After a season of rumors, Martin Truex Jr. put a stop to them with a simple seven-word statement.
In Nashville, Truex remarked, “I’m back in the 19 next year,” before his announcement from Joe Gibbs Racing was even briefer: “I’m returning.”
The 2017 NASCAR champion has never been known for his verbosity, but he’s been unusually sparse in recent months as he’s contemplated his future. When asked about his future with Joe Gibbs Racing, Truex would only say that Joe Gibbs Racing wanted a decision from him by the end of the year.
Due to his “competitive side,” “I’m not done,” said Truex, who turns 42 this week.
For the 18th time, he’ll be competing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and he’s already won 31 races and two championships. As of this past Sunday, he was sixth in the standings, despite his winless season to date.
Truex’s signing means that JGR can focus only on two-time NASCAR champion Kyle Busch. Because Mars, Inc. is departing NASCAR at the end of this season and JGR needs a new sponsor for the No. 18, he is in a contract year as well.
Truex’s return ensures that JGR will be a title contender for years to come. As a driver for Furniture Row Racing, he won NASCAR’s championship race in 2017 and has advanced to the title-deciding championship race in four of the past five seasons. This is his third championship second-place finish, including last year’s defeat by Kyle Larson.
Ever since he joined the JGR team, Truex has won 16 of his first races.
At least another year in his Camry TRD makes us happy, says David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development: “We’re delighted.”
Due to both Truex’s and JGR’s troubles in the Next Gen stock car, it was difficult to predict what he would do. Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Truex have all won races for JGR this season, with the team’s four drivers totaling three wins. Truex and Bell have yet to win a race.
In the future, “the good teams will be excellent teams everywhere,” stated Busch. It’s “but you know, it’s spotty right now with just getting an understanding formed around this car.”
In the 16 races that Truex has raced, he’s finished in the top ten seven times.
I don’t enjoy not being able to race well,” Truex remarked. “I’m in this to win.” Everyone seems to be working quite hard at the moment. It’s a rollercoaster of a game. I’ve been in a lot worse shape. As long as we keep working hard, I believe we’ll be able to climb to the top of the standings.”
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