The very poorly kept secret of Martin Truex Jr.’s plans for 2019 is out of the bag.
After months of speculation, Truex will take over the driver’s seat of the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing next season. He’ll bring along crew chief Cole Pearn.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to bring two people of this caliber into your organization, it’s certainly an exciting time,” said team owner Joe Gibbs. “They obviously have developed a chemistry that has led to tremendous success, including a championship. We’ve gotten to know them well over the past few years through the alliance and having been part of the Toyota family. They both make us stronger as an organization.”
Sponsorship will be announced at a later date.
Where this leaves Daniel Suarez, who’s being displaced by Truex, is unknown. As of the publishing of this piece, Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t responded to our request for comment on Suarez.
The dominos to this decision were triggered during the summer, when 5-hour Energy announced that they would leave the 78 car – and by extension, Furniture Row Racing – at the end of the season. While team owner Barney Visser said at Watkins Glen that not running in 2019 wasn’t an option, he announced on September 4 that the organization would terminate operations at season’s end.
For longtime journeyman Truex, it’ll be his fifth team in 13 years. His stint at Furniture Row was his most successful, with 17 of his 19 career victories came behind the wheel of the 78 car and his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
“I want to personally thank Martin and Cole for their contributions in making Furniture Row Racing a championship-caliber team,” Visser said in a statement. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they will continue to be a winning driver/crew chief combination with Joe Gibbs Racing. They are outstanding representatives for NASCAR and I am proud to have been associated with them. But before Martin and Cole depart for a new endeavor we still have two races remaining, and hopefully we will be celebrating another championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”