NASCAR

Furniture Row Racing not fielding #77 in 2018

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After just one season of operation, the #77 team of Furniture Row Racing will not return to the track for the 2018 Cup Series season. Although the news was released on Wednesday, speculation had been present since mid-September.

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In September, FRR sold its charter for the #77. For 2017, the team is fielding the car for rookie Erik Jones, who is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing’s #20 Camry in 2018. He currently sits 19th in points with 12 top-ten finishes and a pole. The 2015 Camping World Truck Series champion will replace Matt Kenseth, who does not have a ride for 2018. Jones’ crew chief Chris Gayle’s future with the team has not been revealed.

“It is our organization’s goal to operate a two-car team in the future and we will continue to seek sponsorship funding for the #77,” team owner Barney Visser announced in a press release.

With the team’s shutdown, FRR will return to a one-car stable as it continues to run the #78 for points leader Martin Truex Jr. Since Truex joined the team in 2015 and switching to Toyota in 2016, the once-struggling FRR has evolved into the one of the premier teams in the Cup Series. In addition to holding the points lead, he has the most wins of the season (six) and has finished in the top ten in all but nine races.

“Our 100 percent focus for next season will be on the #78 Toyota Camry, which will be driven by Martin Truex Jr.,” Visser added.

2017 is FRR’s first season with two full-time cars. Prior to the #77, the last time FRR had fielded two cars in a race was the 2008 Daytona 500, in which the #78 was driven by Joe Nemechek and the #87 was run by Kenny Wallace.

The #77 had been revealed during the summer of 2016, receiving sponsorship from 5-hour Energy.

Despite the demise of the #77, Visser has expressed interest in bringing back a second car in the future. When FRR sold the #77’s charter, Team President Joe Garone pointed out Visser had no intentions in fielding a part-time car.

“If the 77 runs … it will be running for a championship, not just a partial (season),” he stated.

Featured image by Justin Nguyen

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