Toyota Looking To Keep At Least Five Cars In NASCAR Cup Series In '19
Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson said that there "'absolutely is intent' for there to be 'at least' five Toyota-supported cars" in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in '19, according to Daniel McFadin of NBCSPORTS.com. Wilson also said there could be "potentially more" than five. Wilson made his comments three weeks after Furniture Row Racing announced it will "shut down at the end of this season." Without FRR's No. 78 Toyota, that "leaves just the four cars owned by Joe Gibbs Racing." Wilson said of adding cars, "We’re spending a tremendous amount of energy and focus on that, of course. Nobody is happy. Nobody is pleased with losing Furniture Row. It’s something we’re all disappointed with." McFadin noted a likely replacement for FRR in the Toyota camp is Leavine Family Racing, which "fields the No. 95 Chevrolet." LFR revealed last month revealed it would be "exiting its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the year." Team Owner Bob Leavine said that he has been "speaking to the sport’s other manufacturers." Leavine: "Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far" (NBCSPORTS.com, 9/26).
SAD TO SEE YOU GO: New NASCAR President Steve Phelps said of FRR's exit, "We don’t want to see ownership leave or see owners switch like that, particularly when you have someone who is your reigning owner of your champion." He added, "There are circumstances that happened as part of his deal -- from an expense standpoint, from a sponsorship standpoint -- that [FRR Owner Barney Visser] didn’t feel he could make work. Do I think it’s systemic? I don’t. Do we need to have, and would we welcome new owners to come into the sport? We would. We welcome new OEM’s to come into the sport, and we’re on that journey as well" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/27).