Winning NASCAR Cup team to cease operations
In a bombshell announcement, Furniture Row Racing, which won the NASCAR Cup Series with Martin Truex Jr last year, is to close its doors at the end of this season. This is despite a month ago team owner Barney Visser saying that not racing in 2019 wasn’t an option. However, lack of firm sponsorship for next season has crippled the team, particularly with primary sponsor 5-Hour Energy deciding not to renew its sponsorship for 2019. This is despite Truex winning 16 races since 2016 and is currently third this year with four victories.
“This is not good for anybody,” said Visser in a statement. “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.”
“While I am saddened by today’s announcement, I totally understand the decision,” said Truex, who had joined the team in 2014. “Barney Visser, Joe Garone and the entire Furniture Row Racing team took me in while my career was in a bad place, and together we reached the pinnacle of the sport. I will forever be grateful to each and every one of them, and also to Furniture Row, Denver Mattress and the Visser family.
“But make no mistake, this is not the immediate end. 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.”
While the loss of the team, which began fielding Cup cars in 2005 and earned its first win in 2015 is a huge blow to Toyota and NASCAR, the sanctioning body issued a statement issued a statement indicating that it is trying to address the financial stability of its teams.
“NASCAR wishes the very best to Barney Visser and his family. Barney has been a successful owner and an amazing champion, and his presence will certainly be missed. … NASCAR will continue to work on growing the sport and working with the race teams on competitive and operational excellence.
“Much of those efforts have already been put in place, and will continue to be a focus.”