?

    As for NAPA they can just leave all the way as I will no longer buy any auto parts from them and yes I have bought from them for years. No more the way they cowered to a bunch of people the vast majority of whom have never set foot into a NAPA store and never will.

    I am still waiting for NASCAR to penalize Jimmy Johnson and Rick Hendrick for Jimmy Johnson manipulating the last four races before the chase began. Jimmy Johnson was holding back in an attempt to help the three other Hendrick cars and the one Hendrick satellite team car from Hendrick’s Stewart/Hass shops. Now that the Hendrick cars got into the chase with NASCAR creating a new thirteenth position for Gordon, Jimmy Johnson is back to being a top five car again.

    I would love to see sponsors bail out of NASCAR in huge numbers as NASCAR has made it clear that it really is the WWE on wheels.

    I am also waiting on NASCAR to go back and penalize both Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing and Tony Stewart and his Rick Hendrick Satellite team Stewart/Hass for their open manipulation of the Phoenix race two years ago in the chase where Jeff Burton was told to slow down and allow Tony Stewart to pass him for the point. That single manipulated point by Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart and Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick/Stewart/Hass Racing allowed Stewart to steal the championship from Carl Edwards. Without that one openly manipulated point Carl Edwards would have been the champion that year.

    In the end Carl Edwards still earned more points for the entire season than did cheating winner Tony Stewart did.