Martin Truex Jr. opens up about emotional journey to first NASCAR championship
Martin Truex Jr.'s goal of winning his first NASCAR championship this season wasn't the only thing weighing heavy on his mind as he took the track for the final race of the season Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Truex has been through quite an emotional year both personally and professionally, but he only used that as more motivation to win the Ford EcoBoost 400 and walk away as the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion.
In an appearance on NBC News' Megyn Kelly TODAY show, Truex opened up about the emotional journey he has been through this season while his fiancee, Sherry Pollex, continued to battle ovarian cancer. He and his Furniture Row Racing team also faced difficult times as their owner, Barney Visser, had a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery that forced him to miss the final two races of the season, while crew member Jim Watson passed away in October.
“This year for our team in general, just to go through all that adversity and our team owner just two weeks ago having this, and him not being able to be at the championship race this weekend it was tough," Truex said. "But I think through all of it, we have become just a family in the four years that we have all been together on this race team and learned to get through all these things and realize that racing helps keep our mindset.”
The road to his first NASCAR championship title certainly has not been an easy one, but Truex draws on the strength of Pollex to help get both himself and his team through the adversity and challenging times they have faced.
"Because of Sherry and I, what we've been through, our team has been through that as well," Truex said. "They were always there for me. They were always there for us. I think they learned a few years ago how to deal with these kinds of things. When I was going to the race track and Sherry was initially going through her surgery and her chemo initially when it was at the absolute worst, I maybe helped my team understand how I got through that.
"And I did it because she's so strong and she's so independent and knows how much racing means to me and my career and how much I love my job. She's like you've got to go do this and I'll be fine when you get back," Truex said.
Pollex was able to travel to Truex's last two races, and he told reporters beforehand that he wanted to win the championship for his fiancee to put both of them on "top of the world."