Furniture Row Racing’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race will feature its driver, Martin Truex Jr., defending his 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship next weekend.
Win or lose, Barney Visser’s team will shut down once the season is over.
“It gives me chills, honestly,” Truex said. I’m really happy for him, and we had a good conversation this morning before the race. I told him that I’m glad he’s here and I’m glad he’s going to Homestead and he’s done so much for all of us and so much for all of our careers – so many people in Denver that moved out there 12 years ago to come to work.
“It’s been an unbelievable place to work, and he’s been a great boss, a great friend to all of us, and we’re going to try to do all we can to get him to go out on top.”
Truex’s title favorite status all season earned him a place in the continued “Big 3” talk. Not only does he go into the title race as the reigning champion, but Truex won at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season to capture the title. This year, Truex has 10 stage wins and four race wins.
Sunday afternoon at ISM Raceway, Truex had a relatively quiet and uneventful day to advance to the Championship 4, starting 13th and finishing 14th. Truex had a 25-point advantage on the cutline to protect, and while he didn’t score points in the first stage, Truex finished third in Stage 2.
In the final stage, fellow playoff contenders began to fall by the wayside as Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott were involved in an accident. Clint Bowyer had crashed out of the race earlier in the day. Aric Almirola failed to win the race, which would have knocked out Kevin Harvick. Truex finished in one piece to clinch his championship spot.
“It was a tough one,” Truex said of his day. “We didn’t have the greatest car, but we battled hard, and we had a little bit of good fortune. Made good calls, good strategy and good adjustments on the car. We got it to where it was pretty decent. The short runs just really killed us today. It would take 40 or 50 laps for the car to come in and then a caution would come out.
“All in all, I’m just really proud of everybody, everybody back in Denver at the shop for continuing to bring good race cars and stay focused. We had 1,300 names on the hood today from Auto-Owners with people that go together to help raise money for our foundation. It’s Veterans Day and so many cool things today that were really special. We’re going to Miami.
“Just happy and thankful for our team and everybody that supports this Toyota, TRD, Bass Pro Shops, 5-hour ENERGY and everybody that makes this possible. Cole [Pearn, crew chief] and all the guys, it’s an unbelievable group. One last hoorah next week and we’ll go give them all we’ve got.”