By admin | September 20, 2013
By Richard Allen
Martin Truex, Jr. must feel like a college football player who has had his team hit with sanctions from the NCAA for violations committed by players and coaches who left the university years earlier. In other words, his world has come crashing down around him because of the actions of other people.
After the race in Richmond, Truex was on top of the world as he appeared to have made the Chase for the Sprint Cup by the slimmest of margins. However, it was later deemed by NASCAR that the driver’s Michael Waltrip Racing team had engaged in inappropriate actions to get him that Chase berth.
MWR driver Brian Vickers pitted after being told he had a tire going down that he was apparently unable to detect from the driver’s seat. That move essentially gave Truex a position on the track, and thus, another much needed point. Also, MWR driver Clint Bowyer suspiciously spun late in the race while Ryan Newman was leading. That was important because a Newman victory would prevent Truex from getting the final wildcard invitation into the ten race playoff. Ultimately, a poor pit stop by Newman’s crew shuffled him back in the pack and cost him a win.
As a result of all this, NASCAR docked Truex and MWR enough points to bump the #56 team from the Chase.
And to make things worse, Truex’s sponsor- NAPA Auto Parts- has decided that it no longer wants to be associated with MWR and pulled its financial backing from the car. Without full sponsorship, the #56 car will be in jeopardy despite statements by team co-owner Michael Waltrip that he plans to continue operations with that team.
The troubling thing in all this is that Truex himself played no role in all the shenanigans that took place in Richmond. It was MWR General Manager Ty Norris who gave the directives for Vickers to do what he did. And, even after evidence of very odd radio chatter and comments made by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and other drivers, Waltrip continues to maintain that Bowyer’s spin was not intentional.
Truex was knocked out of the Chase and has seen his sponsor depart. These two happenings are the fault of Michael Waltrip Racing and no one else. The evidence is overwhelming against that organization. NASCAR may have created the culture that allowed this to happen but it ultimately wasn’t them who made the decisions that were made. And it wasn’t the media’s fault for pointing out what happened.
Martin Truex’s racing career hangs in the balance, and it was MWR that did it to him. In a season in which he won his first Sprint Cup race since 2007 and seemed to have made the Chase, his world has come crashing down. And it was because of the actions of others.
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