CREW CHIEF: James Small
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POINTS: Seventh in NASCAR Cup Series
WINS: One (Martinsville I)
LAPS LED: 950
TOP 5s: 14
TOP 10s: 23
POLES: One (Talladega I)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Truex won the first Cup Series night race at Martinsville Speedway in June after overcoming an early pit road penalty (Lap 133, commitment line violation) and leading the final 131 laps. The 2017 Cup champion later closed the regular season with eight consecutive finishes of fourth place or better. In the end, his 23 top-10 finishes on the year were good for third-most in Cup, eclipsed only by Kevin Harvick (27) and Brad Keselowski (24).
WHAT WENT WRONG: With five second-place finishes and six third-place finishes, Truex missed out on valuable playoff points – and it hurt in the Round of 8. Truex started below the cutline to advance to the Championship 4, and was hindered further in the round by a 20-point penalty for a pre-race inspection violation at Texas (he finished second in the race). Down to his last shot at Martinsville, Truex was in contention to win his way into the title race until he had to pit for a loose wheel with 25 laps to go. A fourth consecutive Championship 4 appearance was not to be.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2021: For all the questions about how Truex would work with new crew chief James Small, the duo kept the No. 19 in the lead pack this past season. But, as they’re acutely aware, winning is everything. With their first season together out of the way, they’ll be fully focused on getting to Victory Lane more often and putting their team in a stronger position come playoff time.