NAPA, no. 5-Hour Energy, yes.
A statement released Friday morning from the latter company indicated it would continue with Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer for 2014, and moved up its decision from the end of the year to now in the wake of the controversy at Richmond.
Bowyer’s late spin at Richmond set off a firestorm over the next week about team orders, race-fixing and “not racing to 100 percent of your ability.” Waltrip’s team was fined $300,000 and the 50-point penalties issued to each driver directly knocked Bowyer’s teammate, Martin Truex Jr., out of the 2013 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The statement reads in full:
This week the 5-hour ENERGY®team met after the New Hampshire race to discuss our future with Michael Waltrip Racing. While our original plan was to announce the status of our sponsorship at the end of the year, this timeframe left many concerned about their future. There are scores of passionate fans, numerous charitable organizations, and hundreds of hard-working MWR employees and their families who are directly impacted by 5-hour ENERGY’s NASCAR sponsorship. After several internal discussions and meetings with MWR, we are prepared to announce our decision ahead of schedule. 5-hour ENERGY® will be back as a sponsor of MWR and Clint Bowyer for 2014. We look forward to another great year of competitive racing. Go 15!