Martin Truex Jr. laments timing of 5-hour Energy’s decision not to return

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LOUDON, N.H. — Reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. said that the timing of 5-hour Energy’s announcement that it won’t return after this season is challenging for the team.

But Truex, whose contract expires after this season, said he thinks he and the team still should be able to work on an extension even with the sponsorship question for next year. 5-hour Energy became the major co-primary sponsor this season on the No. 78 team with Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats for 30 Cup races.

Truex, who won last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the decision of 5-hour Energy to leave.

“They had been the fence for quite a while, and we had been waiting on a decision,’’ Truex said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I wish it didn’t take as long as it did and kind of put us in a tough spot now. I’m not really, really worried. I think something good can come out of this.

“Obviously, it’s not great timing with all that is going on. I’ve got confidence in my team and what we’re doing and hopefully we can find a replacement for that. I don’t see (owner) Barney (Visser) putting Furniture Row back on the car and doing that. I don’t know if he can make that work anymore. We’ll see where it goes from here.”

Asked about working on a contract extension even with 5-hour Energy’s departure, Truex said: “I think we can. Certainly makes things more difficult. We’ve been talking about it and honestly it’s not like we were waiting on this to happen.

“We’re just trying to figure everything out, what’s the best direction to go and get all the details. Honestly, we haven’t worked that hard on it. It’s not a pressing issue for me. I know what the team wants and where we’re all at. It’s not like I’m nervous they’re going to sign somebody else, or I’m going to be searching for a ride. It’s more just trying to focus on racing and feel like it will get done when it gets done.”

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