Dream Championship Season for Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr.

"I was a wreck thinking about all the tough days, the bad days, the times where I thought my career was over with. Times when I didn’t think anyone believed in me." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Race Recap and Results | Photos | All-Time Champions

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Martin Truex Jr. capped off a dominating season with his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
 
The Furniture Row Racing driver’s win in Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was his eighth win of the year, the most by any driver since Denny Hamlin in 2010.
 
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.
 
“I can’t event believe it,” Truex Jr. said. “I can’t believe we got the lead. I can’t believe we kept it. We weren’t the best car all day long. We fought it. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) had some great pit strategy and the caution came at the right time to get us the lead and then they put it in my hands and I had to hand onto it.
 
“It’s all I could do to hang onto that thing and find a lane that would work for me and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and the 18 (Kyle Busch) were both better on the long run all day long. I just had to find something at the end and luckily was able to find a lane that was really good for my car, but also bad for them behind me and just worked out.”
 
Truex Jr. has had to overcome professional and personal challenges on his way to becoming a Cup Series champion. His career was nearly over when he lost his ride after the Michael Waltrip racing scandal at the Richmond Raceway regular season finale in 2013. He landed at the then underdog Furniture Row Racing team and has been a huge element to the team’s fortune and success.
 
Truex Jr. is also dealing with his long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex’s cancer battle, adding to the emotion he felt after reaching the sport’s pinnacle on Sunday.
 
“I was a mess,” he said after winning the race. “I didn’t know – I couldn’t even talk. I was just, I was a wreck thinking about all the tough days, the bad days, the times where I thought my career was over with. Times when I didn’t think anyone believed in me. But the guys, the people who mattered did, my fans, my family and then when I got with this team – they’re unbelievable. They resurrected my career and made me a champion. I don’t even know what to say.”
 
Truex has the fourth-most wins in a Camry with 13-total victories over six seasons in a Toyota.
“I am so incredibly happy for Martin – this championship is personal for us,” said David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development.
 
“Toyota, TRD and Martin’s history goes back to the days of Michael Waltrip Racing, so just having a second chance to race with him when he moved to Furniture Row Racing was special all by itself.  Martin Truex Jr. and Cole Pearn (crew chief) set this garage on its ear the past two years with their championship caliber performance – a combination of speed, strategy and consistency that was unmatched.”
 
Truex Jr. was forced to celebrate his accomplishment without team owner Barney Visser, who is recuperating from heart surgery. But he showed his gratitude to Visser and the entire team in his celebration as well as team member Jim Watson, who passed away from heart failure weeks ago.
 
“This means the world,” he said. “Barney Visser, 11 years of working towards this goal.  He couldn't be here tonight.  We're thinking of him.  Definitely wish he could be here.  I know he's probably about as much in shock as I am.  But Jim Watson, Cole's best friend, Sherry, everybody battling something, this one's for you guys.  All my buds back in New Jersey, all my Wall Stadium guys back there, thank you, and I don't even know how to put this into words.  It's not sunk in yet.  Tonight's going to be a hell of a party.”

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