CONCORD, N.C. Michael Waltrip Racing will run only two full-time cars next season because of the loss of sponsor NAPA, part of the fallout from its attempts to manipulate a race to get Martin Truex Jr. into the Chase for the Cup.
Truex, crew chief Chad Johnston and 15 percent of the workforce were notified Monday they are free to negotiate with other teams. Team co-owner Rob Kauffman said the cuts were across the organization and not limited to Truex's team.
Truex's car will be repurposed into a research and development team next season. It will run a partial schedule beginning with the Daytona 500 with team co-owner Michael Waltrip behind the wheel depending on sponsorship, Waltrip said.
"Today was about doing what we had to do, not what we wanted to do," Kauffman said. "It was important to let those whose jobs were affected know as early as possible, and a majority of those will remain with MWR through the end of the season."
Truex has been talking to Furniture Row Racing about the seat being vacated by Kurt Busch. MWR is undecided if it will use Truex's No. 56 on the third car next season and how many races the car enters will be based on sponsorship.
Also, Ty Norris' title position will change from general manager of MWR to executive director for business development. Norris has been on indefinite suspension from NASCAR for his role in the Richmond scandal.
"He will no longer be involved in competition and no longer be a spotter, and will focus strictly on the commercial side of the business," Kauffman said. "He's good at that, and that's the skill set that's most helpful for the company. We have other folks on the competition side."
The meetings between Kauffman and Waltrip and their employees Monday were interrupted when driver Brian Vickers informed the owners that a blood clot had been found in his right calf. He was placed on blood-thinning medication that will prevent him from finishing the season in the No. 55 Toyota.
The team had planned to use co-owner Waltrip in this week's race at Talladega and said it will decide later on its driver for the remaining four races.
IndyCar Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti had surgery on his broken right ankle in Indianapolis.
It was the second operation on the ankle since Franchitti was injured Oct. 6 in an accident on the last lap of the Grand Prix of Houston. He also fractured two vertebrae and suffered a concussion.
IndyCar orthopedic consultant Dr. Terry Trammel said Monday's surgery lasted just over three hours and was to repair the talus bone in Franchitti's ankle. The talus bone connects the leg and the foot. The surgery was performed by Dr. Tim Weber, who told Trammel it "went perfectly."
"His post-operation X-rays looked great. Everything is positive at this point as Dario continues his recovery," Trammel said.