Since coming to the Cup Series in 2005, Furniture Row Racing has grown into its current form gradually. Over the first several years of their existence, poor finishes and DNQs were the norm. But owner Barney Visser stayed the course, and with Regan Smith at the wheel, the team has gained respectability. Their first taste of victory came last season at Darlington, and that earned relevance has Furniture Row at the center of expansion rumors.
It was reported early in May that Furniture Row had spoken with Kurt Busch about possibly driving a second car next season, and they’ve been mentioned as a possible destination for Dodge. Some serious obstacles would have to be overcome if they moved to Dodge, but Competition Director Mark McArdle has previous experience with the manufacturer.
Being located in Denver, Colo., Furniture Row faces unique challenges. They are not completely self-sufficient, as they currently get cars and technical support from Richard Childress Racing, and engines from Earnhardt-Childress Racing. Attracting talented mechanics away from the Charlotte area has been tough, but they’ve made inroads over the last few seasons.
And now, with expansion becoming a serious possibility, Furniture Row is looking at taking another farmed out part of their race team in-house: their pit crew. For the last few years, Furniture Row’s pit crew has been provided by Stewart-Haas Racing. The crew practices and trains at SHR’s shop, and then dons Furniture Row gear for race day. The catch? SHR can pull any member of the crew at any moment if needed.
For next season however, Furniture Row has approached several crew guys about the possibility of moving to Denver and being a part of their first serious attempt at an in-house crew. Doing so would be another step towards complete autonomy in Denver, but it might be tough trying to lure six, and possibly twelve, of the more experienced crew guys out west.
Whatever happens, Furniture Row has shown it’s not far from being a real contender week in and week out. And it’s refreshing to see an owner really commit to investing in the future of his race team, and on his own dime no less.