Martin Truex Jr. had his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship taken away and lost his ride for next season after NASCAR determined his team manipulated the finish of a race to get him there.
“I was terrified. My first thought was what am I going to do next year,” Truex said Friday.
He now has a new team, signing a multiyear deal to drive for Furniture Row Racing and fill the seat in the No. 78 Chevrolet being vacated by Kurt Busch at the end of this season.
The announcement came about two months after Truex appeared to get in the Chase for Michael Waltrip Racing.
But in the aftermath of the Sept. 7 race at Richmond, where Waltrip driver Clint Bowyer spun his car with seven laps remaining as 10 drivers jockeyed for the five available spots in the Chase, NASCAR imposed harsh sanctions that included knocking Truex out of the Chase.
In response, NAPA Auto Parts, citing its belief in “fair play,” said it would pull its multimillion-dollar sponsorship from Waltrip at the end of the year. That will force Waltrip to reduce from three to two full-time teams next season, leaving Truex as the odd man out.
FORMULA 1: In Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen criticized the team for not paying his salary this season and threatened to skip the final two races, including this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
• Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel had the fastest time (1 minute, 41.335 seconds) in the second practice session for the race.
OBITUARY: Marcy Scott, the promotion and marketing director at Atlanta Motor Speedway, died Friday after battling breast cancer. She was 42.