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FRR’s Shut Down Won’t Slow Garone

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 17 2018

Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing will close its doors next week. General manager Joe Garone will not be able to close his need for racing. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Ever since Furniture Row Racing made its debut in 2005 Joe Garone has been by owner Barney Visser’s side, but now the organization’s president has to find a new job due to the team’s closing.

A mainstay in racing for more than two decades, Garone said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway that he’s not really sure about the path his life will now take.

“My heart wants to certainly stay with Barney (Visser),” says Garone, whose driver Martin Truex Jr. is seeking his second consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. “On the other side, I need to race. It’s in my blood and DNA. I’m looking all over, even in different series. Hopefully, in the next month I’ll be able to announce something that will lead me down a different path.”

Visser announced in September he would shut down his team since he couldn’t locate a sponsor to replace 5-Hour Energy, which was the team’s primary financial backer in 14 events. Garone said the Colorado-based operation had about 63 employees and at last count they were about 22 from everyone having a job. He said several of the employees accepted positions with Visser’s other companies.

Garone admitted he was “doing a deep dive study” into the offshore power boat series from a marketing side to analyze the value the series can bring to sponsors.

“If the profit and loss sheet looks like it’s going to balance, I’m going to try and get the sponsorship put together to run an offshore power boat team,” Garone said.

Like Garone, the race team’s shop is a bit of a moving target.

“I’ve had equipment for sale behind the scenes for about a month now,” Garone said. “The majority of everything will be sold. The shop is going to stay intact at the moment.

“Barney is funny. One moment he wants to keep it like in a showroom condition with as many cars as we can keep so people can still come see and remember the history. At other times, he wants to change it into a different manufacturing plant. So I’m not exactly sure what our future is, but he has a real heart for this and wants to preserve it for as long as he can, possibly for years … this moment in history that he’s gone through.”

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Even though Roger Penske is focused this weekend on Homestead-Miami Speedway where Joey Logano is contending for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, it’s not the only title “The Captain” has in his sights.

Next weekend in Australia Team Penske is competing for the Supercars Series title. In that series, Penske driver Scott McLachlan possesses a 14-point lead heading into the season finale.

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Ever since NASCAR began the teams have always looked for ways to circumvent the rules, from finding places to store extra fuel to alterations to gas cans to make the fuel flow faster. And team co-owner Tony Stewart said he doesn’t expect that side of the sport to change.

“The sanctioning bodies have to write the rules,” Stewart said. “It’s the team’s job to interpret the rules and to try to take advantage of every gray area that’s available to them. That’s been a part of racing from the beginning of time, and it’s not going to stop at the end of the season. It always will be part of the sport. Technology changes so fast, it’s a very hard process for NASCAR to keep up with and stay ahead of it.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 17 2018
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