Joe Garone’s rise to the president/general manager position of Denver’s successful NASCAR Sprint Cup team — Furniture Row Racing – started at an early age while accompanying his racing parents to the Colorado short tracks.
There is little doubt that his motorsports DNA came from his parents – Joe and Beverly Garone. His father raced for a number of years in the modified series and his mother won several powder puff championships.
It was evident from an early age while growing up in a North Denver racing family that young Joe was destined for a successful motorsports career. At 3-years-old he was already playing with carburetors and automatic transmission valve bodies rather than wooden blocks and toys.
Throughout his youth Garone continued with his motorsports passion. Before embarking on a full-time motorsports career he raced in Colorado for several years while managing his father’s automotive repair shop.
A 1978 graduate of Westminster High School, Garone spent six successful seasons (1989-1994) as crew chief for Arvada, Colo. driver Rick Carelli in NASCAR’s Southwest and Winston West Tour circuits and the Craftsman Truck Series. Garone’s tuning talents played a vital role in Carelli’s success, which totaled more than 100 victories during the six-year period.
In 1995 Garone joined NASCAR’s elite Cup series as a suspension specialist and an over-the-wall front-tire changer for Bill Elliott Racing. He was a member of the 1997 NASCAR pit crew championship team. Garone later advanced to the crew chief role for the legendary Bill Elliott.
After spending four full-time seasons with Bill Elliott Racing (1995-1998), Garone joined PPI Motorsports in May 1999. He played an instrumental role in PPI’s new venture into NASCAR, working as a program manager and crew chief for the team’s two-car Cup effort, which included the No. 32 Tide Ford and the No. 96 McDonald’s Ford.
From 2001 through 2003, Garone worked directly for NASCAR. He was responsible for developing and implementing a business-plan structure for the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. as well as hiring the staff and starting the initial safety programs. He was later named NASCAR’s director of officiating.
After spending a year as the director of competition for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2004, Garone returned to his native Colorado where he accepted the position as crew chief for the upstart Furniture Row Racing, owned by Denver businessman Barney Visser.
Garone, who has been the catalyst behind the successful growth of Furniture Row Racing, was promoted to general manager in 2007. His many duties as general manager include overseeing team operations in the various departments, acting as the liaison between the Furniture Row Racing and its partners and directing the growth and development of the overall program.
Under Garone’s guidance Furniture Row Racing in 2013 became the first single-car team to qualify for NASCAR’s Chase playoffs.
Furniture Row Racing is destined for another trip to the Chase when the 2015 playoff format begins in September. The Chase berth was virtually guaranteed when driver Martin Truex Jr. won the Pocono Sprint Cup race in June.
Garone and his wife Leann reside in Denver. They have three daughters – Ashlie, Jordan and Carey and one granddaughter.