Defending NASCAR championship team forced to shut down after this season

Apparently winning does, in fact, not cure all ills.

Furniture Row Racing, the team that Martin Truex Jr. won last year’s Cup championship and still drives for, failed to land a sponsorship deal for next season and will shut down after this season.

The team’s current sponsor, 5-Hour Energy, decided not to renew sponsorship for next season.

Team owner Barney Visser had this to say in a statement:

This is not good for anybody. 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. I strongly believe that all of our people have enhanced their careers by working at Furniture Row Racing

Driver Martin Truex Jr, who has driven for Furntiture Row racing since 2014 said the following:

While I am saddened by today’s announcement, I totally understand the decision. 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.

Furniture Row Racing began in 2005 as an Xfinity (Busch) Series team. They would expand to the Cup series that same year.

As of the 25th race of this season, the team has compiled the following stats in its lifetime:

  • 18 wins
  • 70 top 5 finishes
  • 126 top 10 finishes
  • 15 poles
  • 6,142 laps led

Visser also had this to say:

I’ve always felt that we could be a competitive team and run for a championship even when it seemed like a pipe dream to many racing insiders. But to be successful in any business you need to assemble the right people and make a strong commitment to succeed. We achieved what we set out to do and feel like we climbed Mount Everest. To continue with anything less than a competitive team would not be acceptable.

I had a wake-up call last year (heart attack) and while I feel great I need to make the best decisions that will have an impact on myself and my family. My wife Carolyn and the entire Visser family have been supportive of our racing journey and it’s been one incredible ride for all of us.

There are so many people I want to thank because without them winning a championship and being competitive would never have happened: Joe Gibbs Racing for our technical alliance, Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), Bass Pro Shops, 5-hour ENERGY, Auto-Owners Insurance, Furniture Row and Denver Mattress.

A heartfelt thank you to Joe Garone, Martin Truex Jr, Cole Pearn and all of our team members for their talent, dedication and sacrifices they made along the way. To the Furniture Row and Denver Mattress employees I want to express a special thank you for always having my back from the early years of our race team to our championship run.

I also want to thank the fans, the Denver community, NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) and independent track owners for providing and maintaining the venues that we compete at. A special tip of the hat to the media and to NASCAR’s broadcast partners – FOX, NBC, Motor Racing Network (MRN), Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM Radio. We’ve always been treated fairly by members of the media and I appreciate their hard work in one of the most demanding schedules in major league sports.

Furniture Row Racing will finish out the 2018 season. The team currently sits third in the standings and Truex Jr. has 4 wins, 15 top 5’s and 15 top 10’s and has led 706 laps led this season.

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