Michael Waltrip Racing is in big trouble. The team was originally a NASCAR Nationwide Series team on a part-time basis, then became a multi-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team a few years ago. After failing horrifically in its first two seasons, it has become somewhat of a powerhouse organization.
However, Michael Waltrip Racing is now going back into the wrong direction. The team which currently consists of the No. 15 of Clint Bowyer, No. 55 of Brian Vickers/Michael Waltrip and the No. 56 of Martin Truex Jr. is losing one of those drivers.
The team announced on Monday afternoon that they will be shrinking back down to two full-time cars with one part-time car. With the announcement coming a few weeks ago that NAPA was leaving the organization, the highly-anticipated plans for Waltrip’s team have been victimized by the “spingate” saga once again.
Michael Waltrip Racing will be shutting down the No. 56 Toyota at the end of the year. Truex Jr. has been given the opportunity to search for another job, as well as his crew chief Chad Johnston. Ironically, the guys which are being let go happen to be the ones that did absolutely nothing wrong.
Bowyer and Vickers were the ones who did the wrong thing, and that was due to team orders set by Ty Norris. Instead of firing Norris immediately, the team decided to stick with him. Now, they have lost their eldest sponsor and a Chase-caliber driver. Also, the team will be losing 15 percent of their workers. That 15 percent will likely be taken out of Truex’s team, plus some managerial positions.
Truex Jr. will probably be off to Furniture Row Racing, replacing Kurt Busch in the No. 78 Chevrolet. Though Truex Jr. has won a race this year, he doesn’t have a job lined up for next year. It comes as a surprise, but the reorganization should be good for both sides. It gives Truex Jr. a shot with another team. Meanwhile, Michael Waltrip Racing will be able to put more of a focus on their two cars, while they use the third part-time car as a R&D car.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.