Chevy on Furniture Row: 'Business is business'
June 12, 2015, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
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ADRIAN, Mich. -- Chevrolet officials took note this week when team owner Barney Visser broached the subject of a possible manufacturer change for his Furniture Row Racing No. 78 team.
Asked about retaining the services of driver Martin Truex Jr., whose contract is scheduled to end after the 2015 season, Visser told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday that re-signing the driver is "certainly something we want to do."
"We just hate to screw around with anything right now, any negotiations, anything that might upset the applecart," he said. "... We'll get it done. We'll get in there and get started on this stuff. We'll see."
Sponsorship, he said, was needed "to really negotiate the kind of contract we'd both like to see.
"It may involve a change in manufacturer here, we're not sure. There just doesn't seem to be any money out of General Motors and probably never will be for us. So something's got to give."
Furniture Row has fielded Chevrolet entries since it debuted in 2005 and is one of approximately 10 full-time teams fielding its SS model in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"We don't want to lose them; we've been there with them in every stage of their business and we're very happy to see they are doing that great," Alba Colon, General Motors program manager for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series effort said Thursday during an appearance here at the Boys & Girls Club of Lenawee.
"It's a little bit personal when you have seen how their team started with nothing and how far they have come; how that first day they came out to prove 'we are a small team from Colorado and we can prove that you can have a team that's not (based) in North Carolina.'"
Truex Jr.'s win last Sunday in the Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 at Pocono Raceway was his first since joining the team at the beginning of 2014 and just the second for the single-car operation -- current XFINITY Series driver Regan Smith scored its first, at Darlington in 2011.
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Second in points entering this weekend's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM), Truex has led the most laps in the last four Sprint Cup races. He is one of only four drivers, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee Petty (1954, '59), Richard Petty (1969) and Kevin Harvick (2015), to start a season with 13 top-10s in the first 14 races.
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The only active full-time Sprint Cup organization based outside the Carolinas, Furniture Row is funded through Visser's own business entities. It has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, which supplies engines and technical/engineering support.
GM officials don't provide financial details of the group's support, financial or otherwise, for the different NASCAR organizations with which the company is aligned. Nor does Ford nor Toyota, the two other auto makers currently competing in the series.
It would be disappointing if the relationship with Furniture Row came to an end, Colon said.
"First of all, they have been a Chevrolet team (from the beginning); pretty much 10 years I believe that they have always been a GM team," she said. "They started to build their engines themselves and after that they went to Hendrick Motorsports and now they have the alliance with RCR so they have been a part of the Chevy family since they started.
"Don't tell me you don't (build) relationships in 10 years. We have a good relationship with our teams; we don't want to lose any of our teams. But at the end of the day, outside of the personal side, business is business and manufacturers and teams make the decisions that they think are the best for their circumstances.
"The biggest example -- Joe Gibbs Racing when they made the decision (to switch from Chevrolet to Toyota in '08) that they thought was the right choice for them.
"It's just part of the business and we understand that."