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MWR restructures to two full-time teams in 2014

October 14, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Truex Jr. free to negotiate with other teams; No. 56 to run limited schedule

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Michael Waltrip Racing announced Monday that it will scale back its racing operation in 2014, dropping from three to two full-time entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

The reduction is the latest fallout from severe penalties the team received for manipulating the results of the regular-season finale Sept. 7 at Richmond International Raceway.

Two days after the race, NASCAR expelled Waltrip driver Martin Truex Jr. from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason. Officials also issued a $300,000 fine, docked all three MWR teams 50 championship points, placed all its crew chiefs on probation and suspended general manager Ty Norris indefinitely.

Longtime Waltrip supporter NAPA Auto Parts, saying that the company “believes in fair play,” announced Sept. 19 that it would depart at the end of the season, ending its contract as primary sponsor for the No. 56 Toyota driven by Truex two years early. NAPA had been a sponsor of Waltrip’s during both his driving and team owner career since 2001.

The team’s announcement indicated Truex was free to negotiate with other teams for 2014, and with relatively few vacancies in the Sprint Cup garage. The team still plans to field Toyotas for Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers next season.

The team said that its third entry will run a limited schedule in a research and development role. That partial schedule will include the 2014 Daytona 500 with team owner Michael Waltrip, a two-time winner of The Great American Race, behind the wheel.

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