NASCAR team orders for the betterment of the organization?
Most of the NASCAR race was dominated by Toyota teammates Martin Truex Jr and Erik Jones. Martin Truex Jr is currently locked into the playoff’s, of course.
Meanwhile, his teammate, rookie driver Erik Jones sits 16th in the driver standings. He’s yet to pick up a win. But, he was riding 2nd toward the end of the race yesterday. An opportunity was there for Truex to hand a win off to his teammate, free of charge.
A win is a win for Furniture Row Racing. At the same time, it’s a huge bonus for the organization to have two cars locked into the chase. But handing off a win and purposely running 2nd? That’s not NASCAR racing.
Bob Pockrass, ESPN, had a question for Martin Truex Jr. He opened with, “It didn’t really look like you cared that Erik Jones needed a win for the playoff’s.”
Martin Truex Jr jumps in, “What is that suppose to mean?”
Bob couldn’t get out the question in it’s entirety. Essentially, it was going to be, ‘Would you let your teammate win for the sake of the betterment of the NASCAR team?’
Martin Truex Jr cut him off as soon as he picked up on where it was going. A quick, “No.”
He further explained, “We don’t have team orders. Nobody let’s each other win. I mean, he’s gunna win some races. His turn will come.”
Bob tried to rephrase. Truex jumps on the question again, “No. No. No.”
Truex didn’t get it. Stating, “That’s not how we race Bob. Nobody out there races that way. Nobody’s gunna give a Cup win up, they’re too hard to get.”
Pockrass finally got one question in regarding playoff points. Does that matter? Is that why he wouldn’t think about giving a win up? Truex responds, “Absolutely.”
For strictly NASCAR fans this question might appear off base. For anyone that watches F1, this question isn’t that off base at all. In F1, teams aren’t paid by a single race result or driver standing.
Instead, F1 teams are paid as a whole, for the constructor standings. The points earned by the collective of ALL team cars. Essentially, it’s owner standings that fund the teams in F1. That’s the only form of position that pays anything in the premier series of open wheel racing. Allowing the faster car by to chase down the opposing car ahead. Letting teammates by can possibly bring several millions to the team.
At the same time, F1 team orders are a threat to the core definition of the sport itself. Letting your teammate by? It presents a bad product to the fans. However, if you’re spending millions and need championship funds to stay afloat, I do understand it and accept it, under protest.
If Furniture Row Racing had 2 cars locked into the playoff’s that a substantial payment increase for the ‘entire’ team. Martin Truex Jr would likely receive more benefit from handing off the win to his teammate than winning the race himself. More funding for the team would make his cars better as well.
Truex has 4 wins in 2017. Perhaps, if he let his teammate win one, he’d earn his team an extra Million or two. Highly likely.
Martin Truex Jr Team Order Interview (Video)
No small team?
Furniture Row Racing used to the be the little team that could. Now, they are a NASCAR powerhouse that currently leads the driver standings.
Martin Truex Jr has been there since a time when they weren’t so competitive, “I think it’s really neat. This is my 4th year with Furniture Row Racing and I feel like we’ve come a long way from where we started.”
Furniture Row has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing as well as Toyota. Truex confirms, “We’ve made good decisions on partnerships. We’ve been fortunate to get in some good situations.”
“We’re a small team. But we’re by no means underfunded or an underdog because of the alliance we have and the relationship we have with Toyota.”
“It’s neat for our guys to be in Denver. Kinda do things different. Especially Barney [Visser] our owner. People 10 years ago told him that, ‘It couldn’t be done’ you know? Out of Denver”
The NASCAR point leader concludes, “So I think that’s a sense of pride. The last couple of years, we’ve shown that we belong and that we’re not going anywhere. We don’t act like it’s such a big deal anymore.”