NASCAR – NASCAR 2018 – The good and bad of Martin Truex Jr.’s new deal with Joe Gibbs Racing

NASCAR – NASCAR 2018 – The good and bad of Martin Truex Jr.’s new deal with Joe Gibbs Racing


Now that Martin Truex Jr.’s move to Joe Gibbs Racing is official and he will be one of four NASCAR Cup Series drivers for the organization next season, here are four things he has to look forward to and four things he might worry about in making the switch.

Looking forward to …

Teammates for real

While the Furniture Row Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing teams have worked together closely the past few years, there will be no question on how Truex should work with Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones. He can pick their brains and their setups. That’s not to say he couldn’t before, but there certainly is no reason not to use them when needed.

Full sponsorship and marketing department

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It was no secret that Furniture Row Racing didn’t concentrate on finding sponsorship during many of its early years. So if there is an issue with sponsorship in the future, such as the one Furniture Row Racing faced when 5-Hour Energy decided to end its deal after this season, Truex will be working with an organization with plenty of connections.

Staying with Toyota

Truex’s best seasons have come in a Toyota. While he could win consistently in any car, he remains in his comfort zone in a Toyota.

Joe Gibbs connections

Want to go to a Redskins-Eagles game? Want an extra Stanley tool? Need some candy from Mars/M&Ms? Gibbs has connections through his Hall of Fame football coaching days as well as the slew of JGR sponsors. However, if Truex does need some new furniture, he might have to do more than just ask his (now former) sponsor.

Not looking forward to …

Teammates for real

No longer can Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn truly keep anything to themselves. There might have been somewhat of an open book before, but now there is no invisible ink. Getting along with Busch, Hamlin and Jones could have its challenges on any given day. Plus, if they want a change made on a car, it could take longer in the JGR system than when the Furniture Row Racing team would work on cars it received from JGR. The bottom line: Truex will not be the sole focal point he was used to being the past four years. Plus, if he has any additional meetings or team events, they could take longer just because of the shear size of the organization.

Potential additional commitments

The best thing about driving for Bass Pro Shops was that Truex had to do a few appearances and promote an outdoors lifestyle. He and Dale Earnhardt Jr. own some land where they hunt. He likes to go to those stores. It is a perfect fit. JGR will have more sponsors. And that probably means a few more “Hey, Martin, can you do this?” requests. Yeah, it’s part of the job, but it doesn’t make it the most enjoyable part.

Optics of team closing

Truex shouldn’t get blamed for Furniture Row Racing closing, but the fact that there was uncertainty about sponsorship (team owner Barney Visser told him he could look) sparked him to make a decision to go to Joe Gibbs Racing and sealed the Furniture Row Racing team fate. While it can be attributed to circumstances and a perfect storm where nothing is as distasteful as it seems, it is difficult to deny that the whole thing looks bad. JGR had an alliance with Furniture Row Racing, which then beat JGR, so JGR went and hired the driver and the crew chief at a time when the team was in sponsorship flux and it ended up deciding to shut down.

Missing Barney Visser

Visser was the owner virtually any driver would want. All he cared about was whether the car was fast. Yes, he had to live within his means somewhat as a single-car team, but there appeared to be not as much, let’s say, politics, at Furniture Row as with other teams.

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