TMS notes: Truex says he’s lucky to get a good ride for next year so late this year

Posted Friday, Nov. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Martin Truex Jr. said he was “terrified” when he realized he was out of a job, his team folded by Michael Waltrip Racing after the organization lost its primary sponsor following the Richmond embarrassment.

“My first thought was, ‘What am I going to do next year?’” he said Friday. “It was like getting punched in the face.”

His face ought to be feeling better now that he has signed with Furniture Row Racing to drive its No. 78 Chevrolet next year in the Sprint Cup series. Truex takes the seat vacated by Kurt Busch, who is moving to Stewart-Haas Racing, after taking the 78 to a Chase playoff berth.

“Nine out of 10 years in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, if somebody would have lost their ride at the time of year I did, the chances of getting a ride this caliber is slim to none,” Truex said.

MWR cut down from three teams to two after NAPA pulled its sponsorship in the days after the organization was found to have ordered one of its drivers to cause a caution in the final laps at Richmond, helping Truex make the Chase. Instead, NASCAR disqualified Truex and fined the organization.

Truex hinted that NAPA may join him at Furniture Row.

“At this point, anything’s possible,” he said. “A lot of great partners that I’ve worked with over the years have shown great interest in the program we’re putting together. They’ve been great supporters the last four years. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something.”

Furniture Row Racing general manager Joe Garone said there is work to do, but Truex “is a Chase-level driver. He’s going to fit into the program. It’s not just Martin, it’s the Truex family. It’s a fit.”

Johnson vs. Biffle

Jimmie Johnson said he and Greg Biffle haven’t had a chance to talk since their argument at Martinsville, but they have texted, and Johnson considers it behind him.

“I do feel like things are under control there, and I feel like if he was that angry in the car, he probably would have turned me around in Martinsville,” Johnson said. “I just don’t see how it would linger on. I certainly hate that things turned out as they did. I don’t think it’s going to go any further."

Busch in three

Kyle Busch is running in all three races this weekend, trying to close in on the owners championships in the truck and Nationwide series. The No. 51 Toyota of Kyle Busch Motorsports entered Friday’s truck race 15 points behind the No. 88 Toyota of ThorSport Racing driven by Matt Crafton.

In the Nationwide series, Busch is driving the No. 54 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing, which is four points ahead of the No. 22 Ford of Penske Racing.

Busch said it was the plan all along to run all three races this weekend, not strictly because of the owner points.

“I enjoy running all three, and I do run all three typically any chance that the schedule permits,” he said.

Stenhouse in the 16

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is back in the No. 16 Ford for a Nationwide race, returning to the car he started six times in 2009 for Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse is a two-time series champion, winning in 2011 and 2012, but he won those titles in Roush’s No. 6. Stenhouse will also make his first Nationwide start without Mike Kelley, his crew chief those years.

Stenhouse has one Nationwide victory at Texas, in April 2012.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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