Relaxed Truex Gearing Up for New Ride, New Season Furniture Row driver talks about 2014 from the Caribbean
January 30, 2014
It wasn't the conventional media tour session for Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. Due to a scheduling conflict, he was not able to join members of his race team Tuesday at the Charlotte Convention Center.
While the team's general manager (Joe Garone), crew chief (Todd Berrier) and competition director (Pete Rondeau) were on the big stage, Truex appeared on the large nearby screen via Skype from the Caribbean island of Anguilla.
With a picturesque tropical background and the soothing sound of ocean waves, a relaxed and witty Truex took questions from the media throng attending the 32nd annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour.
Truex, who is set to begin his first season behind the wheel of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, is encouraged about his new ride with the Daytona 500 opener less than a month away (Feb. 23).
“Furniture Row Racing is a great organization that proved last year it can compete,” said Truex. “There’s no reason to think we can’t build on what was accomplished last year and have another good performance in 2014.”
The 2013 season saw Furniture Row Racing make a huge leap as a NASCAR Sprint Cup contender, becoming the first single-car team in history to qualify for the Chase playoffs.
“Martin has proven that he’s a Chase caliber driver and the nucleus of our team from last year is intact, which gives us plenty of optimism for another season of success,” said Furniture Row Racing’s general manager Joe Garone.
A major points penalty to the racing organization Truex competed for last year cost him the opportunity of making his third appearance in the Chase.
“Obviously, a lot of things happened last year, and I think the best thing for me was just to move on and try to forget about it," said Truex. "Honestly, I hated the way it ended, but moving on has been a good thing for me."
And it was also a good thing for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing team who was in a search of a tier-one driver.
“Man, the planets lined up and turned into a positive,” said Garone, about signing Truex to a multiyear contract. “It was an interesting part of history for us and for Martin.”
Truex, who has conducted two test sessions with his new team during the offseason, feels Furniture Row Racing is prepared for another shot at the Chase.
"Everybody wants to be in that Chase,” added Truex, who scored a victory last year, winning the Sprint Cup road race in Sonoma, Calif. "At the end of the day, we all talk about it. That's what we're here for is to race for a championship. I've been fortunate enough to be in the Chase a few times. And this year I honestly feel that we're going to be a strong contender as far as getting in there."
Berrier, in his crew chief role, is taking both a cautious and confident outlook for 2014.
"We have different rules, and some different things with the cars, so we won't really know how we stack up until we race week in and week out," said Berrier. "But it's the same core group of people. I feel like we had a really good opportunity to win several races last year. The good thing is we knew we were there as a team, and it's just a matter of capitalizing."
Rondeau, who has been with Furniture Row Racing since 2010 and promoted to competition director last year, said, "We're looking forward to the season with our new driver to carry on right where we left off. We were close to Victory Lane last year and we are going to keep chasing it this year. We'll try to give Martin everything he thinks he needs."