Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser is back at the track to start the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and “feeling great.”
Visser, 69, underwent successful bypass surgery Nov. 6 last year following a heart attack suffered two days earlier.
He was unable to attend the series finale at Homestead, Fla., where his driver, Martin Truex Jr., captured his and FRR’s first series championship.
Visser, however, is back in Daytona Beach, Fla., this week and will be in attendance for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
“I’m feeling great. There’s nothing like getting new pipes,” Visser said Saturday during an appearance with Toyota team executives at Daytona International Speedway.
“I didn’t realize how bad it was, but this has been really good. I’m told that I won't be 100 percent for another three months. As good as I feel now, this is a home run.”
Visser said he missed seeing his team members and friends the most while he was away from the track.
“I missed the people and the competitive spirit, but mostly the people,” he said. “I heard the engines fire up the other day, and I realized how much I missed that.”
Visser said despite missing out on the championship celebration, he hopes it all will “soak in over time.”
“I’m really proud of the guys,” he said. “None of it happens without our relationship with Joe (Gibbs), and of course Ed (Laukas from Toyota), who tapped us on the shoulder here several years ago and said, ‘We want to get you with us.’
“That's been monumental for us. And none of it happens without these guys.”
A former paratrooper, Visser served 11 months in the 173rd Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War.
He became a NASCAR team owner in 2005 and fielded a team on a limited basis from 2005 through 2007 before going full-time in 2008.