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NASCAR Cup: report has Martin Truex Jr. at Joe Gibbs Racing next year

FONTANA, CA – MARCH 16: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, talks with Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 16, 2018 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Soon after Barney Visser’s announcement that he would shut down his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team at the end of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Motorsport.com reported that driver Martin Truex Jr., along with crew chief Cole Pearn and sponsor Bass Pro Shops, would move to Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 team in 2019, citing multiple sources. Joe Gibbs Racing, though, declined to comment.

“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,” Visser said in a press release Tuesday. “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.”

Bass Pro Shops and 5-Hour Energy are combining to sponsor Truex and the No. 78 for 30 races in 2018, but earlier this year, 5-Hour Energy announced that it would end its partnership with FRR at the end of the 2018 season.

The No. 78 has had a close technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing since Furniture Row Racing switched from Chevrolet to Toyota ahead of the 2016 season. In the nearly three seasons since the formation of that alliance, Truex and the No. 78 team have won 16 races, including four in the 25-races, so far, of 2018. They also won a series-high eight races en route to the 2017 Cup Series championship.

“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.”

Popular speculation as Daniel Suarez, the driver of JGR’s No. 19 since 2017, moving to Leavine Family Racing to replace the retiring Kasey Kahne in the No. 95. LFR owner Bob Leavine has publicly expressed an interest in switching from Chevrolet to Toyota for 2019. Such a switch would make an alliance between his team and Joe Gibbs Racing possible.

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Posted by on September 5, 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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