Hamlin, Truex Jr. begin talks on potential 2025 ride: 'We wouldn't half-ass anything'

Hamlin, Truex Jr. begin talks on potential 2025 ride: 'We wouldn't half-ass anything'

LOUDON, N.H. — In the days since announcing his intent to step aside from full-time racing at the end of the 2024 season, NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. has “heard from a lot of people,” he said Saturday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s USA Today 301 (2 p.m. ET, USA Network, PRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.)

One of them was Denny Hamlin — but not as his longtime Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, offering his best wishes in Truex’s future endeavors. Instead, it was Denny Hamlin, 23XI Racing co-owner — offering the potential for a 2025 ride.

In the immediacy of last week’s announcement at Iowa Speedway, Hamlin was quick to tell reporters that the No. 11 driver “told (Truex) that I will have his Daytona 500 car ready immediately … tell me the word.”

Turns out, this wasn’t some off-the-cuff empty gesture like two old friends making future plans to grab lunch they both know will never happen. It sounds like a reality that when NASCAR rolls into Daytona International Speedway come February 2025, there likely will be a 23XI Racing Toyota with “Truex Jr.” signed above the door.

“We just kind of started talking because he threw it out there in the media center and we‘ve chatted a few times this week,” said Truex, the defending winner at New Hampshire. “A few things to figure out, but it seems like we will be able to do some races if we want, which will be awesome. Excited about that. It is really cool that Denny did that and reached out this week. It means a lot to me.”

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There certainly are some things to figure out. The Toyota-backed, JGR-affiliated team is expected to be in conversations to expand beyond the team’s two current chartered cars — the Nos. 23 and 45 driven by Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick, respectively — with Truex’s potential addition extending above and beyond a third entry. For a team still just a handful of years into existence and already having expanded from a one-to-two-car organization, the prospect of adding another full-time ride and another part-time one beyond just the 500 is a tall task.

Whatever number of races Hamlin and Truex do decide on, the Virginia native is confident he’ll be putting a competitive ride under his longtime cohort.

“Yeah, I mean, I think that if we have those conversations, I certainly probably would like to know (how many races he wants to do), that way I can make sure I’m staffed properly and certainly anything that we did, we wouldn’t half-ass anything,” Hamlin told “I’d make sure that everything is capable of winning from top to bottom and I think he knows that.”

So if Truex is in a car that he could take to Victory Lane — and we know he and Hamlin work well together at Daytona; the duo finished 1-2 in Hamlin’s 2016 “Great American Race” win — what happens if the New Jersey native finally cracks the code and claims his first Harley J. Earl trophy after 20 years of trying, 20 years of frustration?

Could we see Truex renege on his commitment to walk away from full-time racing and attempt to chase his second championship?

“I don’t think you’ll talk (him into it). I don’t think you back that train up with Martin for sure,” Hamlin said with a laugh. “But, you know, I think it’s great that he still has goals and things that he wants to achieve. And so I think being, really, a Florida resident, it makes it pretty easy for him to want to participate in our biggest race and certainly, it’s been a race that has, unfortunately, evaded his resume for one or two reasons, but I don’t know. It’s just think it would be good all around for everyone.”

In the meantime, Truex still has a lobster to chase. New Hampshire Motor Speedway has long been a track embedded in Truex’s heart, “watching my dad win his first Busch North (now ARCA Menards Series East) race on TV” and being “madder than hell that I wasn’t here” to celebrate in person.

He finally collected his first Loudon the Lobster trophy in last year’s Cup race at the “Magic Mile,” but he hasn’t yet had his fill of seafood. If he’s back behind the wheel next year, you can expect to see New Hampshire on the northeast native’s potential schedule.

“Yeah, probably. We will see,” said Truex. “I haven‘t really looked into all of that and started the scheduling process. I‘m just kind of focused on what we are doing here, but eventually, we will figure it out and it is definitely a place I would like to come back to.”