Despite Missing on Another NASCAR Title, Truex Jr. Has Promising Future With Gibbs

Nov 28, 2018
Source: Furniture Row Racing Martin Truex Jr. is surrounded by the Furniture Row Racing team prior to the last race in Homestead, Fla., on Nov. 18. Furniture Row ceased operations after the season ended.

Life as a member of a new racing team has begun for Martin Truex Jr.

“It’s been the best time of my life,” an emotional Truex said about the Furniture Row Racing team after finishing second in the Ford EcoBoost 400 and in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Nov. 18. “These guys have been amazing. They’ve made me a superstar in NASCAR, and I’m very thankful for them all.”

As the Cup Series championship slipped away from the defending champion with just a dozen laps to go in the season finale, the reality that had been brewing for the past few months finally had arrived. With Furniture Row closing up shop after this season, Truex is headed elsewhere – Joe Gibbs Racing, to be specific.

But despite going to a well established and highly respected crew, and likely becoming one of its top drivers on the circuit, Truex clearly wasn’t ready to see the past five seasons come to an end.

“I’m going to miss these guys,” he said immediately after exiting the No. 78 for the last time. “It’s not the way we wanted to go out, but it was a hell of an effort.”

Following a yellow-flag caution, Truex zipped past Kyle Busch around the first corner after coming off pit road, as Joey Logano pulled up behind them and then surged toward the front. Logano passed Truex on lap 253 of 267 and held onto the lead heading into the final lap, speeding to victory 1.725 seconds ahead of Truex.

Minutes later, Truex’s time with Furniture Row was up. During the five-year span, he won 17 races, including four this season, and eight last year en route to the NASCAR Cup Series crown, and placed among the top five in a whopping 76 races. With only two victories on his record heading into his stint with Furniture Row, Truex ultimately became a superstar and one of the regulars near the top of the standings.

“Everything about it has been great; everything about it has been the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. It’s just been a good ride. It’s been a good run, and I hate to see it come to an end, but everything ends somewhere.”

Next season, as crew chief Cole Pearn goes along with him, Truex is slated to drive the No. 19 Toyota for Gibbs, one of NASCAR’s better teams for the past two decades.

“I feel good about my future and going to a great place, and I know we’ll have more success,” he said. “But it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a different team, a different cast of characters.”

Earlier this month, Truex said he was excited to join the Gibbs team.

“Obviously, to be able to make this transition and still be able to work alongside Cole is something that was very important to me,” he said. “There is also a real comfort level working with the JGR team, and I wanted to stay in the Toyota family. It’s nice to know what we will be doing in 2019.”

Joe Gibbs seems to know his team received an immediate boost by acquiring Truex and Pearn.

“Anytime you have an opportunity to bring two people of this caliber into your organization, it’s certainly an exciting time,” Gibbs stated in a press release. “They obviously have developed a chemistry that has led to tremendous success, including a championship. We’ve gotten to know them well over the past few years through the alliance and having been part of the Toyota family. They both make us stronger as an organization.”

David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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