Martin Truex Jr., MWR talk new deal

Updated: April 21, 2012, 2:21 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Don't look for Martin Truex Jr. to leave Michael Waltrip Racing after his contract expires in 2012.

Team owner Michael Waltrip said on Saturday at Kansas Speedway the organization is negotiating with Truex and primary sponsor NAPA on an extension.

Truex is fourth in points, one out of second place, heading into Sunday's Sprint Cup race.

"NAPA is very happy right now," Waltrip said. "Everybody would be very happy to go into 2013 just like this."

Truex struggled during his first two seasons with MWR, finishing 22nd and 18th in points with only four top-five finishes and no wins. He already has two top fives season this season and five top 10s.

His average finish of 8.3 is almost twice as good as the 16.4 he had in 2007, when he made the Chase with Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Truex said he never felt like he was on the hot seat coming into this season, and he's confident he will be with MWR long-term.

"I know where I stand with my race team, Michael and (co-owner) Rob (Kaufman)," Truex said. "There was never a part of me that said I need to step it up, I need to do better.

"I know I've always gotten everything I possibly can get out of my equipment. I feel like they know that, too."

Waltrip said all of the changes MWR made during the offseason, from adding Scott Miller as competition director to hiring drivers Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin, have helped Truex live up to his potential.

"He's been amazing," Waltrip said. "It's a whole lot about timing. We've got better cars for him to drive. We've got him a championship competition director for him to help organize a plan. We've got wonderful teammates for him.

"All those factors have worked together to inspire Martin and make Martin all that he's ever been."

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter