Martin Truex Jr. will remain at Michael Waltrip Racing for the next three years, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series squad announced on Friday.
Truex, currently fifth in the standings and close to locking up a place in the Chase only for the second time in his career, is enjoying his best season in Cup after seven full years in the series.
MWR has also made a step forward and looks set to have two drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, a first for Michael Waltrip's organization. NAPA, the title sponsor on Truex's No. 56 Toyota, announced it continue to back the team.
"It's been an awesome road, it's been a lot of fun to be a part of," Truex said about his time at MWR, having first race for the outfit back in 2010. "It's been a lot of work, a lot of ups and downs, but Michael and I got together last year at Texas in April and he said, 'Look, we're going to get our cars better, but I need you to help me.' Ever since, we've been on an awesome road to improvement.
"Those guys integrating me into the team and giving me some say and making me feel like I'm part of something has probably been one of the coolest and proudest moments of my life. It's been a lot of fun and I just want to keep it going.
"My biggest fear this year was this deal falling apart and us not being able to realize our potential. I feel like we're not where we can get to yet and I'm very, very happy that we'll be able to continue down that path."
In his three seasons with the team Truex has made steady improvements, finishing 22nd in the points in 2010 and 18th last year. MWR's breakthrough came at the end of 2011 and was highlighted by the 32-year-old finishing third in the season finale, right behind championship contenders Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. This season Truex has scored a pole, five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes, while a first win with MWR has been close a few times this year, notably at Kansas where he finished second after leading the most laps.
Team owner Waltrip believes the new deal with Truex and NAPA is a confidence boost for the team ahead of the Chase, where he expects his squad to raise its game further.
"He's fast enough, our cars are good enough," Waltrip said. "We've had to be conservative over the last few weeks to get into this Chase. We're not going to be that way when the Chase starts.
"Tony proved last year that you can make some special things happen in that 10-week run. I'm very optimistic about who we are. This news is just confidence."
Truex, only once a winner in Cup so far, celebrates his 250th series start this weekend at Atlanta.