Martin Truex Jr. surprised much of the NASCAR world this past weekend in announcing that after taking a few weeks to contemplate his future in the sport, he will return as driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in 2023. Truex, who turned 42 earlier this week, had been widely expected to cut back to a part-time schedule or hang up his driving helmet altogether next year. But now with his plans all set, the 2017 Cup Series champion is eager to put all the 2023 talk behind him and focus on doing what he has yet to do this season: win.
“I don’t like not running good,” Truex said. “I’m here to win. I feel like everybody is working really, really hard right now. I’ve got an awesome team. They’ve got my back, and I’ve 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. … I feel like we’re getting closer (to winning), and we’ll keep doing all we can.”
Truex is seventh in the standings and in position to qualify for the playoffs on the basis of points, despite his absence from Victory Lane. The 31-time Cup Series race winner is optimistic that he has more wins in his future. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have made the decision to race for at least another year. “The competitive side of me said I’m not done and I’m going to keep fighting, so here we are,” Truex said.