Race Weekend Central

Joe Gibbs Racing Suspends Furniture Row Racing Crewmembers

For the first time in NASCAR history, one car owner has suspended a different team’s crew members.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Thursday (Jul. 27) that it was suspending two crewmembers from Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 team.

JGR has a technical alliance with FRR, and along with that, provides its pit crews. The FRR crew members are on the JGR payroll and that is why Gibbs has the right to suspend them.

Chris Taylor and Lee Cunningham, the front and rear tire changers for the No. 78, face a three-race suspension for an altercation with Kyle Busch‘s crew chief Adam Stevens during Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The incident started after Busch and Martin Truex Jr. made contact while battling for the lead on lap 111, totaling both race cars. In footage shown on Fox Sports 1’s Race Hub, Taylor and Cunningham can be seen having words with Stevens after he approaches the No. 78 pit stall. The two teams had pit stalls right next to each other in the event.

“Our No. 78 pit crew is hired, trained and managed by Joe Gibbs Racing,” FRR team owner Barney Visser said in a team statement. “They are one of the best pit crews on the circuit and have kept us up front all season. We admire the talent and dedication of our pit crew and support all of the decisions and actions taken by Joe Gibbs Racing.”

Kip Wolfmeier and John Royer will fill in for Taylor and Cunningham for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono Raceway, Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway.

About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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Personally, I don’t like either team, but it looks like Joe Gibbs made a big mistake here and has poisoned the water between his own teams. By suspending two crew members over an altercation started by Adam Stevens, Gibbs is telling the 78 crew they don’t matter. And don’t give me the stupid “hand clap” started the fight bit. Stevens could have walked by and taken the matter straight to Gibbs. Instead, he got his butt kicked then hid behind Gibbs like a coward. Makes everyone on the 18 look like cowards too.

Bobby DK

Congratulations. Nothing surprises me any more. Thunk.

Ken Smith

You don’t think Gibbs feels he just increased Kyle’s chances in the next four races do you?


The two crew members are being used. The 18 crew chief came into their box over a sarcastic hand clap. He started it, the two crew members finished it. Mr. Gibbs missed on this one.

Bill B

How heavy handed of Gibbs. I saw the altercation and either both teams crew members should be punished or neither should be punished. For Gibbs to come down on the side of his primary team is not right. Of course there could be more to it and something we haven’t seen. I have little to no respect for Gibbs anymore. He talks a good game about being a good person but he seems no better (or worse) than the rest of them.

Bobby DK

So I guess it’s a behavior issue. Just like a nose picking, petulant, brat got suspended for 3 races for answering a media question in 3 sentences, dropping a microphone and walking off. Oh wait. I forgot he hates to lose.

ben stern

Not a good situation where a competitor can fire other team crew. Not a good deal when alliance supplies crew members. Has the possibility of changing championship outcome by firing opposing crew members to reduce competition. If you are going to fire members from one team, wasn’t there both teams involved? Bad deal gibbs.


More BS from JGR. Phony humility and praying and then BAM, turn around and give your own guy an advantage. Shame on you Joe Gibbs.


After what Matt did and Gibbs on his side does it not surprise you , what does surprise me though is M&Ms doesn’t have nothing to say about these antics and the 18 Behavior


What does surprise me is that M&M has nothing to say about the 18th antics and behaviors from Gibbs on down , that hole crew discuss me


Typical, these hyenas eat their own!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a horrid bunch. Truly.

Biff Baynehouse

Whelp, as a Fordie …ROFLMAO! ):-D I love it! Clearly there’s a super-secret verse on the justification of double standards, perhaps scribed with invisible ink, in the version of the Bible that Mr. Gibbs thumps, presumably printed at the same press that published Hambone’s unwritten super-secret “JGR Driver’s Code” manual, yeah?
But seriously, hopefully someone can tell me if more transpired that what that little Focks clip showed. Did a twit-war follow? But judging from that, & only that clip, it seems like a heated, but pretty innocuous exchange. And if anyone is in the wrong, it seems like it’s the #18’s CC (Adam Stevens). He enters another team’s pit box, & threw a hissy-fit after getting a sissy golf-clap from a #78 tire changer? Then the other #78 tire changer escorts Adam out of the pit to prevent/avoid a conflagration. The #78 crewmen never left their pit, yet they are #78’s suspended? Bass-ackwards much? Suspended for what, ….a potty-mouth?
And this from an owner that vociferously back Benedict Kenseth after the ’15 attempted homicide in turn one at Martinsville? And this from an owner of a car that’s sponsored by a candy company, who’s driver marched all the way down pit road after the LV race earlier this season, & attempt to clean-clock a competitor?
Yeeeaaaahhh, ethics double standard – CHECK! God bless JGR …& my hot wife!

Bill B

What this really looks like to me is a manager (Stevens) was pissed off at two workers (Taylor and Cunningham) for not giving him the respect a manager demands. As a result the manager took punitive action against the employees basically reminding them that he is a manager and he has the ability to have them fired. Happens every day in companies around the world.

Erin Dugan

Not impressed lately with JGR!!! First they lost Carl Edwards (still wondering what happened there); now they are losing Matt Kenseth (SERIOUSLY wondering about that one) and now 18 crew goes looking for trouble in the 78 turf and the 78 crew pays the price??? WTF JGR??? NASCAR????

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