Martin Truex Jr. dominated the NASCAR cup series on the track this year, capping his incredible year off with a victory at Miami that put an exclamation point on a terrific season and sealed the cup victory. He and his girlfriend shared a moment on the victory stage that meant so much more than just a win.
“I told him, ‘That’s why you never give up.’” Sherry Pollex
Truex’s girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, has been battling stage III ovarian cancer all year and told Truex the above quote after he was able to finish off a roller coaster season on a high note. It has been all good on the track, but his girlfriend’s battle had always kept his mind on her even when he was winning.
She elaborated on the moment:
“That’s been our motto all along, ever since I started my cancer battle. (It) was just we were never going to give up, and we didn’t. … Everybody’s battling something. Everybody’s fighting something in their life, not just cancer but any kind of struggle they’re going through in their life. And we always say, if you can find a struggle with a positive attitude and just have a smile on your face and find the good and the silver lining in everything, in the end, you’ll come out and karma will pay you back and good things will happen to you.”
Truex is a feel-good story for more than one reason. The driver was without a sponsor just four years ago and battled back to have an incredible 2017 season. Some say he’s a beneficiary of better equipment, but he would tell you different.
“They might think that, but ask my crew chief, ask my engineer if I’m the same driver,” Truex said. “Ask my car owner. I’m not the same driver. I’m better than I was. And they are better than they were. And we’re better together.
“That’s the real key. We’ve all learned together. We’ve all made each other better. We’ve learned to find the little things that matter.”
Truex captured the 2017 championship by winning the season finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He led 78 laps, including the final 51. On a restart with 34 laps remaining, Truex got a perfect jump and put enough distance between himself and Kyle Busch, who burned up his tires trying to catch Truex in the final 15 laps.
“I don’t know how we won that thing,” Truex said. “Never give up. Dig deep. I told my guys we were going to dig deeper than we ever have today, and 20 [laps] 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.”
“There was a night where I sat on the porch and thought there was a chance I may never race in the Cup Series again, at least competitively,” Truex said. “It was late in the season, found out I wasn’t going to have a sponsor, obviously, for the next year.
“I didn’t know of any rides available. … It was just a matter of luck and timing to be honest that it all came together. Obviously the rest is history.”
There is a lot to like about Martin Truex, not the least of which is overcoming adversity, both personally and on the track.