By AMANDA VINCENT
Furniture Row Racing announced on Thursday that it has hired Chris Gayle as crew chief on its No. 77 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team for 2017. FRR is expanding to add a second team next season, the No. 77, that will have Sprint Cup rookie Erik Jones behind the wheel. The No. 77 team will be a teammate to FRR existing team, the No. 78 with Martin Truex Jr. as its driver.
“We are thrilled to have Chris join our team and work with Erik next season,” Furniture Row Racing President Joe Garone said. “His crew chief record in the Xfinity Series has been impressive, but more importantly, his record proves that he knows what it takes to win a race. It’s a great fit with Chris coming from Joe Gibbs Racing, with whom we have a technical alliance. This hire has al the makings of a seamless transition for Chris, since he has already worked with Erik and has a thorough understanding of the Toyota affiliating.
Both Jones and Gayle will arrive at FRR for 2017 from Joe Gibbs Racing and the Xfinity Series. Gayle has been with JGR for 14 years, the last four of those years as a crew chief. He has 17 wins to his credit as an Xfinity Series crew chief, with nine of those coming in 2016. This year, Gayle has been crew chief on JGR’s No. 18 team that has seen multiple drivers behind the wheel, including reigning Sprint Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch.
Gayle was crew chief on the No. 54 JGR Xfinity Series team for which Jones drove in eight races last year. Together, they won a race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
“I am not only excited to have Chris as my crew chief, but also excited for Chris in a career move that he deserves,” Jones said. “I have worked with Chris, and we have a mutual respect for each other. I feel we have an opportunity to have a good year together, and at the same time, build a team from the ground up. Chris has had tremendous success in the Xfinity Series and has shown time after time how to win races. We can’t wait to make our debut in Daytona with the No. 77 5-Hour Energy Toyota.”
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)