Now It’s Furniture Row’s Turn

by Jim on August 26, 2013 · 15 comments

UPDATE: According to an announcement at, we will find out Friday who will take the ’42′ ride at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. presumably making Furniture Row’s decision easier. Larson? Newman? Anyone?

If HBO ever considered a “Hard Knocks” style show featuring a NASCAR team, they would find ratings gold with Stewart-Haas Kurt Busch at RIRRacing. With Kurt Busch in the fold, they have three drivers who have won championships (Kevin Harvick won one in the Busch Series back in the day), three drivers who can contend for championships NSCS Series’ lone full-time female driver and a combustible mix of personalities and an eclectic mix of crew chiefs.

The arrival of Busch means there is an opening at Furniture Row Racing. The good news is that the Richard Childress allied team proved it could run with the big dogs with a serious talent. The bad news is they’re out on NASCAR’s far flung frontier, based in Denver, Colorado. While a part of me wants to jeer Busch for the move, I can’t blame him. Staying to show loyalty to the team would have made a nice sentimental move, then I think about Bobby Labonte, who elected to stay with Richard Petty, though he reportedly had a chance to take the ‘33’ ride at Richard Childress. That didn’t work out so well. Even if Busch falls on his face at SHR (I don’t think he will), it won’t be for lack of effort on the team’s part. It’s obvious Gene Haas wanted the 2004 champion real bad.

Furniture Row won’t be absent of options. Ryan Newman’s namestewart n newman keeps coming up. It may very well be Newman’s career could enjoy the same revival that Busch enjoyed in Denver. There’s a lot that can be said for being the top fiddle; heck, at FRR, you’re the only fiddle. The rub here is that Newman may be eyeing a move to the ‘29’ at RCR; of course, Richard Childress may have other designs that include simply having a three car team of grandson Austin Dillon, veteran Jeff Burton and Paul Menard. There’s also speculation aplenty Newman could take over in the ‘42’ seat at Earnhardt- Ganassi Racing as well.

It’s also not hard to fancy A.J. Allmendinger in Denver. Presently, AJ at Road AmericaAllmendinger has occupied a variety of seats in 2013, mostly for Roger Penske. Occasionally, talk crops up of reviving the ‘12’ an options could include bringing Newman back to his old ride (or A.J.), and then there’s a logjam of other talent that also includes Sam Hornish. One can’t help but think Allmendinger will be a regular somewhere in the NSCS in 2014, but where is the question. Could this be it? If Penske doesn’t offer him something, why not?

Mark Martin is a veteran option. One wag has suggested he mightMartin be a good fit for the ‘42,’ but who knows? If you ask me, Martin should start his own team, and call his own shots.

Back to Allmendinger, he has seat time in the ‘47’ at JTG Daugherty, which begs the question of what may become of Bobby Labonte. It pains me to say it as a fan, but one has to wonder if for him, the move to Furniture Row would be a lateral move, meaning at the end of the day the two really do nothing to raise each other’s profiles. Marcos Ambrose was running pretty decent in the ‘47,’ and the team slipped backwards with Labonte in the seat. Whether it was a case of car, crew or driver, no one can say with certainty.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. There may be any number of Nationwide drivers who could step in to the ‘78.’ There are also drivers over at Front Row Racing who could bolt, but one part of me thinks that the likes of David Ragan, David Gilliland and Josh Wise are content there.

Another possibility may be David Reutimann. He’s had a taste of success, and has toiled in anonymity over at BK Racing. The argument can be well made that Reutimann has more talent than people give him credit for, having largely spent his career in the earlier days of Michael Waltrip Racing when things weren’t as rosy.

All we can do now is speculate. No doubt Barney Visser and Company saw this coming. There’s a plan- no doubt. It’s just a matter of time until we see it all play out.

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1 Jay August 27, 2013 at 3:08 am

The only times I remember the 47 running decent was when Ambrose was on the road courses and Labonte once at Daytona in the Tandem draft. JTG wasnt exactly a powerhouse in Nationwide either, With that said FRR would be a step forward for Bobby Labonte.Or Ganassi could put Newman in the #42 and have Larson and Mark Martin split the schedule in the #78

2 Jim August 27, 2013 at 5:30 am

@Jay- Ambrose did make some decent showings on the short tracks, and one or two good runs in the lottery, I mean the plate tracks.
I am sure of one thing: Visser and Labonte would be a good match. I would like to think Labonte still has some racing in him.

3 Josie August 27, 2013 at 5:41 am

LaBonte got shoved out of Gibbs way too early in his career…and he really hasn’t had a decent ride since..I just imagine the 78 will want a younger driver..The Dinger might be a good fit. Or the 42…
A lot of folks are whining Stewart “lied” they weren’t adding a 4th team..poor Newman…sneaky Haas! I just figure as a corporation SHR wasn’t going to show their hand and announce to their competitors they wanted Busch… Granted it looks like Haas has wanted him since last season..but I don’t understand all the hoopla! If Haas was willing to sponsor Busch on his own seems like a win win to all! I think some folks forget NASCAR is big business..and most corporations don’t announce their acquisitions until they’re pretty sure the deal is going forward. Since Stewart Haas is a 50/50 ownership I don’t think it was a matter of Haas undermining Stewart either. Stewart made SHR…Haas had been pouring money into that organization for years. I doubt (even with the broken leg) Haas would chance losing Stewart…I think it would be a bad business move..Haas only has great people on the teams because Stewart is there…

4 Josie August 27, 2013 at 7:26 am

@jim..(or anyone who may know) when SHR has it’s press conference will it be on TV or Internet? If so where can I view? Thanks…

5 Jim August 27, 2013 at 7:44 am

@Josie- I see no word of live streaming or live airing of news conference, which is code for “nobody is carrying it live.” Look for film at 6.

6 Josie August 27, 2013 at 8:18 am

Film where at 6? Race Hub on around 12:30! Man I hate this new Fox 1 or whatever name it is! Maybe some station will see a need and add a few NASCAR news programs! We’re still out here guys! (And please please don’t say I can watch Regis! What a joke!)

7 Jim August 27, 2013 at 10:49 am

@Josie- Purely a figure of speech. I expect some sports outlet will carry snippets of it……maybe. Don’t get me started on FOX sports. I don’t even like their NFL coverage.

8 Tony August 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Those who miss Wind Tunnel & Sppedcenter need to call and email MAV TV, they told me they are talking with Despain and thinking of doing a Speedcenter type show, let em know you want it !
Cant blame Busch for going to Stewart Haas all though that 78 is a good ride and not at all underfunded.

9 Jim August 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm

@Tony- you know it. I love me some Dave Despain. You nailed it with Busch. Even when your current situation is good, some offers are too good to resist.

10 Greg August 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Kevin Harvick has won 2 BUSCH SERIES CHAMPIONSHIPS 2001 , 2006

11 Jim August 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm

@Greg- Good catch. Forgot 2006.All the more reinforcement to the point.

12 Twostepn August 28, 2013 at 5:47 am

Anybody ever get the idea that all this just might be a conspiracy? Stop and think about it….
All these talented drivers playing musical chairs with Hendrick, Childers and Stewart-Haas. Add some Gibbs and Mikey W. in the mix. It get’s everybody’s attention from what will happen later. And who’s behind this conspiracy you ask?
Why it’s Capt’n Jack Roush, Flyin’ Carl and Growlin’ Greg!! Captn’ Jack just sittin’ back and waitin’ on all this silly season hoopla to settle down, then like the fat chef used to say…”BAM!!” the Blue Oval Brigade will come in and dominate with a 80% win rate. Ya’ll just wait and see…
Okay, I’ve had my fun. back to serious stuff. I need to go to the store for tin foil, I’m out of hats.

13 Greg August 28, 2013 at 6:28 am

From some of the behind the scenes stuff that HASS pulled , Tony Stewarts not too happy , might see a new team called STEWART / HARVICK RACING

14 Jim August 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

@Twostepn- LOL! Seriously- it makes you think, doesn’t it? Sounds like I should go back to work on that underground shelter.

15 Jim August 28, 2013 at 8:19 am

@Greg- I wouldn’t rule it out. It sure sounds to me like Gene Haas is feeling his oats right now. It certainly reinforces my thought that Stewart never lied to Newman, because this was never Stewart’s move. I think I’d be pissed if I were him.

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