NAPA, 5-Hour Energy express concern over Waltrip actions

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Two of Michael Waltrip’s sponsors have issued statements expressing their concern regarding the team’s actions at Richmond last Saturday, the regular season finale to the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

NAPA Auto Parts, sponsor of Martin Truex Jr., has released a statement on its Facebook page regarding Truex’s removal from the 2013 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.

It reads:

 

“Dear Facebook Fans and the NAPA community,

The actions taken by Michael Waltrip’s Racing team this past weekend leading to the penalties assessed by NASCAR, are very concerning. We are disappointed that a partner associated with our organization would make such a significant error in judgment. In addition, we have launched our own review to determine the future of our partnership with Michael Waltrip’s Racing team. The NAPA AUTO PARTS organization is proud of its long-standing NASCAR relationship. We share a passion with our customers for high quality racing and seek to determine the best course of action for our customers, NASCAR fans, and the NAPA organization.

NAPA.”

This isn’t the first time NAPA has been dragged through the mud, as they have been Waltrip’s longtime sponsor dating back to his two Daytona 500 wins as a driver. In 2007, Waltrip’s first race as a team owner with MWR, a jet fuel controversy emerged at Daytona and also led to penalties, but not to the same degree.

Meanwhile 5-Hour Energy, sponsor of Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota, released its own statement through parent company Living Essentials:

“Living Essentials, the makers of 5-hour ENERGY® shots, understands the disappointment NASCAR fans feel in regards to the actions taken by Michael Waltrip Racing at Richmond. Living Essentials does not condone practices that violate NASCAR rules or the spirit of fair play. Living Essentials respects NASCAR’s penalties against Michael Waltrip Racing, and is addressing its sponsorship relations internally. We appreciate your understanding and patience in this matter.”

While Waltrip has appeared on FOX Sports’ RaceHub and Bowyer made the rounds on ESPN’s SportsCenter yesterday, Truex has been noticeably silent since NASCAR dropped the hammer on the team.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.