The technical and equipment alliance with Richard Childress Racing is paying significant dividends already this season for Furniture Row Racing and JTG-Daugherty Racing.
Martin Truex Jr. finished second in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Truex’s and Furniture Row’s third consecutive top 10 finish this season.
AJ Allmendinger, meanwhile, finished sixth, and sees even more success going forward for his team and its affiliation with RCR.
“It works out great for us,” Truex said of Furniture Row’s alliance with RCR. “(Crew chief) Cole (Pearn) and our engineer came up through that RCR program, so they’re really tight with the group there and really bought into their engineering program, really buying into the way they’re building their cars and really trying to stay on the same page.
“Just getting more experience together, getting more confidence in each other, and really just having a better game plan going into the season is a big part of the reason why the cars are running better, and all the teams seem to be running closer together.”
Allmendinger echoed Truex’s comments on how the alliance has helped.
“I think as a group, as the RCR alliance, we’re just better as a whole, if you see the way the cars have been running at the beginning of the year,” Allmendinger said.
“More than anything, we’re just so much more prepared and ahead of where we were last year of building race cars and getting the bodies right and getting all those little details to go from that 20th-place car to start breaking in the top 10. For us, I think that’s kind of where we’re ahead right now.”
A significant part of the alliance for Furniture Row and JTG-Daugherty is having ECR engines under the hood. Five of the top 13 finishers Sunday had ECR-built power: Truex (second), Ryan Newman (third), Allmendinger (sixth), Paul Menard (12th) and Brian Scott (13th).
For Newman, his third-place showing marked his first top-five finish this season, having finished 10th at Atlanta and 38th at Daytona.
“It’s good to finish in the top five,” Newman said. “It took until June last year to make that happen, so that’s good progress and an improvement from where we finished here last season (seventh).
“It’s nice to be close and I don’t think it’s going to be long until we get to stand in Victory Lane.”