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AUTO RACING

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Associated Press NAPA Auto Parts said Thursday it will end its multimillion-dollar sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of the year, the latest fallout from the team’s attempt to manipulate a race to get Martin Truex Jr. into NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. NAPA is Truex’s primary sponsor and in the first year of a three-year extension announced last August. The deal ran through the 2015 season and is believed to be worth at least $15 million a year. “NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR,” NAPA said in a release. The company issued a harsh rebuke of MWR last week after NASCAR sanctioned the organization for its shenanigans in the Sept. 7 race at Richmond. MWR was punished for deliberately manipulating the outcome of the race in an attempt to get Truex into the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field. The penalties levied against MWR led to a larger NASCAR investigation that uncovered at least one other case of race manipulation. NASCAR expanded the Chase field to 13 by adding Jeff Gordon and issued new rules banning digital radios and more than one team member per car on the spotter stand. Michael Waltrip apologized for the first time for MWR’s actions at Richmond.

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