After a short time to theorize if Martin Truex Jr. would be the big free agent of 2022, he has officially signed an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing. This comes ten days after JGR also inked Denny Hamlin to an extension.
Since jumping over to JGR from their former affiliate in Furniture Row Racing, the 2017 champion has found identical success with 8 wins, 47 top tens, and finishing as a runner-up in the championship standings in 2019. His 2020 season was an off year with only one win and getting bounced out of the playoffs in the third round. A far cry from anything we’ve come to expect from one of the best drivers in the sport.
Considering Kyle Busch was also having a down year, I think that MTJ can be given a pass. JGR obviously wasn’t too concerned, especially with all this resigning news coming after the team has taken harsh criticism in their development program along with Toyota.
With the newly developed 23XI Racing becoming the new affiliate team for JGR, it offers them a little more flexibility when it comes to their prospects. After all, soon Toyota is going to need to find a home for Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, and Ty Gibbs. That’s not even counting guys who are signed to Toyota deals but aren’t being prioritized as of yet like John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith, and Drew Dollar.
In the end, none of that matters. MTJ is a championship caliber driver who is bringing in plenty of sponsorship, if you have to let a prospect walk to keep him in your car, you do it. Same as Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.