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Furniture Row Racing owner considers manufacturer switch; laments lack of GM support

Furniture Row Racing shop

Furniture Row Racing shop

AAron Ontiveroz

After Sunday’s win at Pocono Raceway, Furniture Row Racing wants to lock down its future with driver Martin Truex Jr.

The team’s manufacturer relationship seems hazier.

In a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR channel, No. 78 Chevrolet owner Barney Visser said the team would weigh its options in working on an extension with Truex, whose contract expires after this season.

“We’re looking for sponsorship,” Visser told SiriusXM Speedway host Dave Moody. “We need to get some of that in place to negotiate the kind of contract (for Truex) that 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. We’ll see where it goes.”

Chevrolets comprise roughly half the 43-car field in every Sprint Cup race, and rival manufacturers Toyota and Ford have indicated a desire to expand their rosters. Toyota Racing Development builds engines for six cars but has the capacity to add two more.

Furniture Row Racing has fielded Chevrolets exclusively since entering NASCAR’s premier series part time in 2005, currently receiving chassis and engines from Richard Childress Racing since 2013. Furniture Row Racing had preliminary negotiations with Dodge three years ago before its exit from Sprint Cup.

There have been discussions about adding a second car for nearly as long, though it’s predicated on landing sponsorship.

The Denver-based team also wants more corporate funding for Truex’s car, which counts Visser’s furniture company as its sole primary sponsor.

“I’ll put a shameless plug in here now,” Visser said. “We need some help with this car. This is a little out of our budget for this thing. We refuse to back down. We’ll see where it goes. Hopefully, the right sponsors are going to step up here.”

Truex’s results should attract interest. The Pocono win essentially guarantees a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and punctuated a stretch of four consecutive races in which Truex led the most laps.

Truex has 13 top 10s in 14 races, matching points leader Kevin Harvick. Lee Petty (1954, ’59) and Richard Petty (’69) are the only other drivers in NASCAR history to start a season with 13 top 10s in 14 races.

During a Wednesday test at Darlington Raceway, Truex said he wants to remain with the team, but that contract negotiations haven’t started yet.

Visser said Wednesday an extension with Truex is “certainly something we want to do” but didn’t want to detract from the team’s performance – noting that’s what happened during Kurt Busch’s lone full season with the team in 2013.

“When Kurt made that announcement (in August 2013 that he would move to Stewart-Haas Racing for 2014), everything fell apart, and we wound up finishing 10th in points,” Visser said. “We just hate to screw around with anything right now, any negotiations, anything that might upset the apple cart. You look at how we’re running, but we’ll get it done. We’ll get in and get started on this stuff. We’ll see.

“We’re locked on Martin. We’re as happy with him as he is with us, and we want to get something done there.”

Above is a video from Wednesday’s episode of NASCAR America that provides an inside look at how Furniture Row Racing operates out of Colorado while competing against teams primarily located on the East Coast.

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