After a brutal outing for Martin Truex Jr. in Tuesday night's Busch Clash, Joe Gibbs Racing gave the driver a consolation prize—a contract extension.
Truex will continue to pilot the No. 19 Toyota Camry beyond the 2021 season, JGR announced on Wednesday.
The 40-year-old 2017 Cup champion, who is in his third season with JGR and his 16th in NASCAR’s top tour, has compiled 27 wins, 116 top fives and 228 top 10's in 549 starts.
“Extending Martin’s agreement has been a big priority for us this offseason,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Martin brings so much to our organization. Obviously, he’s talented and (has) shown he can win at any race track, but his insights also help to make all our teams better.”
After a slow start to his Cup career, in which he produced just three wins in his first decade, Truex’s performance took off once he was aligned with Cole Pearn at Furniture Row Racing. Together, the pair compiled 24 victories and advanced to the Championship 4 four times, winning the title in 2017.
The pair joined JGR for the 2019 season, but Pearn stepped away at the end of the year. James Small, Pearn’s engineer, assumed the role of crew chief.
“I’m happy to get this news out there so we can focus on this season and the future with Joe Gibbs Racing,” Truex said. “This is where I wanted to be and to continue building on the success we have had together the past two years.
“I appreciate Coach, my team, everyone at JGR and all of our partners like Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners Insurance, Reser’s Fine Foods, Stanley Black & Decker and Toyota for making this possible and I look forward to continuing those relationships as we move forward.”
During his tenure at JGR, Truex has posted eight wins, 29 top fives, 47 top 10s and logged 3,337 laps led. But after scoring just one win in 2020, Truex knows there are areas where the team can improve this year.
“I’m optimistic that we will have a better season,” Truex said. “I think last year that we had a lot of near misses, a lot of tough breaks, a lot of great race cars along the way and obviously, some races that we were off and that we didn’t do the job that we should have or needed to. I think last year there were a lot of unique challenges without having practice and that’s probably one of the biggest things that hurt us, especially the first half of the year, when we came back from the COVID shutdown. I felt like throughout the season, we got better and better at that, and towards the end of the year, we were right where we needed to be, and we really had a strong Playoffs.
“We just had a couple of near misses there. Obviously, the Darlington crash and the loose wheel at Martinsville while leading, I feel like we were in position to go to the Final Four. There were a lot of opportunities for us last year to have a great season and we came up short on a lot of those little key areas and decisions or little mistakes along the way, and things like that.
“We’re all looking at trying to get better. I think part of our sport is how do you get better all the time, and that’s really what you are looking at. We understand some things we could have done better. Hopefully, we will find some speed in our race cars this year going into the season and we can put it all together.”