Tag Archives: Furniture Row Racing

Only a Matter of Time: Truex claims long-awaited win at Pocono

Martin Truex Jr. hugs girlfriend Sherry Pollex after winning the Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Credit: @NASCAR on Twitter)
Martin Truex Jr. hugs girlfriend Sherry Pollex after winning the Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Credit: @NASCAR on Twitter)

Martin Truex Jr. is finally a winner.

The No. 78 team cashed their ticket in Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, claiming victory after finishing in the top-10 in 12 of the last 13 races. His consistency wasn’t lost on anyone; media and fans alike waited for this moment to arrive.

The Richmond International Raceway scandal left Truex out of the Chase and with a bad taste in his mouth. After leaving Michael Waltrip Racing, his future looked bleak. He joined Furniture Row Racing, a one-car team that helped Kurt Busch get back on his feet. During 2013, Busch earned 11 top-10s and finished 10th in points. The New Jersey native decided to align with FRR and start all over.

It wasn’t going to be easy; 2014 was a difficult time for the No. 78 team, earning only one top-5 finish all season. The on-track struggle, however, wasn’t the only obstacle. Summer brought the news that Truex’s long-time girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She underwent surgery, and the treatments soon began. November brought the end of a trying season.

Changes were made, including a crew chief switch. Cole Pearn stepped in, who became the second crew chief from Canada. This turned out to be exactly what the team needed.

Truex’s win at Pocono is the third of his career, propelling him to third in the point standings and the Chase. As he rolled his Chevrolet into victory lane, Pollex was there to give him a hug that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. The win gave her something to smile about, even with eight months of chemotherapy still ahead.

Pocono was full of cautions and great racing, but nothing could top such a deserving win. It was only a matter of time.

The No. 78 team will try to ride the momentum into Michigan International Speedway, the two-mile track next on the schedule. There hasn’t been much success there for Martin Truex Jr., but this season is a season of change for him. Kevin Harvick, who finished second at Pocono, will definitely rival whatever the newest Chase driver can put down.

Action is abundant in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and it’s time to get excited.

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Dillon wins Daytona 500 pole, shares front row with Truex

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is different from other races, and the Sunday before The Great American Race is the first half of the procedure; a regular, single-car qualifying session takes place, yet the only positions that matter are first and second. The front row is determined, and then two qualifying races set the rest of the field. Those events, the Budweiser Duels, will happen Thursday night and be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1.

In a three-hour TV slot, 49 cars put up times, beginning with NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. The lineup was arranged by random draw, and rookies making first-time attempts were mixed in with seasoned veterans and champions. It’s a great way to start off the season.

Another great way? Having a huge storyline that fuels interest and enthusiasm. NASCAR got that today.

In the number that legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. made iconic, rookie Austin Dillon claimed the pole. When no one could knock him down, fans were split down the middle; half cheered and raved, while some were skeptical and playing conspiracy theorist. No matter the feeling, the No. 3 holding the top spot at Daytona International Speedway brought out emotion in everyone. Car owner and grandfather Richard Childress was visibly thrilled, for seeing his grandson and his old friend’s number come out on top.

That’s not the only feel-good story we’ll have heading into next weekend.

Second place goes to Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 78 for Furniture Row Racing, who also runs Earnhardt-Childress engines like Dillon. Truex raced for Michael Waltrip Racing last year, making The Chase yet affected by the Richmond International Raceway controversy in September. If being pulled from the “playoffs” wasn’t upsetting enough, the negative publicity shoved his main sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts, away from MWR. This resulted in him having to find another ride, but it hasn’t stopped him. The drive put the single-car team on the front row, the organization known for helping Kurt Busch get back on his feet last year. There’s no doubt that Truex is already doing great things to further Furniture Row Racing’s success.

After everything was said and done, I asked fans on Twitter to describe the qualifying session in one word. Here are some of the answers I received: meaningless, ugh, fixed, boring, and annoying. Sounds like people are ready for the new qualifying system, which begins at Phoenix International Raceway.

The Budweiser Duels will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 on Thursday, February 20th.

Swallowing Pride: Kurt Busch moves to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014

It’s difficult to admit you’ve messed up. The truth slithers up your throat, yet it’s yanked back down by hardheaded pride. Looking back at all the mistakes made, you feel ashamed and disappointed in yourself.

You finally come to terms with the truth: you were wrong. Then the rebuilding begins.

Kurt Busch has laid the final brick in his foundation, one that has led him to the home of Stewart-Haas Racing. The formal announcement from SHR (which is meant for “discussing the expansion of their team”) is slated for tomorrow, but Busch himself confirmed the news. He has signed with the organization for 2014.

This comes a week after the team officially offered a position to Busch. Saturday, Busch’s current home, Furniture Row Racing, gave him the possibility of a contract extension.

When you’re given the chance to return to a top-tier team, you have to take it. So he did.

The driver is reported as saying he is “truly thankful” for what FRR has done for him, and the feeling is mutual. Earlier this season, a team representative talked about Busch’s options when Silly Season began to creep in.

“[Kurt Busch] is capable of winning races, but our equipment isn’t,” was a shocking statement made by the team. It seems like many knew on some level that was true -even their driver.

The Busch/FRR deal was a boost for both parties, and it aided the eldest Busch brother in his redemption.

This fills the Stewart-Haas lineup, the team now fielding four cars. Team owner Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, and Kevin Harvick, another new addition, will become Busch’s teammates. The team’s mothership, Hendrick Motorsports, supplies their equipment.

There will be no worry of not being able to win for Busch. Next season’s move is the result of hard work, self-assessment, and swallowing of pride. That’s complicated to do, but he’s done it.

Congratulations, Kurt Busch.

During Silly Season, when it rains, it pours

When it rains, it pours. Except, in NASCAR, where doesn’t just pour, it monsoons.

News broke late Sunday night that Stewart-Haas Racing has made a formal offer to Kurt Busch for 2014. This means the team would extend to a four-car operation. Must I remind you, co-owner Tony Stewart kicked Ryan Newman to the curb earlier this season, saying there wasn’t enough funding for another ride.

Newman’s back is probably stinging a bit. Either Stewart found some money, or betrayal was involved. Hmm.

Speaking of Stewart, it was revealed Monday afternoon that the three-time champion would be out for the rest of the season due to the leg injury he sustained during a Sprint car wreck at the beginning of August. Austin Dillon filled in for him this past week at Michigan, and he will reprise his role during The Chase, running at Talladega.

As for the other twelve races, Mark Martin will be the substitute. This comes a week after Michael Waltrip Racing announced Brian Vickers will run fulltime in the No. 55, the ride he currently splits with Martin and team owner Waltrip, next season. The deal between Martin and SHR officially breaks the contract he held with MWR.

Vickers will slip into Martin’s old ride for twelve races, letting Waltrip run Talladega as scheduled.

On the NASCAR Nationwide series side of things, Richard Childress Racing is bringing Ty Dillon to the next level, placing him in the No. 3 permanently in 2014. The older Dillon will then jump to the Cup series, and it’s assumed he will bring the No. 3, made iconic by Dale Earnhardt, back into Cup competition. Earnhardt, who ran for Childress and was a close friend, knew the Dillon brothers when they were little kids.

In my eyes, I see Busch at RCR next year. Furniture Row Racing, where he currently takes residence, is a satellite team of Childress’ operation. It would be a good fit. However, the team has had a strong interest in Newman also. If Busch goes to SHR, Newman will either be in the Childress camp, the newly opened No. 42 for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, or even the FRR ride, the No. 78. If Busch picks RCR, the latter two options are open for this year’s Brickyard winner.

Stewart being out the remainder of the season isn’t a surprise, but it could possibly be somewhat of a Godsend. With Martin being in the seat, he can provide amazing feedback that could help the other two teams in the shop. His commentary did wonders for MWR, and maybe this will lead to a mentoring or coaching role at SHR, a position he has expressed interest in.

That move forces Vickers into his future ride earlier than expected, giving his extra time to adjust. How can that be a bad thing? Well, it could take his focus off his run toward a Nationwide championship, but he should do fine.

Ty Dillon’s move into the second-tier NASCAR series seems a bit rushed, but he’ll do fine. The other Dillon, though, is already causing controversy, and the deal hasn’t been officially announced. That’s right, the infamous “No. 3 Debate” is rearing its head again. I see no problem with it, simple as that.

This year’s edition of Musical Chairs has begun a bit earlier than expected. But don’t expect it to stop pounding rain just yet.

This is just a drizzle.