Prior to Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Furniture Row Racing announced that it will field Toyota Camry’s beginning in the 2016 season.
With its new found relationship with Toyota, Furniture Row will have a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, a powerhouse as of late in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Furniture Row will get its engines from Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and its chassis from JGR and share technical support within the two organizations; details are still being finalized for the support agreement.
The team also confirmed they picked up the option year for driver Martin Truex Jr.’s contract, assuring he will stay with the team at least through next season. Furniture Row executives say that they are hoping to eventually work out a long term contract with the driver, who currently is ranked 9th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday’s race.
“It’s been 10 years that we’ve been racing and trying to make our way in Sprint Cup and part of the progression trying to expand our team is to find a platform that would continue our growth, and Toyota give us this platform,” said Joe Garone, president and general manager of Furniture Row Racing.
“There is a proven record of performance that fits perfectly, really, with where we want to go,” said Garone. He is also hoping the alliance with Toyota will be the foundation to build the team into fielding two cars in 2017.
With Furniture Row changing manufacturers, Truex Jr. will make a return to Toyota, after driving the model during the 2010-2013 seasons with Michael Waltrip Racing. With MWR announcing it would close its doors at the end of the 2015 season, Toyota is losing its original entry into the sport. But the new deal signed with Furniture Row Racing a new chapter begins for Toyota.
“We’ve been talking to Joe (Garone) and Barney (Visser, team owner) for a couple years now,” said David Wilson, President of TRD. “We go to know each other very naturally through our mutual participation…We would be here today anyway, even if Michael Waltrip Racing was still going to be here.”
Furniture Row Racing is a single car team based out of Denver, unlike the majority of the teams based in the greater Charlotte area, with little to no support. The team has been competing at the highest level of competition in the Sprint Cup series since 2005, with this being the second season it has qualified for Chase contention. The first Chase run for the organization came in 2013 with Kurt Busch as the driver. Currently the team uses Chevrolet engines and is partnered in a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
Garone showed appreciation for the tenure saying, “The support from Chevrolet and RCR has helped our growth pattern.
But Garone also continued to speak saying, “We think we can do greater, and we think these partners will be able to help.”
“I know the folks from Toyota and I am looking forward to being part of their team again,” Truex said. “They build fast engines and having a technical alliance with the highly-successful Joe Gibbs Racing is an added bonus to our program. While our primary focus right now is on the Chase, I am eagerly looking forward to what is in store for our Furniture Row Racing team.”