It will be Martin Truex Jr., who will ring in Furniture Row Racing’s new sponsor – 5-hour Energy® -- with the primary paint scheme of the company on his No. 78 Toyota in Saturday night’s NASCAR season kick off – the invitational Clash at Daytona International Speedway.
After the 75-lap non-points Clash, which is expected to have a field of 18 drivers, the 5-hour Energy primary colors will switch to Furniture Row Racing’s new team -- the No. 77 Toyota driven by rookie Erik Jones – for the remainder of Speedweeks. Truex’s race car post-Clash will be in the Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats colors.
“We welcome 5-hour Energy to our family of sponsors and are very proud to have them as one of our major partners,” said Truex. “I personally welcome Erik to our team and look forward to working and sharing information with him. Everything is trending upward and it’s up to us to continue the momentum. We’re going to give it our best shot to drive the No. 78 5-hour Energy Toyota to Victory Lane.”
Truex is coming off his best statistical season since joining the Cup series full time in 2006. His 2016 record included four Cup wins, five poles, and a series high of laps led at 1809.
Truex and his crew chief Cole Pearn will be looking for the same kind of muscle for the no-holds-barred Advance Auto Parts Clash.
“Only one thing matters in the Clash and that’s winning the race,” said Truex. “We’re going to beef things up and go after the win. Our guys build great speedway cars and if we can keep our Toyota out of trouble I not only look forward to a successful run in the Clash but also in the other Speedweeks events, including the Daytona 500.”
Truex will make his fifth career start in the Clash and his third as a Furniture Row Racing driver. His best finish was runner-up in 2015 after leading 28 laps. Last year, he had a strong run going but was a victim in a final lap multicar accident at the 2.5-mile oval.
The first criteria for Truex earning a Clash berth was being a former Daytona 500 pole winner (2009). He would have also qualified, if needed, as a previous season pole winner.
Upcoming Speedweeks events following Saturday night’s Clash will be Daytona 500 Pole Day, Sunday, Feb 19, the twin Daytona 500 qualifying races Thursday, Feb. 23 and the official season opener – the Daytona 500, Sunday, Feb. 26.
Fox Sports 1 will televise Saturday’s Clash, 8 p.m. ET.