CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Martin Truex Jr. was as surprised as everyone else when he heard Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards had decided to step away from racing.
As part of the Toyota factory effort, which also includes the Furniture Row Racing team, Truex valued Edwards’ contribution to the body of knowledge. Understandably, that will change when rookie Daniel Suarez takes over the seat of Edwards’ No. 19 Camry.
“I always thought Carl would be like Mark Martin and race till he’s 50 or so,” Truex said. “It’s definitely going to change the dynamic, taking away one veteran guy who’s been around a long time, has had a lot of success and really had a lot to bring to the group and the discussions we had.
“It’s definitely going to be a little bit different, but I’m excited about it. There’s a lot of talent still in that group, and hopefully we’ll be able to pull it together and make it happen again.”
Suarez isn’t the only rookie to join the Toyota team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Furniture Row has expanded from a single-car operation to a two-car team, and 20-year-old Erik Jones joins FRR as Truex’s teammate for 2017.
Note: Suarez’s promotion to the Cup series brings with it a spotter change at Joe Gibbs Racing. Chris “Crazy” Osborne, who worked with Suarez during his run to the NASCAR XFINITY Series title, moves from Matt Kenseth’s Cup car to the No. 19. Edwards’ former spotter, Jason Hedlesky, will now fill that role for Kenseth.