Truex: From Rags To Perseverance | Bonehead Picks

Truex: From Rags To Perseverance

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The now storied career of Martin Truex Jr is almost a fairy tale so to speak, as he went from barely known to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Champion. It took 14 years, 15 wins and 441 races to finally make it to the top after a point where Truex thought his career was over. Racing for three different teams in 14 years never looked as promising, but when Truex was given another chance to race, he took it without hesitation. When opportunities rose, he took advantage no matter who it was.

While racing in the Xfinity Series, he was slowly making the transition to Monster Energy while at the same time winning two consecutive Xfinity titles in 2004 and 2005. Truex won those titles for what was known as Chance 2 Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr and his stepmother Teresa, which later on was reformed as JR Motorsports. He made the move to DEI in Monster Energy where he earned only one win and four poles, also averaging nine top tens finishes in four years and one Chase spot.

Truex left DEI and joined Michael Waltrip Racing and took the number 56 in honor of his father which was called the family number. While with MWR from 2009 to 2013, the results were about the same with winning one race and looking for his second Chase spot when he was unexpectedly engulfed in controvery at Richmond. Truex was tied with Ryan Newman for the last playoff spot as Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer tried to manipulate the points to help their teammate get in.

The incident knocked Newman out and prevented Jeff Gordon from getting in, but after reports from fans listening to scanners, it was revealed that MWR tried to fix the race where Truex would qualify. All three teams lost 50 points and a fine of $300,000 which resulted in probation and suspension for several crew chiefs. This incident not only cost Truex his Chase spot, but also lost sponsorship at the end. This resulted in putting Newman in the Chase and adding Gordon as a 13th driver.

Around the start of his career, he was already dating Sherry Pollex and in 2007 started the Martin Truex Jr Foundation to help children with pediatric cancer. It would be seven years later that Pollex would be diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer and would fight the battle the next three years and beyond. This was around the time Truex signed with Furniture Row Racing after losing his sponsor NAPA after the Richmond incident in 2013, and including losing his Chase spot.

FRR was a single car team which also helped Kurt Busch earn a ride with Stewart-Haas Racing and brought Truex in. This is was around the time Truex thought his career was winding down with only two wins under his belt and barely able to perform with the best. It was then owner Barney Visser joined an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and signed on Cole Pearn as Truex’s crew chief. It was right then and there things finally began to fit together like a puzzle and put him among the elite.

Truex began to put up career numbers and in 2015 had a career best eight top fives and 22 top tens, including winning his way into the Chase finishing fourth. This was followed by four wins and five poles, which is also a career best in 2016 but missed the Championship 4. It was 2017 that would finally put him on top of the world with a new primary NASCAR sponsor and implementing the new stage format, which Truex took advantage of. All this would be the result of winning it all.

From mediocrity to a seasoned veteran in 14 years, all it takes is finding the right tools and the right people to be successful. Even with the time when Pollex was diagnosed, he almost stepped away to spend more time with her, but suggested that he kept on racing. Also with the death of a team member and Visser suffering a heart attack, the team had a lot to endure on and off the track and winning their first title since their existence in 2005. It was extreme perserverance that was the main drive which capped off a cinderella season.

From rags to riches so to speak, Truex finally captured what he was searching for which took from racing go-carts in New Jersey to NASCAR’s premier series while following in his father’s footsteps. For the first time in his life, Martin Truex Jr is on top of the world!

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