Furniture Row Racing is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2015, and FRR driver Martin Truex Jr. looks to be helping the team celebrate in the best way possible — a string of top-10 finishes. Okay, I realize a win or two would be better, but Truex and the No. 78 team have four-straight top-10 finishes, so far. That’s four top-10s in the first four races of the season, and when someone runs up front that consistently, wins tend to come along eventually. Given recent performance by Truex and company, a win or two may come sooner rather than later. Oh, and by the way, Truex is third in points.
Furniture Row, at least its race team, began in 2005 with an Xfinity (then-Nationwide) Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. The team made two Sprint (then-Nextel) Cup starts that year and continued on at the Cup level, eventually going full-time Cup racing a few years later.
Looking back, I guess it seems now that the stars aligned just right for a Furniture Row Racing/Truex marriage, of sorts. As the 2013 season drew to a close, FRR’s then-driver, Kurt Busch, set his sights on Stewart-Haas Racing, while Truex became an odd-man-out over at Michael Waltrip Racing after that Richmond “spin-gate” incident resulted in NAPA severing its ties with MWR. No sponsor for the MWR No. 56 = no ride for Truex.
Speculation already had Juan Montoya heading to Furniture Row to replace the departing Busch. After all, Kyle Larson already had been annointed the new driver of the No. 42 Chevy at Chip Ganassi Racing, displacing Montoya. But alas, Montoya was finished with NASCAR, at least with full-time NASCAR competition, and returned home to IndyCar.
Furniture Row Racing, meet Martin Truex Jr.
FRR hasn’t exacty paved an easy road for itself, not that Sprint Cup Series racing provides and easy road for anyone, despite how easy Jimmie Johnson has made it look at times and Kevin Harvick is making it look right now. The ideal business model for a successful Sprint Cup race team seems to include a Charlotte-area locale and multiple cars on the track. Furniture Row Racing is bucking that trend, though, and in a big way. It’s a single-car team located probably almost as far away from Charlotte as it can get — Denver, Colo. Yeah, there is an alliance with Richard Childress Racing, but FRR is still its own team way out there in Denver.
Maybe this West Coast swing is to Furniture Row Racing’s advantage. While all those Charlotte-based teams are shipping cars back and forth from their Charlotte-area shops to tracks like Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontanta, Calif., and keeps some of their team members out west and some going back and forth cross-country, the folks at Furniture Row Racing have to love this portion of the schedule. This West Coast swing for them is probably what the rest of the schedule is like for everybody else — race on Sunday, followed by the quick trip home on Sunday night or Monday.
Will there be a drop in performance for FRR after the West Coast swing is over? I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball. One thing’s for sure; the team has gotten out of the 2015 gate without a hitch in its giddy-up. And that start includes a Daytona wild card race. Just imagine if Furniture Row Racing closes out the West Coast swing with a win at Auto Club Sunday before heading to that other side of the country. After all, “win and your in” the Chase for the Sprint Cup, that is if you remain in the top-30 in points, and the team would have to take some kind of beyond-severe slide to fall out of the top-30, I would think.
For Furniture Row Racing’s sake, maybe Fontana will be one of those second-place weeks for Harvick.