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Furniture Row Racing owner: ‘Nothing concrete’ on fielding second car in 2018

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Furniture Row Racing could be one-and-done when it comes to fielding two entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

In the afterglow of Martin Truex Jr.‘s win Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, team owner Barney Visser said “we have nothing concrete pulled together right now” when it comes to the future prospects of its No. 77 Toyota. The car is currently driven by rookie Erik Jones.

It all comes down to money.

“We’d love to be able to do that, but I’m not sure the finances are going to allow it,” Visser said. “We’ll see what we’re able to put together. There’s nothing concrete right now for the second team.”

Furniture Row Racing competed in the Cup Series with one car from 2005-2016.

The comments come the same weekend that Matt Kenseth announced he did “not think I will have the option to return to race at (Joe Gibbs Racing) next year, unfortunately.”

It is possible Jones, the 2015 Truck Series champion and 2016 Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year, would take over the No. 20 Toyota from Kenseth. Jones is on loan to Furniture Row Racing from JGR on a one-year contract and the team bought a charter for the No. 77 prior to this season.

JGR and Furniture Row Racing are in their second year of a technical alliance as well.

MORE: Joe Gibbs not ready to make announcements about Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones.

With Kenseth’s announcement, the No. 77 team was viewed as a possible landing spot for the 45-year-old driver who has been competing full-time in the Cup Series since 2000.

“I probably already said too much about what I’m not doing next year, so I don’t really have anything to talk about what I am doing at this point,” Kenseth said Friday. “At this point, I don’t have anything going on next year and am trying to get focused on running better and winning races.”

The notion of Jones succeeding Kenseth in the No. 20 was reinforced by Kyle Busch on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Friday night.

Again, it’s about the money.

“(Kenseth’s) car has been underfunded all year-long, which is unfortunate,” Busch said. “Erik Jones, I would believe, they’re going to announce him going into that car. Obviously, I can’t say that’s a fact. He’s got some sponsorship that’s behind him for the last couple of years and putting that together with the sponsorship that’s already on the 20 makes sense.”

For Furniture Row Racing, both of its cars are in the top 15 in points following the Kentucky race weekend. Truex is second in the standings following his third win of the year. He trails Kyle Larson by one point.

Jones sits at 14th through 18 races with one top five and five top 10s. He is the highest positioned rookie in the points.

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Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 20

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The annual NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will return to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, the day after the 2018 Hall of Fame class is inducted.

Fans will be able to take part in an autograph session with current national series drivers, Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends.

Admission to Hall of Fame will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis

Admission to driver autograph sessions is free but will require a ticket for participation. Fans can register for the driver autograph sessions at nascarhall.com beginning Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. A full driver autograph session schedule will be announced at a later date.

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Ryan Blaney to guest star on NBC’s ‘Taken’ next year

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Ryan Blaney has a particular set of skills; skills that he’s developed through years of professional auto racing.

The Team Penske driver will get to display those skills next year on NBC’s “Taken” TV Series.

The show serves as a prequel to the 2008 Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Blaney, 23, will guest start on the second season of the series, which premieres Jan. 12. He will appear in an episode titled “Imperium” as a special agent who knows his way around a car.

Here’s the plot synopsis for the episode.

“When a dangerous weapons dealer smuggles his wares into New York City, Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) teams up with the FBI in a race to stop him before he reaches the safety of international waters.”

This won’t be Blaney’s first time in front of a camera playing someone else. He had two movie cameos this year in Logan Lucky and Cars 3.

Blaney was filming his role in “Taken” on Tuesday in Ontario. See his tweets from the set below.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram update: Leaves ICU, moves to acute care facility

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram’s condition continues to improve following a serious car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina on Dec. 3.

According to an online post by his daughter, Ingram was taken out of Intensive Care on Tuesday and moved into an Acute Care facility, which is not as serious as ICU is.

Ingram did suffer a small setback in his recovery, developing a slight infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Added the note from Ingrid Jones, Jack’s daughter, “The acute care facility will work to start decreasing his pain meds, over time, and put him on less narcotics and more simple analgesics (like really strong Tylenol, but without narcotics).

“Also they will continue his therapies, physical and occupational, as he’s able. It is still hard to know what his long-term health future will be, but we think his color looks really good, and we have no doubts that he has the will and determination to see this through.

“So if it is humanly possible for him to overcome, he will.”

We’ll continue to have periodic updates on Ingram’s condition as they become available.