Joe Garone, a native of Denver and president and general manager of Furniture Row Racing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, has been elected for enshrinement to the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place Wednesday, Oct. 14, 6-9 p.m. MT at The Vehicle Vault in Parker, Colo.
The Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame is committed to honoring and preserving the achievements of individuals and organizations that have left an indelible mark on motorsports in Colorado and beyond. The new inductees come from all facets of motorsports – drivers, builders, mechanics, owners, facility operators and non-profit organizations.
“This is a humbling honor to be recognized by your home state,” said Garone. “I never expected to reach this pinnacle while growing up and competing on the Colorado short tracks. For me, it has always been working hard and pushing myself to do my best. My Dad told me as a child the key to happiness was to treat others like you would want to be treated, work hard and work smart. Everything else in life would follow.
“My parents gave me the foundation to pursue a successful career whether it be in motorsports or another profession. I wish they were still here to be with me for this prestigious event. But they’ll be just as proud of their son watching the ceremony from a different location.”
Garone’s parents – Joseph and Beverly Garone – both raced in the Denver area. His father competed in the modified series and his mother won several races and championships. “She was certainly the most talented behind the wheel,” said Garone.
A 1978 graduate of Westminster High School in Denver, Garone raced in Colorado for several years and then spent six successful seasons (1989-1994) as crew chief for Arvada, Colo. native Rick Carelli in NASCAR’s Southwest and Winston West Tour circuits and the NASCAR Truck Series.
Garone’s and Carelli’s unyielding commitment to win races and having the same general philosophy helped them to secure more than 100 victories and two championships during the six-year period.
Garone joined NASCAR’s Cup series in 1995 as a suspension specialist for Bill Elliott Racing. He later advanced to the crew chief role for Bill Elliott. After four seasons with Bill Elliott Racing he became the program manager for PPI Motorsports, which fielded two cars in the Cup series.
From 2001-2003 Garone worked directly for NASCAR. He was responsible for 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, most of which are still in force today. He was later named NASCAR’s director of officiating.
He spent one season as the director of competition for Michael Waltrip Racing before returning to his native Colorado in 2005 to oversee the upstart Furniture Row Racing, owned by Denver businessman Barney Visser.
Under Garone’s guidance, Furniture Row Racing has qualified for NASCAR’s Chase playoffs in two of the past three seasons (2013 & 2015) and was the first single-car team to qualify for the Chase.
Garone and his wife Leann reside in Denver. They have three daughters – Ashlie, Jordan and Carey and one granddaughter Claire.