Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Truex Announces 2024 to be Final Full-Time NASCAR Cup Series Season

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

NEWTON, Iowa – When you know it’s time, it’s time. And that time has come for Martin Truex, Jr.

On Friday at Iowa Speedway, the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion announced that the 2024 season would be his last in full-time Cup competition as he’ll hang up the helmet when the checkered flag falls I November.

It will bring a 19-year career of racing full-time at NASCAR’s highest level to a close and cement a career that has included marquee wins and championships not only in the Cup Series, but in other levels of the sport as well.

“It’s been incredible, it’s been a hell of a ride,” Truex said. “I’m excited about the future, and not really sure what that looks like yet, but feel good about my decision.

“I just want to thank Coach (Joe Gibbs), everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), Toyota. They’ve been absolutely amazing to (pause) —  to be able to win a championship is something I’ve always dreamed of and to be able to get that done was amazing. Just feel really lucky to be surrounded by so many great people over the years.

“To all the guys I’ve worked with – crew members, crew chiefs, team owners, you name it across the board, it’s been a true honor. I’ll miss all those people for sure, but I won’t be gone, I’ll be around still. We’re going to do some stuff together, have some fun and enjoy life a little bit and wind down.”

Truex noted is his press conference announcing his retirement that while he has waffled with the decision to step away in recent seasons before deciding to stay, this time around it just felt different and he knew it was the right time to make the call to move on.

“Just felt like the right time for me,” he said. “Honestly, I’ve thought about it a lot the past few seasons and just waited for that feeling in my mind to be positive, like this is okay, I’m good, I want to do something else. Yeah, something just felt different this year for me. I felt like it was time to slow down and do something else.”

After banking back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series championships with Chance 2 Motorsports, an early iteration of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. owned JR Motorsports team that still competes in the series, Truex took the step up to the Cup Series full-time in 2006 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and would score his first win a year later.

Truex would move on to a tumultuous stint with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010, only scoring one win in his four years with the team. But when he took the jump to Barney Visser’s outlier team, Furniture Row Racing, in 2014, his career was sent to a whole new level.

Teaming up with crew chief Cole Pearn in 2015, the trajectory of Truex’s career was on a steady rise from that point on.

A career-best season in 2017, in which he and Pearn scored eight wins together, culminated in his first Cup Series championship and the two combined for four more wins the following season when Furniture Row closed its doors at the end of that year.

In 2019, Truex and Pearn moved over to Joe Gibbs Racing together and picked right back up where they left off, winning seven races that season and finishing as the runner-up in the championship before Pearn retired from his crew chief role at season’s end.

With new crew chief James Small coming on board in 2020, Truex has continued his winning ways, scoring eight wins in the years since. To date, Truex’s resume shows 34 wins in 673 total starts, including marquee wins like the Southern 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

“Martin has been a fierce competitor, champion and loyal friend to Toyota and TRD for over a decade,” said Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson. “He is the only NASCAR driver to win Cup races in a Toyota Camry across three different race team organizations – a remarkable achievement.

“His genuine personality and consistent performance have made him a fan favorite and someone who will truly be missed on-track each week. Martin’s racing achievements highlight just how talented of a racer he is, and his outstanding work off-track with the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation showcases the incredible person he continues to be. Martin is a future Hall of Famer, and someone we will always be honored to call a part of the Team Toyota family.”

Thus far in 2024, Truex has yet to visit Victory Lane, but still sits fifth in points as the best driver to without a win this season. In 16 starts in 2024, he has scored four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes, with one of them being a runner-up finish at Bristol.

While the performance hasn’t quite been there this season, Truex said that was not a major factor in why this year will be his last.

“We’ve had some disappointments this year, for sure. But it’s not enough to make you stop doing what you want to do. Totally not related to performance in any way, shape or form,” said Truex.

Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.