Furniture Row Racing

by Nicholas Minnix on January 31, 2008 @ 12:58:34 PDT


Owner - Barney Visser

Manufacturer - Chevrolet

Cars and Drivers

No. 78 Furniture Row

After a fairly tumultuous season in 2007, it seems that Joe Nemechek is happy to have some stability. Last year, when Dale Earnhardt Inc. completed a merger with Ginn Racing, Nemechek was a casualty. He was able to hook on with Furniture Row for nine races after driver Kenny Wallace asked to leave the team. Unfortunately, Nemechek's nine starts resulted in five DNFs. Fortunately, Visser was confident enough to bring him back. In early November, Furniture Row Racing announced that it had signed the 44-year-old veteran to a three-year contract extension. Nemechek didn't finish in the top 35 last season, so he'll have to qualify for the first five events of 2008.

Nemechek hasn't won a race since 2004 or a pole since 2005. His pit crew needs to improve if his chances of success are to do the same. Crew chief Jay Guy came on board for in 2007. There have been questions about the efficiency of Guy's crew, and without support, Nemechek can't expect to compete with the top names.

No. 87 Denver Mattress

Furniture Row took a No. 87 Chevy to Sprint Cup Preseason Thunder testing sessions at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Fuller, who from 2001-05 drove for Nemechek's Busch Series team, NEMCO Motorsports, sat in the driver's seat for those test laps. He turned in some impressive times, including a top-two finish. Furniture Row then decided to let driver Wallace attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. If Wallace qualifies and Nemechek doesn't, though, Wallace will have to relinquish the spot to the team's top driver. That may be indicative of the deal that any driver of the No. 87 car has to strike throughout the season. The team would likely add races to Wallace's schedule if it can strike a sponsorship deal for his car.

Equipment and Resources

Furniture Row is one of the few sponsors to own and operate its own NASCAR team. One of their main focuses has been to find additional sponsorship to fund a second car. They have also secured sponsorship from Denver Mattress, but the team remains in search of what would be considered a primary sponsor for the vehicle.

Last year, Furniture Row seemed to be behind the curve because they, like all Chevy teams, began the season using the manufacturer's SB2 engine. They didn't receive the more powerful RO7 engine until late in the season, while top teams like Hendrick Motorsports began working with the RO7 in May. This year, Furniture Row will be using Hendrick engines and chassis, so the new equipment should shrink the gap between Furniture Row and the big boys.

After his team's Preseason Thunder test sessions, though, Nemechek acknowledged that his car lacked speed and should be faster than it is. The No. 78 car finished fourth in one session, but it came in at the back of the pack the following day. The driver seemed pleased with his car's ability to draft.

Furniture Row is still a bit player and has a lot of work to do. Until they make significant progress, Nemechek and Wallace appear to be at a disadvantage. The stated goal for Nemechek is to finish in the top 35, which is certainly possible, but anything beyond that may be gravy.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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