After weeks of speculation about his NASCAR Cup future, Martin Truex Jr. put an end to it Friday at Nashville Superspeedway, telling reporters “I will be back in the 19 next year.”
Instead of potentially retiring, Truex, 41, will compete in his 18th full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series. It will be his fifth season with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Truex said he and the team had agreed to a deal that currently only includes 2023.
The 2017 Cup champion said that he came to the decision to continue racing over “the course of the last six months” and that “there wasn’t one thing” factored into his choice.
“It was everything. Just wanted to look ateverything and see what it looks like,” Truex said. “The competitive side of me said ‘I’m not done and I’m going to keep fighting.’ So here we are.”
Truex enters this weekend’s race at Nashville Superspeedway with no wins so far this year. He is currently sixth in the point standings and has only two top fives and seven top 10s through 16 races.
“I don’t like not running good. I’m here to win,” Truex said. “I feel like everybody’s working really, really hard right now. I’ve got an awesome team. They got they got my back, I got theirs. It’s an up and down sport. I’ve been a lot worse off than this before. We’re sitting in a good spot in points … but I feel like we were getting closer and we’ll keep doing all weekend.”
For Joe Gibbs Racing, the only question mark that remain for its Cup Series driver lineup for 2023 is Kyle Busch.
This is the final year of his current contract with the team and a replacement sponsor for Mars, Inc. hasn’t been announced yet.
“We haven’t given up on (Busch). We’re not going to give up on him,” Toyota Racing president David Wilson told NBC Sports this week. “And as I said the last time I was asked this, it would really be a tragedy if he did not call his shot and decide when he wanted to retire from Joe Gibbs Racing and from Toyota. And I well and truly mean that. As a father, and as a grandfather, I can truly appreciate having his son drive a Toyota one day and drive for his father at his truck team in a Toyota. And that can only happen if Kyle keeps driving for us. I don’t see a Carl Edwards in him with the mic drop.”