One driver is about to have a major impact on Silly Season. Martin Truex Jr., the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, has set a timeline for when he will make a decision about his NASCAR future.
Truex provided the update during the trip to World Wide Technology Raceway on June 3. He acknowledged that the financial aspects will play less of a role in whether he returns or retires. Instead, he will think about his quality of life, whether he continues to have fun competing, and multiple other factors. Truex added that he should have an answer within a couple of weeks.
“Everybody asks me, but I still don’t have any news. I’ll let you know when I find out,” Truex told a group of assembled reporters during a session that FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass filmed. The 2017 Cup Series champion continued and explained that he thinks about this decision on a daily basis and that he is considering everything.
Truex set the timeline while preparing to join a prestigious list. He will make his 600th career Cup Series start on June 5, and he will try to win his second-ever race at World Wide Technology Raceway. His first victory at the track was the 2004 Xfinity Series race.
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The Decision Could Shake Up Silly Season
Will Truex return to the No. 19 JGR Toyota Camry for his 18th full-time season, or will he walk away from the Cup Series? No one knows the answer, but his decision will potentially shake up Silly Season and determine where some drivers go.
If Truex returns to JGR, the four-car lineup will likely remain the same. The expectation is that Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin will return to their respective stock cars, and Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson has vocally expressed the opinion that Kyle Busch needs to be back in the No. 18 until he retires. Truex would complete this group if he chose to return.
If Truex leaves, however, one of the best seats in the series would become available. Ty Gibbs is one potential option, but the expectation is that he will remain in the Xfinity Series for another year instead of moving up too early.
If JGR keeps Gibbs in the No. 54 as expected, there will be major questions about the No. 19. Will the organization bring up another driver from the Xfinity Series, or will it try to land a free agent driver?
Multiple Top-Tier Seats Could Become Available
NASCAR’s Silly Season never fails to create intrigue, and 2022’s iteration should only continue this trend. There are multiple questions about the future, and there could be multiple top-tier seats available for the 2023 season.
One existing option is at Stewart-Haas Racing. Aric Almirola will retire at the end of the 2022 Cup Series season. This will create a vacancy in the No. 10 Ford Mustang. There are multiple options to fill the seat, including reserve driver Ryan Preece, but the organization will not name an official replacement for some time.
If Truex retires, he will create a second vacancy, albeit one at Joe Gibbs Racing. There would be numerous free agents that would want to join a team that consistently contends for the Cup Series championship, and the one that filled the seat would automatically face raised expectations.