On Monday, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization Michael Waltrip Racing announced a reorganization plan that will reduce efforts from three full-time Sprint Cup teams to two full-time entries and one part-time entry.
“Our goals for the reorganization were twofold, firstly to improve the competitiveness of our race teams and, secondly, maintain a stable organizational structure,” MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman said. “The team’s focus has been to find that last one percent needed to move from Chase participant to Cup champion. This realignment will get us closer to that last one percent.”
MWR will continue to field the No. 15 Toyota, driven by Clint Bowyer, and the No. 55, driven by Brian Vickers, full-time next year. The No. 56 team, which currently operates full-time with Martin Truex Jr., will be disbanded at the end of the 2013 season. MWR, though, will field a third entry on a part-time basis next year for team co-owner Michael Waltrip.
The No. 56 team was slated to lose longtime primary sponsor NAPA at the end of the season. NAPA made the call to cut ties with Michael Waltrip Racing days after MWR was involved in controversy following the September race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway that concluded with NASCAR penalizing the team for manipulating the outcome of the race in an attempt to get Truex into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Truex and crew chief Chad Johnston have each been relieved of their duties with Michael Waltrip Racing, effective at the end of the year. Several other MWR employees were also laid off, with 85 percent of the current workforce remaining.
“Today was about doing what we had to do, not what we wanted to do,” Kauffman said. “It was important to let those whose jobs were affected know as early as possible, and a majority of those will remain with MWR through the end of the season.”