Ahead of the 2023 NASCAR season curtain raiser in Los Angeles one name that wasn’t featuring much in conversations about potential Cup Series winners in the new season was that of Martin Truex Jr. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had a poor 2022, and anybody making futures picks for the upcoming season was avoiding the former championship winning driver like the plague. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and after his spectacular win in the Clash at the Coliseum race, Truex Jr is now fourth favorite in the betting to win the Cup Series this season, and is all of a sudden a major player when it comes to making 2023 NASCAR futures picks.
- Martin Truex Jr is a former Cup Series Champion, winning the title for the Furniture Row Racing team in 2017
- Truex Jr didn’t win a single race in the 2022 season and failed to qualify for the post-season playoffs
- He started the 2023 season by winning the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, the season opening race. Unfortunately for Truex Jr, the race isn’t points scoring
In 2022, Martin Truex Jr had a year to forget. His 17th position finish in the regular-season points table resulted in him failing to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
The season wasn’t a total disaster though. The statistics on the official NASCAR website show that Truex Jr finished in the top 5 on four occasions, and in the top 10 on 12 occasions. And of the 16 drivers who finished above him in the points table, quite a few had a very similar record to the Joe Gibbs driver. But there was one exception. Wins!
Truex Jr was let down by a winless season in 2022
Yes, Martin Truex Jr went the whole season without once standing on the top of the podium. And this, in a year that saw 19 different drivers winning, was bitterly disappointing for both team and driver.
A record-tying season.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) December 31, 2022
The 2017 champion wouldn’t have been expecting to dominate NASCAR. But by the standards set by both himself, and his Joe Gibbs Racing team, he would have expected to do better in 2022. So can 2023 be better? Well, it has already started off well. And as a result, Truex Jr has seen his odds to win the 2023 Drivers Championship slightly shortened.
Betting to win the 2023 NASCAR Drivers’ Championship
After his win at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, Martin Truex Jr has seen his odds cut from +1200 to +1100.
It’s only a small change in odds from the best NASCAR betting sites. But the cut in odds sees the Joe Gibbs Racing driver go joint-fourth in the betting alongside Ryan Blaney. Only Chase Elliott at +550, Kyle Larson at +625, and Denny Hamlin at +800, are shorter in the odds to win the 2023 championship. This is a massive show of faith in the veteran driver from both the top sportsbooks and in NASCAR betting picks..
Behind those five drivers are a gaggle of other candidates all at the same odds. William Byron, Ross Chastain, Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, and Joey Logano are all at +1200. Those, along with Blaney and Truex Jr on +1100, show just how tight the championship could be this coming season.
|Odds to win 2023 NASCAR Drivers Championship|
|Martin Truex Jr||+1100||+1000||+1100|
|Bubba Wallace Jr||+4000||+4400||+4000|
For this article, we have used odds from Bovada. You can read more about them in our Bovada sportsbook review.
Reasons why Truex Jr can win the championship
Just a few weeks back, Truex Jr was recovering from a demoralizing season and contemplating retirement. He couldn’t be backed to win on this basis. Now, after his win at the LA Memorial Coliseum, some faith and belief in the 2017 champion has been restored, and all of a sudden he is again being talked about as a possible champion.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 6, 2023
The win in LA says that Truex Jr isn’t shot, and there is still something in the tank. But that doesn’t guarantee success this season. So why would we wager any of our cash on the 42-year-old adding another title to the sole one he won back in 2017?
First up, Truex Jr has a competitive car. In 2023, the Joe Gibbs Racing team scored six wins in 2022. If you want to include the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 from Pocono (when Hamlin won, but was later disqualified), then it could be called seven wins. In short, the Joe Gibbs car is up to the job. You don’t win six races with a rubbish car!
Martin Truex Jr has a proven track record in NASCAR. He won the Cup Series in 2017, albeit for a different team. But the facts are, he still won the title. And mugs don’t win the championship.
Reasons Truex Jr won’t win the championship
Maybe 2022 wasn’t a one off, and Truex Jr has had his run. Maybe the freak result was at the LA Memorial Coliseum in the Busch Light Clash?
Truex Jr did have plenty of top 5 (four) and top 10 (12) finishes last season. But when it really mattered, he was found wanting.
Another reason why Martin Truex Jr might not win the championship is because of the quality of the competition he’s up against. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson are young and hungry, and even within his own Joe Gibbs Racing team, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell look like good bets to outperform the veteran this season.
For a pick, we believe Christopher Bell or another youngster like William Byron would be better value than Truex Jr. Yes, we expect him to do better than last year, but he’s in the latter stages of his career, and if it is to be his last, we don’t see him going out with his second drivers’ championship.