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5-hour Energy to end NASCAR involvement at end of season

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Furniture Row Racing announced Wednesday that it is seeking sponsorship of the No. 78 car for next season with the announcement that 5-hour Energy will not return after this year.

5-hour Energy became the major co-primary sponsor this season on the No. 78 team with Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats for 30 Cup races. 5-hour Energy joined Furniture Row Racing in 2017, serving as a majority primary sponsor on the No. 77 car with Erik Jones.

Wednesday’s announcement comes just days after reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. won at Kentucky Speedway for his fourth Cup win of the year.

5-hour Energy has been a primary sponsor in NASCAR for nearly a decade, including the seven in Cup.

Rise’ Meguiar, President of Sales for Living Essentials, parent company of 5-hour ENERGY, issued a statement on the business decision.

“Since joining Furniture Row Racing in 2017, the team has delivered on every promise. In addition to being a championship team, winning races and putting 5-hour ENERGY in victory lane multiple times, they have also become part of our family.  We cannot thank Barney Visser, Joe Garone, Martin and the entire Furniture Row Racing team enough for the pride they have given us.  They are a first-class group on and off the track.  Although 5-hour ENERGY has made the business decision to leave NASCAR, we will be fans and friends for life, and we look forward to finishing strong in 2018.”

Said Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, in a statement:

“I want to first send a sincere thank you to everyone at 5-hour Energy for being an excellent and loyal partner. The way 5-hour Energy has activated its programs over the years demonstrated a commitment and creativity as a NASCAR race team sponsor. We understand that companies do change business strategies, but friendships last forever and that’s how we feel about 5-hour Energy.”

“Being a perennial championship contending team with a talented driver in Martin, Furniture Row Racing continues to be committed in offering a new sponsor not only success on the racetrack but also the benefit of a strong marketing platform with our powerful team of partners – Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners Insurance, Toyota, Furniture Row and Denver Mattress.”

This decision by 5-hour Energy comes as Truex’s contract with Furniture Row Racing ends after this season. He was asked last weekend at Kentucky about where things stood with a new contract.

“We’ve got some stuff to figure out, for sure,” Truex said. “I don’t plan on doing anything different. Just give the team some time to figure things out. We’re all kind of trying to figure it all out together so we can make it happen.”

So what needed to be figured out?

“Just sponsorship commitments and all the stuff that goes along with that,” Truex said. “Figuring out how much money we have to spend, when do we get it, how much are we getting and where can we spend it. Just trying to figure out all the details honestly. There’s a lot of puzzle pieces to be put together that we haven’t finished yet. Honestly, we haven’t been in a big hurry to get it done. In due time.”

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Auto-Owners Insurance adding more races as primary sponsor for Martin Truex Jr.

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Auto-Owners Insurance will be the primary sponsor for eight races for Martin Truex Jr. in 2018 after adding two races, Furniture Row Racing announced Tuesday.

That means that all 38 races (36 points races and two non-points races) for the No. 78 car are set with primary sponsorship for next year.

Bass Pro Shops will be the primary sponsor for 16 races next season.

5-hour Energy will be the primary sponsor for 14 races next season.

Auto-Owners Insurance will be the primary sponsor for the remaining eight races.

Truex advanced to the championship round of the playoffs after last weekend’s race at Texas.

Furniture Row Racing sells charter from No. 77 car for next season

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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.

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With Clint Bowyer set to leave MWR at season’s end, what happens to 5-hour Energy?

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With Wednesday morning’s announcement, we know that Michael Waltrip Racing likely won’t race in the Sprint Cup Series in 2016.

Waltrip was supposed to race in the 2016 season-opening Daytona 500 with Maxwell House as a sponsor, but that situation is now unclear in light of MWR shutting down for the most part at the end of this season.

We also know that Clint Bowyer has been granted permission to seek opportunities with other teams.

But what about the future for Bowyer’s primary sponsor, 5-hour Energy? Will it follow Bowyer to his next Sprint Cup team home?

Here’s what the company 5-hour Energy Director of Communications Melissa Skabich said in a statement:

5-hour ENERGY has enjoyed a great relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer since joining forces in 2012.

“MWR and Clint have delivered above and beyond with our partnership and we thank them for their dedication. Clint is a great ambassador for our products, customers and retailers.

“The MWR team and Clint will continue to remain focused on getting 5-hour ENERGY in the Chase. We will make no further comment until we are ready to announce our future plans.

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