Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Martin Truex Jr. - the "best teammate you can have"

Martin Truex Jr. is many things -- a champion in two different series, a respectful racer behind the wheel, and an avid outdoorsman. To other drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing, he's exactly what they want in a teammate.

"Not sure how you can't say he's the best teammate you can have," Denny Hamlin said at Iowa when asked about Truex retiring from full-time competition. "He's so respectful, reminds me of Jimmie Johnson. He's so underrated as far as the natural ability to drive a car fast. I have to work tremendously hard week-in-and-week-out to run as well as Martin Truex.

"I have to work really hard to keep up with him. I just think he's one of the most naturally gifted drivers our series has seen in quite some time. He's just not that flashy about it and that's what's different about him to other drivers in the Cup Series in the past."

Hamlin and Truex have competed against each other on the track since the early 2000s. They both started their full-time Cup careers in the same season (2006) and they became official teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019.

Though Truex's previous team, Furniture Row Racing, had a technical alliance with JGR from 2016-2018, so they were de facto Toyota teammates.

"It's hard to believe I've been teammates with him as long as I have and I've never had a 'what the heck Martin?!' moment," Hamlin said. "Never! I'm sure he's said that about me in his head because of the things I've done as his teammate, but I've never had that moment."

Ty Gibbs has only been a Cup teammate of Truex's since the start of the 2022 season. However, the veteran quickly made an impact. Gibbs said that Truex has been a very good friend of his and that he is thankful to have the 2017 champ on the same team.

Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Truex showed the type of teammate he could be during a trip to World Wide Technology Raceway on June 2. He had fallen multiple laps behind the leaders and was no longer in contention for the win. What did he do? He began pushing teammate Christopher Bell around the track after the No. 20's engine began experiencing issues in the final stage.

Bell was down on power but was still able to salvage a top-seven finish due to Truex's help.

Asked about the pushes by SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Davey Segal, Truex said that he was "just bored" during the race and was looking for something to do. But this moment only further showed the type of racer and teammate he is.

"(Truex) has no 'I'm better than you' attitude," Bell said. "He's just a very normal person who... He does himself and I respect the heck out of him as he's a superstar in the Cup Series, but he just does himself.

"He's not flashy, doesn't care about what anyone else thinks. He's Martin Truex Jr., and frankly, that's who I want to be. Christopher Bell, but the same style."