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NASCAR Cup: Furniture Row Racing to close shop at season’s end

#78: Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY


Furniture Row Racing will cease operations at the end of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, according to an announcement from the race team Tuesday. Furniture Row Racing fields the No. 78 Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. Truex and the No. 78 team are the reigning Cup Series champions.

“This is not good for anybody,” Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser said. “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. This was obviously a painful decision to arrive at knowing how it will affect a number of quality and talented people. 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. 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. I strongly believe that all of our people have enhanced their careers by working at Furniture Row Racing.”

Through the first 25 races of the 2018 season, with one race remaining in the regular season, the No. 78 team has four wins, trailing only Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch with seven and six, respectively.

“This is not the immediate end,” Visser said. “We still have unfinished business to attend to, and that’s to give everything we have to successfully defend our Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. Right now, that is foremost on my mind as it is with the entire team.”

5-Hour Energy, a co-primary sponsor of the No. 78, along with Bass Pro Shops, announced earlier this year that it would end its relationship with the team at the end of the 2018 season. Attempts to keep the team going beyond 2018 included discussions of a merger with GMS Racing, which fields entries in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck series. GMS Racing principals have expressed desires to enter Cup Series competition and GMS Racing President recently made an unsuccessful bid to purchase BK Racing.

Visser formed Furniture Row Racing in Denver, Colo., away from the hub of NASCAR activity in the Charlotte, N.C., area. He entered NASCAR competition through the Xfinity Series in 2005. He became a winning car owner in the Cup Series when Regan Smith won the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway from behind the wheel of the No. 78 in 2011.

Truex joined FRR in 2014 after losing his ride with Michael Waltrip Racing when that team lost NAPA as a sponsor under controversial circumstances at the end of the 2013 season. Truex, then, got Furniture Row’s second Cup win in 2015 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. The No. 78 team switched from Chevrolet to Toyota ahead of 2016, and that manufacturer change included a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Truex and the No. 78 Toyota team have won 16 races since 2016, including a series-leading eight wins during the 2017 championship 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. It’s been one incredible ride.”

Furniture Row Racing was a two-car team in 2017, also fielding the No. 77, sponsored by 5-Hour Energy, for then-rookie Erik Jones. But after the 2017 season, Jones moved to Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the No. 20, and FRR scaled back to fielding only the No. 78.

A report from on Tuesday reported that Truex would move to Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the No. 19, replacing Daniel Suarez, in 2019. The same report also has crew chief Cole Pearn and sponsor Bass Pro Shops making the move with Truex to JGR. Officials from Joe Gibbs Racing declined opportunity to comment.

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Posted by on September 4, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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