Furniture Row Racing launched in the 2000s under the ownership of Barney Visser. It is named after the chain of furniture stores Visser co-owns, based out of Denver, Colorado. Visser is also chairman of the Denver Mattress Company.

The early years were a mighty struggle for the racing team in NASCAR. But things began to turn around for them after signing former Cup Series champion, Kurt Busch. After Busch departed for Stewart-Haas Racing, Furniture Row Racing brought in Martin Truex, Jr.. The dramatic increase in success would culminate with the 2017 Cup Series Championship.

But, just one year later, NBC Sports reports that the operation is closing its doors.

The team had lost a major sponsor

For the 2018 season, the 78 car driven by Truex has had two primary sponsors. One is Bass Pro Shops, and the other being 5-hour Energy. Both companies have been a fixture in NASCAR for several years. But 5-hour Energy has opted to no longer provide sponsorship to the team. Efforts at finding a replacement have been unsuccessful.

In the past, Furniture Row and Denver Mattress were used as primary sponsors for cars fielded by the team. But it seems that this will not be an option in this case. Furniture Row Racing is far from the only NASCAR team to go defunct in recent times.

Likely the most prominent examples are Dale Earnhardt Inc., Evernham Motorsports, and Michael Waltrip Racing.

NASCAR has hit tough times

Just a few years ago, NASCAR was a booming presence in American sports. Those in charge seemed eager to increase their audience globally. But, as ESPN indicates, things have taken a turn for the worse.

New rules have been polarizing among fans. Popular drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Danica Patrick have retired. NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France had to step aside following a DUI. Environmental concerns continue to cause questions about the series' operations. Safety issues have long been an issue.

But now the increasing concerns about head injuries in sports have intensified them.

As the fan base has dwindled, 5-hour Energy is far from the only long-time sponsor to depart. NASCAR has recently been losing a number of sponsors that had been mainstays in the series. They include Lowe's and Target.

It also seems like a major problem that Furniture Row and Denver Mattress have not stepped in. Given Visser's connections to the brands, one would think they would provide an easy solution. However, it seems that they don't believe that it's worth it.