Furniture Row owner says Truex took one for the team

Martin Truex Jr. celebrates with a burnout after winning at Chicagoland Speedway, the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. 

Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images

It’s been the best season of Martin Truex Jr.’s career, as his victory in Sunday’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway was his third win of 2016.

Prior to the start of the 2016 season, Truex had only three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories in 369 starts dating back to 2004. That makes this year’s numbers all that much more impressive.

Without question, Truex knows that his move to Furniture Row Racing in 2014 was a great decision. And team owner Barney Visser said Sunday evening that Truex was such a team player that he actually took less money to stay with Furniture Row.

"He drove for a little bit less this year than I think a lot of the drivers in his class have, and he did it because he wanted to be here," said Visser, the founder and owner of the Denver-based team. "I can’t thank him enough for all that."

Cars of Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson flunk post-race LIS

Truex confirmed that he had taken less money to stay with Furniture Row, which Visser has largely funded on his own since starting the team in 2005.

"Barney has put a lot into his race team over the years, obviously," said Truex. "Seeing Furniture Row on that race car each and every year, that’s Barney’s race car and Barney is the one funding it. He had to change some things in the way he was running his race team."

And that led to a discussion between the driver and the owner.  

"He (Visser) asked me if I would kind of not take the hit, but be the one that took a little bit of a hit for the team to make sure we could keep the competition up and make sure we could continue to get the things we needed to be competitive and win races and hopefully go after a championship," said Truex.

It wasn’t like Truex couldn’t have found work elsewhere. But the Mayetta, New Jersey native said he saw value staying with Furniture Row.

"There was other opportunities that were out there. I believe this is the best team I’ve ever had," said Truex. "This is my best opportunity to win races.  We’ve proven that.  … That wasn’t something I was willing to get rid of or throw away."

And so the deal was struck and the results speak for themselves.      

"I made the commitment to Barney we were going to do it, we were going to work together and make it work for everybody," said Truex.

With his win at Chicagoland, Truex automatically moves to the second round of the Chase, despite having failed post-race inspection on a minor infraction.

For his part, Visser expects the team to stay hot.

"I don’t think they’re going to let up at all," Visser said. "They enjoy being in Victory Lane just a little bit too much.  They work too hard on the cars to back off at all in the next two races."