JOLIET, Illinois — Furniture Row Racing has sold its charter for the No. 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 No. 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.’’
Even without a charter, a team can run in the series. Any team that has a charter must run every race. If they skip a race, they lose the charter immediately and the financial benefits that go with it.
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 Furniture Row Racing will not lay off any employes if it contracts to one car next season. A couple of positions will follow rookie Erik Jones to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. Garone concedes those who work on the road crew and want to continue to do that also could leave.
“We’re hoping everyone will stay,’’ Garone said.
“As far as the shop goes, we’re going to be one really strong single-car team.’’
Garone said that 5-hour Energy will remain with Furniture Row Racing and would move to the No. 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.
“If the 77 runs … it will be running for a championship, not just a partial (season),’’ Garone said.