The defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship team is shutting down at season’s end, and while there had been rumors that this might have been on the horizon, the reality has been hard to digest.
Furniture Row made its Cup Series debut in 2005 with Kenny Wallace, and has won 18 races to date. Martin Truex Jr. has won 17 of those, and captured the championship last season. The organization has been on the rise since hiring Truex in 2014, and then aligning with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016.
Until this season, Barney Visser had funded the No. 78 out of his own pocket with his other business ventures. He also ran his organization away from the NASCAR hub of Charlotte, North Carolina by basing it in Denver, Colorado.
Here is some of the early reaction of the new from around the NASCAR garage.
From NASCAR: “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. We look forward to seeing Martin Truex Jr., Cole Pearn and the entire No. 78 team finish the 2018 season strong and competing for another championship. 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.”
We compete against each other every week, but we've all got friends on other teams throughout the garage. Sad to hear today's news about @FRRacingTeam.— Front Row Motorsports (@Team_FRM) September 4, 2018
Joe Gibbs: “We have a great partnership with Barney and everyone at Furniture Row Racing. It’s unfortunate that they will not be continuing after this season and I know it was a difficult decision for them. They have accomplished so much and I know they would like nothing more than to win another championship this season.”
My heart is sad today. So many emotions involved with the @FRRacingTeam announcement that they will not be racing in 2019.— Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) September 4, 2018
Thank you Barney. I for sure know how hard it is. You made it to the top. I am happy for you and your successes. @FRRacingTeam— Michael Waltrip (@MW55) September 4, 2018
Laura Pierce, General Manager for Motorsports, Toyota Motor North America: “We want to thank Barney Visser, Joe Garone, Martin, Cole and everyone at Furniture Row Racing for a successful partnership over the past few years. The team’s dedication and hard work in the sport was instrumental to our racing family as they helped us win our first NASCAR Cup Series manufacturer’s championships as well as reach the pinnacle of the sport with last year’s championship.”