Sunday, August 5, 2012
Furniture Row may switch to Dodge
By David Newton
LONG POND, Pa. -- Furniture Row Racing is prepared to switch from Chevrolet to Dodge in 2013 if the manufacturer chooses to go in that direction.
Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that there have been initial talks with Dodge about making a switch and adding a second team, potentially with 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch.
Dodge currently doesn't have a team for 2013, losing Penske Racing to Ford after this season.
"If Dodge comes to us and says here's the right deal, we would do it," Garone said. "They're trying to figure out who they're going to do it with and how they're going to do it."
Furniture Row currently gets its chassis from Richard Childress Racing and engines from Earnhardt Childress Racing. Everything else is built in the organization's Denver shop.
"We're a full-service team," Garone said. "We would be able to hit the ground running if we switched to another manufacturer."
Garone said the organization intends to keep driver Regan Smith, who won at Darlington Raceway last year, beyond this season. He said there have been talks with Busch about expanding, but that would depend on finding a sponsor or a manufacturer willing to give financial help.
Busch currently is driving for Phoenix Racing, which is primarily unsponsored.
"We have talked to Kurt about if we could get to two cars about being a teammate to Regan," Garone said. "Kurt is a terrific driver and certainly would be a good fit. We would love to be able to put that together.
"Pieces of all of this kind of stuff are there and ready to put together. But the catalyst to make it happen, we have no idea."
The catalyst could be Penske Racing's engine department. Penske Racing is talking to Roush Yates Engines about using the organization's Ford engines in 2013.
Team owner Roger Penske has said he will not shut down his engine shop and put those employees out of work. He has not ruled out selling the shop, perhaps to Dodge, which would then supply engines to whatever team or teams they sign.
Furniture Row and Richard Petty Motorsports have been mentioned most prominently as candidates for Dodge. Multiple sources told ESPN.com that Dodge plans to stay in the sport, but Dodge officials say there is no timetable for an announcement.
Garone said he has not given Dodge a deadline for making a decision, but he'd like to know sooner than later.
"If all the components are laid out right, it could happen and we could hit the track at Daytona (next February) and be competitive," he said. "We're in a position where we could do something like this."
Garone said they are waiting on a decision from Dodge before completing a deal with Smith.
"It's our intention to bring him back," Garone said. "With all this other stuff pending, you don't make a commitment and find there is another avenue we should have taken."