Like a pair of jilted lovers, Martin Truex Jr., who got the shortest end of the stick out of Spingate, will be paired with Furniture Row Racing, spurned by Kurt Busch for greener (and perhaps more competitive) pastures in 2014. It’s hard to blame Busch, but staying with FRR would have been a nice show of loyalty with the potential to be a great story. One hopes (and this observer believes) Truex and Furniture Row will be a good pairing.
There’s no question the presence of Busch elevated the profile of the single car operation out on that NASCAR frontier of Denver, Colorado. While running in the 20s and getting a single win from Regan Smith (not bad work all in all), the 2004 champion raced the team into the 2013 Chase. One could argue Busch put the team in a position to win on more than one occasion, but was undone by performance issues on pit road. At the end of the day, the sponsor-owned team got a sweet taste of the limelight, and will no doubt be thirsty for more.
Wouldn’t you know it, just when Martin Truex Jr. had gone from a journeyman driver to a potential chaser, he get shafted with a points penalty due to the shenanigans of his team to ensure his place. While he’s no Busch (that’s a good thing in lots of ways if you ask me), there’s no question the two-time Busch Series champion hasn’t quite matched the accomplishments of his predecessor to date. On the other hand, Truex has been on an upward trend, and now he gets a completely fresh start.
The move of Truex to FRR (not to be confused with Front Row) is to yours truly, a move reminiscent of Clint Bowyer to MWR. You had that same mix of an upward trending team with a driver who had his ups and downs, but displayed potential. That move (Spingate aside) has been a positive for Bowyer.
While Furniture Row isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Hendrick, Gibbs or Penske, this isn’t some surviving-on-a-shoestring independent. The technical alliance with Richard Childress is a nice thing to have in your corner.
Martin Truex is by no means a loner in the garage, but has always had a certain independent spirit about him that matches well with an organization like Furniture Row. Nothing in this world is perfect, but Truex steps into a competitive ride without having to sell his soul.
On first glance, it looks like it can work. Nicely.