Michael Waltrip Racing majority owner Rob Kauffman told FOXSports.com on Sunday he hopes to unveil the company’s reorganizational plan “relatively soon.”
The moves will come following MWR’s penalties for attempts to manipulate the outcome of the Richmond International Raceway race on Sept. 7 and the subsequent announcement from NAPA to pull its sponsorship from the No. 56 Toyota team.
Two weeks later, Waltrip offered driver Martin Truex Jr. the opportunity to test the market – but hoped there would be time to attract a new sponsor. Crew chief Chad Johnston has requested his release and it appears that some of the pieces are already coming together for the next stage of MWR.
“We’re working on an announcement,” Kauffman said. “I think it’s been a week since we last spoke, so we’re trying to get it all together. But we have a couple of good options. I think rather than use the word ‘release,’ I’d prefer to say allow guys to explore all their options – just as we’re exploring all of our options. Is that exactly negative? I think it’s the right thing to allow people to investigate all their options.
“A lot of these contracts have provisions that say ‘you can’t speak to anyone.’ So, technically, it’s a release, but it’s really more correct saying, ‘Look, there’s a challenge here. We want you to investigate all your options. Of course, we’re one and let’s stay in close communication.’ I don’t think there’s anything negative around it at all. It’s just letting people figure it out.”
Kauffman said that he has been in touch with Truex and “it’s fine with us for them to continue to explore their options as well.”
Kauffman is concentrating on structuring the company in the best possible position to move forward. With Clint Bowyer still battling for the title and reaffirmed commitment from 5-hour Energy as well as long-time support of Aaron’s with the No. 55 team and Brian Vickers, Kauffman remains optimistic.
“We have a lot of positive stuff with the team,” Kauffman said. “We have a great group, great partners. We’ve suffered a challenge. We’ll dust ourselves off and move forward.
“I think I used the quote, ‘Ready, aim, fire.’ We’re still aiming, the target is a little clearer. Given the uncertainty — and people don’t like uncertainty — we’d like to have something sooner than later.”