UPDATE 9/15/2017: Furniture Row Racing has sold its charter for the #77 team for next year but is still looking for sponsorship to run the car in 2018.
Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, said the team sold the charter - he declined to name what team purchased it - because of lack of sponsorship for the #77 team next year. "We're still working on obtaining sponsorship,'' Garone said Friday at Chicagoland Speedway. "If something happens in the next few weeks, it's definitely not dead. We definitely want to keep the 77 running, but we're running out of time.'' Garone concedes the chances of the organization being a single-car team next year are "high.''
Garone acknowledged that if the team found sponsorship to run the car for the full season, there would be the opportunity to lease or buy a charter from another team.
Garone said that 5-hour Energy will remain with Furniture Row Racing and would move to the #78 of Martin Truex Jr. Garone said team owner Barney Visser is not interested in running a second car in a limited number of races next year.
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Furniture Row has sold #77 Charter for 2018 https://twitter.com/SiriusXMNASCAR/status/908505119498670080
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (@SiriusXMNASCAR) September 14, 2017
ORIGINAL Barring a miracle walk-on sponsor at the last minute, Barney Visser has confirmed to Kickin' the Tires that he will shutter the #77 in 2018.
"Right now, we don't have a sponsor lined up for the 77," Visser said. "There is no way we can run it without sponsorship, so we're going to have to put it down.
"It's tough, it's tough to take. We had a lot of people move out to Colorado and they are either going to be happy when they are leaving or they are not leaving. We are either going to make them happy or they are not going to leave they are going to stay with us."
Visser said any shutdown of the #77 car, currently driven by Erik Jones, would hopefully not be permanent and his goal would be to bring it back. He said strong crewmembers are hard to come by, especially body men and fabricators.
Visser downplayed losing Jones to Joe Gibbs Racing, who is moving prematurely after Matt Kenseth announced his pending separation from the #20 team earlier this year. The goal was to keep Jones for a few years and then have him transfer to JGR. However, when Carl Edwards announced his retirement earlier this year, it set off a chain of events that rippled across to Furniture Row Racing.
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