Michael Waltrip Racing didn’t only irk NASCAR and a lot of NASCAR fans with its seeming manipulation of race results Saturday night in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in an attempt to make sure one of its drivers, Martin Truex Jr., got into the Chase for the Sprint Cup postseason to the determine the 2013 Sprint Cup Series champion.
NASCAR penalized the entire MWR organization on Monday evening with punishments that removed Truex from the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field, leaving Clint Bowyer as the only Michael Waltrip Racing representative in the Chase. There was also a $300,000 fine levied to MWR and the indefinite suspension of MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager Ty Norris.
Primary sponsors on Michael Waltrip’s three teams — the No. 15 of Bowyer, the No. 55 of Brian Vickers and the No. 56 of Truex — are also unhappy with the organization’s antics and expressed that displeasure on Facebook and/or Twitter on Wednesday.
Here is what they had to say:
“The actions taken by Michael Waltrip’s Racing team this past weekend leading to the penalties assessed by NASCAR, are very concerning. We are disappointed that a partner associated with our organization would make such a significant error in judgment. In addition, we have launched our own review to determine the future of our partnership with Michael Waltrip’s Racing team. The NAPA AUTO PARTS organization is proud of its long-standing NASCAR relationship. We share a passion with our customers for high quality racing and seek to determine the best course of action for our customers, NASCAR fans, and the NAPA organization.” — NAPA, sponsor of the No. 56, via Facebook.
“We respect NASCAR’s penalties against MWR & are addressing our sponsorship relations internally. We appreciate your understanding & patience.” — 5-hour Energy, sponsor of the No. 15, via Twitter.
“We respect the decision NASCAR made … and do not condone any practices that violate NASCAR rules.” — Aaron’s, sponsor of the No. 56, via Facebook.
Notice that two of the three primary sponsors seem to be questioning their relationships with MWR — NAPA and 5-hour Energy.
Penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing for its actions at Richmond may go beyond those issued by NASCAR and may affect the organization for a longer haul.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR