The 2015 season will be Furniture Row Racing’s 10th anniversary in NASCAR.
The single-car team based in the Mile High City of Denver began its NASCAR career in the Xfinity Series (formerly known as the Nationwide Series) with driver Jerry Robertson qualifying on March 26, 2005 at Nashville Superspeedway.
The team’s first Sprint Cup race was a few months later (June 5) with driver Kenny Wallace qualifying the No. 78 Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway.
“It’s hard to imagine that it has been 10 years,” said owner Barney Visser, who defied skeptics by basing his team in Denver, Colorado, nearly 1400 miles from NASCAR’s racing hub in Charlotte, N.C. “To be involved in NASCAR has been an exciting time for everyone involved with Furniture Row and Furniture Row Racing.”
Visser added, “We’ve enjoyed success over the years and also taken our lumps. But we remain committed as an organization to field a Chase-contending team on a weekly basis.”
Visser, who is also owner of Furniture Row, one of America’s largest family-owned specialty home furnishings and bedding retailers with more than 330 stores in 31 states, took up auto racing as a driver after semi-retiring from his businesses. He competed at local events at Colorado National Speedway. His passion for motorsports and the marketing potential the sport provided eventually led Visser to NASCAR.
Furniture Row Racing has competed in 290 NASCAR races since 2005 --19 in the Xfinity Series (2005 & 2006) and 271 in the premier Sprint Cup Series (2005 to present).
Colorado native Jerry Robertson was the team’s driver for all 19 Xfinity races and there were seven different drivers who drove the No. 78 in 271 Cup races -- Wallace (29), Robertson (1), Jimmy Spencer (2), Joe Nemechek (41), Regan Smith (120), Kurt Busch (42) and current driver Martin Truex Jr. (36).
The only Sprint Cup team based west of the Carolinas, Furniture Row Racing has qualified for every scheduled Cup race the past five seasons.
Furniture Row’s best season was 2013 when it made history by becoming the first single-car team to qualify for NASCAR’s postseason Chase playoffs. Busch drove the No. 78 Chevy that season to 11 top fives, 16 top 10s and finished 10th in the final point standings.
The team’s first victory was scored by Smith at the 2011 Southern Nationals at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Nemechek notched the team’s first pole in May 2008 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
The catalyst behind the growth of Furniture Row Racing since its inception has been the team’s general manager Joe Garone, a Denver native, who previously worked as a crewmember in NASCAR and later worked directly for NASCAR at its Research and Development Center in Charlotte. He also served as NASCAR’s director of officiating.
“To personally see how we’ve developed over the years has been very gratifying,” said Garone. “It all starts at the top and Barney has given us the resources to compete at a contending level. By being based in Denver we had some early logistics to work out. But we figured it out fairly quickly, and right now we’re a smoothly run race team, which has been strengthened for the 2015 season.”