Martin Truex Jr. will exit Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of the current season and take over the #78 Furniture Row Racing car in 2014 in a multiyear deal, it was formally announced today by the team and driver at a media event at Texas Motor Speedway ahead of this weekend's Cup, Nationwide and Truck series races.
“We couldn't be happier to have landed one of the top drivers in NASCAR,” said Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone. "Martin's talents, both on and off the track, have been well documented and everyone at Furniture Row Racing feels that he is an excellent fit to continue the success that we have enjoyed this season."
Truex will take over the seat from Kurt Busch, who has managed to push Furniture Row into the 2013 Chase play-offs - the first single-car operation in the history of the format to do so. Busch is exiting after a one-year stay with the tea to take up a new seat at Stewart-Haas Racing alongside Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Kevin Harvick next season.
“Furniture Row Racing has been high on my radar,” said Truex. “The team has done a great job this year. It's a talented organization and it has been impressive to see what they've accomplished over the past few seasons.
"What influenced my decision is team owner Barney Visser and that the team really wants me as its driver," he added. "Everything else is important, but I really felt like Furniture Row Racing genuinely wanted me to drive for them."
Truex had been in urgent need of a new race seat, after the Richmond race rigging scandal in September cost MWR the sponsorship of NAPA Auto Parts, the primary sponsor of the #56 car that Truex has been driving this season. The team will scale back to become a two car operation centred around Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers from next year.
“While I am thrilled to be the new driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, I want to express a sincere thank you to Michael Waltrip, Rob Kauffman and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing team for supporting my career over the past four seasons,” said Truex.
“Michael Waltrip Racing congratulates Martin on his announcement today," said a statement from MWR. "We are very happy to see him in a competitive ride next year and appreciate the professionalism everyone showed throughout this entire process.”
Truex was originally reported to have all-but signed for the team mid-October, but apparently had to wait for the legal paperwork formally releasing him from his existing MWR contract before he could sign his new contract with Furniture Row.