The epilogue to Martin Truex Jr.’s 2023 season should almost be delivered in two parts.
The afterword to the veteran’s NASCAR Cup Series campaign begins with a three-win regular season, one that cemented his spot atop the standings once the calendar turned to summer. It’s the 10-race postseason where things turned sour with a string of subpar finishes, and it’s that nettlesome stretch that his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 team will aim to mend before the new season arrives.
“I think just going back to Victory Lane, it’s what it’s all about when the year starts, and you want to be able to go out and win races,” Truex said before the NASCAR Awards celebration in Nashville last month. “So we really had a really good regular season, and kind of the wheels fell off in the playoffs, but a lot of it was circumstances, and, of course, we made some mistakes and things along the way. We’re gonna try to work on those in the offseason. But, overall, a lot of highlights, a lot of good things, and a lot to build off of.”
The highlights that stood out began with a victory to open the month of May at Dover Motor Speedway, where Truex snapped a 54-race skid and helped to erase the memory of a winless 2022. More strong runs followed and wins at Sonoma and New Hampshire helped to keep him on the inside track to the Regular-Season Championship.
The 15 playoff points he gained by securing that trophy were pivotal in helping Truex advance to the Round of 8, where elimination finally capped a rocky postseason that netted zero top-five finishes. The arrival of the offseason, Truex says, provides the chance for a reset for the No. 19 crew but also some needed downtime before the groundwork for the 2024 season is established.
“I think we do (reset), and we don’t get a whole lot of time to do that, but in the process of preparing for next year, we go over everything, and we talk about everything,” said Truex, who re-signed with JGR with a one-year extension in August. “We’re all gonna get together and have a big go-kart race, so just kind of lay low, do some fun stuff with low pressure, and then in January, kind of ramp it up with getting ready for the season and the details of things. But the guys are working hard already and excited for that to come when it does.”