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“Next Question” What is Martin Truex Jr.’s Future in NASCAR?

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Martin Truex Jr. has remained tight-lipped about his future, and that continued this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Truex Jr. refused to answer when asked about his plans for the future by simply saying “next question” according to Bob Pockrass.

So, what options could Martin Truex Jr. be weighing? Could he retire, or is there incentive to stay where he is. Could he be looking at other outside opportunities to stay racing in NASCAR even if that is not with Joe Gibbs Racing?

1. Stay at Joe Gibbs Racing

As the year goes on, this increasingly becomes the most likely option. Martin Truex Jr. is a legitimate Cup Series Championship contender, and he is still a threat to win week-in and week-out. Some drivers choose to walk out at the top of their game, but most like to get every bit of racing they possibly have out of their system.

If he still feels that he can win races, then many may ask why leave right now? It seems that Joe Gibbs Racing is keen on keeping Truex Jr. as long as he wants to be there, especially considering the sponsorship that Truex Jr. brings from companies like Bass Pro Shops and Auto Owners Insurance. Sure, John Hunter Nemechek is waiting in the wings, but, he does not bring sponsorship.

Joe Gibbs Racing is in a similar situation to what Stewart-Haas Racing was in last season. A driver on the verge of retirement that currently brings a lot of sponsorship. JGR does have some loyal partners with the likes of DeWalt and being the number one Toyota team, but will those resources stay the same after Truex Jr. Leaves? This means JGR may be motivated to lure Truex Jr. back.

2. Retire

Maybe Martin Truex Jr. chooses to go the Carl Edwards route and retire. It makes some sense given the fact that he is 43 years old. Maybe he feels that he’s made his money and just does not want to go through the grind of a NASCAR season once again.

Some of this may depend on what his sponsors are looking for as well. As previously mentioned, Truex Jr. has sponsorship from places like Bass Pro Shops and Auto Owners Insurance, and if those companies want to stick with Truex Jr., maybe they could convince him to come back. Or maybe, Truex Jr. could go a true wild card route and join some other Cup Series teams.

3. Move to Stewart-Haas Racing

Tony Stewart is a fan of veteran drivers who worked their way up to the Cup Series on merit. Martin Truex Jr. is the quintessential version of that driver. He won two Xfinity Series Championships and slowly worked his way up into top equipment in the Cup Series eventually winning the 2017 Championship.

Stewart-Haas Racing is a team in rebuilding mode, and it is not a terrible idea for the short term to rely on crafty veterans to right the ship. Truex Jr. brings championship-winning experience, and that is something that SHR is going to be sorely lacking in the driver department once Kevin Harvick leaves.

It would be no slam dunk move, however. First of all, with how much SHR has struggled this season, why would Truex Jr. want to leave where he is at now? If he wants to continue racing, then he is going to want to do it in a car that is capable of winning races and championships, and SHR is not in that place right now.

However, if Gibbs really wants to bring up someone like John Hunter Nemechek, this could be an option for Truex Jr. Especially if SHR has questions about Shane Van Gisbergen’s ability to adapt to oval racing. Truex Jr. also brings plenty of sponsorship as well.

4. Move to 23XI Racing

What if JGR wants to bring up Nemechek, but Toyota wants to keep Truex Jr. as well? There is an interesting situation over at 23XI Racing right now, which is a race team that has been discussing expansion at times. They even fielded a third car at the Daytona 500 for Travis Pastrana and plan on fielding a third car again at Indianapolis for Kamui Kobayashi.

It’s hard to envision a scenario where 23XI finds a third charter that quickly, but anything can happen. They were aggressive last year in getting Tyler Reddick from Richard Childress Racing, and that has turned out pretty well. If they can find a way to pay the asking price for a charter, then a third charter can work.

Why not bring in Truex Jr.? In a team with two young guns, Truex Jr. can be a solid one or two year driver bridge. Plus it give 23XI something that they lost once Kurt Busch’s career was cut short due to injury, a veteran presence amongst the drivers.

Truex Jr. also brings plenty of sponsorship as well. Bringing in a guaranteed race win contender with sponsorship is a great way to raise the stock of your team.

Martin Truex Jr. certainly has options in terms of where to race next season, if he even wants to race at all. Once the Truex Jr. domino falls, then the rest of NASCAR Silly Season will begin to heat up.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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