Truex, Jones form powerful duo for Furniture Row Racing

One of the top single-car teams in NASCAR over the past two seasons is now a two-car team with a championship and Rookie of the Year contender

John David Mercer—USA Today Sports
NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (78) during qualifying for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Everybody loves an underdog. And for a decade of racing, Furniture Row Racing was one of the biggest underdogs in NASCAR. After the last two seasons of success for Martin Truex, Jr., it’s a stretch to call them anything other than a contender. Founded in 2005, the single-car team from Denver earned one premier series win and a single appearance in NASCAR’s playoffs over a 10-year span. But over the last two seasons, Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn have turned the No. 78 team into a consistent winner with five checkered flags. That’s led to two straight playoff appearances with Truex finishing as high as fourth in his remarkable 2015 season.That success has made Truex one of the best drivers on the circuit, but the question of “What might have been?” still lingers. After missing out on a Daytona 500 victory by 0.010 seconds and seeing his title hopes go up in smoke at Talladega, Truex won’t soon forget his 2016 campaign.”It was devastating,” Truex said. “We worked so hard all year. Felt like we were right where we needed to be and had the rug pulled out from underneath us.”This year is a little different for the FRR stable. Instead of having just one car every week, team owner Joe Garone added a second team with the No. 77 car. Thanks to an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, Furniture Row was able to nab one of the most talented young drivers in Erik Jones.Not only did Jones win the Camping World Trucks Series championship in 2015, but he was a title contender at Homestead-Miami last year in the Xfinity Series. In all, Jones has 13 wins in two series across the last three seasons along with two Monster Energy Cup starts in 2015.”I only started driving a truck in 2013 on a limited basis, so it’s definitely moved fast,” said Jones, who, at 20-years-old, is the Cup Series’ youngest driver. “I never really thought I’d have this opportunity, it’s pretty neat.”I’m fortunate to be here, and to not only be here, but to be with a top team with top equipment.”Three years ago, that would have been a laughable statement about Furniture Row Racing. As a second-tier team tied in with Richard Childress Racing, FRR was simply looking to breakthrough.Heading into this season, the pieces are there for another winning season. With a championship-caliber driver and a Rookie of the Year contender, the former single-car team from Colorado isn’t looking back.And with a shot at redemption on Sunday for Truex and the entire FRR garage, adding a Harley J. Earl Trophy to the growing collection would be special.”I will have to relive that moment the rest of my career unless I win it,” Truex said. “You have to find a way to put yourself in position at the end to at least have a shot at winning. We’ll go after it, no doubt about that, and hopefully, we’ll be there again battling for the win.”