DENVER — Furniture Row Racing officially confirmed Wednesday that the team will down-size for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, shuttering the No. 77 Toyota after only one year as a two-car operation.
Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser said in a statement that the team will return to its former single-car iteration next year, with championship contender Martin Truex Jr. continuing to pilot the No. 78 Toyota for a fifth-straight year.
The No. 77 team was formed this season for rookie Erik Jones to move up to the Cup level, with a charter purchased from Premium Motorsports to field the car in all 36 races. That charter was sold to an as-yet unrevealed team last month.
“As Furniture Row Racing looks ahead to the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season, the team is not planning to field the No. 77 Toyota as a second car entry,” said Visser. “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 No. 77. Our 100 percent focus for next season will be on the No 78 Toyota Camry, which will be driven by Martin Truex Jr.”
Jones has driven the No. 77 this season for Furniture Row, on loan from Joe Gibbs Racing for his maiden Cup season as the 21-year-old native of Byron, Mich. waited patiently in the wings for a JGR seat to open up.
That availability became a reality in August, when Matt Kenseth confirmed that he would not be returning to the No. 20 Toyota in 2018.
Jones has scored four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 30 races to-date this year with Furniture Row Racing, as well as a pole at Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
Visser said last month that he was not worried about the ability to lease or purchase another charter, should sponsorship arise to revive the No. 77 team.
“It’s not a big deal right now,” he told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio in September. “It’s not a big deal to us.”
Of note, team president Joe Garone revealed ahead of the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway last month that the current 5-hour Energy sponsorship on the No. 77 Toyota will shift over to Truex’s car for next season.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
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