Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed on Wednesday that driver Martin Truex Jr. will join the team for the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season. He’ll replace Daniel Suarez behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota.
Crew chief Cole Pearn will also make the move from Furniture Row Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing with Truex Jr., the JGR announcement confirmed.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to bring two people of this caliber into your organization, it’s certainly an exciting time,” JGR owner Joe Gibbs said in a press release. “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 Jr. and Pearn will remain with the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team for the remaining two races of the 2018 season. FRR, which has had a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing since 2016, is shuttering operations at the end of the season. The No. 78 team is in contention to defend its 2017 championship as one of eight teams remaining in the playoffs.
Joe Gibbs Racing promoted Daniel Suarez to drive the No. 19 in place of the retiring Carl Edwards in 2017, and he’ll finish the 2018 season in the car.
“We really appreciate everything Daniel has done for Joe Gibbs Racing over these past several years,” Gibbs said. "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 Jr. became driver and Pearn crew chief on the No. 78 team ahead of the 2015 season. That season was Pearn’s first as a Cup Series crew chief, while Truex Jr. made the move to FRR after stints with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Michael Waltrip Racing. In their time together, Truex Jr. and Pearn have scored 17 race wins, 54 top-fives, and 85 top-10 finishes in 141 races.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to join Joe Gibbs Racing,” Truex, Jr. said. “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.”