By on September 23, 2013

Following punishments by NASCAR to the Michael Waltrip Racing team after MWR drivers, crew chiefs and spotters tried to game the system for getting into NASCAR’s playoff-like Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with an intentional spin and deliberately slow driving, on Thursday Michael Waltrip’s longtime sponsor, the NAPA auto parts store chain, announced that they will end their relationship with Waltrip’s race team at the end of this year.

In a statement posted on the company’s Facebook page NAPA said,

After thorough consideration, NAPA has made the difficult decision to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing effective December 31, 2013. NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR. We remain supportive of the millions of NASCAR fans and will evaluate our future position in motorsports.


In addition to the team sponsorship, Michael Waltrip has appeared in numerous NAPA commercials. No word yet if that relationship will continue.

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13 Comments on “NAPA Ends Longtime Sponsorship With Michael Waltrip Over NASCAR Cheating Scandal...”

  • avatar

    NASCAR once again lives up to its recent reputation as racing’s answer to professional wrestling.

    Good for NAPA for showing Mikey the door. I’m surprised they didn’t walk after the fuel scandal at Daytona a few years back.

    • 0 avatar

      What they did ultimately is no different than “team orders” in F1. In NASCAR, however, you have to “fake” a spin or mechanical issue because “team orders” are frowned upon.

      Not that I’m a NASCAR apologist, just sayin’.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Oddly enough, Aaron’s Rent-To-Own furniture/electronics chain doesn’t follow suit. Almost as if they have no problem screwing people over for their own gain.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 You only need to have a slight understanding of the Aaron’s business model to be scared out of your mind. I think driver’s need to be just as careful about perception. I’m a bit of a Jack Beckman fan (NHRA), but I was disappointed when he had Aaron’s sponsorship a few years ago. Sponsors want good, wholesome drivers, but the reverse should be true as well.

  • avatar

    There’s plenty of room for Napa’s sponsorship money over in the NHRA (in addition to Ron Capps). Admittedly, there are “team orders” in other motorsports (where they are accepted and understood), but there’s no place for them in NASCAR.

    The entire “formula” for NASCAR has been lost on me in the past few years. I long for the days when I recognized the cars (most important)and the drivers weren’t either a) petulant whiners, or b) glossy cover models. I’d love to see a new series formed that races with almost stock cars (e.g. Camaro, Mustang, Challenger) with basic safety mods (rollbar, fuel cell) by guys who trailer their own cars to the track. Stop with the “Points to the Chase” nonsense and start racing again.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      It’s called HPDE.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks, I’d never heard of it. Looks pretty cool. Now we just need to get ESPN to cover it. It’ll be good for the first five years and then the money will mess it up . . . . .

    • 0 avatar

      You could always check out the Continental Tire or Rolex series. They are on TV from time to time on Speed(on Fox 1 now?)/NBCSports. A wide mix of cars, 911’s, Camaros, Mustangs, Miatas, M3’s, and some others. Still prepped race cars (I don’t even know if they share a single part), but they are a lot more convincing as stock cars. Imagine stock cars meets LeMans. It’s not great since the skill level is lower than the top tiers, but the racing is entertaining.

      • 0 avatar

        Among things you can regularly catch on TV, I’d say Continental Tire is closest to the ideal of a “stock car” racing. I really like this series. Despite being a “support” series of Grand Am, it still attracts good drivers and teams, and its nice to see effectively stock BMW M3, Mustang, Porsche 911 GT3, Camaro, etc racing against each other in the GS, and then small RWD and FWD cars in the ST class (all with minimal mods of course, for safety and balance of performance parts, like the restrictions). This is far more stock than even GT2/GT3 racing, as GT cars with their heavily modified (e.g. widened or stretched) chassis, are far from stock.

        Grand Am’s Rolex GT class is not entirely stock or even GT racing, since they allow in the GT class tube frame cars in addition to the traditional GT cars. For example, this year’s Camaro in the Rolex GT class is a tube frame car and the Mazda last year was a tube frame car too. Nonetheless, they have very good racing in Rolex series, in GT and Prototype classes. I hope it only gets better.

        • 0 avatar

          While it’s true that Grand-Am Continental Tire Series cars are WAY closer to stock than tube-frame NASCAR beasts, they are not “effectively stock” at all. Everything that can be legally tweaked (and then some) is. Tub seams are welded; the cages stiffen the tubs beyond belief; engines in top cars are, in the best racing tradition, built to grenade 50 feet after the checkered flag; etc. And Grand-Am’s system of adding or subtracting weight to level performance does a good job of keeping the racing close, but also makes it impossible to correlate on- and off-track performance.

  • avatar

    This is nothing new in racing. This time just seems to be more blatant. I can’t stand Michael Waltrip, so no upset on my end. I guess Michael forgot that his bro says “Boogity Boogity Boogity, lets go RACING, not lets go throwing races. As an aside, Aarons business model is to take advantage of those who are economically at a disadvantage but are painted a rosy picture that they, too can have it all. Sure they can, at a staggering price. It is expensive to be poor, and Aarons is a good example of that. I was saddend to see the great Mark Martin drive the “Dream Machine”…

  • avatar

    I have to admit I don’t get it. The goal is to advance in the Chase/playoffs. Everyone knows the teams have common ownership. Personally I applauded the strategy that the teams use and don’t consider this cheating. I really don’t understand the schadenfreude of the common NASCAR fan over this.

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