Friday morning, Michael Waltrip addressed the news that NAPA, a longtime sponsor of his team, would be leaving at the end of the year after the race manipulation allegations that have followed the team since Richmond.
On Thursday, the company made the decision to pull its sponsorship, saying that it could not condone what Michael Waltrip Racing did at Richmond. After Clint Bowyer spun, both he and Brian Vickers slowed down to ensure that Joey Logano made the top 10 and teammate Martin Truex Jr. made the Chase.
After the team was penalized, Truex was out of the Chase.
Truex is the driver directly impacted by the loss of the NAPA sponsorship, and Waltrip said Friday that he has agreed to give the team some time to figure out a gameplan for next season. However, if Truex gets an offer, a contrite Waltrip said he wouldn’t prevent him from taking it, though he’d obviously like him to stay.
Waltrip reiterated the team’s stance that it’s preparing to field three cars next season, and spoke of both Bowyer’s and Vickers’ cars as being funded for next season. Thursday, 5 Hour Energy, Bowyer’s sponsor, said it would make a decision about the future following the season.