Home » HEADLINE, NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series

Furniture Row To Add Jones

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 5 2016
All Erik Jones headed to Furniture Row. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

Erik Jones headed to Furniture Row Racing. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Furniture Row Racing will expand to a two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2017, with rising star Erik Jones ticketed to join newly re-signed regular Martin Truex Jr. for the team based in Denver, Colo.

“I can’t see it not happening,” an industry source told RacinToday.com Friday afternoon at
sprint-logo-08Watkins Glen International, where Jones is expected to be introduced as driver of the No. 77 Toyota Camry on Sunday morning. Jones also is expected to carry sponsorship from 5-hour Energy for 22 races next season.

Jones won the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing. A 20-year-old native of Byron, Mich., Jones currently is running the entire NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule for JGR. Jones, who scored his third Xfinity win of the season last Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, qualified the No. 20 GameStop/Rock Band Rivals Toyota 13th around The Glen’s 2.45-mile/11-turn road-course at 122.215 mph Friday afternoon for Saturday’s 22nd annual Zippo 200 at The Glen.

Jones’ impending move to Cup will punctuate a whirlwind weekend for Furniture Row and General Manager Joe Garone. On Thursday, Furniture Row announced that Truex had signed a two-year agreement to drive the team’s No. 78 Toyota Camry in the Cup Series, with the new contract taking effect starting with the 2017 season.

Furniture Row also announced that Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats _ which joined the organization as a partner in 2016 _ will increase its primary sponsorship schedule on Truex’s car from 12 to 16 races in 2017, starting with the season-opening Daytona 500.

“Well, I think everybody knows the details, but obviously real excited to continue this relationship,” Truex said during a news conference Friday afternoon, prior to practice for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Cup race. “The last year-and-a-half with this team has been amazing. Just looking forward to continuing that momentum and building upon our success. Final Four last year (in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship) was a big deal for us and looking forward to hopefully getting back there this year and do it even better.

“Just again continue to build on the success we’ve grown into as a group. I think we’ve got the best team in the garage without a doubt in my opinion and just looking forward to keeping that together and hopefully doing bigger and better things as we go forward.”

Garone echoed Truex’s remarks before turning his attention to adding a second team. “What’s great about this is we’ve got history now and switching over to Toyota (from Chevrolet) coming into this year was a big step,” Garone said. “And now signing him (Truex) for a couple more years is going to give us a few more years to focus and continue building this program.

“When you have a driver look at you and talk to you and tell you that we can win races, win championships with this race team _ that pretty much says it all. We want to be together, we want to accomplish those goals and you don’t get that opportunity _ you can spend a whole career in this series and not be in that environment and you just have got to capitalize on it while you can and that’s what we’re doing.”

Asked if adding a second team was the logical next item of business, Garone said, “It’s certainly a part of it for the growth of the team. It’s been over this journey we started off and Barney (Visser, team-owner), his company has funded our car all along and are still there. But Bass Pro Shops really coming onboard this last year has really opened up a door for other sponsorships. And it’s kind of settled us to where we feel we’re getting strong enough to support a second effort and it’s no secret we’ve been working on that and we’ll see where that takes us.

“If we can get it all pulled together it will be ’17. Yep.”

Joey Logano, driver of the Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Cup for Team Penske, said Jones is ready for NASCAR’s premier series.

“He has a lot more experience than I had when I went into it,” said Logano, who qualified his No. 12 Snap-On Ford Mustang on-pole for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at 123.552 mph. “I had a half-a-year of Xfinity and they threw me in. He has Truck and Xfinity and dabbled in some Cup races already and did a good job. I think, obviously, for me I learned how to handle situations better as I got more experience and how to gain respect from guys and some of the ways I did it in the beginning were maybe the wrong way. You learn from that.

“My advice to anyone is to make mistakes. I think mistakes are a good thing as long as you learn from them and don’t make them again. That’s my theory on life. I don’t regret any mistake I made; I regret mistakes I made twice.”

Garone added the support Furniture Row is experiencing from Toyota and Gibbs was a major factor in the expansion and hiring of Jones. “You want to go into something like that when you’re on the high spot and you have all your strength and things hitting on all eight cylinders, and we just feel like that’s right now would be a really good time for that,” Garone said. “I think if we can get it pulled together we’ll be very successful at it.”

Truex, who already has clinched a berth in the 2016 Chase for the Championship, has been Furniture Row’s driver since the start of the 2014 season.

“I think when I first went there I was like, ‘Hey, this is a pretty good option. It’s my only option, but it’s a pretty good one,’^” said Truex, formerly of Michael Waltrip Racing. “We kind of got brought together by fate really and it’s interesting that it worked out that way, but obviously I’m very thankful. Barney has continued to deliver, continued to give us the tools that we need to be successful. And, honestly, it’s just been I feel like a continuing trend of getting better and better and better.

“Honestly, I think we’re one of the best teams in the garage. I feel that way. Certainly we’ve had the speed consistency this year to be considered one of those guys and honestly I still feel like we’re growing, I still feel like we’re learning each other and getting better and learning new things. So, to think that it all came together the way it did is kind of weird but it’s definitely something I’m really thankful for.”

Truex said he could not envision racing with another team at this point. “I mean, honestly, no,” said Truex, a 36-year-old native of Mayetta, N.J. “As we went through this process in the last three weeks or a month I’ve worked, I’ve been in the series 10 years and it’s taken me that long to get here to where I want to be. I’ve put a lot of effort in, I’ve busted my butt to get in this position where I can win consistently and be a championship contender. Yeah, to throw that away would obviously be silly unless it was something that you just couldn’t do for some crazy reason.

“But I think that we were able to work everything out and I couldn’t be happier obviously to be working with these guys. Barney has been a great guy to work for. He’s such an honest guy. He shoots you straight, he tells you the truth, he takes care of his guys like they’re his family and that means a lot to me, and it makes us all do our jobs better.”

The expansion builds on the longstanding relationship between Bass Pro Shops and Truex, an avid outdoorsman and longtime fishing buddy of Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO Johnny Morris. In addition to serving as Truex’s first sponsor when he started his NASCAR career, Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats were the primary sponsors for consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series championships in 2004 and 2005, as well as the primary sponsor for Truex’s first three years in the premier Cup Series.

Heading into Watkins Glen International for the season’s second road-course race this weekend, Truex has one win, three top-fives, nine top-10s and three poles. Truex ranks No. 1 in laps-led at 1,005.

Truex said retaining Bass Pro Shops as sponsor was a critical element in extending his contract.

“Really excited about that,” said Truex, eighth in driver points after 21 Cup races. “I know Johnny is really looking forward to next year and we’ve had so much fun with him over the years. He’s been such a big part of my career starting out in the Busch Series back in ’05, so I owe a lot to John. He’s really helped keep my career going at times. He helped start it so he’s been a big part of that and I couldn’t be more thankful to have Bass Pro Shops on our car.

“It’s obviously who I am. I think I’m a good representative of the brand and what they do. That’s the guy I am, so it’s been a good relationship all around, and honestly without John’s commitment this deal wouldn’t have came together. So, I really do owe a lot to him and glad we were able to make it work.”

Furniture Row operates more than 330 stores in 30 states, making it one of America’s largest, family-owned and operated specialty home furnishings and bedding retailers.


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 5 2016
No Comment

Comments are closed.