Michael Waltrip Racing announced Friday it has agreed to multiyear contract extensions with Martin Truex Jr. and NAPA AUTO PARTS keeping Truex behind the wheel of the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
NAPA will continue as one of the few full-time primary sponsors in the series, sponsoring all 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup points races and the sport’s two non-points events each season.
“NAPA and I have been together a long time and they are family to me,” said Michael Waltrip, who founded MWR and co-owns the three-car team with Rob Kauffman. “They have been to victory lane with me, helped me launch my own race team and have been our team’s biggest supporter through the years. It is hard to describe how grateful I am that NAPA feels good enough about our organization to continue this partnership.”
Waltrip said re-signing Truex, who began racing for MWR in 2010, has been a priority.
“Re-signing Martin was huge for us. 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.”
MWR, Truex and NAPA have enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012. Currently fifth in Sprint Cup driver points and battling for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, Truex owns five top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes – all career bests.
“Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota means the world to me,” said the 32-year-old Mayetta, N.J. native. “I knew when I signed on for the 2010 season that we had a lot of work to do to get the performance to where NAPA would be proud of us, and I also knew I had big shoes to fill in that NAPA uniform because Michael is the best at being an ambassador for sponsors. It is so gratifying that the hard work has paid off with competitive race cars every week. And I am more comfortable than ever that NAPA is my sponsor and I am their driver. It’s my job to do everything I can to make sure we are together for the rest of my career.”
The NAPA-Waltrip relationship started at the NASCAR Sprint Cup level in 2001 when Waltrip won the first of his two Daytona 500 titles. NAPA became a cornerstone sponsor in 2007 when Waltrip formed his own fulltime NASCAR Sprint Cup team.
NAPA has a long history of supporting NASCAR, tracing its roots to track sponsorships in the 1970s. NAPA Shocks logos adorned the hood of Buddy Baker’s 1980 Daytona 500 winning “Grey Ghost.” NAPA began its Sprint Cup race sponsorships in 1995 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the then season ending race, the NAPA 500. NAPA moved to team sponsorships in the late 1990s celebrating two truck championships with Ron Hornaday, Jr. at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Since then NAPA teams have earned wins in virtually every NASCAR Series.
The company said its affinity for NASCAR has never been stronger.
“We put a lot of time in evaluating where we choose to spend our marketing dollars and decided NASCAR continues to be a good fit for us. The sport garners tremendous fan support whose loyalty to NASCAR sponsors is unsurpassed and for that we are most appreciative,” said Paul Donahue, President of Genuine Parts Company.
“Once we decided on NASCAR, we determined that MWR was the team we wanted to continue to support. No other team has shown the improvement that MWR has over the past few seasons. We have been very pleased with the performance of Martin Truex, Jr. and the entire No. 56 NAPA team. Martin as well as all the folks at Michael Waltrip Racing continue to represent NAPA in a positive manner and we look forward to a successful partnership both on and off the track.”