Martin Truex Jr. to return in 2024, signs one-year extension with JGR

Martin Truex Jr. on the grid at Sonoma Raceway
Sean Gardner
Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr. said Saturday that he will return to Joe Gibbs Racing to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024.

Truex, the 2017 series champion, said he had signed a contract extension Friday night with JGR that will keep him in the No. 19 Toyota through the end of next season. The news came Saturday at Michigan International Speedway after Busch Pole Qualifying for the FireKeepers Casino 400 (set to resume Monday at noon ET on USA, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).

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“It felt like the right thing to do was to keep going,” Truex said. “The more I thought about it, the more I was like — ‘don’t be stupid, go race another year and see how it goes.'”

Truex is a three-time winner this season and currently heads the Cup Series points standings. Next year will mark his sixth season with Coach Joe Gibbs’ organization.

Truex has been candid about his difficulty in determining the future of his racing career. Last week at Richmond Raceway, the 43-year-old driver acknowledged that the decision was “not an easy one, I can promise you that,” but also foreshadowing that he would make his choice “pretty soon.”

In recent interviews, both Gibbs and David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) USA, said that they were not pressuring Truex in either direction, allowing him the time he needed to make his decision. Truex said of Gibbs’ reaction, “He’s thrilled. He’s a great guy to work for.”

Truex also admitted that he had been leaning in the direction of returning in the last handful of weeks, saying that nothing in his reasoning had surfaced to change his mind. He said the timing of signing an extension now had less to do with the approaching NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs than allowing the team and its sponsors time to prepare.

“I think it’s more so for the team, Coach and all of our partners, so we can just put that out of the way and go back and button up next year’s plans,” Truex said. “It’s pretty late in the season to be putting them in a spot where you keep them hanging. I think I did that as long as possible — not on purpose, but it is just how it worked out.”

Truex is a 34-time winner in NASCAR’s top division, and all but three of those have come with Joe Gibbs Racing or its affiliate teams. His consistency this year has combined with victories at Dover, Sonoma and New Hampshire to establish him as a front-runner for the regular-season championship and the overall crown.

In making his return, Truex said the commitment needed to compete at such a high level was something he planned to keep rolling.

“That is what takes so long to figure it out,” Truex said. “I’ve come to terms with all of that obviously, and I’m looking forward to continuing all of that. It is part of the job. It comes with the territory. You are not going to half-ass this job. I’m ready. I’m excited. We’ve got a great thing going. My team is amazing. They are doing great things. Love working with them, and happy to keep this going.”

Count his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates among those welcoming him back.

“After he came back last year, I figured that this year would be … not his farewell tour,” said JGR’s Christopher Bell, who won the Busch Light Pole for Sunday’s 400-miler. “You know, as good as he’s running, he’s got a couple more wins left in him, so I guess I was not expecting him to retire this year.”

Truex had spoken wistfully in recent weeks about the potential of riding into retirement on a winning note, possibly ending his career with a title-clinching triumph in the season finale on Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway. This week’s contract extension, he says, takes that storybook scenario out of the mix — at least this year.

“Apparently not. Once you sign on the dotted line, you are committed,” Truex said. “A lot of people are looking for big things, and hopefully I will deliver.”