GM Joe Garone discusses whether team is looking to change manufacturers RELATED: Chevrolet address Furniture Row rumors BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A matter of weeks ago, the direction of Furniture Row Racing centered on potentially expanding to a multi-car organization. Now, just days removed from the team's first victory in four years, the tenor of that discussion surrounds which automaker's badges will be on those cars. Furniture and mattress magnate Barney Visser told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio earlier this week that his No. 78 Chevrolet team was exploring a potential change in manufacturers. The car owner's remarks came while the Colorado-based team was still in the honeymoon phase of Martin Truex Jr .'s feel-good victory last weekend at Pocono Raceway . Friday at Michigan International Speedway , Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone elaborated on the team's exploration, saying that it was looking into options that make financial sense. "It is. It's about business," Garone said. "We are in a sport that is real expensive. We truly can't afford to do it. We can do it. When I say we can't afford to do it, I mean at the level we want to push it to in order to be able to be in position to win a championship. We need more resources. Chevrolet has been a great partner. We have been together for 10 years now. But they are spread across … they do a great job; look at all the championships they have won. But to get to the level we need to get to, we need to get a lot more support. We are open and have been looking to try and get that just to push our team forward further." Going further would mark an even more pronounced performance pick-up for Truex, who has run at the front of the pack in recent weeks, leading gobs of laps before finally cashing in last weekend at Pocono. The victory virtually assured Truex a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, where Furniture Row will make only its second appearance since the organization's formation in 2005. MORE: Truex takes long road back to Victory Lane From those origins, however, the team has been exclusively linked to Chevrolet for its decade-plus in NASCAR's top division. For the majority of the team's lifetime, it has also carried the colors of Furniture Row and Denver Mattress, Visser's own companies. Garone -- who was quick to distinguish that the operation was definitely looking, not definitely changing automakers -- said that the scope of the team's search included both new manufacturers and new sponsors. "One of the things about the No. 78 car is because it has always had Furniture Row and Denver Mattress on it, everybody assumes it is sponsored," Garone said. "It has made it tough to find partners, but again Barney owns those companies. We need to get the word out that we are actively looking for sponsorship to come on board. Not just for the No. 78, but to expand the company into a multi-car team. It is for the long-term growth of the team. We will just see what plays out and just keep pushing the button and try to expand this thing." RELATED: Is second car in the cars for Furniture Row ? For Truex, his focus remains trained on improving over the second half of the regular season and making a move for his first Sprint Cup championship in the 10-race Chase. But he also acknowledged that teams, regardless of their position in the garage's pecking order, are continually searching for an edge. "More of what we are doing and just continuing to get better and push hard and try to find more speed," Truex said. "I think everybody is looking right now. Everybody is constantly working hard. Things change a lot in this garage area. There are a lot of smart people that are always working and always pushing to find more. We just have to keep doing that. I think that we have shown this year that we are capable of it. Certainly the last four weeks have been great. I feel like we have shown and proved that we can battle with them week in and week out. "Honestly we just have to keep our eye on the prize, stay focused and keep working hard. I know for a fact the team has it in them. It's just a matter of whether we get it done or not." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Team owner says sponsorship will be the key to go to two cars Furniture Row Racing is having its best season to date with driver Martin Truex Jr . earning 14 top-10 finishes in the first 17 races of the season, which has the Denver, Colorado-based organization looking toward the future. Owner Barney Visser told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Saturday that he would like to have a second team in less than two years. "We'd like to have (a second team) by '17," Visser said. "I doubt that it will happen by '16, but we think maybe '17 it's going to roll around the way we need it to. "We're going to have to attract the sponsors. When we finally get the sponsors, we'll be able to do it." In its 10th season, Furniture Row is a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifier for the second time in three years, having made its first Chase in 2013 with Kurt Busch . Truex earned the team's second win last month at Pocono Raceway to go with Regan Smith 's Southern 500 victory at Darlington Raceway in 2011. Visser rewarded his team members based in the Rocky Mountains with rings to celebrate its Pocono win. The owner noted the long hours and tight turnarounds that come with being located outside of the Charlotte, North Carolina, hub of racing . "This team, this last week, was probably a 100-hour week for them," Visser said. "The road crew, it's just brutal on them. Everyone in the shop, when we've had to turn cars around all year, sometimes we turned cars around in just a couple days. They put them back out. "The guys have done everything we've asked them to do, and I feel like they earned it." Earlier this season, Visser also said his team needed more manufacturer support than Chevrolet was currently providing, and the team had spoken with the sport's other manufacturers, Ford and Toyota. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RELATED: Buy tickets for Homestead It's a primetime test time for NASCAR teams this week as many head to Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the Nov. 20-22 season finale Ford Championship Weekend. Four drivers will participate in a Goodyear tire test at the 1.5-mile South Florida track Monday and Tuesday with an open test scheduled for Wednesday -- NASCAR allowing each Sprint Cup Series team to be represented by one car. Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) are scheduled for the Goodyear test. With the increased importance on Homestead in the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup elimination format, as the track's host the final race that determines the series champion, teams will be taking advantage of the open test as well. Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), a winner last Saturday night at Bristol, is among those scheduled to test on Wednesday along with other Chase-qualified drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . ( Hendrick Motorsports ), defending Homestead winner and series champ Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) and Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). Ty Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ) will also participate. "It's an opportunity for the teams to really dial in the tire and the aero package for '15," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Monday morning. "Certainly an important event for just about everybody in the series so they'll be going down there, working with Goodyear to make sure they've got the right package to be able to obviously share that data with the race teams and get ready for the final push that we see in November."
Manufacturer responds to team owner, would be disappointed if team left RELATED: Truex says they're 'gonna surprise some people' ADRIAN, Mich. -- Chevrolet officials took note this week when team owner Barney Visser broached the subject of a possible manufacturer change for his Furniture Row Racing No. 78 team. Asked about retaining the services of driver Martin Truex Jr ., whose contract is scheduled to end after the 2015 season, Visser told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday that re-signing the driver is "certainly something we want to do." RELATED: Remembering Truex's first career Cup win " Furniture Row team page "We just hate to screw around with anything right now, any negotiations, anything that might upset the applecart," he said. "... We'll get it done. We'll get in there and get started on this stuff. We'll see." Sponsorship, he said, was needed "to really negotiate the kind of contract we'd both like to see. "It may involve a change in manufacturer here, we're not sure. There just doesn't seem to be any money out of General Motors and probably never will be for us. So something's got to give." Furniture Row has fielded Chevrolet entries since it debuted in 2005 and is one of approximately 10 full-time teams fielding its SS model in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "We don't want to lose them; we've been there with them in every stage of their business and we're very happy to see they are doing that great," Alba Colon, General Motors program manager for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series effort said Thursday during an appearance here at the Boys & Girls Club of Lenawee. "It's a little bit personal when you have seen how their team started with nothing and how far they have come; how that first day they came out to prove 'we are a small team from Colorado and we can prove that you can have a team that's not (based) in North Carolina.'" Truex Jr.'s win last Sunday in the Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 at Pocono Raceway was his first since joining the team at the beginning of 2014 and just the second for the single-car operation -- current XFINITY Series driver Regan Smith scored its first, at Darlington in 2011. RELATED: Truex's long road back to Victory Lane Second in points entering this weekend's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM), Truex has led the most laps in the last four Sprint Cup races. He is one of only four drivers, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee Petty (1954, '59), Richard Petty (1969) and Kevin Harvick (2015), to start a season with 13 top-10s in the first 14 races. MORE: Schedule for Michigan, Gateway weekend The only active full-time Sprint Cup organization based outside the Carolinas, Furniture Row is funded through Visser's own business entities. It has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing , which supplies engines and technical/engineering support. GM officials don't provide financial details of the group's support, financial or otherwise, for the different NASCAR organizations with which the company is aligned. Nor does Ford nor Toyota, the two other auto makers currently competing in the series. It would be disappointing if the relationship with Furniture Row came to an end, Colon said. "First of all, they have been a Chevrolet team (from the beginning); pretty much 10 years I believe that they have always been a GM team," she said. "They started to build their engines themselves and after that they went to Hendrick Motorsports and now they have the alliance with RCR so they have been a part of the Chevy family since they started. "Don't tell me you don't (build) relationships in 10 years. We have a good relationship with our teams; we don't want to lose any of our teams. But at the end of the day, outside of the personal side, business is business and manufacturers and teams make the decisions that they think are the best for their circumstances. "The biggest example -- Joe Gibbs Racing when they made the decision (to switch from Chevrolet to Toyota in '08) that they thought was the right choice for them. "It's just part of the business and we understand that." RELATED: Is Truex a legitimate championship contender? FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Almost two full years after the rule was amended, NASCAR drivers are still voicing concerns about the policing of restarts during races. The subject came up during the Sprint Cup Series' pre-race drivers' meeting Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway , three days after Ryan Blaney was penalized for jumping the restart during the Aug. 19 Camping World Truck Series race at BMS. Prior to the beginning of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2013, NASCAR eliminated the rule that stated the second-place car could not cross the start/finish line before the race leader on a restart. However, the race leader is still the "control car," meaning the second-place car can't take off before the leader in the restart zone located before the start/finish line. "We wanted to really put it in the driver's hands where the leader starts the race," Steve O'Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, told NASCAR.com Monday. "The second-place car in this case, if we don't believe they've jumped the restart, can beat the leader to the start/finish line. "Obviously, some questions have come up. We've reviewed each of the calls we've made and feel confident based on the technology we've used to make those calls that they were the right calls. But anytime there's dialogue with the industry, we'll continue to monitor that. If we don't have to change it, we'd like to keep it consistent throughout the year, but we always review each and every call for each race." RELATED: Restarts a hot topic at Bristol drivers' meeting In the NCWTS event, Blaney was penalized for jumping the start on Lap 38. Although he was the race leader, officials ruled Blaney re-started before he was in the restart zone. The subsequent pass-through penalty put the Brad Keselowski Racing driver one lap down. Blaney managed to bounce back from the penalty, however, and won the race. "I had to kind of compose myself there," crew chief Chad Kendrick admitted afterward. "I was trying to tell (Ryan) on the radio, 'Don't worry about it, alright, it's done, over.' I was pretty upset about the call." Blaney said Cole Custer , running second and lined up to his inside on the restart, "didn't maintain caution car speed at all. "As soon as the caution car pulled off, he stopped pretty much," said Blaney. "And I maintained (my) speed. He was going to try to get a run, just like everyone tries to do, which is what you have to do on the bottom if you want to have a shot at it. And I wasn't going to give him that run; I wasn't going to let him start creeping forward. So I went as soon as I got to the mark, maybe a half a car length early. It made it look worse than it was with him being so slow for sure. "But I'm pretty sure you have to have a warning. From every restart I've seen with people maybe going a little bit early I've seen 'em get a warning. That honestly shocked me when they black-flagged us with no warning. When it wasn't five car lengths before the line or anything, when it was something really small like that, it kind of surprised me. Luckily it worked out for us." Two Sprint Cup teams have been penalized this season for either jumping the start or passing before crossing the start/finish line on a restart. Two penalties have also been handed down in the XFINITY Series for similar infractions while the penalty has been called seven times in the NCWTS. MORE: Herman Unplugged: Talking restarts, quiet Harvick Joey Logano , winner of Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at BMS, said he had spent "a lot of time" with officials recently, "trying to understand what I can and can't do ... understand where their head is at and what they're thinking when you look at a restart." "You've got to understand the rules," the Team Penske driver said. If it Ain't Broke ... NASCAR XFINITY Series teams competing this weekend at Road America will run the same tire code used at the road course since 2013. The tire was previously used this season at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio. Wet weather tires will also be available should conditions require their use, which was the case during last year's event. Likewise, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will run the same tire code used since '13 for the series' stop at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park . The tire has previously been run on the right side at Martinsville in '13 and '14. MORE: Complete schedule for Road America and Canada Testing, 1-2-3 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams wrap up their 12th open test of the season Wednesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway . According to HMS officials, 10 teams are set to take part in the test -- Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Dale Earnhardt Jr . ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ), Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Ty Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing ), Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) and Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ). Dillon, Larson, Bayne and Bowyer were slated to take part in a two-day Goodyear tire test at the 1.5-mile track, site of the season-ending race, on Monday and Tuesday. Three tests are scheduled for remainder of year, at Kansas (Sept. 14-16), Phoenix (Oct. 12-14) and Auto Club Speedway (Oct. 27-29).
Truex Jr.: 'I don't think it's too early to start thinking about it' DOVER, Del. -- When a single-car team has a driver that has already earned three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 12 races and is currently sitting second in the driver standings behind last season's Sprint Cup Series champion, discussions about expanding to a two-car garage begin to stir. "I don't think it's too early to start thinking about it," Martin Truex Jr . told the media on Friday at Dover International Speedway . "I think that Barney (Visser, team owner) and Joe (Garone, general manager) have been thinking about it for a while. It's just a matter of when is the time right. "If the situation and everything works out the way they want it to, the way they want it to look I think it would be a good thing. I really like what we have right now. It's working well and it's hard to think about changing something. I think it would be a good thing for the team, and certainly they have the capabilities of making it work, I believe." But with the Furniture Row Racing driver's success this season, it seems as if the only missing piece of the puzzle is a win. Now with the New Jersey-native being back at his home track and the location of his first Sprint Cup Series win, perhaps a victory is in the cards. This weekend's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks (May 31, 1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) will be the third-straight points race with the same No. 78 Chevrolet that he earned ninth- and fifth-place finishes with at Kansas and Charlotte, respectively. "I feel like last year we were off quite a bit," Truex said of his 2014 Dover finishes (sixth and seventh place). "We came here and we still ran in the top-10 both races, really had a good run here for us last year. I kind of was looking back at that and thinking about that thinking 'OK imagine what we can do there now.' We will just have to see." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
The history of Furniture Row Racing and full crew for Martin Truex Jr.
RELATED: MWR won't field full-time entries in 2016 Wednesday's news that Michael Waltrip Racing won't be fielding full-time Sprint Cup Series teams in 2016 essentially turns the team's lead driver, Clint Bowyer , into one of NASCAR's highest profile free agents. MWR and Bowyer agreed to mutually part ways at the end of the season, freeing the 2012 championship runner-up to look for a new ride and making his current title run an important resume-builder. Bowyer is currently ranked 16th in the 16-driver Chase Grid standings with a slim 23-point edge over Aric Almirola for the final Chase berth with three races remaining to set the field. MORE: Toyota thanks MWR, supports Bowyer "I am looking forward to what future opportunities may come but for now we have a championship to pursue in 2015 and we owe it to every one of our sponsors, partners, employees and fans to deliver on and off the track,” Bowyer said in a statement released Tuesday announcing his and the MWR team's plans. "I want to thank Michael, Rob (Kauffman) and everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing that made these past four years special. After extensive discussions with Rob and MWR, we came to the point that we mutually agreed our paths in the future just didn’t align, but I think we all agreed on the next steps in a very professional manner." It's clear they are committed to that path. Waltrip discussed Bowyer's Chase scenario and his inspired motivation on FOX Sports 1 this morning after spending time with Bowyer at the team shop Wednesday morning. "I'm going to tell you, that's how fast your Chase world can change,'' Waltrip said. "Clint was not only 15th in the points, some 60 to the good, he was within striking distance of being 11th, up there where Jamie McMurray is. And had a crash at Michigan with a really fast car, had a crash and it set him back. "But I tell ya, it's inspired Bowyer. I know there's a lot of news around Michael Waltrip Racing , but he was at the shop today, talking to the team and said, 'Boys, we're going to race our way into this Chase, and when we get there, we're gonna go some rounds.' And that's the kind of attitude you need from your race car driver and that's the kind of attitude Clint has." Beyond his showing in this year's championship run, the big question is what's next for Bowyer, considered one of the NASCAR's top-shelf competitors and one of its most popular personalities. There will be plenty of speculation, however, Bowyer hasn't said anything beyond the statement issued Tuesday. The 36-year-old Kansas native is the 2008 XFINITY Series champion and has eight wins in 10 full-time Cup seasons, finishing second to Brad Keselowski in the 2012 championship, his first year with MWR. It's reasonable to consider one option for Bowyer is to follow his boss Kauffman to the Chip Ganassi Racing stable next season and bring his longtime sponsor 5-hour Energy to a third Chevrolet there. Sponsor 5-hour Energy released a statement about the MWR news, as well."5-Hour ENERGY has enjoyed a great relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer since joining forces in 2012. MWR and Clint have delivered above and beyond with our partnership and we thank them for their dedication. Clint is a great amassador for our products, customers and retailers," the release read. "The MWR team and Clint will continue to remain focused on getting 5-hour ENERGY in the Chase. We will make no further comment until we are ready to announce our future plans." Kauffman, who became a co-owner and major investor in MWR in 2007, announced earlier this month that he had also invested in the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team. Sabates confirmed that the organization would expand to three cars in 2016, but no further details have been released. Another option down the road for Bowyer may include Furniture Row Racing , which is reportedly considering expanding to two teams. However, the team's general manager, Joe Garone told FOXSports in June that adding a second car wasn't realistic until at least 2017 and even then, it would be ambitious. The team's current driver, another former MWR driver, Martin Truex Jr . , is having a career year with the team and ranks eighth in the Chase Grid. There is also speculation that Bowyer's future could include a job at Stewart-Haas Racing should its co-owner and three-time championship driver Tony Stewart retire and leave an open seat. However Stewart has not publicly indicated he has any timetable to retire.
Furniture Row Racing announces that Martin Truex Jr. will drive the No. 78 in 2014.
Practice 2 " Complete final practice results After coming in third in opening practice, Kyle Busch 's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota rocketed around Bristol Motor Speedway and to the top of the leaderboard in Friday's second practice session. "Rowdy" recorded a fast lap of 131.146 mph, a speed that rivals the previous qualifying track record Kevin Harvick set in 2014 (131.362 mph). David Ragan made a late run to earn the second spot on the leaderboard, maneuvering his No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota at 130.646 mph around the short track. Having led the opening practice, Kyle Larson 's fast lap of 130.018 mph allowed him to spend some time at the top of the leaderboard before setting for third on the board in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet. Team Penske 's Joey Logano came up next, wheeling a fast lap of 129.587 mph for the fourth position, while Joe Gibbs Racing 's Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five (129.404 mph). Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick posted the sixth-fastest speed, recording a high speed of 129.334 mph in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr ., Aric Almirola and Jeb Burton all experienced trouble in the opening session, but were back on track in the final session. Johnson led the corral, posting the ninth-fastest speed (129.073 mph) in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, while Martin Truex Jr .'s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet was 21st (127.724 mph). Several drivers attempted qualifying runs during the second session, bringing several drivers' speeds up from the previous session. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track tonight at Bristol at 5:45 p.m. for Coors Light Pole Qualifying (NBCSN). Practice 1: Complete opening practice results Kyle Larson surged to the top of the leaderboard in the final minute of Friday's Sprint Cup practice at Bristol Motor Speedway, propelling his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet around the short track at 129.833 mph to lead the session. Matt Kenseth also made a late run, briefly topping the leaderboard before settling into second with a fast lap of 128.597 mph from his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The leader for the majority of the hour-and-a-half session, Kyle Busch came up third after Kenseth's late run. "Rowdy" wheeled his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota around the short track at 128.580 mph. Michael Waltrip Racing 's Clint Bowyer (128.099 mph) and Joe Gibbs Racing 's Carl Edwards (127.707 mph) rounded out the top five. Wheeling the iconic No. 24 rainbow paint scheme at 126.637 mph, Jeff Gordon posted the 14th-fastest speed in the field. Chase Elliott , who will take Gordon's place in the No. 24 ride next season, watched Gordon from the top of the No. 24 hauler following his own XFINITY practice. Jimmie Johnson missed 38 minutes of the practice after his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet got up high on the track and made contact with the wall nine minutes into the session. He returned to the track and posted the 18th-fastest speed. Jeb Burton and Aric Almirola also hit the wall during the session. Martin Truex Jr . slammed into the wall in the final 10 minutes of practice, forcing the No. 78 team to bring out the backup car.