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NASCAR Cup Series

Martin Truex Jr and Furniture Row Vying for Championship Glory

Imagine not knowing where your future was going in a career that you’ve invested your passion and efforts into for most of your life.

Pause for a moment and wonder how it’d be like if the one you love has to fight an uphill battle against a form of cancer while enduring a year in which your on-track results absolutely didn’t match the heart and effort put forth each weekend.

Consider the fact that your team is far from the stock car hub and it’s year one of what was seemingly a transition season…and you’re in Victory Lane on June 7, 2015 at Pocono Raceway.

Emerging from your stock car that’s endured 400 miles of intense NASCAR Sprint Cup action in the hallowed grounds of Victory Lane, you get to speak about the great support system around you, the sponsors, and your competitors.

Most of all, you not only remind folks that you’ve still got it to be a winning racer, but you get to enjoy that wonderful moment with your longtime girlfriend who’s given you so much inspiration and strength to be the best person personally and professionally.

Martin Truex Jr has endured a plethora of events in the past two years that could either break or make a man’s life in a moment.  Instead of wallowing in pity or feeling duped about what happened to him following the fallout of his former team at Richmond in 2013, he pressed on by joining Furniture Row Racing last year.

Although their initial campaign was less than memorable with a single top-five finish at Kansas in October and four additional top-10’s resulting in a 24th place points finish, this year has been spectacular for the Mayetta, NJ native. Winning the June Pocono race in convincing fashion, he’s netted seven more top-fives and 22 overall top-10 results to earn his way into the Championship Round of 4 battle today at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Truex, as honest as any racer is in the garage area, spoke about the adversities that he’s overcome in recent times as well as his priorities in his life.

This is a driver who absolutely lets nothing stop him.

This is a driver who absolutely lets nothing stop him.

I’ve been through a lot of crap in my life,” Truex said.  ‘Honestly, been a lot of ups and downs in my whole career.  The things that happened last year with Sherry getting diagnosed with cancer, the foundation we have, the kids we met, just have a different perspective on things.

Racing is important, it’s a big part of my life, but it’s not the only thing that matters.  I know each and every weekend, each week getting prepared for the race, I give it my all, and that’s all I can do.”

Everything put forth by Truex and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy team led by crew chief Cole Pearn has been nothing short of sensational and solid.  They have given it their all whether it’s at Daytona or Loudon.  Sure, they’re not flashy on the track and the 35-year-old racer isn’t the most outspoken with the press or his peers.

However, he’s honest as can be and his focus to succeed is second to none with any of his rivals in the title fight at Homestead, FL.  Much like life, he realizes that he can only do so much at each race but it’s helped him appreciate who he’s around away from the track and at it.

“There’s a lot of things in this sport you can’t control,” Truex remarked.  “I’ve learned not to worry about those, not let those bad weekends that happened to me that I can’t do anything about bother me and make me lose sleep over.

Really just focus in on what I’m doing, enjoying the relationships I’ve made, working with the people I really respect.  That’s really been a big difference for me this year.”

Furniture Row Racing has to be the Cinderella story of this season.

Furniture Row Racing has to be the Cinderella story of this season.

His team clearly rallies around him and it shows with their efforts at each venue.  Not even a snowstorm could stop the 78 team from making their long trek from Denver, CO to Homestead, FL this week, prepping their title race car early in the week despite the late finish at Avondale, AZ last weekend.

It’s easy to admire how resilient Truex has been with everything that’s happened to him in the past two years.  Those who have pursued a career in this sport can understand how difficult and competitive things can get, be it as a racer, press, or as a member of a team.

Not even Richmond in 2013 could derail this young man’s determination to continue his quest towards winning stock car glory, even when uncertainty surrounded him during crunch time for solidifying plans for a new year.

Martin Truex Jr hopes to drive his 78 car to this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Martin Truex Jr hopes to drive his 78 car to this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

You know, honestly it’s not hard to believe.  I mean, things happen for a reason, you know.  Sherry told me after that race, you know, Don’t let it get you down, things happen for a reason, it’s going to work out.  Of course, I didn’t believe her that night.  That was the night I got the phone call from NASCAR what they were going to do, knew the ramifications of what that was going to cause.

But I got over it really quickly and I got over it quick and said, Look, there’s things in life that you can’t control.  Life’s not fair.  To be honest with you, that wasn’t the end of the world.  I knew it was going to be hard just because of the way the sport is to get that opportunity to be at a competitive team again.  But I knew it wasn’t the end of the world.  There was obviously a lot of things that could happen that are worse.”

As for his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, not only is she doing well, but she’s going to be there at the track on Sunday at the track.  To say the least, regardless of the results after all is said and done in this 400-miler at Homestead, FL, the journey to get to this point has symbolized the strength and drive that Truex and Pollex have with not only themselves but with each other.

She’s been great.  Three to go.  Three more treatments and she’ll be done.  Hopefully that’s the last she’ll ever have to see of it, of that place.  It’s been pretty remarkable the way she’s went through everything, really inspiring to me. 

There’s so many things I could say about it, but in the end there’s three to go and she’s a fighter.  I’m glad that she’s as strong as she is.  She’s on her way to the track with her mom.  Looking forward to having a fun weekend.”

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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