Tag:Furniture Row Racing
Posted on: December 12, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 3:41 pm
 

Team Review/Preview: Furniture Row Racing

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
(Smith's upset Southern 500 victory at Darlington highlighted a surprisingly successful season for Furniture Row)

Review 

Furniture Row Racing made some huge strides in 2011 as the team continued to battle against the odds as a single car entity headquartered in Denver, Colorado. 

Despite being a solo effort based well outside of the Charlotte NASCAR hub, Furniture Row can proudly look back at a year that saw Regan Smith give the organization a win in the Southern 500. 

The 2011 season saw Smith and Furniture Row Racing score that Darlington as well as two top-fives and five top-tens - a marked improvement since the team did not have even a single top ten finish prior to the 2011 season.

"We made so much progress this season and feel that we're on the edge of hitting a new level of competition," said Smith, who finished twenty-sixth in the final standings. 

Although the organization shares an alliance with Richard Childress Racing, team owner Barney Visser has kept its headquarters in the Denver area despite the logistical challenges. 

"Basically he’s said ‘this is my hometown,’” Smith told the Denver post about his boss. “I want the race team here, I live here, I want to be able to go to it, and see it, and have my hands on it and being involved with it,' and that's what he's done. 

"It's a little more travel. We have to organize stuff ahead of time when it comes to parts, pieces, engines and things like that, but it's worked out really well and we've got great people out there." 

Despite overcoming the odds, Visser says that operating in Colorado rather than in North Carolina doesn’t provide any additional satisfaction for his success. 

"The fact that I've proven people wrong doesn't really mean anything to me," Visser said. "Just knowing that we can win every time we can go to a race track — really knowing it — is just huge for me. It adds a lot of thrill to the game. It's a lot of fun."

Smith’s Mother’s Day weekend win at Darlington was the high point of Furniture Row’s fun in 2011. The team outran Carl Edwards to the checkered flag despite not having four fresh tires and Smith called it the biggest accomplishment of his racing career.

“This race is so special and so meaningful,” Smith said in victory lane. “We were standing there looking at the names and the faces on the trophy, and you just look at it, and you think, ‘My face is going to be there right next to these guys, and it’ll be there forever.”

Things leveled off a bit as the summer wore on for Smith but he was still able to stay in the hunt for several more top five and ten finishes before the year ended.

And the team was also able to escape a potentially disastrous situation when its hauler nearly caught fire at Talladega in October.

“They were just taking the fuel probe off the can and it just ignited – it blew up,” General Manager Joe Garone said of the incident that ignited flames directly next to the team’s hauler.  “The tractor got a little bit of damage. It melted all the hoses. … We just need to have this one repaired. It was more scary than anything.”


 Smoke rises from the Furniture Row Racing hauler following the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Sunday.
(Fortunately there were no injuries or significant damage from the Talladega fire that broke out)


Preview

The team comes into the new campaign virtually unchanged with Smith back as driver and crew chief Pete Rondeau returning to call the shots.

The veteran crew chief likes the foundation the team is building and understands the benefits of being aligned with RCR as well.

“When you’re a single-car team in this day and age, you need to be aligned with another operation,” Rondeau said. “And fortunately for Furniture Row Racing, we have aligned ourselves with one of the best in Richard Childress Racing.

“Our technical and engineering alliance with RCR have made us a better team, no doubt about that. The data we receive from RCR has been very beneficial to our program and one of the reasons we made positive strides during the end of the 2010 season. RCR had three teams in the Chase in 2010, and to be aligned with those three teams is pretty stout. It’s been a great relationship with the folks at RCR and I anticipate more of the same in 2011.” 

Rondeau feels comfortable coming into 2012 and sees no reason why improvement cannot continue. 

“It’s all about consistency and keeping up with technology,” he said. “We kept on saying in 2010 that this is the first year of a three-year process. 

“We made strides this past year and expect that to keep on going in 2012.” 

Smith echoes the sentiment of his crew chief. 

"We made some big gains this season as a team and accomplished many of our goals," said Smith. "But we still didn't accomplish everything we wanted to so there's still plenty to get done. But with that said, I feel we are at a point where we are ready to reach another level of competition. I have the same feeling I had last year at this time."

 

Outlook 

The odds are still stacked against Furniture Row as long as it remains a one car team. Confidence is high within the organization after the successful 2011 campaign and the Darlington win proved under the right circumstances Smith can drive with the best in the business. But a realistic goal in 2012 should be maybe another trip to victory lane and a finish inside the first twenty of the point standings. Anything more would have to be considered an extraordinary accomplishment in this David vs. Goliath story.

CHECK OUT MORE POSTS FROM OUR 2011 TEAM REVIEW/2012 PREVIEW SERIES 

More NASCAR coverage

Posted on: August 26, 2010 11:49 am
 

Furniture Row signs Smith to extension

Regan Smith has signed up for two more years with Furniture Row Racing.

Smith was the 2008 Sprint Cup rookie of the year -- beating out Sam Hornish Jr. -- when he drove the 01 car for Dale Earnhardt Inc. While he finished 34th in points that season, he became the first driver in Cup history to finish every race entered in his rookie season.

When DEI merged with Chip Ganassi Racing, Smith was the odd man out and he hooked up with Furniture Row for a part-time gig in 2009. Furniture Row expanded its schedule in 2010 and Smith has held his own. He has qualified for all 24 races races and is currently 30th in points.

His best finish this season is 14th (Atlanta, March).

I think this is a good move for Furniture Row. Smith, 26, is a good young driver, who generally stays out of trouble on the track, keeping the need for repairs to a minimum.

-- Brian De Los Santos


Press release follows:

DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 26, 2010) -- Furniture Row Racing announced today that Regan Smith has signed a contract extension through the 2012 season to drive the team's No. 78 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, is currently in his second season driving for the Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing team. Last year he competed on a part-time basis, entering 20 races. The 26-year-old native of central New York is running a full schedule this season and will do the same in 2011 and 2012.

"Regan is a young, talented driver with an outstanding future," said Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing general manager. "He has done a great job as our athlete and also as a spokesperson for our organization. The contract extension does indeed express a serious commitment by both the race team and driver."

Garone added, "We have a team of proven employees, state-of-the-art equipment and dedicated partners. We are producing increasingly positive performances and strongly feel that we're on the right path to become a contending team."

Smith, who has competed in 83 career Cup races since his debut in March 2007 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, also feels the energy and spirit of Furniture Row Racing's commitment.

"I am both happy and humbled about the contract extension," said Smith. "Furniture Row Racing is a team on the move. I feel we've made some big gains this season and we are all encouraged about the future. I really admire the behind-the-scenes work ethic and commitment of each and every member of this team. They want to win as bad as I do and I am proud to be their driver."

Along with his 83 career Sprint Cup starts, Smith has also competed in 102 Nationwide Series races and 23 Camping World Truck Series races. His first NASCAR start was in the truck series -- Sept. 21, 2002 -- at South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va.

Posted on: January 29, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Furniture Row expected to align with RCR

According to a report on foxsports.com, Furniture Row is set to form a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing:

"While the team may look the same on the outside, eternally we're much stronger," said Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing. "One of the assets with the alliance with Richard Childress is our ability to be secure in the top 35.

"During the last quarter, we decided we needed to run the full season. Around May or June, we realized how much it hurt us not to run the full season."

In the offseason, FRR restructured its organization with an eye on expansion in the future. FRR acquired Mark McArdle, the former VP and director of competition at Richard Petty Motorsports, as its competition director and named former Michael Waltrip engineer Ryan Coniam crew chief for the No. 78. Pete Rondeau, who oversaw RPM's research and development program, joined FRR as car chief.

"Our hope is to secure our sponsorship to advance our growth as an organization for the future," Garone added. "We can race on the Furniture Row sponsorship, but it wouldn't allow us to expand to a second car. Our primary goal is to have the No. 78 team run at 100 percent efficiency."

FULL STORY

Reading between the lines, it appears the points from RCR's now shuttered 07 will be transferred to the 78 car. It will be up to Regan Smith to keep the car in the top 35.

Furniture Row has been the little team that could since in arrived on the scene in 2006. It ran full seasons from 2006-08 before cutbacks forced them to trim their schedule to 18 events in 2009. Smith, the 2008 Cup rookie of the year when he drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc., has never finished top 10 in 59 career Cup starts.

Furniture Row is based out of Denver, Colo., the only team headquartered west of the Mississippi.



 
 
 
 
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