|Martin Truex Jr. and Joe Garone at Texas Motor Speedway|
Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
"I know this has been a big secret and everybody's shocked," said Truex Jr.
They inked the contract last night.
Garone was obviously excited about the deal, and sang Truex Jr.'s praises, saying that the driver and his family are just a good fit for Furniture Row.
"He's a Chase-caliber driver and race winner, and he represents our products well," said Garone.
"This is only the second time I've changed teams and it's very difficult." Truex Jr. spoke well of Michael Waltrip Racing, but said, "After everything that went down there, I just felt it was time it to do something different."
Addressing the rumors that the delay in announcing the agreement was because he wanted a one-year deal, Truex Jr. said, "I can tell you that isn't true. It's a multiple-year deal. Did you read that on the internet?"
No word yet on whether NAPA will join him.
Truex Jr. talked to other teams, but nothing concrete was offered. "There were a lot of hypotheticals."
He said, "As unlucky as I got at Richmond a couple of months ago, I got just as lucky here."
The alliance with RCR is particularly attractive to Truex Jr., especially since he's friends with Ryan Newman, who will be at Childress next season.
"Sometimes you just have to have faith," said Garone. "An opportunity that you just couldn't even dream about happening. It was tough to be patient."
When the "dominoes started falling" at MWR, Truex Jr.'s first thought he wouldn't repeat, but he did say, "I was terrified. What am I going to do next year? It's September. Everybody's got their rides for next year. It was like getting punched in the face.
"That ship has sailed. I don't even like talking about it anymore."
Truex Jr. just wants to talk about the future, and how lucky he is to get a ride of the caliber of the No. 78.
In fact, after the cursing and terror, his said his first thought was, "Let's get ahold of these guys and see if we can do this. It happened fast, but again it's one of those deals you never seen it coming but all of a sudden it did."
He allowed that the Furniture Row team is very different, especially in comparison to MRW and Dale Earnhardt Inc. and not just because it's based in Colorado. Being a single-car team gives the operation a great deal of agility. Scheduling hasn't allowed Truex Jr. to make it to Denver yet, but he's satisfied that the experience will be positive.
"The biggest thing talking to the team is that they're focused on race cars. Fan experiences and shop tours don't make cars go fast," said Truex Jr. "These guys are 100% focused on making race cars, fast race cars, and I can't wait to drive them."