NASCAR New Hampshire 2013: Martin Truex Jr. uncertain about future with MWR

Jared Wickerham

Martin Truex Jr. would like to remain with Michael Waltrip Racing, but the loss of NAPA as a sponsor has put his future with the team into question.

Martin Truex Jr. joined Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010, signed a three-year extension last August, and if he had his druthers would remain with the team long-term.

"Honestly I have no idea what's going to happen"-Martin Truex Jr.

But Truex's future with MWR is suddenly very much in doubt. The uncertainty stems from the news NAPA is leaving the organization at the end of the year following MWR's culpability in manipulating the outcome of the Sept. 7 race at Richmond International Raceway.

"I really enjoyed my last four years at MWR," Truex said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I feel like we're getting to where we wanted to be when we started four years ago, and this is obviously going to set us back. But, I would love to be there. There's no guarantees right now -- it just depends on how everything goes down."

Like Truex, NAPA had a contract with MWR through the 2015 season. The company was paying the team between $15-18 million annually to sponsor the No. 56 car and was one of a few companies to fund the entirety of the Sprint Cup schedule.

However, the scandal along with the majority of companies already having their marketing budgets dictated for 2014 makes it challenging for MWR to find a sponsor comparable to NAPA.

MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip said Friday that he remains committed to fielding three full-time teams next season. But he has told Truex that he is free to sign with another team if an offer comes, though did ask for patience as he sorts through the options.

"It's so late in the game and late in the season," Truex said. "People already know what they're doing next year...this is definitely not the time of year you want to find out that you really don't have a ride next year, so to speak. I don't know, it's going to be tough, but we'll have to deal with it and hopefully we'll figure it out."

One potential option if NAPA is willing to continue its association with Truex is for him to follow the sponsor to different organization. Truex maintains he has a strong relationship with the company, but NAPA has been noncommittal about its future in NASCAR.

"Obviously, (NAPA is) going to need a little time for the dust to settle and figure out what they're next move is," Truex said. ... I feel like we've got a great relationship. I feel like I've represented them well and 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 right now honestly I have no idea what's going to happen."

Although he just lost an ardent sponsor and is staring at the possibility of not having a ride for next season, Truex doesn't hold a grudge against MWR for what transpired at Richmond.

The machinations of that night included a suspicious single-car spin by Clint Bowyer and an unscheduled mysterious green-flag pit stop by Brian Vickers all in an effort to aid Truex's efforts to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. NASCAR later penalized MWR with a record $300,000 fine and removed Truex from the Chase.

"Decisions were made in the heat of battle. Maybe they were bad, obviously they were wrong," Truex said. "We have to deal with the consequences. That's all I'm trying to do. We can't go back in time and undo anything. Life moves on, I've moved on from it.

"I'm just focused on the future and the next nine races with this group and trying to do the best job we can there and obviously trying to figure out what I'm going to do next year."

More from SB Nation:

Complete coverage of the 2013 Sprint Cup Chase

NASCAR New Hampshire 2013 news and updates

Who will Kurt Busch replace at Furniture Row?

NASCAR power rankings: Kenseth still No. 1

Longform: The good times and hard life of Dick Trickle

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