Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team has been one of the most successful crews in the NASCAR Cup Series over the last few seasons, winning the series championship last year and claiming four winsthrough 20 races in 2018, trailing only six-time winner Kevin Harvick and five-time winner Kyle Busch. Still, the team finds itself in search of primary sponsorship for 2019 and beyond. Recently, 5-Hour Energy announced it is leaving the team and NASCAR at the end of the 2018 season.
“I don’t know that I was surprised. They’ve been on the fence for a kind of a while, and we’ve kind of been waiting on a decision, and so I don’t know that I was surprised, but I guess I wish it didn’t take quite as long as it did and, you know, kind of puts us in a tough spot now, but I’m not really, really worried,” Truex said during his media availability at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on July 20. "I mean, I think something good can come out of this. Obviously, it’s not great timing with all that’s going on, but I’ve got confidence in my team and what we’re doing, and hopefully, we can find a replacement for that."
The 2018 season is 5-Hour Energy’s second with Furniture Row Racing. Last year, it sponsored the team’s No. 77 entry of Erik Jones, but when FRR scaled back from two to one entry and Jones moved to Joe Gibbs Racing ahead of 2018, 5-Hour sponsorship moved to the No. 78. The energy shot company sponsored Clint Bowyer between 2012 and 2016, first at Michael Waltrip Racing and then at HScott Motorsports, neither of which still exist.
The company shares primary sponsorship of the No. 78 with Bass Pro Shops. Truex’s relationship with Bass Pro Shops dates back to his time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that includes two championship seasons in that series in 2004 and 2005.
Prior to deals with 5-Hour Energy and Bass Pro Shops, team owner Barney Visser put his own company, Furniture Row, on the car as the sponsor.
"I don’t see Barney putting Furniture Row back on the car and doing that,” Truex said. "I don’t know that he can make that work anymore, so we’ll see where it goes from here, but, you know, obviously committed to the team and trying to figure out how we can continue moving forward, and hopefully, there’s a company out there that we can do a great job representing, and hopefully, they’ll come out and show their support here shortly.”
The 2018 season is also a contract year for Truex and Furniture Row Racing.
"Certainly makes things more difficult, you know, but we’ve been talking about it and honestly it’s not like we were just waiting on this to happen,” Truex said of the 5-Hour Energy announcement impact on negotiations. "It just was more of—we’re just trying to figure everything out, what’s the best direction to go, get all the details, and honestly, we haven’t really worked that hard on it. It’s been something that’s like—it’s not really a pressing issue for me. I know what the team wants. I know where we’re all at, you know, it’s not like I’m nervous they’re going to sign somebody else or I’m going to be searching for a ride. It’s nothing like that. It’s more just trying to focus on racing and feeling like it will get done when it gets done.”
Article by Amanda Vincent as posted on The Drive.