NASCAR: The silly season story suddenly being ignored

Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

The uncertainty surrounding Kyle Busch’s future with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series has overshadowed the situation of Martin Truex Jr.

Kyle Busch has been in the headlines quite a bit recently as result of the comments he made at Talladega Superspeedway in April regarding the uncertainty of his future with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Further statements from Busch, team owner Joe Gibbs, and Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson have led to additional speculation.

The driver of the #18 Toyota is in a contract year, and with longtime partner M&M’s having announced before the 2022 season started that they would not be back for another year, a 2023 return was never a guarantee for Busch.

But while Gibbs and Wilson remain optimistic that the 37-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native will be back for what would be a 16th season with the team and manufacturer, and for good reason, the uncertainty and rumors surrounding Busch’s next move have overshadowed another silly season situation within the organization.

What is next for Martin Truex Jr.?

Truex, who signed his most recent extension with the team ahead of the 2021 season, is also in a contract year with Joe Gibbs Racing, and he also isn’t certain what his future holds.

Toward the end of March, however, he stated that a decision on whether or not he will be back for a fifth year behind the wheel of the #19 Toyota next year would be coming “pretty soon” and that he expected to receive more pressure from the team as more time passed with nothing settled, indicating that this decision was truly up to him.

But here we are nearly two months later, and nothing has been decided, or at least announced, regarding Truex’s future, or lack thereof, with Joe Gibbs Racing beyond the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Through the first 14 races of the Gen 7 era in 2022, the 41-year-old Mayetta, New Jersey native sits in fifth place in the point standings, second highest among the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers behind Busch, but he has yet to win a race.

In the final five seasons of the Gen 6 car, he finished in the top two in the championship standings four times, including in 2017 when he won the title, and he won at least four races in each of those four seasons.

Is he comfortable enough in the Next Gen car to want to continue for at least another season?

Should one of these two drivers leave the team after the 2022 season, it had seemed pretty obvious that Ty Gibbs, who competes for his grandfather’s team in the Xfinity Series, would receive a promotion.

With that being said, the plan for Ty is to spend at least two full seasons in the Xfinity Series, and he is only in his first. Joe Gibbs recently made that clear, which would appear to indicate that he expects to have Truex back in 2023.

Next. 3 possible landing spots for Kyle Busch in 2023. dark

But what happens if both Busch and Truex leave? Combined, they have won three of the last seven championships. Who would join Gibbs hire to compete alongside Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell, and which car numbers would the two new additions run? Simply put, both situations, not just Busch’s, are worth monitoring as silly season heats up.