The Rundown: Talladega driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Breaking down the full field for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway : 1. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski stayed out of trouble all day, and that was the difference in picking up his second win of the year and fourth at Talladega. Big pushes from Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch helped, too. Keselowski led a race-high 46 laps, including the final 17. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The No. 18 was stout all day and kept Busch ahead of the crashes, although the 18 did receive a nudge at the outset of the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. He finished second for the second consecutive week for his eighth top-five finish of the season. Grade: A+ 3. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Car chief Greg Osborne summed up Dillon's day on Twitter: "We pitted 17 times. Wrecked 4 times. Ran out of tires. We were 32nd 1 lap down. We NEVER quit." Dillon was thrilled with the finish and credited the team for not panicking: "It was wrecked, and we finished third!" Grade: A+ 4. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Despite being collected in the 21-car wreck on Lap 161, McMurray scored his first top five of the season. It was his seventh at Talladega, tying the superspeedway with Charlotte for McMurray's most top-five finishes. Grade: A 5. Chase Elliott, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott started from the pole and led the first 13 laps and 27 overall. Even though he posted his third top-five finish in the past four races, Elliott said the No. 24 team was "pretty lucky to get where we got to." He avoided trouble -- and all the wrecks -- by running near the front most of the race. Grade: A 6. Tony Stewart /Ty Dillon, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart made his second start of the season, but unlike last week at Richmond, he didn't finish the race. Stewart, who missed the first eight races of the season because of a back injury, gave way to Dillon -- as planned -- during the second caution. Dillon then navigated through two big, multicar accidents to bring home the No. 14 with its second top 10 of the season. Stewart gets the points and the top-10 finish, but it doesn't take away the spotlight from Dillon. Grade: A+ 7. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Bowyer survived involvement in the 12-car wreck on Lap 161 to post his best finish of the season and second top 10 in the past three races. Grade: A 8. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was the catalyst for the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 when he got into the back of Jimmie Johnson while running in the top 10. Busch emerged unscathed to restart fourth. Later, he couldn't hold the lead after the last restart on Lap 186 and is now 0-for-61 in restrictor-plate races. Grade: C. 9. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney survived the 21-car wreck on Lap 161, and the 12-car wreck on Lap 181 happened right behind him. His good fortune resulted in his third top 10 of the season. Grade: A 10. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . A speeding penalty on his first pit stop was no omen. Bayne spent plenty of time in the top five on Sunday, while leading 22 laps. (He led 12 laps in the previous nine races.) His average running position was 8.6, fourth best, and that -- along with good fortune -- kept him out of every wreck Sunday. Grade: A 11. Landon Cassill, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Cassill had an eventful day to find himself just outside the top 10 with one lap to go after surviving a pit-road penalty on his first stop and eluding big trouble in the race's two biggest multicar wrecks. But his grade drops a notch because it was Cassill who started the final multicar wreck. He was running 12th when he turned Cole Whitt into Kevin Harvick , touching off a seven-car wreck and a caution just before the leaders reached the finish line. Grade: B- 12. Michael Waltrip , No. 55 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Making his 60th start at Talladega, Waltrip posted his best finish at the superspeedway since finishing fourth three years ago. Waltrip survived an early scare on Lap 59 when Joey Logano pushed Martin Truex Jr . into the back of Waltrip, who was running fifth at the time. Waltrip went onto the apron but came back onto the track and spun, narrowly avoiding contact. Grade: B+ 13. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex was running in the top 10 immediately behind Kurt Busch when Busch made contact with Jimmie Johnson to ignite the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. Truex's Toyota returned to the track all taped up before sustaining even more damage in the seven-car wreck that happened just before Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag. Grade: B- 14. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The multicar wreck at the finish had Allmendinger on his knees next to his battered Chevrolet, but it couldn't overshadow his fourth top-15 finish at Talladega in 13 starts and his first lap led of the season. Grade: B 15. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick raced among the leaders for most of the afternoon and led four times for nine laps before sliding across the finish line sideways in a damaged car, one of seven cars involved in a crash leading up to the checkered flag. Grade : A 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was able to avoid major damage in the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 but sustained heavy damage coming to the finish line when he was collected in the seven-car pileup. Grade: B 17. David Gilliland , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Gilliland survived the late wrecks for a top-20 finish in first start of the season (he failed to qualify at Daytona). It was his best finish since an 11th in the 2015 Daytona 500 . Grade: B 18. Cole Whitt, No. 98 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Whitt was just outside the top 10 with one lap to go but couldn't improve his position before taking a hard hit against the outside wall as he approached the finish line. It was the fifth top-20 finish of his career and first since his career-best 13th at Talladega a year ago. Grade: A 19. Bobby Labonte , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Making his second start of the season (he finished 31st at Daytona), Labonte avoided major damage in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181 and scored his first top 20 since the 2014 Daytona 500 . Grade: A 20. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . That Biffle finished 20th should come as little surprise. His average finish at Talladega is 19.7, and he finished 20th last October at Talladega, too. Grade: C 21. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing . McDowell produced his second-best finish of the season (he finished 15th at Daytona) despite being involved in two of the day's biggest wrecks along with drawing the ire of Danica Patrick . Grade: B- 22. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The No. 48 was caught up in two wrecks, the second the 21-car monster on Lap 161, which sent the 48 to the garage for repairs. Johnson returned and finished six laps down. Grade: C 23. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hard-luck Kenseth's eventful day didn't end when his car got airborne after contact from Danica Patrick and came down on its roof on the backstretch with eight laps to go. Well after the race, he had heated words for nemesis Joey Logano , who had forced him below the yellow line with 15 laps to go. Those two events obscure the fact Kenseth led 39 laps, second only to winner Brad Keselowski 's 46. Grade: B 24. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick's race ended with her hitting the inside wall violently with eight laps to go after contact from behind by Michael McDowell . "I've hit the inside wall of a superspeedway I think maybe like four times now and that was the worst," she said. "I know I got drilled from behind and turned sideways … and hello wall." Grade: C 25. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Logano was still sore from his wreck on the final lap of Saturday's XFINITY race, and his day ended in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181. His aggressive driving initiated the second caution, and there also was his contact with Matt Kenseth that resulted in an earful from Kenseth after the race. Logano didn't want to discuss what Kenseth said, instead saying, "Two days in a row , a couple big hits; can't wait to get out of this place." Grade: C- 26. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard was in the top 10 having a good run -- but at the wrong time. He was running beside Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson on the outside when Busch turned Johnson right into Menard's Chevrolet, setting off the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. Twenty laps later Menard's day ended in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181. Grade: C 27. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Almirola was collected in two wrecks, with the second one, a 12-car mashup on the backstretch with eight laps to go providing the knockout blow to the No. 43. Grade: C 28. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was running around 15th place when the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 began right in front of him. His Chevrolet sustained damage and left the scene trailing flames. He finished 10 laps back. Grade: D 29. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson led nine laps and had the lead three-quarters of the way through the race. Larson was running just outside the top 10 when Kurt Busch hit the back of Jimmie Johnson two cars in front him, touching off a 21-car accident that collected his Chevrolet. Grade: C 30. Brian Scott, No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. The rookie's promising day was derailed after the big wreck on Lap 161. He finished 16 laps back, his most off the lead this season. Grade: D 31. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin's trouble on the track extended to pit road, where he had two incidents and several penalties. He also sustained damage in the 21-car pileup on Lap 161. Grade: D- 32. Regan Smith, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith was running in the top 10 with 30 laps to go but was collected the Lap 161 wreck and finished 20 laps back. Grade: D 33. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears spun into Aric Almirola on Lap 59 after he was hit by Michael Waltrip , sending the No. 13 to the garage for repairs. It wasn't Mears' fault, but he still finished 22 laps back. Grade: C 34. David Ragan, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was running 24th and within a second of the lead when his engine expired on Lap 151. Grade: D 35. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards' two-race winning streak came to an abrupt halt. On Lap 110 "something let go" and the No. 19 ran up the track and pinned Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 to the wall, ending the day for both drivers. Grade: F 36. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The No. 83 suffered damage in the first wreck of the race. Engine issues ended his day after 98 laps run. Grade: F 37. Chris Buescher, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Just past the halfway point, Buescher's car became the first of the day to go airborne and flip. Buescher called the wreck "miserable" and a "bummer." He was right. Grade: F 38. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Annett was collected in the same wreck that sent Chris Buescher flipping. Annett's Chevrolet smashed hard into the inside wall, ending his day. Grade: F 39. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne followed his best finish of the season (fourth at Richmond) with a two-crash dud, the second a single-car accident that brought out the fifth caution. Grade: F 40. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Terrible day for the 88. Earnhardt's first crash was similar to his crash in the Daytona 500 -- the back of his car came around. "We missed something this morning," he said. "It shouldn't have been on the splitter that hard." Then when he returned to the track after repairs, his steering wheel came off. On Lap 110, Earnhardt's day ended when Carl Edwards ran up the track and smashed into his Chevrolet. Grade: F.
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
Furniture Row Racing
The history of Furniture Row Racing and full crew for Martin Truex Jr.
Furniture Row Racing to appeal penalty
Jonathan Merryman gets you Up To Speed from Las Vegas Motor Speedway after Furniture Row Racing announced that they would appeal the penalties handed out by NASCAR, following the race in Atlanta.
Junior talks plate success that others still seek
RELATED: Full schedule " Dale Jr.'s 'Amelia' ready to take flight again TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In his mind, the best race Dale Earnhardt Jr . ever ran at Talladega Superspeedway won't be remembered for one simple reason. "Because I didn't win," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said Friday during a day of practice on the 2.66-mile layout. "I'm disappointed because of what happened in that race and what we were doing with the car and what the car was doing was amazing. It sucks because we were just 6 inches short of being declared the winner. … We've lost a lot of races here, but I can't even remember any of them that stand out like that." A winner in the spring race at Talladega, Earnhardt Jr. returned in the fall needing another victory to keep his championship hopes alive. Although he led a race-high 61 laps, officials determined that Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) was the leader and thus the winner when the caution came out on a green-white-checkered restart that froze the field and ended the race. Fifty-five. That's how many races the 41-year-old Earnhardt has lost on tracks where NASCAR requires the use of restrictor plates to keeps speeds in check. However, 10 wins during a career that launched full-time in 2000, puts the son of a seven-time champion in the role of the favorite in plate races. That's twice as many as the soon-to-be-retired Tony Stewart and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson . It's as much a statement about the car, Earnhardt said, as the driver. And what one does with it. "If the car can't complete the passes that my mind mentally wants it to make, then I won't be as offensive and as confident in making those moves," he said. "When I was driving the (Budweiser) car, around 2003, '04, '05 when we were winning all those races, I raced as hard in practice as I did in the race. …You kind of can set the tone early in the weekend with your competitors that this is who you're going to be out on the track; plus this is the car you've got." It certainly helped that his father, Dale Earnhardt, was a master of plate racing , winning 13 times combined at Talladega and Daytona. RELATED: See all of Earnhardt Sr.'s wins "I learned a tremendous amount because I solely watched him whereas, someone else who grew up around the sport may not have focused as much on one particular driver," Earnhardt Jr. said. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards have combined to win the last four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races heading into Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Fellow JGR teammate Denny Hamlin scored the win in the season-opener at Daytona, the most recent restrictor-plate race. MORE: Edwards: 'Kyle and I haven't talked' since Richmond "You can't make stupid mistakes," Edwards, still searching for his first plate-track win, said. "I learned that early on." Caught up in an incident during one restrictor-plate race, Edwards said he told then-car owner Jack Roush afterward "something like, 'Man, there's just nothing I could do to miss the wreck.' " At which point Roush gave his driver a piece of advice. "He said, 'You might want to go look at the tape because you drove right past Tony Stewart into the wreck and he somehow missed it.' "I went back and watched and I learned from that," Edwards said. "You really have to be watching ahead and you have to pay attention." That he's yet to win a restrictor-plate race is perplexing, considering the 36-year-old has 27 career victories. "I don't need to see my stats at these places," he said, "because they're not good. … I'd like to get a superspeedway win. We've got great cars and we've got great teammates. I feel like I know how to run these races, but I just haven't been able to get the victory out of it. Hopefully we can do that." Edwards isn't the only notable still searching for that first plate win. Former series champion Kurt Busch (2004) and Martin Truex Jr ., who lost to Hamlin by a nose at Daytona, are as well. "We've seen Dale over the years just really show everybody how it's done and that's because he has a really good understanding of the air, the way it works and knowing how to use that to his advantage," Truex Jr. ( Furniture Row Racing ) said. "For me … I've kind of had good races and bad and lately I feel like I've learned a lot more and gotten better at it, but there's still a lot to learn. MORE: Five to Watch: Sleeper picks " Wildest Talladega wrecks
Furniture Row's move to Toyota eased by JGR alliance
RELATED: Furniture Row to field Toyota Camrys in 2016 Jimmy Makar knows all about switching manufacturers. In 2008, Makar, the Senior Vice President of Racing Operations at Joe Gibbs Racing , helped guide the organization during its transition from Chevrolet to Toyota. With Furniture Row Racing making the change from Chevrolet to Toyota for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, a move that includes a technical alliance with JGR, Makar has a keen understanding of what lies ahead for the Denver, Colorado-based team. "I hate to say it's easier," Makar, crew chief at JGR for more than a decade, said, "but it is easier than it used to be." The biggest issue for Makar and his group when JGR made the move involved the engine department, which at that time built and maintained engines for its Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series programs. While the organization continued to build its own engines through 2011, swapping from building the Chevrolet R-07 to the Toyota engine was time-consuming and costly. In 2012, JGR teams began using engines built by Toyota Racing Development, an arrangement that continues today. There will be no such problem for Furniture Row since the team doesn't build its own engines. Previously, Earnhardt Childress Racing supplied the horsepower; now it will come from TRD. "The engine program is a huge undertaking if you have to change that," Makar said. "The bodies aren't nearly as big of a deal anymore, especially now with the way the rules are. You have to install different sheet metal but it's basically the same, so that's not as bad of a deal. "They've got their work cut out for them to do all that work, certainly. But the partnership that we’ve developed with them and what we're doing for them will help a lot, too." Furniture Row , owned by Barney Visser, has fielded Chevrolet-branded entries since 2005 when it debuted the No. 78 in a one-race effort with driver Jerry Robertson. It began competing full time in 2008 with Joe Nemechek . The team enters '16 with 307 starts and two wins -- in '11 with Regan Smith and '15 with current driver Martin Truex Jr ., who made it all the way to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season. RELATED: Truex picks up familiar sponsor Changing manufacturer allegiances in NASCAR is hardly uncommon, but the reasons behind such a move can vary. Team Penske made the switch from Dodge to Ford after the 2012 season when Dodge pulled out of NASCAR; Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates went from Dodge to Chevrolet in 2009 when it began a short-lived association with Dale Earnhardt Inc. And in 2010, Richard Petty Motorsports ended its Dodge affiliation to align itself with Ford. When JGR made the move, the automaker was in just its second season at the Sprint Cup level and struggling to get its footing. But the long-range outlook appeared promising to JGR officials, who have said they felt they had more of a voice with the new alliance. Today Toyota teams boast 79 premier series victories -- including 70 by JGR drivers -- and Kyle Busch (JGR) enters the season as the defending series champion. Similarly, Joe Garone, general manager for Furniture Row said his group's move to Toyota had nothing to do with the support it received from Richard Childress Racing , with whom it shared a technical alliance but was more about "Chevrolet, as far as the level of support you get to run. "If we were going to run and be happy running in the middle of the field week in and week out, we would have been fine where we were," Garone said. "But Chevrolet has their hands full. They have plenty of teams and, as a new one coming in we were always going to be the bottom team. They can only spread themselves so thin. So, honestly, there wasn’t the opportunity for us to get to the upper tier. "Toyota looked at it completely differently. They could see the benefits that we bring to the table as a single-car team partnered with one of their teams, and they jumped right on board." The association with JGR, he said, was "like icing on the cake." While there were previous conversations about JGR and the now defunct Michael Waltrip Racing working more closely together, team owner Joe Gibbs said "that never kind of came together." "I think this one was something we all talked over and Toyota thought it would be good for them. We seemed to hit it off with Barney and myself, and we decided to share a lot of technology and stuff, so that's what we’re going to do." In addition to chassis and technical support, JGR will also provide the bulk of the pit crew for the No. 78 team. Adam Mosher (rear tire carrier) and Brian Dheel (gas man) return from Truex's 2015 over-the-wall crew. The members will train and be based out of Gibbs shop in Huntersville, North Carolina. "Honestly, it's about the car you take to the track and being better than the next guy's," Garone said. "We take the rock and polish it. We're really good at polishing it, but we don't necessarily build the rock. We get a Joe Gibbs chassis, we build that and we focus on that. "As a single-car team, we put all our energy on that one car and R&D and technology, and don't have to spread ourselves over many cars. So sometimes we can move quicker than some of the other guys."
NASCAR: No word from Furniture Row on appeal
LAS VEGAS -- By the start of the Kobalt 400 on Sunday in Las Vegas, NASCAR had not yet received word from Furniture Row Racing that it was officially withdrawing its appeal of crew chief Cole Pearn's one-race suspension. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer , confirmed Monday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the sanctioning body still had not gotten any sort of notice. FOX reported during the early portion of Sunday's race that Pearn told the network the team would withdraw its appeal and he would serve the one-race suspension issued to him as punishment next week at Phoenix. The team was found to have illegal roof flaps before the Atlanta event. It resulted in a P3 penalty that included a $50,000 fine, 15-point deductions of championship driver points and owner points and Pearn's suspension. The team initially said it would appeal the punishment because it was a "safety issue" not something that resulted in a competitive edge. Furniture Row officials told NASCAR.com the team had no official announcement regarding its appeal. "I think from Cole's side he's a little frustrated about how it all went down, which is understandable," Truex said Friday in Las Vegas. "People in the garage area talk and he feels like, 'Do people really think I'm stupid enough after what happened at Daytona to try to pull something over on NASCAR in the same area?' "Being that it's a safety issue, it's really a big deal to us to figure out exactly how it all happened. He'll figure exactly how to make sure something like this doesn't happen again and he'll go through the appeal process and see what comes of it." Furniture Row Racing General Manager Joe Garone told NASCAR.com on Friday in Las Vegas, "In some ways, it's spun up into a little bit bigger deal than it actually is, so we're just trying to keep it what it really is and focus on racing ."
Furniture Row Racing looks for more support
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
Furniture Row Racing 2016 team preview
After a successful 2015 season, Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing enter a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing in hopes of a championship run in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Furniture Row Racing seeks second team by 2017
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