Team Preview: Furniture Row Racing
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on February 8, 2016 | 10:21 A.M. EST
Bass Pro Shops will sponsor Truex in nine races this season. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
Furniture Row Racing is coming off its best season in Sprint Cup and looking to get even stronger in 2016, with a new manufacturer and alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Martin Truex Jr., who finished fourth in the final 2015 standings in the team's last season with Chevrolet, is now driving a Toyota.
"We weren’t in the pecking order at Chevy," Truex said. "We had Chevrolets, but that was as far as the relationship went. We didn’t get any support. Anything we got, (team owner) Barney (Visser) had to pay for it from Richard Childress Racing. This is a huge step - getting factory backing."
Crew chief Cole Pearn has had a busy off-season getting acclimated to JGR's work processes. He attended last month's Goodyear Tire test in Las Vegas, where Matt Kenseth participated.
"We're a new party sitting in all the meetings, trying to build confidence between them and me," Pearn said, "so when they're kicking our butt one weekend, or vice versa, we can be there to lean on each other. We're trying to build those relationships."
Even though they have yet to turn a lap on the track this year, Truex and Pearn have noticed the increased support from the alliance with JGR.
"There's a willingness to go out of the way and make sure we have everything we need," Truex said, "and to make sure we're doing everything right. They have an impressive group of people and for them to take us in is awesome."
"We're able to combine all our time in the wind tunnel so from the Toyota side, they're not having to spend money developing the same thing for two different teams," Pearn said. "It's a unified front."
According to Truex, the switch to Toyota couldn't have come at a better time with NASCAR implementing a low-downforce rules package for 2016.
"Anytime you have to change team stuff if there’s a big rules change that comes with it, it's the best time to (change manufacturers)," Truex said. "Everybody's trying to figure out the new package. We ran it twice last year, but there's going to be a lot more effort that goes into it to get ready for this season."
Not only will FRR now have manufacturing support. It also will add a major primary sponsor, Bass Pro Shops for nine races, to complement Furniture Row/Denver Mattress.
Motor Racing Network – "The Voice of NASCAR" – will have live coverage of the 58th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 21, starting at 12 p.m. (ET) – with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.
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