NASCAR: The #78 car is returning full-time in 2021

While it won’t be a Furniture Row Racing entry, the #78 car is set to return to the NASCAR Cup Series on a full-time basis for the first time since 2018.

For the first time since Martin Truex Jr. finished in second place in the 2018 championship standings in what was the final season for Furniture Row Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, the #78 car made a return to the sport’s highest level this past season.

B.J. McLeod Motorsports, which had competed in both the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series for a number of years entering the 2020 campaign, made their Cup Series debut in 2020 at Darlington Raceway once the sport returned from the 10-week hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout the season, the team fielded the #78 car in 15 races. Team owner B.J. McLeod drove the #78 Chevrolet in 10 races and the #78 Ford in three while Garrett Smithley drove the #78 Chevrolet in two. McLeod’s 22nd place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the team’s best.

Next season, the #78 car is set to return to the NASCAR Cup Series in a full-time capacity for the first time in three years.

McLeod formed a partnership with Matt Tifft, who competed for Front Row Motorsports in the 2019 season until seizures forced him to give up his ride behind the wheel of the #36 Ford.

With his racing career still in question, becoming a co-owner of a Cup Series team was the 24-year-old Fairfax, Virginia native’s way of getting back into the action next year, and this was the perfect opportunity for him given the relationship he has had with McLeod over the years.

It was announced earlier this week that this new team is set to be known as Live Fast Motorsports. They are set to have a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and run the #78 Ford for the full 36-race 2021 season.

McLeod is set to drive the #78 Ford, and the team have acquired a charter to run the car full-time. With Go Fas Racing no longer running full-time in 2021, they transferred their half of the charter which they had used to run the #32 Ford to the new team. Circle Sport’s Joe Falk owned and continues to own the other half.

Go Fas Racing’s original charter is used to run the #21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing.

But McLeod made sure to get approval from Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser and former Furniture Row Racing president and general manager Joe Garone before confirming the car number as 78.

Here is what McLeod had to say about using the number 78 in 2021, according to NASCAR.

“Basically I’ve had that number since I was on four-wheelers at 3 years old. We were just very fortunate. … I asked NASCAR first. I was like, ‘Make sure Barney and Joe are good with us using this number, and let them know if they ever need it that we’ll work it out to where they can have it or whatever we need to do,’ because they did win a championship with it. I’m extremely proud of what those guys were able to do, and it’s one thing that allows Matt and I to dream and think we can one day pull that off.”

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, February 14 with the 63rd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.