MWR driver doesn't dismiss idea of racing elsewhere in 2014
MORE: Waltrip discusses 'rocky couple of weeks' | NAPA, MWR to part ways
LOUDON, N.H. – Martin Truex Jr. said he is willing to give Michael Waltrip Racing officials time to get their house in order, but didn't dismiss the idea that he could be racing elsewhere in 2014.
"We've got to look at all our options," Truex Jr. said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, moments after his qualifying lap for Sunday's Sylvania 300. "There isn't a whole lot out there; it's awful late in the season.
"We've got to look at everything we can to make sure I can be in a race car next year."
A day earlier, NAPA, the primary sponsor on the No. 56 team for which Truex drives, announced it would sever its relationship with MWR in light of penalties handed down following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond earlier this month.
MWR was fined $300,000 and its three drivers – Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers – were penalized 50 points apiece for what NASCAR officials said was an attempt to manipulate the end of the race.
The points deduction resulted in Truex Jr. losing his position in this year's Chase For The Sprint Cup.
"The circumstances about the way I feel are the same as last week," he said. "Obviously it's more complicated now. … We've got nine races left to focus on getting this NAPA car in victory lane and that's what we're going to do."
Truex Jr. won at Sonoma Raceway earlier this year for his second career win at the Cup level. He was poised to make his third appearance in the Chase.
NAPA officials have not said if the company, which has been in the sport since the mid-1990s, would remain as a sponsor or leave the series altogether. Truex Jr. said he has a solid relationship with the company, and it was possible that NAPA could join him if he were to go elsewhere. Nothing has been discussed, however.
"We do have a great relationship," he said. "This has all happened so fast. 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.
"I guess it's an option … I feel like I've represented them well. I know they're happy with the job I've done on and off the race track. We'll just see where that leads, but honestly right now I have no idea what's going to happen."
While Truex Jr. was not implicated in any of the wrongdoing that occurred at Richmond, he said he held no hard feelings toward his teammates. Decisions were made "in the heat of battle … that were wrong.
"And I'm trying to deal with the consequences," he said. "We can't go back in time and undo anything. I've moved on from it. I'm just focused on the future, the next nine races with this group, trying to do the best job we can there and obviously trying to figure out what I'm going to do next year."
Earlier Friday, team co-owner Michael Waltrip said he would not stand in his driver's way should Truex Jr. decide to go elsewhere. All he asked for, Waltrip said was "a little time to try to figure this out and he agreed to that.
"If he came to me tomorrow and said I've got a deal to go do something, then obviously I would not hold him back," Waltrip said. "His support and loyalty for our organization has been amazing."