Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Martin Truex Jr. has signed a multi-year agreement with Furniture Row Racing to drive the No. 78 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, beginning next year.
Furniture Row, a single-car team, made the announcement on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where all three of NASCAR's national touring series are racing this weekend.
Truex landing a ride with Furniture Row comes as no surprise. There had been wide speculation that he would join the team, based in Denver, Colo., for the past month. Michael Waltrip Racing had informed Truex that he was free to negotiate with other teams since MWR is downsizing its three-car operation to two next year. He currently drives the No. 56 NAPA-sponsored car, but NAPA is ending its sponsorship agreement with MWR in wake of the organization's attempt to manipulate the outcome of the Sept. 7 race at Richmond and get Truex in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
"I know this has been a big secret, and everybody is really shocked," Truex jokingly said during a press conference at Texas. "In all seriousness, this is a big deal for me. I'm very excited about the opportunity to drive the Furniture Row No. 78 for Joe (Garone, team general manager) and Barney (Visser, team owner). I've really been impressed with their organization. I think everybody here has been impressed with what they have accomplished this year, being a single car team based out of Denver."
NASCAR severely penalized MWR for the Richmond incident. Truex's loss of 50 points bumped him out of the Chase. Ryan Newman replaced him in the wild card spot.
"I think the biggest thing for me, as a driver, is a few weeks ago when dominos started to fall and I wasn't sure where I would end up," Truex added. "To have an opportunity like this, late in the season, I just feel really blessed. I feel really lucky and definitely excited and looking forward to the future with this team."
Kurt Busch is presently behind the wheel of the No. 78 car, but Busch is moving over to Stewart-Haas Racing next season. He put Furniture Row in the Chase for the first time this year.
Truex has scored two wins, including a victory earlier this season in Sonoma, Calif., 30 top-five finishes, 88 top-10s and seven poles in 294 Sprint Cup starts. He qualified for the Chase in 2007 and '12, finishing 11th in points both of those years. Truex also won back-to-back Nationwide championships from 2004-05.
"We are excited about all the opportunities that come along with Martin being on board, from how he represents our sponsors to what he can get done behind the wheel," Garone said. "We are going to have some work ahead of us. We are going to work really hard. (Crew chief) Todd (Berrier) and the guys are excited about moving forward and getting him the cars he needs to be able to win. That is what we are looking forward to."
Truex's history in NASCAR's top series includes four full seasons with Dale Earnhardt Inc./Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (2006-09) and four with his current team, MWR (2010-13).