Despite team changes, Kenseth remains focused for '17
His car chief has departed and his over-the-wall crew is expected to have a slightly different look for the upcoming season. The rules package will be new and there's another team in the Huntersville, North Carolina, to Denver, Colorado, pipeline. But don't expect Matt Kenseth , driver of the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR's premier series, to fret about the alterations to the racing landscape. "Worry never gets anything fixed or makes anything better," Kenseth said. He has rolled with the changes in the past, during a lengthy 13-year career at Roush Fenway Racing and the previous four at JGR. Rule changes, personnel moves, team expansion and contraction, Kenseth has seen it all before, adapting as best he can while seldom falling out of contention. "Nobody does a perfect job at this but I've gotten better through the years," Kenseth said. "I focus pretty hard on not worrying about things that I can't control because worrying never helps. Everybody worries to a certain extent. I try not to because it's not productive." JGR added a fourth team in 2015, bringing Carl Edwards into the fold to join Kenseth and te ammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch . A technical and engineering alliance with Furniture Row Racing was undertaken for 2016. That alliance has since expanded -- Furniture Row will add a second team for 20-year-old Erik Jones to go along with that of driver Martin Truex Jr . for the 2017 season. "We've definitely been expanding fast and there are definitely concerns that come with that," Kenseth said. "But there are also benefits too. We learned a lot from Martin and Cole (Pearn, crew chief) this year." In the meantime, the clock is ticking. At 44 and with the future of one-time teammate Greg Biffle undetermined, Kenseth has inherited, temporarily at least, the title of the series' oldest full-time competitor. His career starts mark of 614 is now tops among active drivers; his 38 wins rank 20th overall and he is tied for No. 2 among those currently competing. The 2017 season will be his 18th as a full-time racer at NASCAR's top level. He has finished as high as second on two occasions, in 2006 and '13, but hasn't made it to the final round under the current elimination-style format since its debut in '14. It's been more than a decade since Kenseth won NASCAR's top prize and each season that passes represents another opportunity lost. "I think after you win one you look at it like that," he said. "But certainly as you get older you realize that 'OK, one more passed by and there's not as many (opportunities) in front of me.' "When you're 33 or whatever, you don't really think like that. …" The future might look a bit grim if Kenseth and his team, under the guidance of crew chief Jason Ratcliff, had been struggling. But that hasn't been the case. Only three other drivers -- Jimmie Johnson (20 wins), Kevin Harvick (16) and Joey Logano (15) have won more races since Kenseth packed his bags and headed to JGR in 2013. Kenseth and Busch are next in line with 14 victories each. A new season will bring with it new opportunities. And change. Car chief Jeff Meendering has moved on to become crew chief for a new XFINITY Series team fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing . The race-day pit crew changes have yet to be determined. Aero package updates and other matters await. Kenseth has seen it before. "I think I've done a good job of keeping it in perspective," he said. "There are a lot of things you can control. And a lot you just can't." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Furniture Row Racing , Maaco team up for sponsorship
Martin Truex Jr . will return to the site of his history-making Coca-Cola 600 win with the same car, but with a new sponsor on board. Furniture Row Racing announced Thursday that Maaco has signed on as a sponsor of its No. 78 Toyota entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The partnership with the auto painting and collision repair company starts with Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "This has been such a great season for Furniture Row Racing , bringing on new partners," Truex said. "This is just another step in that direction." Truex has a career-best four Sprint Cup victories this season, kicked off by the most dominant win in Coca-Cola 600 history at Charlotte in May. Truex won the Coors Light Pole Award and led 392 of the 400 laps. Truex said during his media availability Thursday that the Colorado-based team will use the same car from their Memorial Day romp this weekend.
Furniture Row Racing issues statement on failed post-race inspection
Furniture Row Racing said in a team release Monday that it accepts NASCAR's failed post-race inspection ruling, while also citing on-track contact with the No. 4 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick as the likely reason for being out of compliance. "The right rear of our car was well within the tolerance margin, which showed that we were trying to be conservative," the statement read. "However, the left rear wheel alignment was off by approximately ten-thousandths of an inch, which in high probability was due to damage in that area as a result of being hit by the No. 4 car. "We believe the laser inspection numbers were correct and accept NASCAR's decision that was made following Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway ." Truex Jr.'s race-winning No. 78 Toyota, along with the No. 48 Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson , failed post-race inspection after Sunday's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series opener at Chicagoland Speedway . NASCAR recently updated its rules for "encumbered" victory penalties during the postseason, but those are not be in effect for Truex Jr. because it was the lowest grade of failure for the LIS platform. Any penalties will be announced later in the week, according to NASCAR.
Furniture Row Racing : The story behind Denver's team
NASCAR senior writer Holly Cain, and NASCAR Productions, traveled to Denver, Colorado to present an in depth look at NASCAR's only team west of the Mississippi River, Furniture Row Racing , and their rise to racing success.
HScott Motorsports won't compete in NASCAR in 2017
HScott Motorsports will not field teams for the 2017 season in NASCAR's premier series, according to a statement from the team. HSM fielded two full-time entries for 2015-16 in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, most recently with drivers Clint Bowyer in the team's No. 15 Chevrolet and Michael Annett in the No. 46 Chevrolet. Bowyer ended the '16 season 27th in points; Annett placed 36th. "Over the past several months I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team," Scott said in the statement. "Regrettably there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017." Bowyer, who joined the team before the start of the '16 season, was scheduled to remain with the team for only one season before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to replace co-owner/driver Tony Stewart in that organization's No. 14 entry. Officials with Bowyer's sponsor, 5-hour Energy, announced earlier this year that the company would become the primary sponsor for Erik Jones and the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota entry in '17. Last month, it was announced that Annett and his sponsor, Pilot Flying J, would move to JR Motorsports to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season. "One thing I have learned about NASCAR is that it is a 'people business,'" Scott said. "I will be forever grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to make HScott Motorsports successful. ... "I love this sport and being part of it. I invested in NASCAR because I truly believe it represents the best racing competition in the world and the best people in all sports." The organization's charter for its No. 15 team has been sold to Premium Motorsports, according to HSM. The No. 46 charter, which was originally leased from Premium, was returned to Premium, which in turn has sold it to Furniture Row Racing . Charter teams are guaranteed starting positions in NASCAR premier series points races. HScott Motorsports came into being after Scott purchased the former Phoenix Racing team from owner James Finch. The organization was originally located in Spartanburg, S.C., but moved to Mooresville, N.C., before the start of the '16 season. "Looking back, I will always be especially proud of the unprecedented success of our NASCAR K&N Series teams, including four consecutive championships, and for the lifelong friendships that were forged over the last seven years," Scott said. Seven drivers combined for 189 starts at HSM; Bowyer managed three of the organization's four career top 10s this past season. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Truex inks two-year extension with Furniture Row Racing
DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 4, 2016) -- Furniture Row Racing announced today that Martin Truex Jr . has signed a new two-year agreement to drive the team’s No. 78 Toyota Camry in NASCAR’s Cup Series. The new contract takes effect starting with the 2017 season. The Denver-based racing organization also announced that Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats, which joined Furniture Row Racing as a partner in 2016, will increase its primary sponsorship schedule on Truex’s No. 78 Toyota from 12 to 16 races in 2017, starting with the season-opening Daytona 500 . The expansion builds on the long-standing relationship between Bass Pro Shops and Truex Jr., an avid outdoorsman and longtime fishing buddy of Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO Johnny Morris. In addition to serving as Truex’s first sponsor when he started his NASCAR career, Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats were the primary sponsors for two NASCAR Xfinity Series championships in 2004 and 2005, as well as the primary sponsor for Truex’s first three years in the Sprint Cup Series. "The signing of Martin Truex Jr . to a new contract and Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats adding more races to its primary sponsorship package are signs of strength and confidence for the future of Furniture Row Racing ," said team president Joe Garone. "Martin has proved over and over that he is one of the blue chip drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we are elated that he will continue to drive our No. 78 Toyota." Garone added, "Bass Pro Shops has been one of the most visible, committed and respected sponsors in NASCAR for many years. We are grateful that the company is making an additional commitment to our team. Adding Bass Pros Shops, Tracker Boats and Auto-Owners Insurance to our sponsorship family this season has played a vital role, along with Furniture Row and Denver Mattress, in the success and growth of our company." Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO Johnny Morris said of the announcement: "We are excited to elevate our support and partnership with our good friend Martin Truex Jr ., an amazing competitor on the track and a passionate sportsman who loves the outdoors. It brings us tremendous pride to see Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats prominently displayed and have Martin personally representing our brands. Together with our longstanding friends at Toyota and Furniture Row Racing , we believe our partnership with Martin has a very bright future." Truex, 36, said, "I am pleased that we’re going to continue our momentum from this season. This is where I want to be, driving the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. We’ve come a long way in a short period of time. There are many reasons to feel excited and optimistic about the future of our racing program starting with the commitment from our team owner Barney Visser, the support from Toyota, the technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and the Bass Pro Shops sponsorship. We definitely have the resources and talent to go after victories and championships. I want to thank Barney and Joe Garone for the confidence that they have placed in me and also want to thank my good friend and hunting/fishing partner Johnny Morris for the continued support from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats." Truex, who has already clinched a 2016 Chase berth, has been the Furniture Row Racing driver since the start of the 2014 season. As a Chase participant last year, he advanced to the final four. After 21 races of the current season he has claimed one win, three top fives, nine top 10s, three poles, ranks No. 1 with laps led at 1005 and is eighth in Sprint Cup driver points. The Mayetta, N.J. native won back-to-back Xfinity Series championships before joining the Cup series full time in 2006.
Jones to drive second car for Furniture Row Racing in 2017
Erik Jones will drive the No. 77 5-hour Energy Toyota in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season for Furniture Row Racing and unveiled his paint scheme at Watkins Glen International.
Truex Jr. takes less, gives more to Furniture Row
RELATED: Inside the western rise of Furniture Row " Denver embraces its team JOLIET, Ill. -- How sincere was Martin Truex Jr . in his desire to stay with Furniture Row Racing during contract talks with team officials? Enough that the 36-year-old NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver agreed to work for less than he likely could have earned elsewhere. "There were other opportunities that were out there," Truex said Sunday after winning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway . "I believe this is the best team I've ever had. This is my best opportunity to win races. We've proven that. It's my best opportunity, and really only my second opportunity, since last year, to go for a championship. That wasn't something I was willing to get rid of or throw away." While Furniture Row officials were in the midst of making the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota a year ago, a contract extension with Truex was also wrapping up. In late September, officials announced both agreements were in place. Then, in August of this year, the team announced a new, two-year extension for Truex. RELATED: Truex inks new deal at Furniture Row "I made the commitment to Barney we were going to do it, we were going to work together and make it work for everybody," Truex said of the arrangement. "Barney has put a lot into his race team over the years obviously. Seeing Furniture Row on that race car each and every year, that's Barney's race car and Barney is the one funding it. "He had to change some things in the way he was running his race team. He asked me if I would kind of, not take the hit but be the one that took a little bit of a hit for the team to make sure we could keep the competition up and make sure we could continue to get the things we needed to be competitive and win races and hopefully go after a championship." Visser started the Denver-based team from scratch in 2005, and has funded the single-car outfit for much of its existence through his own businesses. Others have come on board to help the cause and the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota has paid tremendous dividends. Sunday's victory was the third of the season for Truex and more importantly it came in the opening race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . He and the No. 78 team, run by crew chief Cole Pearn, are guaranteed to advance to the Round of 12 in the Chase. Prior to this season, Truex had three career wins. Furniture Row had two. The organization, which now receives technical support from Joe Gibbs Racing , will expand in 2017 with the addition of a second team and driver Erik Jones . RELATED: Furniture Row adds Jones to growing team The rise from a struggling single-car outfit to a championship contender didn't happen overnight. "Yeah, I do feel like I'm living a dream," Visser, a Vietnam veteran, said. "But that's why we do it. Most of the other things that I've done in life have been a little bit like this, but nothing right to the very top of the best racing in the world here. (It's) very exciting. "I have to thank Toyota and Martin. Like I said, I think he's a pure athlete. He drove for a little bit less this year than I think a lot of the drivers in his class have, and he did it because he wanted to be here. I can't thank him enough for all that."
Furniture Row heeds call of the West
RELATED: Denver offers warm embrace " Chase Grid Editor's Note: This story was published before Martin Truex Jr .'s Chase-opening winning at Chicagoland DENVER -- NASCAR's most unique race shop sits across from a fabric-manufacturing warehouse on Denver's industrial northeast side. Colorado's "Favorite Meat Store" is down the street. Dull gray concrete walls dominate the addresses here. The noisy and steady sounds of the nearby Interstate 70 freeway are interrupted at regular intervals by the heavy clunking and loud train whistles coming from the neighboring railroad tracks. The street front of Furniture Row Racing 's shop blends in completely with the industrial look of its neighboring businesses. There are no signs to identify the gray building or to offer even a single clue of what lies behind the sturdy, always-locked front doors. Team members have parked their pick-up trucks in a small lot alongside the shop and many more line the street out front. This is NASCAR's version of Oz. And it's been quite the yellow-brick road. "This building has been a lot of different things,'' Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser said, allowing a slight smile. "It was a warehouse for our company, then a waterbed factory, then an oak furniture factory then an upholstery plant. "But we wanted to make sure the inside is real nice for the race team.'' And sure enough, behind the concrete facade and nondescript front doors of the building, is a comfortable home base to a busy, well-equipped, highly motivated NASCAR race shop -- an inspired group of people who spend their Rocky Mountain days on East Coast time preparing the No. 78 Toyotas for driver Martin Truex Jr .'s path into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . No team based west of the Mississippi River has ever won NASCAR's most celebrated trophy. And in fact, until Furniture Row Racing 's championship bid, no one had even considered it a realistic possibility. It may be far removed from NASCAR's traditional Carolina hallowed ground, but as Visser's Denver-based team and two-time 2016 winner Truex have proven, this group is primed, ready and willing to expand conventional wisdom. There is great pride for the team members and this community knowing that this company is doing things its own way and literally changing the landscape of the sport. The team's General Manager Joe Garone -- a Colorado native -- quickly discovered the team's "way" absolutely meant operating out of Denver, not opening up another shop in NASCAR's Southeastern backyard. "In my mind when Barney said we're going to race in Cup, I was like 'OK, we'll find a shop in Charlotte, we'll get this thing going, not a problem,' " Garone recalled of his initial meetings with Visser. "And Barney said immediately, 'No Joe, not in Charlotte, in Denver.' '' "It's what we need,'' Garone said, looking around the facility with pride. "It's more than what we need. It may not be a Taj Majal, but it's all about building race cars that go fast." ***** ***** *****
Auto-Owners Insurance partners with Furniture Row Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2016) -- Furniture Row Racing announced today at Daytona International Speedway that it has formed a partnership with Auto-Owners Insurance. The Fortune 500 company will be a primary sponsor on Martin Truex Jr .'s No. 78 Toyota Camry for three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races -- at Indianapolis (July 24), Darlington, South Carolina (Sept. 4) and Martinsville, Virginia (Oct. 30) -- and become the official insurance sponsor of Furniture Row Racing and Truex. Auto-Owners Insurance offers auto, home, life and business coverage for NASCAR fans and consumers through local, independent agents in 26 states. This year marks Auto-Owners Insurance 100th year in business with success based on the core values the company was built upon in 1916. " Furniture Row Racing and Martin had a tremendous 2015 season and we're looking forward to being on board for even more success this season," said Lee Janis, Vice President of Sales for Auto-Owners Insurance. "We often say, ‘It's not what you do, it's how you do it,' and Martin and the team have earned success by that same mantra. "We've been embraced by the NASCAR family and have greatly enjoyed the loyalty and passion we've experienced with the fans. To be a part of this dedicated community is a real privilege for all of us at Auto-Owners." Auto-Owners Insurance, based in Lansing, Michigan, joins Furniture Row and Bass Pro Shops as a primary sponsor on the No. 78 Toyota for the 2016 season. "When you have one of the nation's leading companies join your team as a partner it's not only a great day but also a great opportunity for Furniture Row Racing ," said team president Joe Garone. "As is the case with all of our partners, Auto-Owners Insurance is a winning company and we look forward to returning the confidence they placed in us with strong performances on the race track." Truex finished fourth in the Sprint Cup final standings last season after garnering a victory along with eight top-five and 22 top-10 finishes. "Anytime you have a major and successful company come on board it is definitely exciting for a driver because it tells me that we're doing something right," said Truex. "The three Auto-Owners Insurance primary races are good tracks for us and we look forward to competing for a victory with the Auto-Owners Insurance colors on the No. 78 Toyota." Truex and Furniture Row Racing kick off the 2016 Sprint Cup season Sunday in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway . The new @AutoOwnersIns #FurnitureRow 78! #NASCAR #ToyotaNation @ToyotaRacing pic.twitter.com/LA9FtzMBv9 — Furniture Row Racing (@FR78Racing) February 17, 2016