FORT WORTH, Texas — Martin Truex lost his spot in the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship and his ride for next season after NASCAR determined his team manipulated the finish of a race in September to get him there.
"I was terrified. My first thought was what am I going to do next year," he said Friday. "It was like getting punched in the face."
Truex now has a new team, signing a multiyear deal to drive for Furniture Row Racing in the No. 78 Chevrolet soon being vacated by Kurt Busch.
The announcement came about two months after Truex appeared to get in the Chase for Michael Waltrip Racing. But after the Sept. 7 race at Richmond, where MWR driver Clint Bowyer's spin with seven laps left helped Truex reach the top 12 in points, NASCAR imposed harsh sanctions that included knocking Truex out of the Chase.
In response, NAPA pulled its multimillion-dollar sponsorship from MWR for 2014, forcing the team to reduce from three to two full-time cars. Truex was the odd man out.
Furniture Row Racing is in the Chase with Busch, who is leaving next season for Stewart-Haas Racing. "As unlucky as I got at Richmond a month or two ago, I got just as lucky when this deal turned up," Truex said.
Qualifying: Carl Edwards earned the pole for Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth with a lap of 196.114 mph around the 1½-mile track. Series co-leaders Jimmie Johnson (third, 195.943) and Matt Kenseth (sixth, 195.518) also qualified in the top three rows.
Trucks: Ty Dillon won the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway, beating Johnny Sauter by about two seconds. It was Dillon's second series victory this season and third of his career as he led 130 of 147 laps driving for a team owned by his grandfather, Richard Childress. Points leader Matt Crafton finished 10th.
Formula One: Kimi Raikkonen criticized his Lotus team for not paying his salary this season and threatened to skip the season's final two races in protest. Raikkonen, who is rejoining Ferrari next season, practiced Friday for this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in United Arab Emirates. Speaking after the second practice, the former series champion said he was still upset about a tense exchange with a member of the technical staff last week.