Furniture Row Racing announced Tuesday afternoon that the team would be closing its doors following the 2018 season, citing “lack of necessary funding.”
The announcement comes after 5 Hour Energy informed the team earlier this summer that the energy drink company would not be returning as a sponsor for the No. 78 car in 2019.
Since then, Furniture Row Racing has been scrambling to find sponsorship to replace 5 Hour Energy for 2019.
With the Denver, Colo.-based team closing its doors, that puts one of the most prolific driver-crew chief duos in the series on the free agent market for 2019. Driver Martin Truex, Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn have combined for 17 wins over the past four seasons together, plus winning the 2017 Cup Series championship.
The team has won four races already this season, with 11 races left in the campaign.
Numerous rumors have been going around the sport about who could be shifting to what team for 2019 and beyond. Truex, Jr. and Pearn are almost certain to be the hottest free agents on the market, now that the news about FRR is out. It is unclear if Truex, Jr. and Pearn would stay together at a new team or go their separate ways.
Furniture Row Racing started in the mid-2000s, the dream of owner Barney Visser. Up until this season, Visser sponsored the team in some capacity through his other companies, Denver Mattress and Furniture Row. Prior to the 2017 season 5 Hour Energy was brought aboard with the team welcoming Erik Jones and adding a second car. That car shut down and sponsorship shifted to Truex, Jr.’s car for 2018, as Jones joined FRR’s Toyota corporate partner Joe Gibbs Racing.
2018 marked the first season that Visser did not have to put his brands as primary sponsors on his cars, as 5 Hour Energy, Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats, and Auto Owners Insurance have filled those roles on the No. 78 machine.
Is there still time?
Many would say there is still time for Furniture Row Racing to scrape together enough sponsorship to keep the team together for 2019. But most corporations tend to have their major marketing budgets for the upcoming year decided by about the end of Q3.
Visser told Motorsport.com, “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.”
He went on to say, “I felt that it’s only proper to make the decision at this time to allow all team members to start seeking employment for next year.”