Martin Truex Jr. determination units stage for 2023 foolish season

By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports activities NASCAR Author

LEBANON, Tenn. — Martin Truex Jr. might have created a chaotic NASCAR foolish season had he opted to retire in November.

His determination final week to return to Joe Gibbs Racing for no less than yet another season took an elite open experience off the desk and probably set the stage for a 12 months of free company with out substantial change.

“I felt prefer it was a chance for me to take a look at every thing,” Truex stated of the decision-making course of. “I’ve by no means actually carried out that earlier than. I’ve at all times simply did what I used to be doing. And I simply needed to verify if I hold going that I’ll be proud of that call.

“And I’ve bought the chance to do the issues on the racetrack that I wish to do. All of it feels nice, and I’m completely satisfied. And we’ll see what we will do from right here.”

There nonetheless is the chance for large foolish season information; there tends to be an sudden twist right here or there. And there may be one main free agent nonetheless left to find out the place he’ll race in 2023.

Martin Truex Jr. on why he determined to stay at Joe Gibbs Racing for 2023

Martin Truex Jr. on how Joe Gibbs, Sherry Pollex and his latest championship near-misses influenced his determination to stay at JGR for 2023.

Truex’s return definitely was excellent news for Joe Gibbs Racing, which nonetheless has to signal a sponsor to exchange M&M’s for Kyle Busch, who stays and not using a strong deal for subsequent 12 months till a sponsorship is accomplished. JGR must know the sponsorship cash it can obtain to know what it may well pay the two-time Cup champion.

Busch has indicated that he wouldn’t have many (if any) different groups seeking to signal him (clearly, his wage calls for would play a job). Whereas there at all times is a chance of Busch leaving, and Truex staying would possibly give Busch rather less leverage, Busch has an extended historical past with JGR, and his truck crew is carefully aligned with Toyota, so many within the business anticipate him to stay at JGR.

JGR desires to maintain Ty Gibbs within the Xfinity Collection for yet another 12 months after which carry him to Cup, which might align with Truex probably retiring after the 2023 season.

And Truex wasn’t the one driver to announce his 2023 intentions final week at Nashville Superspeedway.

On Friday, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. introduced that he had signed a multiyear extension with JTG Daugherty Racing to stay within the No. 47 automobile no less than by way of 2024. The crew nonetheless has one different query to reply: Which producer will it run in 2023? The crew’s cope with Chevrolet ends after this 12 months.

“We really feel like we’ve a very good match and felt like JTG Daugherty Racing was the place we needed to be,” Stenhouse stated of his determination to stick with the crew. “I really feel actually assured in who we’ve and what we’re doing proper now and wish to proceed to develop [and] hold that going.

“I don’t wish to bounce round from crew to crew. I don’t assume that does myself or anyone actually any favors. So I wish to construct on what we have began.”

So long as Busch re-signs at JGR, the highest experience accessible is the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 automobile, which might be vacated by Aric Almirola after this 12 months.

Ryan Preece, who was signed by Stewart-Haas Racing after final season as a reserve and testing driver, can be a candidate for that experience. Preece, who gained the truck race Friday at Nashville, stated he isn’t stressing about his future.

“My spouse most likely does extra worrying about my future than I do,” Preece stated. “I inform her on a regular basis, ‘All I can do is exit and do what I’ve at all times carried out in my total profession — and that is attempt to win races.’

“I am fortunate to have a fantastic assist system and a father who’s been nothing however educate me to work actually arduous and to not stop in your goals. So I is likely to be 31, however in racing years, you are not even near your peak.”

Erik Jones may very well be a candidate for the SHR experience, however he has constantly stated he wish to stay at Petty GMS Racing. He stated he’s not allowed to speak to different groups but (driver contracts sometimes have a specified date at which they’ll begin speaking to different groups) and stated he was near finalizing a deal to stay within the No. 43 automobile.

“We’re getting shut — clearly, I have been in talks with Petty GMs now for a few month, I assume, at this level and so simply form of ending issues up [going] forwards and backwards on all of the little stuff that makes a distinction,” Jones stated.

“We’re going by way of that, however I really feel like we’re getting shut.”

Daniel Suárez, who earned his first profession victory earlier this month at Sonoma, is in talks to stay at Trackhouse Racing, and there may be little doubt that he gained’t return.

The large title the business is speaking about is Tyler Reddick, a two-time Xfinity champion who has but to win in Cup however has proven flashes of brilliance driving for Richard Childress Racing.

RCR has an choice on Reddick for 2023 and clearly desires him again and can train the choice. That stated, Reddick is on the radar of a number of groups, who seemingly wouldn’t hesitate to signal him now, even when they’ve to attend till 2024 to get him. For him to not return to RCR subsequent 12 months would take some (or loads) of negotiation if one other crew desires to get him for 2023 versus 2024.

In the meanwhile, there aren’t many different openings for top-30 groups. Entrance Row Motorsports at all times indicators its drivers to one-year offers. Its Tenting World Truck Collection driver Zane Smith, with three victories, might make the soar to Cup, however with Michael McDowell sitting twenty first within the standings and Todd Gilliland being a rookie, the crew might need to make a tough determination if it desires Smith in Cup.

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Considering out loud

NASCAR typically will get criticized for beginning a race or restarting a race with potential climate within the space and having the race rapidly stopped due to rain.

That state of affairs appeared attainable Sunday, as NASCAR restarted the Nashville race 10 laps from midway with potential rain within the space. It needed to run 10 laps beneath warning to get pit highway dry (the vehicles had been staged on pit highway through the rain delay) and to open pit highway for pit stops.

If the rain that threatened had come within the subsequent couple of laps, NASCAR would have been in a nasty state of affairs, getting a race in with no actual race to the end.

As an alternative, the rain by no means got here, and NASCAR accomplished all the race. This was a type of nights when NASCAR’s coverage of resuming the race when it’s dry and seeing what occurs turned out to be the appropriate transfer.

Social highlight

Stat of the day

Hendrick Motorsports has six wins this 12 months. No different group has greater than three.

They stated it

“These items are arduous to come back by, and you must get pleasure from them. You by no means know when or if ever you’re going to get one other one. So tremendous grateful.” Chase Elliott after his win

 Bob Pockrass has spent many years protecting motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports activities in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting Information, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Seashore) Information-Journal. Observe him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Searching for extra NASCAR content material? Join the FOX Sports activities NASCAR Publication with Bob Pockrass!  

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