By AMANDA VINCENT
Furniture Row Racing, complete with its driver Martin Truex Jr., will make the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the race team and Toyota announced Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon prior to the day’s Sylvania 300.
“As we continue our quest to be a contender for this year’s Sprint Cup championship, it’s hard not to feel the excitement and enthusiasm of becoming an integral partner with Toyota next season,” Furniture Row Racing President and General Manager Joe Garone said. “The added resources and technical support that Toyota will provide, along with having a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, definitely increases the growth potential for our team.”
The announcement on Sunday confirmed the long-speculated notion that Furniture Row would be a Toyota team in 2016. That speculation stemmed from comments made by team owner Barney Viser regarding a lack of support from Chevrolet.
The move to Toyota would align FRR with the manufacturer’s unofficial flagship team, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR’s winningest team to this point in the 2015 season. JGR drivers Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch headed into Sunday’s race at NHMS, the second race of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup, in the top-four spots of the championship standings. Busch and Kenseth started the Chase in a three-way tie with Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson atop the standings, each driver with a series leading four wins. All four JGR drivers made the Chase, as all four won races in the regular season. Hamlin won the first race of the Chase last weekend at Chicaolgand Speedway.
“The track record of Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing speaks for itself,” Garone said. “They are both proven winners with an unyielding commitment to raising the performance bar in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.”
Truex is in his second season with Furniture Row Racing. Prior to joining FRR, he was part of the Toyota stable of drivers as pilot of the No. 55 at Michael Waltrip Racing. Longtime Toyota team MWR will shut down at the end of the current season.
Truex drove Furniture Row’s No. 78 to a win earlier this season at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., qualifying himself and the team for the 2015 Chase. This year’s Chase is Furniture Row’s second with two different drivers. The team also made the Chase in 2013 with Kurt Busch as its driver.
“Partnering with Furniture Row Racing is a great fit for Toyota, and we look forward to the team fielding a Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2016,” Toyota Motor Sales USA Vice President of Marketing, Performance and Guest Experience Ed Laukes said.” Furniture Row Racing has proven to be a race-winning organization, and we are confident the technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing will make Camrys even more competitive and improve performance on the race track.”
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