Martin Truex Jr. And Furniture Row Racing Have Taken NASCAR By Stormby Benjamin Sanders November 19, 2017 0 comments
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – For the majority of Martin Truex Jr.’s NASCAR career, it has been wrought with disappointment, pain and failure. A driver who had only won two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in his first eight full-time seasons teamed up with a small team based out of Denver, Colorado with only one win, the 2011 Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Furniture Row Racing and Truex Jr. have taken the NASCAR world by storm the last couple of seasons.
Over the past two seasons, they have become the team to beat, claiming 12 victories and 43 top-10 finishes; however, it hasn’t been easy. Truex has been racing with more pain and off-track issues than any champion in recent memory. His longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer to such a point Truex Jr. was considering retirement.
“A lot of it was for her,” Truex said. “A lot of it was for me. A lot of it was for this team – just, I don’t even know what to say. We just never gave up all day long. We didn’t have the best car. I don’t know how we won that thing. Never give up. Dig deep. I told my guys we were going to dig deeper than we ever have today and 20 to go I thought I was done – they were all better than me on the long run all day long. I just found a way. I found a lane that I could use and I found a lane that was blocking enough of their air that they couldn’t use it and just made it happen. I can’t believe it. I’ve wanted this since I was a little kid and just never give up.”
Pollex is from a racing family and always believed he had the talent and drive to be anything he wanted in racing.
“Everybody is battling something, everybody is fighting something in their life, not just cancer but any kind of struggle,” Pollex said. “We always say if you can fight a struggle with a positive attitude and just have a smile on your face and find the good and silver lining in everything, in the end you’ll come out and karma will pay you back and good things will happen to you.”
Much of this success can be attributed to Canadian crew chief, Cole Pearn, who with the support of a talented group of engineers and Toyota, has built a team that will go down in history as one of the most dominant.
“We just focused on this race for a long time,” Pearn said. “We knew kind of if we were going to be champions, we were going to have to get a lot better here. Unbelievable. I don’t really know how to comprehend it at this point. Just so, so thrilled. Those guys, to put the effort we have in all year and be able to truly call ourselves champions is unbelievable.”
Just this season, team owner Barney Visser endured a heart attack and paired with the losses of road-crew fabricator James Watson and Pearn’s best friend Jacob Damen, the team was racing for more than victories.
Truex Jr. is just the 32nd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion in 69 years of the sport and although his fellow competitors were solemn about losing the championship, they were happy one of the nice guys of the sport prevailed. Truex Jr. is the first NASCAR champion from New Jersey and is only the fifth to driver to claim a Monster Energy Series and XFINITY Series championship.
“I mean, yeah, they’ve had the fastest car all year, so it was good to see him win,” NASCAR Playoff competitor, Kevin Harvick said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. says that NASCAR needs more drivers and champions like Truex Jr.
“It’s so good to see him win this title,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “He is a professional and a gentleman and just a perfect friend. The sport needs drivers like Martin Truex Jr. He’s just a really good guy, very easy to relate to, easy to talk to. And with everything he’s went through as a driver, and beyond that, everything he’s went through in his personal life, everything Sherry has been through, the whole sport has been behind them for so long and supported them for so long, but it’s just great.”
The cliché states “nice guys finish last”, but this nice guy leaves Homestead-Miami a champion.
“It’s just overwhelming,” Truex Jr. said. “To think about all the rough days and bad days, the days that couldn’t run 20th, to be here, I never thought this day would come and to be here is so unbelievable. It’s pretty damn awesome.”
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images