Ryan Truex, the younger brother of 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., will compete against his older brother in the 2019 season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. The younger Truex will drive the No. 71 Tommy Baldwin Chevrolet, the race team announced Wednesday.
"I am very thankful to TBR and Tommy Baldwin for this opportunity and can't wait to get to Daytona and back in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car,” Truex said in a press release from TBR. "The pressure is on to make it into the race, but Tommy is a true racer, and I know he will put everything into the car to give us a great shot.”
Truex raced part-time in the Cup Series in 2013 and 2014. Twenty-three of the 26 series races in which he has competed came as a driver for the now-defunct BK Racing in 2014. His career-best Cup Series race finishes, to date, were three 31st-place finishes at Auto Club Speedway, Richmond Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway, all in 2014.
Truex raced full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2018 as driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing car, but he lost that seat to Justin Haley during the offseason. Truex made the Xfinity Series playoffs last season but was eliminated in the opening round and wound up 12th in the standings at season’s end. He drove for Kaulig Racing for only one season after making the move from Hattori Racing and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series after the 2017 season.
In all, Truex has competed in 72 Xfinity Series races between 2019 and 2018, including a race at Daytona International Speedway for Tommy Baldwin Racing. He finished 31st in that race.
"I'm excited to have Ryan back in a Tommy Baldwin Racing car," Baldwin said. "We had success at Daytona in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the past. I've known the Truex family a very long time, and it's special that we'll be able to compete in the Daytona 500 together, and hopefully, more races as the year goes on. We are still in search of a primary sponsor that we're hoping to put together in time to give TBR a great run this year.”
After competing as a car owner in NASCAR’s top series from 2009 through 2017, the former crew chief closed his race team ahead of the 2018 season. But he expects to return on a part-time basis this season and hopes to eventually return his Tommy Baldwin Racing team to full-time status in the Cup Series. He has yet to announce his team’s schedule and driver lineup for the 2019 season, beyond the Daytona 500.