Last year was undoubtedly one on the most difficult for Martin Truex Jr., both professionally and personally. A disappointing season with no wins and only one top-five and five top-10s only tells part of the story. His longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex underwent treatment for ovarian cancer. Pollex finished her final primary chemotherapy treatment in January and has opted for a maintenance program of once monthly chemo treatments.
As the new season begins, Truex has a new perspective and appreciation for life. After competing for the win in the Daytona 500, a revitalized Truex is eager to carry that momentum forward as they head to one of his favorite tracks, Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Truex was competitive all weekend, finishing second in the Sprint Unlimited and fifth in the Budweiser Duel. He ran in the top ten for much of the Daytona 500, lining up fifth after the last caution for the green-white-checkered restart and ended the day in eighth place.
“I sure hated to see that last caution come out,” Truex said. “We didn’t restart in the lane I was hoping for. We were one spot away from being in the catbird seat, but restrictor-plate racing is all about circumstances.”
With new crew chief, Cole Pearn, at the helm, the result is indicative of the intense preparation the team put in during the off season to prepare for this year. They rallied to keep Truex at the front, despite some pit road miscues. The ability to remain calm and prevail under these circumstances speaks volumes about the team’s determination.
“We almost threw away this race a couple of times,” admitted Truex. “One was for a pit-road speeding penalty and another for a fuel issue. Those issues were costly at the time, dropping us back to the rear of the field. But we came charging back with a powerful race car and good pit strategy by our crew chief Cole Pearn. When you can come back like the way we did it says something about the makeup of this team. It was a lot of fun to run up front and to be in contention at the end.”
Truex is optimistic about the 2015 season, saying, “The Daytona performance isn’t a guarantee that we’ll run real good all season long. But with the things we did over the winter, the testing we did towards the end of last year, the momentum we gained and the team changes we made, I feel really good about our stuff and what we’re going to do. We’ll have to see how we do at Atlanta. We’re looking forward to going there. It’s one of my favorite tracks and we’ll see if we can’t come out of there about seven spots better.”
The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team heads to Atlanta, eighth in driver points, with the goal of keeping Truex in Chase contention as he embraces a new season of possibilities.