Truex to JGR in 2019

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.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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