NASCAR: 5 drivers who cannot afford a bad 2024 season

Several drivers are set to enter a make-or-break NASCAR Cup Series season in 2024, as their performance will be held under a microscope.

Austin Cindric, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, NASCAR
Austin Cindric, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, NASCAR / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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No. 5 - Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr. being on this list may come as a surprise to some, but given where he is in his career and the fact that he continues to stay with Joe Gibbs Racing on single-year contract extensions, he can also not afford a bad season.

Saying that the 2023 season was a bad season for Truex would be largely inaccurate. However, saying that his postseason was disastrous would be beyond generous.

Truex failed to finish a single race higher than fourth place in the 2022 season, marking his first winless season since 2014, and he also failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014. He bounced back in 2023 by winning three races and the regular season championship.

But once the playoffs rolled around, he was a total non-factor. He advanced to the round of 8 solely because of his regular season success and resulting playoff points, failing to post anything better than a 17th place finish in the round of 16 or the round of 12.

Despite winning the regular season championship, he ended up falling outside of the top 10 in the final standings, marking the first time he finished outside of the top 10 in back-to-back years since a nine-year run of such finishes to begin his career from 2006 to 2014.

Next. NASCAR Cup Series: Driver lineup changes from 2023 to 2024. NASCAR Cup Series: Driver lineup changes from 2023 to 2024. dark

Truex is set to be 44 years old by the time the 2024 season ends. Given the fact that he has contemplated retirement during each of the last two seasons, it's not all that far-fetched to suggest that the No. 19 Toyota could have a new driver in 2025, whether it's on Truex's terms or not.