NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. finally makes decision on Cup future

Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

It took him longer than it did last year, but Martin Truex Jr. has officially decided to return to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Amid a down year in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, Martin Truex Jr. needed to decide between returning for a fifth year behind the wheel of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota or retiring after 17 seasons in the sport.

It took him until late June, but he ultimately decided to return for year number 18. However, he ended up missing the playoffs and failing to win a race for the first time since 2014. He didn’t finish a single race higher than fourth place last year.

And so when he entered the 2023 season on a one-year deal, the 2017 series champion was faced with the exact same question. Would his current contact be his last?

Martin Truex Jr. has undoubtedly rediscovered his championship form throughout the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Including his victory in the Busch Light Clash preseason exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Truex has won four times this year, and he finds himself atop the point standings through 22 of 26 regular season races.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is now offering fans $100 just for signing up and betting $5, lists him as the overall championship favorite for 2023 at +400.

But with Truex having alluded to “going out on top” in the past, and with him having mentioned that he doesn’t compete because he feels he has to but because he enjoys doing so, there was again speculation that he could move aside and allow somebody else to take his seat in 2024.

Even amid a resurgent season, Truex had not made up his mind by late June when he decided last year, and he went through July effectively ignoring the question.

But ahead of Sunday afternoon’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, he has finally made his decision. Truex has re-signed with Joe Gibbs Racing, inking a one-year extension to keep him with the organization through 2024.

Given the nature of NASCAR silly season, the focus has naturally shifted to whether or not the 42-year-old Mayetta, New Jersey native will be back in 2025, or if year number 19 will be his final year driving the No. 19 car.

And given how long it took him to make up his mind last year about 2023 and this year about 2024, it’s safe to say that we probably won’t know if this new deal will end up being his last for quite a while. His focus is on winning a second championship.

Joe Gibbs Racing now have three of their four drivers under contract for 2024, with Christopher Bell set to return for a fourth season behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota and rookie Ty Gibbs set to return for a second behind the wheel of the No. 54 Toyota.

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While primary sponsor FedEx was said to be “close” to a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing, Denny Hamlin has yet to sign a contract extension to continue behind the wheel of the No. 11 Toyota. The 2024 season would be his 19th full season in the sport.