Team closing after winning title


Staff & Wire Reports



FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, Barney Visser, center, team owner of Furniture Row Racing, talks with crew members before the first of two qualifying races for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of this season, shutting its doors one year after Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s championship driving for the maverick race team. Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Denver, Colorado, far removed from the North Carolina hub. Team owner Barney Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team in 2005 determined to do it his own way. But a lack of sponsorship for next season led Visser to make the “painful decision” to close the team.  (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, Barney Visser, center, team owner of Furniture Row Racing, talks with crew members before the first of two qualifying races for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of this season, shutting its doors one year after Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s championship driving for the maverick race team. Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Denver, Colorado, far removed from the North Carolina hub. Team owner Barney Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team in 2005 determined to do it his own way. But a lack of sponsorship for next season led Visser to make the “painful decision” to close the team. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)


FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Martin Truex Jr., the playoff point leader, flashes a thumb up as he is introduced prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 300 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of this season, shutting its doors one year after Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s championship driving for the maverick race team. Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Denver, Colorado, far removed from the North Carolina hub. Team owner Barney Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team in 2005 determined to do it his own way. But a lack of sponsorship for next season led Visser to make the “painful decision” to close the team. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)


Martin Truex Jr. drives into Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)


Furniture Row Racing closing a year after NASCAR title

By JENNA FRYER

AP Auto Racing Writer

Tuesday, September 4

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Saying it cannot find enough funding to remain competitive, Furniture Row Racing announced Tuesday it will close its doors at the end of season, one year after Martin Truex Jr. won the maverick Colorado-based team its first NASCAR championship.

Team owner Barney Visser said it was a painful decision but “the numbers just don’t add up.”

“I would have to borrow money to continue as a competitive team and I’m not going to do that,” Visser said.

Visser, a 69-year-old Denver native, owns one of the largest family-owned home furnishing and bedding retailers in the country. He suffered a heart attack two weeks before last year’s season finale and was not able to attend Truex’s title-clinching race or the championship celebration. Visser had previously said he would not shut down the team, but reversed his decision with just 11 races remaining this season.

“I had a wake-up call last year and while I feel great, I need to make the best decisions that will have an impact on myself and my family,” Visser said.

Visser’s decision comes just one week before NASCAR’s playoffs begin with Truex expected to be a strong contender to defend his Cup Series title. Truex has dominated all season along with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, but he has been dogged by talk of free agency.

As weeks went by, Visser had not secured contract extensions with Truex, partner Joe Gibbs Racing or manufacturer Toyota. Visser has largely paid for the operation since its 2005 inception but was aided by sponsorship from 5-hour Energy, which plans to leave NASCAR at the end of the season.

“We’ve been aggressively seeking sponsorship to replace 5-hour Energy and to offset the rising costs of continuing a team alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, but haven’t had any success,” Visser said. “I feel that it’s only proper to make the decision at this time to allow all team members to start seeking employment for next year.”

That includes Truex and championship-winning crew chief Cole Pearn, who must seek new employment during the 10-race playoff push.

Truex, who joined Furniture Row in 2014, said he understood Visser’s decision and thanked the team for hiring him when he had no other job opportunities. Truex lost his seat at Michael Waltrip Racing when the team was the casualty of a cheating scandal. Furniture Row, a single-car team that had never challenged for the championship, was Truex’s best choice.

“The entire Furniture Row Racing team took me in while my career was in a bad place, and together we reached the pinnacle of the sport,” Truex said. “Make no mistake, this is not the immediate end. We still have unfinished business to attend to and that’s to give everything we have to successfully defend our … championship.”

Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Colorado, far from the stock car series’ North Carolina hub. Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team, determined to do it his own way and sponsored by his Denver Mattress brand.

The team has slowly built itself into a contender. It has 18 victories in all and has qualified for the playoffs in five of the last six years with the No. 78 team. The team fielded a second car last year alongside Truex in a deal with Gibbs to give a seat to Erik Jones, and Jones won rookie of the year honors while Truex took the Cup title.

Regan Smith won the first race for Furniture Row in the Southern 500 in 2011. Truex has won the other 17 races, all since the 2015 season.

“I’ve always felt that we could be a competitive team and run for a championship even when it seemed like a pipe dream to many racing insiders,” Visser said. “But to be successful in any business you need to assemble the right people and make a strong commitment to succeed. We achieved what we set out to do and feel like we climbed Mount Everest. To continue with anything less than a competitive team would not be acceptable.”

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Brad Keselowski puts aside struggles with Darlington win

By PETE IACOBELLI

AP Sports Writer

Monday, September 3

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Brad Keselowski took nearly the entire season to break through to victory lane. Kyle Larson will have to wait a little bit longer.

Keselowski overtook Larson’s dominant car by a few feet coming out of the pits on the final caution, then took off on the restart to win the Southern 500 — a satisfying moment in a season of struggles for the former NASCAR champion.

“That’s how this sport rolls,” said a smiling Keselowski. “That’s how life rolls. You’ve just got to keep pushing forward and make the most of the opportunities and know the breaks will come your way just as they fell against you previously. That’s part of the perseverance it takes to be successful.”

Larson knows all about perseverance. He had strongest car at Darlington on Sunday night, led a whopping 284 of 367 laps, yet left in third place behind Keselowski and his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano.

It was the eighth time this year — and 38th time in his five full-time Cup seasons — Larson finished in the top five without winning. Larson led 200 laps in Bristol’s spring race and wound up second after Kyle Busch’s textbook bump-and-run move five laps from the end last April.

Larson led 101 laps at Kansas a month later u ntil eventual winner Kevin Harvick got him on a restart and Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing machine tangled with Ryan Blaney, costing him a shot at the win.

“I mean, this is my fifth Cup season, and I’ve run second or third a lot,” said the 26-year-old Larson. “I guess you get used to the disappointment or whatever you want to call it.”

Larson sat for his late-night media session mostly without emotion, putting the best spin on his latest close call. He was happy to lead so many laps, to have a fast car, to know that his team may have the power to contend in the playoffs, where Larson has already clinched a spot in the 16-team field.

” I feel like we’ve kind of been stale up until this weekend,” Larson said. “We had a (recent) good test at Richmond. We learned some things with some different components, and I felt like it really helped our car there.”

Next up comes the breakthrough to the checkered flag.

Keselowski understands how difficult it is to run up front and not have the win to show for it. He believes his Penske Ford was good enough to win several times this year until critical errors on his part ruined the chance.

When drivers don’t capitalize on those opportunities, it can lead to doubts about when they’ll come around again, Keselowski said.

“You just never know when you’re going to get a winning race car again,” he said. “You hope it’s every week. You enter every weekend thinking that. But you get to the race track and it’s not there, you think, what if I never get another car capable of winning.”

Keselowski recalls his early days in the Cup series when the machines he had were not capable of keeping up. When that changed, Keselowski’s career and confidence took off. “There’s almost a point in time you take that for granted,” the 34-year-old driver said. “You start to see that slip away and you think to yourself, ‘Oh, my God, this could be it.’”

That’s why the win at Darlington, he said, was so important and in his words, “refreshing.”

“They recharge your batteries so much because the season is such a death march, especially when things aren’t going well,” he explained.

Larson sounds like his batteries are still fully charged. He’s confident that if his team brings more cars to tracks like the one he had at Darlington, good things will happen. Keselowski sees that, too.

“Kyle Larson’s going to win this race one day,” Keselowski said. “And when that day comes, he’ll think about this one and how this one probably slipped away.”

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

IndyCar to debut in Austin, return to Laguna Seca in 2019

Tuesday, September 4

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — IndyCar will make its debut at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas and return to Laguna Seca, California, as part of its 2019 schedule.

The 17-race schedule released Tuesday drops the oval track in Phoenix and the road course in Sonoma, California. Both COTA and Laguna Seca are road courses.

“IndyCar has worked to deliver a consistency and cadence to the schedule and that is reflected again in 2019,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Co., which owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We’ve added races at a pair of tracks that know how to put on fantastic events, while returning to tracks where IndyCar has longstanding relationships on familiar race dates. The diversity of next year’s schedule will continue to make what we believe is the most challenging and competitive championship in motorsports.”

COTA, in Austin, replaces Phoenix in March as the second race on the schedule. The road course opened in 2011, hosts a Formula One race and, at 3.4 miles, becomes the second-longest circuit on IndyCar’s schedule behind Road America in Wisconsin.

Circuit of the Americas founder and chairman Bobby Epstein said the track’s fan base has been excited for an IndyCar “from Year 1.” The permanent road course opened in 2011.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” he said.

The deal with COTA made for a brief hiccup with Texas Motor Speedway, an oval in Fort Worth that has hosted 30 IndyCar races since 1997. TMS general manager Eddie Gossage opposed a second race in Texas, but eventually agreed to a four-year contract extension and will host IndyCar in June.

Laguna Seca hosted 22 open-wheel races until 2004. The road course near Monterey was last the site for an Indy car season finale in 1996. It replaces Sonoma as the IndyCar season finale next season.

The only other changes to the schedule are a shift to two weeks earlier for the race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and the race at Iowa Speedway returns to a nighttime start.

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Study: Hormone Linked to High Blood Pressure Increases Diabetes Risk, Too

Risk varies greatly across ethnic groups

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – About 30 million Americans live with diabetes, and the numbers continue to grow. However, researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center believe that targeting a certain hormone may be key in preventing the disease. Aldosterone is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland that is commonly associated with high blood pressure, but a new study finds that there is also a strong link to Type 2 diabetes.

“Aldosterone increases insulin resistance and also impairs insulin secretion from the pancreas, which are the two main causes of Type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Joshua J. Joseph, assistant professor of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and lead author of the study.

The researchers followed 1,600 people for 10 years and found that the one-third of participants with the highest levels of the hormone were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes as the third who had the lowest levels. There were also major disparities among different ethnic groups. African-Americans in the top one-third had nearly three times the risk of developing the disease, while the risk for Chinese-Americans was more than 10 fold.

“We are now examining why aldosterone affects certain ethnic groups differently. It could be due to genetics or possibly differences in salt sensitivity,” Joseph said. “We will further examine the role of this hormone in diabetes prevention in a new clinical trial.”

The trial will use medication to lower aldosterone levels in African-Americans with pre-diabetes. Researchers will monitor how this impacts their glucose and insulin levels.

“When combined with healthy lifestyle changes to diet and exercise, I believe that lowering aldosterone levels may help individuals avoid diabetes and the many health issues that come with it,” Joseph said.

Zach Klein, Steve Dettelbach to Discuss Importance of Electing AG Committed to Protecting Ohioans’ Healthcare

Dettelbach for Ohio

COLUMBUS — On a press call today, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and Democratic nominee for Attorney General Steve Dettelbach underscored the need for the next Attorney General of Ohio to protect Ohioans’ healthcare against partisan and special interest funded attacks.

This morning in Texas, a federal judge is hearing arguments in a lawsuit that threatens to remove protections that guarantee affordable healthcare to Ohioans with pre-existing conditions. State Attorneys General have lined up on both sides of the case.

Democratic nominee for Attorney General Steve Dettelbach said:

“The fate of nearly 2 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions is at stake today. In a Texas courtroom, there is a lawsuit that, if successful, could take us back to the days when you could get denied coverage because you had cancer, or you had a baby, or you got sick. It would take us back to the days when Ohioans could not take a better job because of their medical history. It would take us back to the days when insurance companies could charge even higher premiums because you got sick. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans like Zach Klein, Governor Kasich, and John McCain have had the courage to stand up and say so.

“Ohio should be doing everything it can to defend coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. It is both morally and legally right.

“Today I’m making it clear to the people of Ohio whose side I’m on, and I think they deserve a straight answer from my opponent. Whose side is he on? Will he stand on the side of the law and with 2 million Ohioans at risk of losing their coverage, or will he stick to his standard playbook and side with partisans and special interests at the expense of the people of Ohio?”

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein added:

“Partisan politics has no place in ensuring we have quality, affordable healthcare. We need an Attorney General that is willing to put party aside to fight against discriminating based on pre-existing conditions and fight for Medicaid expansion. That’s why Columbus is leading a national lawsuit on this issue. Without having a champion at the state level that is reflective of these same values, cities are left to go at it alone. We need an Attorney General as a willing partner who will stand up for all Ohioans.”

BROWN FIGHTS TO SECURE PROVISIONS TO BETTER SUPPORT OHIO FARMERS, PROTECT LAKE ERIE AT FIRST FARM BILL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE MEETING

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Senator Fought for Several Provisions Included in Senate Agriculture Committee’s Bipartisan Bill after Meeting with Ohio Farmers around the State

Brown Now Serving on Conference Committee to Negotiate Final House-Senate Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today pushed to secure key victories for Ohioans in the first House-Senate Farm Bill conference committee meeting. In June, Brown successfully secured in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s bipartisan Farm Bill provisions to better support Ohio farmers, protect Lake Erie, spur economic development in rural Ohio, and feed hungry families. Brown secured these priorities after hearing from Ohio farmers and stakeholders during a series of roundtable discussions he hosted throughout the state.

“We call it a farm bill, but it is really a food bill, it’s a jobs and economic development bill, it’s a research bill, it’s a rural broadband bill; it’s a bill that affects everyone in the country,” Brown told the Committee in his opening statement today. “We need to get the Farm Bill done this year and provide farmers with the certainty they deserve. That means we need a bipartisan approach that can earn overwhelming support, like the Senate bill. And we need a bill that’s designed with input from farmers across the country who will be affected.”

In August, Brown was appointed to serve as a conferee on the committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill. Brown vowed to continue fighting for Ohio victories in the final bill.

Brown is fighting for the following to be included in the final 2018 Farm Bill:

· Brown’s Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act:

o This bill would provide permanent funding to help farmers sell their products directly to consumers, create rural jobs, and invest in local and regional food economies.

· Provisions from Brown’s water quality improvement bill, the Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act:

o This legislation will improve water quality in Lake Erie and across Ohio by refocusing federal investments to improve water quality and soil health. These efforts will improve federal conservation programs and better support Ohio farmers by reforming the three largest conservation funding programs to protect waterways while expanding access to quality farmland.

· Brown’s amendment to ensure that conservation funding targets the best, highest quality projects that reduce runoff and improve water quality in Lake Erie and across Ohio.

· Provisions that would make improvements to dairy programs in order to better target support for small- and medium-sized producers:

o The Farm Bill replaces the Margin Protection Program (MPP) with the Dairy Risk Coverage program, which invests an additional $100 million to improve affordability, flexibility, and effectiveness for Ohio dairy farmers.

· Provisions that protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for hungry families in Ohio:

o Brown pushed to help protect families in need by helping avoid harmful eligibility changes that would force working families to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops.

Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 50 years.

FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, Barney Visser, center, team owner of Furniture Row Racing, talks with crew members before the first of two qualifying races for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of this season, shutting its doors one year after Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s championship driving for the maverick race team. Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Denver, Colorado, far removed from the North Carolina hub. Team owner Barney Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team in 2005 determined to do it his own way. But a lack of sponsorship for next season led Visser to make the “painful decision” to close the team. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/09/web1_121296758-ee207edc0238449b9032bb90fe161eea.jpgFILE – In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, Barney Visser, center, team owner of Furniture Row Racing, talks with crew members before the first of two qualifying races for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of this season, shutting its doors one year after Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s championship driving for the maverick race team. Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Denver, Colorado, far removed from the North Carolina hub. Team owner Barney Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team in 2005 determined to do it his own way. But a lack of sponsorship for next season led Visser to make the “painful decision” to close the team. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

FILE – In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Martin Truex Jr., the playoff point leader, flashes a thumb up as he is introduced prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 300 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of this season, shutting its doors one year after Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s championship driving for the maverick race team. Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Denver, Colorado, far removed from the North Carolina hub. Team owner Barney Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team in 2005 determined to do it his own way. But a lack of sponsorship for next season led Visser to make the “painful decision” to close the team. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/09/web1_121296758-0c1d124aa41e4c2aae87d96b558fbf52.jpgFILE – In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Martin Truex Jr., the playoff point leader, flashes a thumb up as he is introduced prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 300 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of this season, shutting its doors one year after Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s championship driving for the maverick race team. Furniture Row is an anomaly in NASCAR in that it is a single-car team based in Denver, Colorado, far removed from the North Carolina hub. Team owner Barney Visser was a racing enthusiast with a vision when he launched the team in 2005 determined to do it his own way. But a lack of sponsorship for next season led Visser to make the “painful decision” to close the team. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Martin Truex Jr. drives into Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/09/web1_121296758-81abb64ad0b84c3ea60a93c3a8911bb8.jpgMartin Truex Jr. drives into Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

Staff & Wire Reports