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Progress is evident for Truex Jr., Furniture Row
Martin Truex Jr . led a race-high 172 laps on Saturday night at Kansas Speedway , which serves as the "home" track for Denver-based Furniture Row Racing . A mechanical issue kept him out of Victory Lane, but his single-car team was the class of the field -- just ask race-winner Kyle Busch . "The 78 was probably the fastest car," Busch said of his Toyota teammate. It's something to get used to. Furniture Row Racing , owned by Barney Visser and stationed near the Rocky Mountains as opposed to "Race City USA," has developed into one of the premier teams in NASCAR while operating under the radar to the west of the Mississippi River. RELATED: Learn more about Furniture Row Coming off a year in which the single-car organization qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the second time in three years, and then promptly followed that with a berth in the Championship 4 Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway , the organization may be even better in 2016. This season's results prove last year's playoff push was no fluke. A manufacturer change from Chevrolet to Toyota brought alignment with Joe Gibbs Racing , and Truex is consistently one of the fastest cars every week. He and Furniture Row appear in excellent shape to qualify for the postseason for the second consecutive year, and perhaps another deep run is possible. Here's how driver and team got to this point. The past Visser began his career in the manufacturing business more than 40 years ago, starting the Furniture Row company in 1972 after growing up dreaming not of racing , but of business. That drive turned into a successful career in the west as the owner of several retailers -- but when Visser decided to cut back, he caught the NASCAR bug. Racing as a hobby at Colorado National Speedway led to his desire to start a NASCAR XFINITY Series team, which has evolved into the successful single-car Sprint Cup team. (The first year in Cup was 2005.) The organization earned its first win in 2011 when Regan Smith won the historic Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . In 2013, Kurt Busch qualified for the postseason and would finish the season 10th in points, then the best standing in team history. That changed last year. Truex Jr. joined the company before the 2014 season after losing his ride at Michael Waltrip Racing when that organization went from three cars to two. In 2015, Truex and first-year crew chief Cole Pearn led Furniture Row to its second-ever win when he conquered the "Tricky Triangle" of Pocono. It capped a four-race stretch in which Truex led 454 laps and asserted Furniture Row as a premier series power. A technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing buoyed Furniture Row , then running Chevrolets, last year -- and Truex would advance deeper into the Chase than any of RCR's three drivers. The present Speed hasn't been a problem for Furniture Row Racing after the switch to Toyota. If anything, the team has been faster this year. "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," Furniture Row General Manager Joe Garone said before the season. "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." Truex has one top-five and four top-10 finishes through 11 races, but that doesn't fully tell the story. His 370 laps led are behind only Joe Gibbs Racing 's Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards and Stewart-Haas Racing 's Kevin Harvick . His average start (12.2) and average finish (12.7) both rank in the top 10 in NASCAR; only six other drivers can say the same. In short, there's been plenty of speed, just not finishes -- Kansas was shaping up to be one of the most dominant showings of the season until a fluke tire issue caused the No. 78 to pit from the lead late. "I couldn't believe it," Truex said after the race. "It's frustrating, but that's how it goes. We're going to win some races (this year), for sure. We keep bringing cars like that, we're going to win some. ... It's tough, but it happens. It's part of racing ." Watch: Truex Jr. stays positive after tough finish The future Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing have proven to be a good fit, and the addition of sponsors such as Bass Pro Shop and Auto Owners Insurance help the team move toward a reality of running two cars. In July of last year, Visser told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: "We'd like to have (a second team) by '17. ... 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." A technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing will likely prove fruitful for years, as the JGR Toyota Camrys appear to have a leg up on the field, and Truex himself sits above Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth in the points standings. "I don't like to look back, but I think it's safe to say that we had the opportunity to have two win stickers on our car at this point of the season," Truex said before Kansas, which could have been win No. 3. "We've gone through a major transition by switching to Toyota and having a new technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing . I truly feel that we've come a long way in a short period of time, and feel the rest of the season looks promising for our Furniture Row Racing team."
NASCAR to honor fallen troops with 600 Miles of Remembrance
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (May 23, 2016) -- Continuing the sport's long-standing tradition of honoring the United States Armed Forces, all 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will bear the name of a fallen service member on their race car windshields during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), NASCAR announced today. For the second consecutive year, "600 Miles of Remembrance" will pay tribute this Memorial Day Weekend to those who bravely served and died defending our country. Windshield headers normally reserved for drivers' last names will read "SGT HARVEY," "LCPL RAMIREZ," and "SPC BEAUDOIN," among other names of the fallen. The special tribute will commemorate the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute ™, the industry's collective expression of respect and gratitude for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present. Fans can follow the conversation on social media using #NASCARsalutes. "Each of the names proudly displayed on these race cars tells a story of honor and sacrifice," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. "As the NASCAR industry reflects on Memorial Day Weekend, we’re proud to honor these and all fallen service members in a way that helps ensure their stories and lives are never forgotten." Many of the service members whose names will be displayed on the race cars were chosen by the teams, and some have unique connections to the fallen. Navy SEAL Denis Miranda, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2010, trained in BUD/S alongside Graham Molatch, jackman for the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team. Miranda’s name will appear on Kyle Larson 's car during the Coca-Cola 600 . Lance Corporal Scott Lynch served in the United States Marine Corps with Mark Singleton, tire changer for Chip Ganassi Racing , and will be honored on Jamie McMurray 's No. 1 car. Furniture Row Racing employee John Parks served in the Marines with Jeffrey Bohr, Jr., a gunnery sergeant who was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and whose name will be carried on Martin Truex Jr . 's No. 78 car. Toyota will also honor the names of fallen service members on its pace cars and grand marshal cars for the Coca-Cola 600 as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance. Many of the families of the service members being recognized will be in attendance at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The track will host more than 6,000 active military members at the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of Memorial Day. Throughout the week, NASCAR: An American Salute will feature various activities demonstrating the industry's support for the military, including: · During Saturday’s Hisense 4K TV 300 , NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will display red, white and blue XFINITY windshield decals on their race cars. · Goodyear will replace the "Eagle" sidewall design with "Support Our Troops" messaging on all tires used during the Memorial Day Weekend races. · NASCAR, Coca-Cola and Mars, through the annual military support program, DeCA, will offer a sweepstakes to shoppers at more than 180 commissaries who will have a chance to win a trip for two to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. The kickoff event will take place at Fort Bragg on May 25 and feature No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin . The 2016 DAYTONA 500 winner will tour the Warrior Transition Battalion Unit and visit with families at the South Commissary. · In partnership with Operation Gratitude, Mars will invite race fans to help assemble care packages for the troops in the midway at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The care packages will include Mars candy and be shipped following the Coca-Cola 600 to deployed military members. · NASCAR and Honor and Remember, Inc. will display specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing those who lost their life in service to our country from each of the 50 United States throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway . During the Coca Cola 600 pre-race broadcast (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX), FOX Sports will recognize all service members who have lost their lives in the past year by displaying their names and branch of service on a graphic scroll. This Sunday, NASCAR drivers will discuss 600 Miles of Remembrance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) during a special military tribute show airing at 1 p.m. ET. The Dialed In Salute to the Troops special, hosted by Claire B. Lang, will feature interviews with several drivers as well as service men and service women from different branches of the military. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 will be broadcast live from Charlotte Motor Speedway at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Additional live coverage can be found on NASCAR.com . To view an online gallery of the service members honored as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance, visit www.NASCAR.com/salute .
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.
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
Goodyear test at Michigan includes possible '17 changes
CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams saw their time cut short this past week during a tire test at Michigan International Speedway , but Goodyear officials said the on-track time was sufficient for the tire supplier's needs. Additionally, NASCAR officials were on hand for the May 17 session to examine the impact of recently announced rule changes for '16 and potential aerodynamic adjustments for the '17 season. Rain around the 2-mile track delayed the start of the test, and returned later, forcing officials to end the session just after 2 p.m. "We were able to run through our stuff pretty quickly and got some long runs in," Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It was a confirmation test; we weren't going through a lot of different combinations or anything. We just confirmed that what we had taken was the right combination. Everyone was very comfortable with it. "There was plenty of grip; it was cool, but we knew that going in. No surprises. We were real comfortable with everything." Drivers taking part in the test were Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota), Austin Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford) and Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet). More cars and warmer track temperatures will be in store when teams return to the Irish Hills for the Firekeepers Casino 400, scheduled for Sunday, June 12. "You know that going in," Stucker said. "But obviously we had to get up there at a certain time to confirm that our production is going to be OK. You don't have a choice. But you rely on a lot of history, understand how the conditions will change and you've got some of that built into your recommendation. You just have to know that going into it." NASCAR officials gathered on-track information on a variety of spoiler, skirt, splitter and deck fin combinations under consideration for next season's package. • This week's rule adjustments involving rear toe and the use of electric fans take downforce and side force away, moves that should give Goodyear more flexibility in tire builds. "If anything it's going in the less grip direction," he said. "So I think it will open up the window a little bit more for the tire package rather than something that's going to make the cars faster and make it harder on tires. It's actually going in the other direction." The rear toe adjustment, which will decrease the amount of skew (slant) in a car's setup, is in place only for this weekend's Sprint All-Star Race at this time. • Stucker said the supplier had confirmed a tire for this year's return to Watkins Glen International following a test there on the recently repaved road course. "Where we landed was actually the (right-side) tire that we raced at Iowa from a compound and construction perspective," he said. "It's a known quantity, which is good for us. We know the compound well. It gave us the performance we felt was where we need to be."
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