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Martin Truex Jr. announces his retirement from full-time racing in NASCAR's Cup Series

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Martin Truex Jr. announces his retirement from full-time racing in NASCAR's Cup Series
Sport

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Martin Truex Jr. announces his retirement from full-time racing in NASCAR's Cup Series

2024-06-16 00:36 Last Updated At:00:41

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. announced Friday he will retire from full-time racing at the end of the season, saying it was time to live by his own schedule after 19 years in NASCAR's Cup Series.

“I mean, it’s as simple as just not having a crazy schedule where, you know, you’re 40 weekends at a racetrack,” Truex said at Iowa Speedway, where he will be making his 674th Cup start on Sunday. “Everyone in my family, who’s ever gotten married, I’ve missed their wedding. You know what I mean? ... You don’t have a life. You’re married to racing, that’s all you do. Monday until Sunday, that’s all you do.”

Questions about possible retirement have followed Truex over the last couple of years. The news broke on Thursday — “I don’t even know why I’m here,” Truex joked as he started his news conference — but Truex said he made the decision “a few weeks ago.”

“I was leaning that way most of the season,” Truex said. “I was leaning that direction, but I wasn’t totally sure. So I just took a while to think about it all. It’s a big decision. It affects not just me, it affects a lot of people.”

Truex said it was difficult to tell Joe Gibbs, the 83-year-old owner of Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing team.

“Coach has been awesome,” Truex said of Gibbs. “He helped me work through it. He would always make a list of pros and cons and his list of pros was always longer than mine.”

“I think the last time I had nine pluses and two minuses,” Gibbs interjected.

Truex has won 34 Cup races, 32 since 2015. He had a career-high eight wins in 2017, when he won the series championship.

Truex also won the 2004 and 2005 Xfinity Series championships, winning 13 races in that series.

“It’s been just absolutely great working with him,” Gibbs said. “I think everybody knows Martin’s reputation — a real gentleman, a great competitor. And it’s obviously something that is going to be a big deal for us, and a big loss.”

“Martin’s a very chill guy,” Brad Keselowski said. “I don’t know what the next chapter of his life will be — I don’t think he knows. But he’ll be missed.”

Truex, who turns 44 on June 29, hasn’t won a Cup race since last July at New Hampshire, a span of 32 races. He has four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 16 races this season, and is fifth in the standings, 53 points behind leader Kyle Larson.

Truex said his decision didn’t have anything to do with his performance.

“We’ve had some disappointments this year, for sure,” Truex said. “It’s not enough to make you stop doing what you want to do.”

Gibbs said he has begun the search for Truex’s replacement.

“We’re still working on all that,” Gibbs said. “So we just want to focus right now on Martin, and all of that stuff will take place later on.”

For now, Truex will try his best to finish strong in his final season.

“I guess it’ll feel different knowing that I’ll be going to tracks for the last time in a Cup car,” Truex said. “I’m not sure what it’s going to be like but I’m going to try to enjoy it.”

Gibbs said Truex would remain with the team as an “ambassador,” and Truex said he hadn’t ruled out running an occasional race.

“He’s got Xfinity cars,” Truex said, laughing as he nodded toward Gibbs. “‘Coach, I’m bored, I want to go race. Let’s go.’”

Whatever Truex does, though, it will be on his own time.

“It’s going to be interesting to lead kind of a normal life for a while and see what it’s like,” Truex said. “I have never done that.”

An incorrect photo that previously was linked to this story has been removed.

AP NASCAR: https://apnews.com/hub/nascar-racing

FILE - Martin Truex Jr. waves to fans before Daytona 500 qualifying auto races at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 15, 2024, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Truex announced his retirement from full-time racing Friday, June 14, 2024, saying it was time to live by his own schedule after 19 full-time seasons as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

FILE - Martin Truex Jr. waves to fans before Daytona 500 qualifying auto races at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 15, 2024, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Truex announced his retirement from full-time racing Friday, June 14, 2024, saying it was time to live by his own schedule after 19 full-time seasons as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

FILE - Martin Truex Jr. drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 14, 2024, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Truex announced Friday, June 14, 2024, he will retire from full-time racing at the end of the season, saying it was time to live by his own schedule after 19 years in NASCAR's Cup Series. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

FILE - Martin Truex Jr. drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 14, 2024, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Truex announced Friday, June 14, 2024, he will retire from full-time racing at the end of the season, saying it was time to live by his own schedule after 19 years in NASCAR's Cup Series. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

FILE - Martin Truex Jr. stands next to his car affixed with a sticker in memory of Sherry Pollex before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 24, 2023. Truex announced Friday, June 14, 2024, he will retire from full-time racing at the end of the season, saying it was time to live by his own schedule after 19 years in NASCAR's Cup Series. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

FILE - Martin Truex Jr. stands next to his car affixed with a sticker in memory of Sherry Pollex before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 24, 2023. Truex announced Friday, June 14, 2024, he will retire from full-time racing at the end of the season, saying it was time to live by his own schedule after 19 years in NASCAR's Cup Series. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

A court has convicted Alsu Kurmasheva, a Russian-American journalist for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, of spreading false information about the Russian army and sentenced her to 6½ years in prison after a secret trial, court records and officials said Monday.

The conviction in Kazan, the capital of Russia's central region of Tatarstan, came on Friday, the same day a court in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg convicted Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in prison in a case that the U.S. called politically motivated.

Kurmasheva, a 47-year-old editor for RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir language service, was convicted of “spreading false information” about the military, according to the website of the Supreme Court of Tatarstan. Court spokesperson Natalya Loseva confirmed Kurmasheva's conviction and revealed the sentence to The Associated Press by phone in the case classified as secret.

Kurmasheva was ordered to serve the sentence in a medium-security penal colony, Loseva said.

“My daughters and I know Alsu has done nothing wrong. And the world knows it too. We need her home,” Kurmasheva's husband, Pavel Butorin, said in a post Monday on X.

He had said last year the charges stemmed from a book the Tatar-Bashkir service released in 2022 called “No to War” — “a collection of short stories of Russians who don’t want their country to be at war with Ukraine.” Butorin had said the book doesn’t contain any “false information.”

Asked about the case, RFE/RL President and CEO Stephen Capus denounced the trial and conviction of Kurmasheva as “a mockery of justice.”

“The only just outcome is for Alsu to be immediately released from prison by her Russian captors,” he said in a statement to the AP.

“It’s beyond time for this American citizen, our dear colleague, to be reunited with her loving family,” Capus said.

Kurmasheva, who holds U.S. and Russian citizenship and lives in Prague with her husband and two daughters, was taken into custody in October 2023 and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent while collecting information about the Russian military.

Later, she was also charged with spreading “false information” about the Russian military under legislation that effectively criminalized any public expression about the war in Ukraine that deviates from the Kremlin line. The legislation was adopted in March 2022, just days after the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine, and has since been used to target Kremlin critics at home and abroad, implicating scores of people in criminal cases and sending dozens to prison.

Kurmasheva was initially stopped in June 2023 at Kazan International Airport after traveling to Russia the previous month to visit her ailing elderly mother. Officials confiscated her U.S. and Russian passports and fined her for failing to register her U.S. passport. She was waiting for her passports to be returned when she was arrested on new charges in October that year. RFE/RL has repeatedly called for her release.

RFE/RL was told by Russian authorities in 2017 to register as a foreign agent, but it has challenged Moscow’s use of foreign agent laws in the European Court of Human Rights. The organization has been fined millions of dollars by Russia.

In February, RFE/RL was outlawed in Russia as an undesirable organization. Its Tatar-Bashkir service is the only major international news provider reporting in those languages, in addition to Russian, to audiences in the multiethnic, Muslim-majority Volga-Urals region.

The swift and secretive trials of Kurmasheva and Gershkovich in Russia’s highly politicized legal system raised hopes for a possible prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington. Russia has previously signaled a possible exchange involving Gershkovich, but said a verdict in his case must come first.

Arrests of Americans are increasingly common in Russia, with nine U.S. citizens known to be detained there as tensions between the two countries have escalated over fighting in Ukraine.

Gershkovich, 32, was arrested March 29, 2023, while on a reporting trip to the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. Authorities claimed, without offering any evidence, that he was gathering secret information for the U.S.

He has been behind bars since his arrest, time that will be counted as part of his sentence. Most of that was in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison — a czarist-era lockup used during Josef Stalin’s purges, when executions were carried out in its basement. He was transferred to Yekaterinburg for the trial.

Gershkovich was the first U.S. journalist arrested on espionage charges since Nicholas Daniloff in 1986, at the height of the Cold War. Foreign journalists in Russia were shocked by Gershkovich’s arrest, even though the country has enacted increasingly repressive laws on freedom of speech after sending troops into Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden said after his conviction that Gershkovich “was targeted by the Russian government because he is a journalist and an American.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Moscow last week of treating “human beings as bargaining chips.” She singled out Gershkovich and ex-Marine Paul Whelan, 53, a corporate security director from Michigan, who is serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted on spying charges that he and the U.S. denied.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that when it comes to Gershkovich, Whelan and other Americans wrongfully detained in Russia and elsewhere, the U.S. is working on the cases “quite literally every day.”

Sam Greene of the Center for European Policy Analysis said the conviction and sentencing of Kurmasheva and Gershkovich on the same day “suggests — but does not prove — that the Kremlin is preparing a deal. More likely, they are preparing to offer up a negotiating table that Washington will find it difficult to ignore.”

In a series of posts on X, Greene stressed that “the availability of a negotiating table shouldn’t be confused with the availability of a deal,” and that Moscow has no interest in releasing its prisoners — but it is likely to "seek the highest possible price for its bargaining chips, and to seek additional concessions along the way just to keep the talks going.”

Washington “should obviously do what it can” to get Gershkovich, Kurmasheva, imprisoned opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza and other political prisoners out, he said, adding: “But if Moscow demands what it really wants — the abandonment of Ukraine — what then?”

FILE - Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tatar-Bashkir service, attends a court hearing in Kazan, Russia on April 1, 2024. A Russian court has convicted Kurmasheva of spreading false information about the Russian army and sentenced her to 6½ years in prison after a secret trial, court records and officials said Monday July 22, 2024. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tatar-Bashkir service, attends a court hearing in Kazan, Russia on April 1, 2024. A Russian court has convicted Kurmasheva of spreading false information about the Russian army and sentenced her to 6½ years in prison after a secret trial, court records and officials said Monday July 22, 2024. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tatar-Bashkir service, attends a court hearing in Kazan, Russia on May 31, 2024. A Russian court has convicted Kurmasheva of spreading false information about the Russian army and sentenced her to 6½ years in prison after a secret trial, court records and officials said Monday July 22, 2024. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tatar-Bashkir service, attends a court hearing in Kazan, Russia on May 31, 2024. A Russian court has convicted Kurmasheva of spreading false information about the Russian army and sentenced her to 6½ years in prison after a secret trial, court records and officials said Monday July 22, 2024. (AP Photo, File)

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