Will Martin Truex Jr. be back for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season? A decision on the 2017 champion’s future is expected “pretty soon”.
Before the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season began, there were questions about Martin Truex Jr.’s future with Joe Gibbs Racing. But before the green flag dropped, he extended his deal through at least the end of the 2022 season; the exact terms of his contract were not disclosed.
Six races into the 2022 season, the 2017 champion has yet to sign anything that goes beyond the current 36-race schedule, and as expected, there are questions about what his future might hold.
The 41-year-old Mayetta, New Jersey native has competed in 591 races in his Cup Series career, including 582 in a row going back to his debut as a full-time driver with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2006.
But will that streak extend beyond the conclusion of the 2022 season?
Truex is in his 17th season as a full-time driver in 2022, and he is in his fourth season behind the wheel of the #19 Toyota. He had competed for the Joe Gibbs Racing-affiliated Furniture Row Racing before they shut down at the end of the 2018 season.
He hasn’t committed to returning for an 18th season in the series or a fifth with the team next year.
Prior to this past Sunday afternoon’s race at Circuit of the Americas, here is what Truex had to say about his contract situation and when he’ll know what his future holds.
“Pretty soon because I’m pretty sure I’m going to start getting pressure from the team. They obviously have a lot — they have to plan. So there always comes a deadline. I don’t know when that is but I’ll have to have this conversation I’m sure pretty soon here.”
Truex has said before that he doesn’t have to keep racing. He competes because he loves doing so and he feels that he is still able to win races and championships.
His performance over the last few years has certainly illustrated that this is still true, as he has just one finish outside of the top two in the championship standings over the last five seasons: a seventh place effort in 2020.
He also has just one season without at least four wins over the last six years: the 2020 season, when he won just once but recorded 10 other top three finishes.
While the start of the Next Gen era hasn’t been as kind to him as it has been to some other drivers, he still sits in seventh place in the point standings through six races.
Only one driver in the top six, 31-year-old Joey Logano, is less than a decade younger than Truex; other series veterans have struggled to adapt to the new machinery. Truex leads all Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in the standings thanks to his three top eight finishes, and he has just one finish outside the top 13.