Martin Truex Jr. will leave Earnhardt Ganassi Racing at the end of the year to join Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010, his new outfit has announced.
Truex signed a multi-year contract with MWR to drive the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota from 2010. He will be replacing team owner and driver Michael Waltrip, who will now focus mainly on the management duties of his squad.
Waltrip will retire from full-time Sprint Cup competition at the end of the season while running a very limited schedule next year, starting with the Daytona 500.
"There was a lot of things that went into my decision, it wasn't just one thing," said Truex about joining MWR. "It was me talking with them and their passion, how bad they wanted me and how much appreciation they showed me that I was thinking about coming here and talking to them.
"Their on-track performance, [David] Reutimann and [Marcos] Ambrose have been running really, really good since the middle part of last year even. There was just a lot of things. I really like the way they do business here. My little brother's [Ryan] been racing here all year [in the NASCAR Camping World East series] and going after it, winning and doing a great job.
"I hope I can make an impact coming here and help them do even better. So for me it's just a great situation overall."
MWR is technically only the second team that Truex will drive for in NASCAR's top division. He made his Sprint Cup Series debut with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2004 but only completed his first full season with the team in 2006 after winning back-to-back titles in the Nationwide Series while driving for the same squad. In 2007 he made the Chase for the Sprint Cup and finished 11th in the championship, taking his first and only win in the top series to date at Dover.
Despite starting this year strong with pole position in the Daytona 500 following the merger between DEI and Chip Ganassi Racing, this season has been a struggle for the 29-year-old, as he currently ranks 24th in the driver standings with a sixth place at Darlington being his best result and one of only three top-10 finishes thus far.
Truex will inherit Waltrip's owner points from this season into 2010, although Waltrip will keep his No. 55 number when he races in the Daytona 500 next year.Related stories:• Waltrip explains decision to end full-time driving career• Earnhardt-Ganassi in no hurry to name replacement