Thursday, January 26, 2012

Furniture Row Racing: Think Of Us As Fourth RCR Car

(Note: This story was originally published in the newsletter. Please be sure to visit their site and sign up for the free newsletter.)

The Furniture Row Racing operation is perhaps the most unique in all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Unlike the other full-time operations, Furniture Row’s "home base" is located in Denver, Colo. – a far cry from Race City, U.S.A.

Yet despite their separation for the rest of the sport, the team has been able to find success at the highest level of American motorsports. A lot of that success, though, is thanks to their partnership with Richard Childress Racing, a theme that echoed throughout their stop on the Sprint Cup Media Tour.

“Our relationship with RCR couldn’t possibly be any closer,” Competition Director Mark McArdle said. “Every aspect of their activities get communicated to us real time.”

That includes a constant and instantaneous sharing of information at the shops, during practice sessions and during races.

“They essentially operate as an open book for us,” McArdle added. “I think the easiest way to think about it now that RCR has retracted down to three cars is to think of Furniture Row Racing as essentially the fourth car in their stable, in the perspective of sharing technical information.”

McArdle said the biggest advantage the team gains through its partnership with RCR can sometimes be difficult to see, but gives them the feel of a multi-car organization.

“If you’re stuck on island as a one-car team – with only your input, with only your DNA and only your own thought process to carry you forward – it’s very easy to get off on the wrong path,” he said. “What’s beneficial about essentially being part of a four-car team is we can instantly share information.”

Along with that “open book” policy, McArdle said the second most beneficial aspect of the partnership is the simple “assurance” that they have quality equipment, the same used by Kevin Harvick and the rest of the RCR drivers.

However, according to members of both teams, the relationship is not as one-sided as you might believe.

“They have a great group of people over there,” said RCR Vice President of Competition Mike Dillon. “Their engineering staff is super strong; we lean on them too. They’re great people and it means a lot.”

Dillon explained the distance between to two organizations – over 1,500 miles – can actually be an advantage in creating such a strong partnership.

“That probably makes it easier,” Dillon explained. “They don’t have people leaving them. When people move out there to work for them, they’re going to be there. So, when you’re sharing information with them you’re not worried about them carrying it to other teams.”

Regan Smith, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, explained the relationship has “always been close.”

“Personally, I don’t compare it to any other relationship (in the garage), because I think ours is more open than anybody else is out there and continues to get that way,” he said. “We’ve grown as a team to the point
where they’ll come to us and say, ‘We need that part or piece, and you guys make it. Can you get your guys to make it for us?’ That was the moment, for me, when I realized this thing is working now, this is how we want it to be."

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