By Toby Christie, Editor — Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
We all knew it was happening, we just had no idea when it would officially be announced. Wednesday, Joe Gibbs Racing ended the worst kept secret of this year’s silly season by announcing in a press release that Martin Truex Jr. and his crew chief Cole Pearn will be joining the organization next season.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to bring two people of this caliber into your organization, it’s certainly an exciting time,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “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.”
Truex will slide behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota Camry that Daniel Suarez has driven since Carl Edwards opted to retire at the end of the 2016 season. Suarez has recorded 20 top-10 finishes in his 70 starts in the No. 19 car in addition to winning a NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016.
“We really appreciate everything Daniel (Suárez) has done for Joe Gibbs Racing over these past several years. He has made the most of every opportunity from winning the championship in the Xfinity Series to making the jump into the Cup Series for us. We look forward to hearing about his plans going forward and know he continues to have a bright future in our sport,” Gibbs said in the press release.
With Truex and Pearn in the stable, JGR is gaining one of the most potent driver-crew chief combinations in the sport today. The duo have won 17 races in the four years they’ve been together at Furniture Row Racing, which will shut it’s garage doors at the conclusion of the 2018 season. Truex and Pearn’s incredible run includes an eight-win 2017 campaign that led to a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Truex, usually a reserved personality, is chomping at the bit to work with his new team.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to join Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Truex, Jr. “Obviously to be able to make this transition and still be able to work alongside Cole is something that was very important to me. There is also a real comfort level working with the JGR team and I wanted to stay in the Toyota family. We still have big goals for the remainder of this season, but it’s nice to know what we will be doing in 2019.”
The release mentioned that a sponsorship package for Truex in 2019 will be announced sometime in the future.
Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images