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Truex’s Future Will Depend On Dough

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 17 2018

Martin Truex Jr. said his decision whether to stay or go at Furniture Row next year will be determined by sponsorship.(RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. said Friday that sponsorship was the key to his remaining at Furniture Row Racing in 2019.

5-hour ENERGY, a co-primary sponsor on Truex’s Toyota with Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats for 30 Cup races this year, announced last month it was leaving the sport.

“It’s something we all want to keep going (the team) and (we) just need a little bit of time to let the dominoes fall into place and see if we can keep it going. If not, I have to figure it out from there,” Truex said at Bristol Motor Speedway during preparations for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. “I’ve been in this position before.”

Truex said that heading into the playoffs it’s important for team members to focus on their jobs and not become sidetracked by the sponsorship issue.  

“We always feel like … if we do our jobs and we do them well and we’re winning races, that’s our best opportunity to keep things going the way they are,” Truex said. “I think that’s not going to change. The commitments people made to us are through the end of the season and so no matter what happens, this is a professional sport and we need to hold up our end of the deal. The guys all understand that.” 

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Kevin Harvick said Friday that he doesn’t believe Stewart-Haas Racing’s switch from the Ford Fusion to the Mustang next year would be as difficult as the team’s move from Chevrolet to Ford two years ago.

I think we’ll be way ahead of where we were there because it wasn’t just changing the body before, it was taking on building your own chassis and starting your own complete engineering department and a lot of other things that came with what we did the first year (2017),” Harvick said. “It was just one problem after another (that first year). When we first went to Ford it was quite an undertaking.  

“So I think as you look at it … we can work on the current car and the current rules and the things that we have. I think the most important thing for us is seeing our car in whatever rules package is going to be … so we know what we’re working with and what the speeds are gonna be and how it needs to be built and all those types of things. There’s a lot of things to work on, but I don’t think it’s near as big of an undertaking as what we did. I don’t think anybody would have pushed to make sure that we kept doing the Mustang project if we didn’t think it was better.”

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Don’t expect Kyle Busch to retire from a full-time NASCAR ride any time soon. The 33-year-old Busch said he’s asked his accountant when he could retire and “he says I’m screwed.”

I’ve got way too much debt, so unfortunately, I don’t think I can retire as soon as the rest of those guys are currently at the moment, but we’ll see how things go in the future with what I’ve got going on,” Busch said. “It still feels like there’s some opportunity to excel and you hope that you can excel. Obviously, the better drivers, the more talented drivers should always shine and come to the top and maybe we can still have that opportunity with whatever new package is coming – if it is coming. We’ll see what happens in that regard.”

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Kevin Harvick says the lifestyle that’s required to compete in NASCAR’s top three series is tougher now than preparing cars for the race track.

I like the off-week being a couple weeks before the Playoffs start because that’s really when it takes another step of intensity and you’ve got to be ready for that mentally,” Harvick says.

However, Harvick admitted he didn’t know what his off-week plans entailed.

“Keelan has to go to school, so that’s really the main priority. Everything will pretty much revolve around that and how that’s going,” Harvick explained.

That’s primarily because there were some “unapproved Mom moments” during Keelan’s recent time with his father. A Quarter Midget was acquired and Keelan crashed a golf cart into a pine tree.

“The Quarter Midget didn’t go over well,” Harvick said. “Eating pizza for dinner every night didn’t go over well and running the golf cart into the tree didn’t go over well.”

However, Harvick said when his son accepted the checkered flag following his victory at Michigan and then rode to victory lane with him it “kind of covered a lot of that (other) up.”

“It was pretty cool to climb back in the car to do a victory lap and the first thing I did was reach over and give knuckles to my son sitting in the passenger seat,” Harvick said. “He did get stage fright, though. They told me they had to basically carry him out there. He got to the wall and he was like, ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t think this is a good idea.’  So as we got him over there … he was way more comfortable than being within a football field of me.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 17 2018
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