Martin Truex Jr. will confirm next week that he has signed a deal to drive for Furniture Row Racing in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, according to FoxSports.com
Truex will take over the wheel of the #78 car from Kurt Busch, who is leaving the team for Stewart-Haas Racing after a highly successful single-year partnership that saw FRR become the first single-car team to make the Chase play-offs in the history of the format. Busch is currently in seventh place in the standings at the midway point of the play-offs.
said that Truex's deal was signed on Wednesday night, but other reports suggested that the final details in the negotiation were still being hammered out. However, all parties confidently expect an agreement and a formal announcement as early as Tuesday next week confirming that Truex is joining FRR for 2014.
Truex was in need of a new race seat after the Richmond race-rigging row last month not only cost him a place in the Chase, but also the primary sponsor of the #56 Michael Waltrip Racing car that he has driven for the last four years.
NAPA Auto Ports' decision to exit the series over the controversy surrounding MWR's attempted manipulation of the September race means that the team is being forced to downsize to a two-car line-up in 2014 consisting of Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers, leaving Truex urgently seeking a new berth.
Veteran crew chief suspended by NASCAR
There was a genuine sense of shock in the NASCAR paddock on Thursday with the announcement by the sanctioning body that veteran crew chief Todd Parrott had been placed on indefinite suspension for violating NASCAR's substance-abuse policy.
The son of legendary crew chief Buddy Parrott and currently crew chief for Aric Almirola at Richard Petty Motorsports, Parrott is still most closely associated with driving icon Dale Jarrett after the pair won the 1996 Daytona 500 in their first race together. They went on to win 21 races over the next five seasons, including clinching the Cup championship in 1999.
Parrott has a right to appeal and request a re-test over his suspension, but otherwise he must undergo the series' Road to Recovery rehabilitation program before he can return to competition. No details as to the specific substance Parrott tested positive for, or by what amount, were disclosed. Parrott's place as crew chief on the #43 will be taken over by RPM's vice president of operations and competition Sammy Johns.
"We have an expectation of all RPM employees to conduct themselves at the highest level of professionalism and within the competitive confines as set forth by NASCAR," said Johns said in a team statement. "We are very disappointed that one of our employees did not meet our expectations and we completely support NASCAR, their policies and final decisions when it comes to the substance abuse policy."