Furniture Row’s success had nothing to do with its downfall according to Martin Truex Jr..
On the surface, that’s a weird sentence. Let’s explain. Furniture Row Racing has been a Toyota team since 2016 and has been aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR supplies Furniture Row with equipment and Furniture Row has, in turn, been outrunning JGR’s four cars at times. Truex has won 16 races over the last two-plus seasons. JGR’s four-car team has been responsible for 27 victories in that same span.
Truex outraced JGR’s Kyle Busch for the 2017 championship and his eighth win of the season in November. Now, less than a year later, the team is entering the final 10 races of its existence. Furniture Row recently announced that it would be closing its doors at the end of the season.
Many reasons have been posited for the team’s demise including the possibility that JGR was unhappy with the way FRR was performing with its stuff and wanted to possibly change the terms of the alliance agreement. Truex said Thursday that FRR’s success compared to JGR had nothing to do with it shutting down.
“That has nothing to do with the situation that we got in,” Truex said. “We were trying to put together, to finish up a long-term deal to keep the same things going and [5-Hour Energy] pulled out, we didn’t have enough money suddenly and we didn’t have enough time to find it to fill that void. [Team owner Barney Visser] had no way to agree to do those deals and keep them going without the money coming in because there was no way that he could make it work. It’s really as simple as that, it has nothing to do with who’s running this and who’s running that, or who was winning and who wasn’t. It had nothing to do with that. People just don’t know the whole story and are obviously upset about things and that’s understandable, but at the end of the day it’s just not factual.”
5-Hour announced earlier in the summer that it wouldn’t be returning to the team. The energy drink had served as a co-primary sponsor with Bass Pro Shops on Truex’s No. 78 car in 2018. 5-Hour’s departure left a multi-million dollar sponsorship hole at FRR that the team said it couldn’t bridge.
“It comes with challenges obviously because it costs you more to race that way than owning four cars and having all the stuff in house,” Truex said. “Obviously you race for less dollars per car the more you have, the more stuff you do on your own. In the alliance situation, you have to buy stuff that adds cost. Certainly the way we raced at Furniture Row costs a lot more than the big teams to perform at the same level or have similar equipment.”
We don’t doubt the validity of what Truex is saying. But it’s worth noting that Truex’s 2019 ride may very well be at Joe Gibbs Racing, so he would be well-served to not rock the potential apple cart. Multiple reports have said Truex could go to the No. 19 car at JGR while Daniel Suarez would head to another team. But right now Truex said he’s focused on going back-to-back and ending the Furniture Row chapter of NASCAR with another title.
“We definitely want to repeat, no question about it,” Truex said. “I think you could take it one of two ways, you could hang your head down and say, ‘This sucks, why are we in this position,’ and get mad at the world or you can look at each other and say, ‘Let’s go do this.’ That’s where we’re at.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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