One of the worst kept secrets in all of NASCAR is no longer a secret.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday the signing of Martin Truex, Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 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.
It was announced earlier this year that Furniture Row Racing, Truex and Pearn’s current team whom had a technical alliance with Gibbs, would shut down at the end of the 2018 season after winning the championship last year. The shuttering allowed Gibbs to pick up the pair who have turned into a dynamic duo in NASCAR.
The signing of Truex ushers out former NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Daniel Suarez, a move which had been rumored for months.
“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.”
Truex currently has 19 Monster Energy Cup wins, 17 of which have come with Toyota. The driver who is still in the thick of this year’s title hunt said the ability to stay with Toyota was a motivating factor to sign with Gibbs.
“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.”
Sponsorship details are still being worked out for the No. 19 Toyota, but Arris is expected to return to the team in 2019. Truex could also bring over his Bass Pro Shops sponsorship. Bass Pro has been a supporter of his since early in his NASCAR career.