Following a long and winding road, Martin Truex Jr. finally owns the biggest prize in motorsports.
The driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota capped off a dominant season in fitting fashion -by capturing the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship with a stirring victory in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
To take the title, Truex outdueled his Championship 4 competitors #18-Kyle Busch (second), #4-Kevin Harvick (fourth) and #2-Brad Keselowski (seventh).
The Mayetta, New Jersey, native was the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ best driver all year, winning the regular season championship on the strength of four victories.
Once the playoffs began, Truex upped his performance to another level, recording a top-five finish in every postseason race except for Talladega. He won four times, including the playoff-opening race at Chicagoland, twice in the Round of 12 (Charlotte and Kansas) and the season finale at Homestead.
Truex finished the season with career highs in wins (8), top fives (19), top 10s (26) and laps led (2,250). He led the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in all those stat categories.
Truex’s title also marks the first championship for Denver, Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing and owner Barney Visser.
A two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, Truex joins Busch, Harvick, Keselowski and Bobby Labonte as the fifth driver in history with both an XFINITY and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.
He is the first champion from New Jersey.
Truex’s teammate Erik Jones captured the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Driving the #77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Jones scored a rookie-high five top fives and 14 tops 10s.
On the strength of 16 victories, Toyota won its second-consecutive Monster Energy Series Manufacturers’ Championship.
— NASCAR —
MARTIN TRUEX JR, #78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Q) How much of this season was for your girlfriend Sherry Pollex?
TRUEX JR. “A lot of it was for her. 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 dipper 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. Just never give up on your dreams no matter what happens and what kind of crap you go through and thank you Barney (Visser, team owner). I wish you were here, buddy. Thank you, Johnny (Morris, Bass Pro Shops), all our partners this year. What can I say about this team? Cole Pearn, Jazzy, all the road guys, the guys in Denver – you guys are the best, man. They work their guts out for me and I don’t even know – this is unbelievable, a dream come true. I don’t even know. I couldn’t even talk on the cautions laps, so just really thankful, really grateful and thank you to the fans. We’re going to party it up tonight.”
Q) What does it mean to win this championship when you thought your career was near over at one point?
TRUEX JR. “It’s just overwhelming. 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.”
Q) What does it mean to you to have this fan support?
TRUEX JR. “Thank you guys so much for all your support – it helps us. It pushed us here tonight. It helps Sherry (Pollex) with her battle and positive info and positive mojo. We couldn’t do it without the fans and I couldn’t do it without this team and I couldn’t do it with Sherry and all her support. You guys here, NBC, FOX, earlier in the year. It’s just a dream season and I was going to be gutted if we didn’t win, but I was still going to know we gave it our all and luckily it was enough tonight.”
— Toyota Racing —