The long-held rumor was confirmed Wednesday that Martin Truex Jr. and his Furniture Row Racing crew chief Cole Pearn are heading to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019.
The team made the announcement in a statement issued Wednesday.
Truex will replace Daniel Suarez on the No. 19 team, bringing crew chief Cole Pearn along with him. Furniture Row announced in August it would shutter its operations at the end of the season, opening the door for Truex Jr. to become a free agent.
“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.”
Truex, 38, has four wins and four poles this year for Furniture Row, which has a partnership with JGR. Truex is among the championship contenders heading into the Round of 8 finale this weekend at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Truex will be Kyle Busch’s teammate in 2019; Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin complete the four-driver roster at JGR.
All but two of Truex Jr.’s 19 Cup wins have come with Furniture Row and team owner Barney Visser. Pearn has been with Truex for all 17 of his Furniture Row victories.
Truex marched to his first title in NASCAR’s top division in 2017 by winning eight races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He is also a two-time champion in what is now called the Xfinity Series, going back-to-back in 2004-05.
Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser later issued a statement:
“I want to personally thank Martin and Cole for their contributions in making Furniture Row Racing a championship-caliber team. There’s no doubt in my mind that they will continue to be a winning driver/crew chief combination with Joe Gibbs Racing. They are outstanding representatives for NASCAR and I am proud to have been associated with them. But before Martin and Cole depart for a new endeavor we still have two races remaining, and hopefully we will be celebrating another championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”