Is GMS Racing Buying Furniture Row Racing?
The year of unpredictable events continued on Thursday (Aug. 23), with Adam Stern reporting that Furniture Row Racing is discussing possibly selling the operation to GMS Racing.
➖ @Allegiant could become a sponsor for the No. 78 as part of the deal.
➖ GMS also declined comment. pic.twitter.com/BENvylTMoe
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) August 23, 2018
If true, this will be just the second time in modern NASCAR history that a championship-winning team shut down after the following season. The only other time it happened was with 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Alan Kulwicki, whose AK Racing team was eventually sold to Geoff Bodine after Kulwicki’s untimely death in a plane crash.
Certainly a huge factor in Visser’s decision to sell would be the lack of sponsorship. The loss of 5-hour Energy will reportedly cost the team $10 million next year, and it’s uncertain if it could find enough sponsorship to find it. It’s a lot easier to walk away with a championship than without it, with a pretty decent shot at a second still to come.
What does this mean for manufacturers? GMS has had a long relationship with Chevrolet, and it’s unlikely it would be interested in sticking with Toyota past its grandfathered contract (if it has one). Leavine Family Racing could end up being a big winner out of all of this, as it should be getting a huge influx of both cash and support from Toyota Racing Development.
It’s very unlikely the team would stay based in Denver, as GMS already has a shop in Statesville, N.C., and would presumably want everything under one roof. It’s heartbreaking for a lot of the shop workers at FRR, as they’d have to either leave the sport or move across the country to continue to work in an industry they conquered less than a year ago.
It would be stupid not to retain Cole Pearn. Pearn is probably the best crew chief in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series right now, and letting him walk would take the team back to simply being a top-10 team almost immediately.
As far as Martin Truex Jr. is concerned, it’s hard for him to go at this point unless Stewart-Haas Racing is interested in him in the No. 41, though there have been other rumors of where his future may lie.
What will Front Row Motorsports do with the assets of BK Racing?
With GMS Racing out of the running to pursue the purchase of the assets of BK Racing, Front Row Motorsports stepped in and closed on a $2.08 million deal for most of what’s left.
The deal was originally going to be finalized on Tuesday with some auction-style bidding, but with GMS out of the picture, it came down to just Front Row and original BK Racing owner Ron Devine. Devine complained in court about the sale and convinced the judge to have a final bidding period on Thursday.
Probably the most valuable thing auctioned off was the charter. It’s a sad fact in racing, but the things that are truly valuable to a race team are personnel, which you cannot put a price on in court or at an auction. Smart guys like Darrell Waltrip and Ricky Rudd probably lost their shirts when they decided to shut their teams down. Equipment will only last for so long, and BK’s fleet has been some of the most unreliable and worn-out in NASCAR.
Although Devine claimed he was looking at other venues to get back into the sport, it’s not likely he’ll be back. It’s always possible he could return for a one-off bid for Daytona International Speedway, but it’s hard to imagine anybody in NASCAR is ever going to give him the time of day again long term. He didn’t pay his employees, and according to Matthew Smith, who the court appointed trustee, his business records were “atrocious.”
Remember the time Devine actually claimed that his sponsorship deal with EarthWater was worth $10 million even though the company’s CEO claimed on LinkedIn that its sponsorship of BK through the first four races of the year was through free product? As in, (bottled) water from the Earth? It was a very timely sponsorship, considering the team lost nearly $10 million a year from 2014-2016.
As for Front Row, all we know for sure is that the No. 23 (or a renumbered No. 35) will be at the final 12 races of this season. Whether it’s a Toyota or a Ford remains to be seen.
How awesome will Bill Elliott be at Road America?
62-year-old Bill Elliott will be making a one-race comeback in XFINITY Series competition this week.
Elliott, an inductee of the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame class, will be joining a very exclusive club of sport HOF inductees who return to active competition. Not counting non-athletes such as Joe Gibbs, Elliott will be just the fourth to do so across all major sports in North America.
Elliott’s lone race will be at Road America, one of the oldest road courses in the country. Awesome Bill was never renowned as Road Course Bill; only one of his 44 Cup wins came on a road course. But like his son/spotter Chase Elliott, the first of those 44 came at a road course — in Bill’s case, the old Riverside International Raceway. He also has a combined six top-five finishes at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
The opportunity presented itself when Spencer Gallagher was suspended from NASCAR following his win at Talladega Superspeedway earlier in the season. Multiple drivers subbed for Gallagher while he went through NASCAR’s Road to Recovery, including Chase Elliott. Even after Gallagher returned, the subs have continued, partially because of prior commitments GMS scheduled and partially because Gallagher is no longer eligible to compete in the playoffs.
I’ve been looking forward to this race ever since it was announced. Unlike the last few years of his career, Elliott is also stepping into pretty decent equipment; after all, AJ Allmendinger just finished second in this car earlier in the month at the Glen.
Can anybody stop Johnny Sauter?
If there was ever a wild card race in the playoffs, it’s the first race of this season’s Camping World Truck Series playoffs at the lone road course event of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
What’s more is that, of the eight playoff drivers, there are no drivers with road course wins in the series, although Noah Gragson finished second there last year.
Johnny Sauter would probably be considered the default favorite for every one of these playoff races, as he’s in the middle of a statistically amazing season. Chew on this: he finished 19th at Martinsville Speedway, 15th at Kentucky Speedway, 16th at Eldora Speedway and eighth at Pocono Raceway. Doesn’t sound that impressive, right? However, those are his only finishes outside the top five this season.
The No. 21 truck has an average finish of 5.4, which would be the best among full time-drivers in the history of the Truck Series if he can hold onto it.