Furniture Row Racing Likely To Shutter No. 77 In '18 With Lack Of Sponsorship
Furniture Row Racing Owner Barney Visser has confirmed that he will "shutter the No. 77" car for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in '18, barring a "miracle walk-on sponsor at the last minute," according to Jerry Jordan of racing blog KICKIN' THE TIRES. Visser: "Right now, we don’t have a sponsor lined up for the 77. There is no way we can run it without sponsorship, so we’re going to have to put it down." Visser said that any shutdown of the No. 77 car, currently driven by Erik Jones, would "hopefully not be permanent and his goal would be to bring it back." Visser downplayed losing Jones to Joe Gibbs Racing, who is "moving prematurely after Matt Kenseth announced his pending separation from the No. 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 retired in January, it "set off a chain of events that rippled across to Furniture Row Racing." Visser said that it "isn’t the first time a deal has gone bad but he stopped short of expressing disappointment in Toyota over the situation" (KICKINTHETIRES.net, 9/12).
PUT ON THE BREAKS: Danica Patrick will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing next year, and in Chicago, Madeline Kenney noted many people are "speculating that this could mean the end" of her racing career. But the 35-year-old "shot down rumors that she was retiring" yesterday. Patrick: "That’s just not the case. It really just means that I’m not going to be driving for that team anymore. ... If I feel like I have an opportunity to be in a car that’s going to give me the ability to have fun, which is run well, then that’s what I’m doing to do" (SUNTIMES.com, 9/13). But ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass wrote Patrick's "chances of finding a ride are minimal at best." Any sponsor willing to "commit to Patrick would have to recognize it would likely be a one-year venture, or two years at the most." Patrick: "I've been on the good end of sponsorship and money for a very long time, basically my whole career. So this is definitely a different position. But it's the way it goes. It is just a business. If the money is there, then teams are going to move forward. Money is harder than ever to come by. ... It's a tough world" (ESPN.com, 9/13).