Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson said there “absolutely is intent” for there to be “at least” five Toyota-supported cars in the Cup Series in 2019 and “potentially more.”
Wilson made his comments three weeks after Furniture Row Racing announced it will shut down at the end of this season.
Without the No. 78 Toyota, that leaves just the four cars owned by Joe Gibbs Racing. Last year, FRR fielded Erik Jones in the No. 77, giving Toyota six cars.
“We’re spending a tremendous amount of energy and focus on that, of course,” Wilson said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” of adding cars. “Nobody is happy. Nobody is pleased with losing Furniture Row. It’s something we’re all disappointed with. We at the same time respect the very difficult decision (owner) Barney Visser had to make.
“So as an OEM (manufacturer), we need to try and again put ourselves in the best competitive positioning going forward. That alliance we had going the past three years has been simply magical and something we’ve enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with. I’ve said this before, but we would not have won our first manufacturer championship without both Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing performing at the levels that they have been, let alone our second manufacturer’s championship we won last year.”
With Furniture Row Racing and JGR, Toyota has won two of the last four Cup titles and gone to Victory Lane 58 times since 2015.
The team revealed in August during the Watkins Glen race weekend it would be exiting its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the year.
Team owner Bob Leavine told NBC Sports he has been speaking to the sport’s other manufacturers – Ford and Toyota – about making a transition.
“In our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far,” Leavine said. “Everything we have investigated and done with Toyota has felt good from one end of the spectrum, the technical, to just the relationship basis.”