Ichampions Week:/I Martin Truex Jr

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - During his first NASCAR Busch Series Champion's Week media activities at this time last year, Martin Truex Jr. was asked how he was enjoying the experience.

It was fine, he said, adding that he felt he was quite accomplished at the interview process thanks to three straight days worth of questions from the Tampa and Orlando press. Those two markets ranked second and sixth, respectively, this season among the nation's top 10 NASCAR Busch Series broadcast markets.

Now, as the two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion, Truex can take that familiarity and experience with the Champion's Week schedule and combine it with the excitement of being crowned once again. On Friday night, Dec. 9, the week culminates with the NASCAR Busch Series Awards Ceremony at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando.

Truex is one of only five drivers to win consecutive NASCAR Busch Series championships; only six have won multiple titles in the 24-year history of the series. The last driver to accomplish the feat was his Chance 2 Motorsports co-owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., in 1998-99.

Truex's rewards as champion have actually already begun. He ventured to New York City last Thursday where he joined 2005 NASCAR champions from the other two national series - including NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave - along with NASCAR's Dodge Weekly Series and regional touring series titlists, for the annual champion's photo shoot.

The group gathered for the shot at Cipriani, the only time during the year when all NASCAR champions are brought together. The champions were treated to dinner with NASCAR executives and various New York and other national media members in the Empire Room at the Waldorf=Astoria, and finished off their New York experience at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony last Friday.

But this week belongs to Truex and the other members of the NASCAR Busch Series top 10. The champion kicks off the events - as have the last two series champions before Truex's first title last year - in Tampa tonight with select media appearances including a live shot on Bay News 9 at 11 p.m.

Wednesday morning, he will be a guest on FOX's live local television morning show, then visit numerous in-studio radio programs before meeting with the Tampa Bay sports media as the featured guest during lunch in historic Ybor City. NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash will also be in attendance.

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