In just a few weeks Martin Truex Jr. begins his 20th season competing with NASCAR. In recent years, Truex has been one of NASCAR’s top drivers, winning the Cup Series in 2017 and finishing second in the standings during both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
While Truex hopes to improve on his seventh-place performance from the pandemic-riddled 2020 season, racing might not always be top of mind for Truex and that’s understandable. That’s because the 40-year-old driver will also be supporting his long-time girlfriend, who is in a life-threatening battle with cancer for the third time.
Martin Truex Jr. has had a long and successful NASCAR career
After beginning his racing career with go-karts and modifieds, Martin Truex Jr. joined the NASCAR Busch Series in 2001. Truex steadily improved and in 2004 and 2005 he earned six first-place finishes each season. More importantly, he won the series title both seasons as well.
In 2006, Truex moved up to compete full-time with the Cup Series. He made his first trip to victory lane in 2007 at Dover. However, Truex found victories hard to come by for years, and the season-ending results confirmed it. He didn’t win again until the 2013 season, but still finished 16th in the standings.
Martin Truex had his breakthrough season in 2015. While he only won once that year, he had 22 top 10 finishes, including 13 out of the season’s first 14 races. He finished the season in 4th place.
Despite four wins in 2016, Truex finished in 11th place but had developed momentum for the 2017 season. During that year, Truex won an impressive eight times and brought home his first Cup Series title.
In 2018 and 2019, Truex won a combined 11 times and finished second both seasons. He finished 7th for the 2020 season with a lone victory at Martinsville.
Martin Truex Jr.’s life off the track
While Martin Truex has developed a reputation on the track as one of NASCAR’s best, he’s also become one of the most respected off the track for his charitable work in the community. In 2007, Truex and girlfriend Sherry Pollex launched The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation to help support underfunded cancer initiatives specific to ovarian and childhood cancers, and assist the individuals and families affected by them.
In 2014, Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Doctors estimated that her chance of survival was less than 30 percent within five years. She underwent a radical hysterectomy, debulking surgery, and 17 months of chemotherapy.
After several years of good health, the cancer returned in 2017 during the middle of Martin Truex’s Cup Series-winning season. Pollex endured more surgery and more chemotherapy. Truex, when not racing, was with her each step of the way.
Supporting his girlfriend in her continuing fight against cancer
For the last couple of years, Pollex and Martin Truex Jr. have been able to focus on his racing and their work with the foundation. In November 2020, the pair celebrated the opening of the Sherry Strong Integrative Medicine Oncology Clinic within Novant Health’s new Weisinger Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. The clinic provides cancer patients with palliative care through acupuncture, oncology massage, yoga, and dietary consulting.
Ironically, a month later, Truex and Pollex found themselves in a familiar position. The cancer had returned and Pollex had to undergo another surgery.
“Thank you for the outpouring of support. My surgery was successful, they were able to remove the three visible tumors,” she wrote on Twitter. “I am SO grateful for my amazing doctors, nurses and of course my family and friends.”
Throughout all of her bouts with cancer, Martin Truex has been there by his girlfriend’s side, encouraging her and providing whatever support he can to help her overcome the deadly disease. 2021 will be yet another chapter in their fight and one in which they have the entire support of the NASCAR community.