If you go back to almost a decade ago, if I told you Furniture Row Racing and Haas CNC Racing would be competing among as two of the four teams vying for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, you would have called me crazy. By 2008, FRR had been a DNQ for over 30 races in a span of two seasons. At the same time, Haas CNC had a six year average finish in the Cup Series of 26th. Neither team was a top 20 contender, let alone a threat to win a championship.
Now, here we are, FRR making their second Championship 4 appearance in the last three years and SHR on the verge of their third championship over the last seven seasons. In fact, I can make a case where SHR and FRR have been the two of the top Cup organizations over the last three years. That’s a statement to what Tony Stewart has done to SHR and to what Barney Visser and Martin Truex Jr. have done to FRR.
Prior to Stewart, Haas was far from competitive. When Stewart arrived as a part-owner for the 2009 season, they won four times that year. Two years later, they were champions. Ever since, they’ve been in the hunt for a title.
Same could be said for FRR.
Regan Smith really started the turn around in 2010. He even won the teams first race in the Southern 500 in 2011. He started the big turnaround, but Kurt Busch got them even further in his brief tenure with the team. Busch, made them consistent on a weekly basis in 2013, even taking them to the playoffs with a 10th place finish in the final standings.
In 2014, they got Truex. In that first season, Truex led just one lap and had just one top five result. The last two years, Truex has won 11 races and has had 26 top fives overall. He led 1,809 laps in 2016 and 2,175 more this year. Even if he doesn’t win the championship this season, I can make a case to where Truex and FRR have been the best overall organization in the sport the last two years.
SHR is right behind.
Who would have thought that 10 years ago?