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.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.