In what was one of the worst kept secrets, and one of the most rumored silly season changes in the 2018 season, Cole Pearn and Martin Truex, Jr. will continue to be a crew chief and driver pair in the 2019 season.
Driver Swaps – Silly Season Time
The current No. 78 duo will become the fourth team at Joe Gibbs Racing, replacing Daniel Suárez next year. Suárez’s 2019 plans have yet to be announced, but silly season rumors have him going to the No. 41 of Stewart Haas Racing, while current No. 41 driver, Kurt Busch is rumored to be taking over the No. 1 Chevrolet of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates next year.
Furniture Row Racing
In a statement released back on September 4, 2018, Denver-based Furniture Row Racing announced it would be shutting its doors at the conclusion of the 2018 season, saying that a lack of necessary funding to field a competitive team left the single-car team with no reasonable option but to close its doors.
WNo word has yet been announced whether Truex will continue to race under the No. 78, or Suárez’s current No. 19 next season. In JGR initial press release confirming Truex’s joining JGR, the No. 19 was referenced, but with FRR ceasing operations, the No. 78 could be up for grabs. After Michael Waltrip Racing closed their doors, Clint Bowyer continued to race in the No. 15 with HScott Motorsports. It’s a little less likely for JGR to stray away from the No. 19, having run it for the past few years with Carl Edwards first, and Suárez most recently,
A contributing factor of FRR ceasing operations is the fact that 5-Hour Energy is leaving NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2018 season. But it is yet to be determined if Truex is bringing over any of his other current sponsors. The JGR press release said sponsorship for Truex’s 2019 ride would be announced at a later date. Current sponsors Truex could bring with him include Bass Pro Shops and Auto Owners Insurance. Bass Pro Shops has also sponsored SHR and Richard Childress Racing drivers. Continuing to sponsor Truex would mena Bass Pro Shops would be the only sponsor to have all three makes in the NASCAR garage sponsored — Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.
For the past few years, FRR has been a partner of JGR, but bringing the successful pairing of Pearn and Truex in house to the Huntersville, NC based Joe Gibbs Racing could further elevate the four car MENCS team. Truex will join Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Erik Jones, and may make the team even more competitive in the 2019 garage.