DENVER, Colo. — With Tuesday’s announcement that Erik Jones will move from Furniture Row Racing over to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the future look of NASCAR’s only Colorado-based team has been left unclear.
Jones was loaned out from JGR to Furniture Row on a one-year deal this season, so that Jones could make his full-time Cup debut and compete for Rookie of the Year honors.
That goal has been met to-date, with Jones leading the rookie standings through the season’s first half and sitting just outside the playoff threshold. He currently ranks 14th in regular season points and 18th on the playoff grid.
However, the No. 77 entry that Jones is piloting this season was largely created specifically for Jones’ situation, with no holes having been open at JGR ahead of the Daytona 500 in February.
Furniture Row purchased a charter from Premium Motorsports (that was formerly used by the No. 46 HScott Motorsports entry before that team shut down) so that Jones would be guaranteed a spot in every Cup race this season.
Beyond that, however, things appear to be murky.
Jones’ move to JGR leaves Furniture Row seeking a driver for next season, and it is unclear what 5-Hour Energy might or could do beyond this year with their sponsorship due to Monster Energy’s title sponsorship of the Cup Series.
Furniture Row team owner Barney Visser released a statement late Thursday that didn’t offer any specifics of the team’s potential plans for the No. 77 next year, only reaffirming their commitment to Jones for the rest of the year.
Visser did, however, confirm that Martin Truex Jr. would remain in the No. 78 Toyota next year regardless of what happens with the second car.
“Regarding today’s announcement that Erik Jones will drive in the NASCAR Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing starting in 2018, Furniture Row Racing’s commitment to Jones and the No. 77 team remains the same for the remainder of the season,” said Visser. “Our goal is for Jones to qualify for the playoffs, make a run for the championship and capture Rookie of the Year honors.
“We are working on our team plans for 2018 but don’t have anything concrete to report at this time except that Martin Truex Jr. will continue to drive the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota.”
This season is the first that Furniture Row Racing has campaigned two full-time cars at the Cup level.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
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