ThatsRacin

Furniture Row Racing, Martin Truex Jr. are defying the odds

Thanks to Martin Truex Jr.’s victory Sunday at Pocono (Pa.), at least one single-car team will compete for the Sprint Cup Series championship for the second consecutive season.
Thanks to Martin Truex Jr.’s victory Sunday at Pocono (Pa.), at least one single-car team will compete for the Sprint Cup Series championship for the second consecutive season. AP

Its headquarters is located 1,500 miles from the hub of NASCAR country.

It’s a single-car team – supposedly a relic of bygone days past.

Many of the parts and pieces it uses it purchases from others.

Furniture Row Racing could be the classic NASCAR example of “The Little Engine That Could.”

It could, but actually it’s more like “The Little Engine That Has Spent the Last Month Running Circles Around All the Big Engines.”

Big-dollar, multicar teams are supposed to be the lifeblood of NASCAR these days but thanks to Martin Truex Jr.’s victory Sunday at Pocono (Pa.), at least one single-car team will compete for the Sprint Cup Series championship for the second consecutive season.

AJ Allmendinger’s victory at Watkins Glen, N.Y., last season sent the JTG Daugherty Racing organization into the Chase for the first time.

Thanks to Truex, Furniture Row Racing this year will make its second appearance in the Chase.

“I think there’s always going to be those powerhouse teams in the sport,” Truex said. “You’re going to always have Hendrick (Motorsports); you’re always going to have Penske, the big four-car teams.

“But I think there’s room for a lot more competitive single-car teams to kind of evolve and come to the forefront and be able to compete, be on the same level as a Hendrick or a Joe Gibbs (Racing) or somebody like that.”

As a way to increase income, several of the larger organizations in the Cup series have entered into several agreements with other teams to provide technical, chassis or engine support – and sometimes all three.

Stewart-Haas Racing, a four-car operation that twice has won the series championship, receives engine and technical support from Hendrick.

Furniture Row has a similar arrangement with Richard Childress Racing, a three-car team in the Cup series.

It’s not easy – there is usually at least one hauler making a cross-country trip each week ferrying parts, engines and sometimes chassis from North Carolina to Colorado.

Those in the organization, however, maintain a special bond with their unique employer.

“We’ve got a really good, tight-knit young group of guys, and it makes it a lot of fun being out there,” said Truex’s crew chief, Cole Pearn. “We’ve made all similar commitments in our lives to live out there.

“We all hang out with each other on days off, we do things together, and it just makes it a ton of fun when you can succeed with a group like that.”

Truex has led the most laps in each of the past four races – quite an accomplishment when you consider six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson has won four times already and Kevin Harvick has won twice and posted eight second-place finishes.

Clearly, Furniture Row’s single-car efforts are turning the heads of some of the biggest names in NASCAR.

“They probably spend as much money as anybody in the garage if not more,” Harvick said. “They have a lot of logistics to overcome and it’s taken them a long time to get the people in place, but they have good people.

“They put the effort in, and it shows.”

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