Martin Truex Jr. isn’t your most vocal driver. He lets his driving do the talking. However, this weekend the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion made a surprising comment about his future in NASCAR that flew under the radar. According to the 41-year-old, his decision on whether or not he continues racing beyond next season all comes down to the Next Gen car, which debuts in 2022.
Martin Truex Jr. raced to Hall of Fame-worthy career
Martin Truex Jr. will one day be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He’s put up those kinds of numbers.
In 18 years on the Cup Series, Truex has made his way to victory lane on 30 occasions, including three times in 2021 at Phoenix, Martinsville, and Darlington.
Over the last five seasons, Truex has undeniably been one of the best drivers in the series. Last year, he won once and finished seventh in the points standings. In 2018 and 2019, he finished runner-up, and in 2017 he won his first championship.
Since 2017, Truex has impressively won 23 races, including eight during his title-winning season.
Truex admits Next Gen car might force him to walk away
While Martin Truex Jr. turned 41 in June, his three wins this season prove age is not a factor as he’s not just been competitive but elite-level competitive. Truex told RacinBoys in an interview this weekend that the possibility of him walking away from the sport in the near future has nothing to do with age or desire, but unknowns. And with the Next Gen car, there are plenty.
When asked whether or not the Next Gen car might affect his longevity, the New Jersey-born driver offered a candid and surprising answer.
“I would say, yes it would. It will, I think, and that’s a fair question. I think, look at the new car, see what it’s like, go racing, hopefully, it’s fun,” Truex said. “Hopefully, I have as much fun as I have driving these things. I love working with my team. I still love racing, but for sure, that’s going to be a big deal. If it’s not fun, I won’t hang around too long. I don’t have to do this anymore. I’m still around because I really want to do this and continue winning races and hopefully more championships.”
Racing landscape dramatically changed in recent years
While the Next Gen car will be a huge adjustment for Truex and the Cup Series drivers, he admitted back in March when he visited Circuit of the Americas for a tire test prior to the inaugural race that another big change happening in the garage in recent years is the age of the drivers.
“Our sport has really changed over the last handful of years, since I started Cup racing in ’06. And then it was all the veteran guys. We had a crop of young guys. I was part of that, but we weren’t as young as these kids are today. I think I was 26 when I went Cup racing, and I was considered fairly young at that point to go Cup racing. And now we’re racing with 18-year-old, 19-year-old, 20-year-old kids, and they’re really good. It’s been interesting how it’s changed. Really the last couple of years, we’ve got a lot of new young guys in there, making a name for themselves, and doing a good job. It’s been fun to race with them and carry the veteran cap around, I suppose.”
Just how much longer he is willing to carry around that veteran cap will be determined by the Next Gen car.