Though he was scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, Martin Truex Jr. wasn't mentioned as a candidate to switch teams for the 2013 season. Why? Because it was a safe assumption that Truex would be staying with Michael Waltrip Racing, as both parties made it clear that they preferred to keep their partnership intact.
On Friday, that assumption became the official truth, as MWR announced that Truex, along with sponsor NAPA Auto Parts, had signed on for three years.
"Re-signing Martin was huge for us," Waltrip said in a release. "We've given him competitive race cars and engines this year and he's been able to showcase his talent. Where I am most proud of Martin is off the track. He has dedicated himself to be a leader in our organization and has accepted his role as an ambassador for our sponsors. His work with NAPA, Toyota, AAA, along with his foundation work, has shown his maturity as a person and he makes me proud."
Truex is currently fifth in the points standings and can clinch his first Chase berth with MWR with 14th-place finish Sunday night at Atlanta. In his first two years at MWR, Truex finished 22nd and 18th in the points standings. Teammate Clint Bowyer, who came to MWR from Richard Childress Racing before 2012, is also poised to make the Chase as well.
NAPA's extension with the team includes all 36 Sprint Cup Series points races, and in this current period of rising competition costs and a sagging economy, will continue to be one of the only companies to sponsor the entire season. (MWR also had sponsor 5-HOUR Energy expand its sponsorship for all but one of Bowyer's 2012 races earlier in the season.)
There's no word if there are any provisions in the new NAPA contract that prohibit commercials featuring Michael Waltrip booty shakes.
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