Martin Truex Jr. hopes to "represent the sport well" as champion

Martin Truex Jr., beamed as the pediatric patients slowly gathered around the table at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

Martin Truex Jr. hopes to "represent the sport well" as champion
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota visits Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota visits Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Sherry Pollex
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet final laps
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota team celebration
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota

The 2017 NASCAR champion wasn’t going through the motions as he described his day job as a race car driver, colored sheets decorated with the No. 78 or raced soap box-styled cars with the boys and girls healthy enough to join Truex in the third-floor playroom on Tuesday

Helping those in need

Over the last decade, the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation has followed its mission to raise awareness and financial support for pediatric cancer. For eight of those years, Truex’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex has organized and executed Catwalk for a Cause benefiting a Special Needs Fund at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. 

“We've always wanted to help kids,” Truex said. “Sherry and I have always said how fortunate we were growing up as kids. We had all the things we needed to grow and become successful because of that. 

“We started helping all different kinds of things—underprivileged kids, abused kids, obviously we did somethings with pediatric cancer but we kept gravitating toward the cancer families and helping them. We thought that was where we could make the biggest difference. We started working with Levine’s and it just kept growing ever since. Those families seemed to impact us the most, touched our hearts and that’s where we thought we could make the biggest difference.”

Truex has been rewarded on so many levels in life. Professionally, winning the Monster Energy Cup title has been the pinnacle of his journey. Although it has been nine days since hoisting the trophy at Homestead-Miami, the accomplishment is just starting to sink in. 

No better way to commence Champion's Week

After a whirlwind tour to New York City to promote the title, Truex spent Thanksgiving weekend surrounded by friends and family. But he couldn’t think of a better way to kick off Champion’s Week in Las Vegas before the next wave of celebrating begins.

“It’s definitely an honor to do this,” Truex said. “For them to ask us to come here and for NASCAR to schedule this and put this all together, it’s such a grounding process when you go in there. It’s a constant reminder when you see those kids of how lucky we are to do what we do. Not only that, but to wake up and be healthy every day. 

“It’s just so unfair to see them. It breaks my heart to see how much pain they’re in, how tired they are. It’s a tough thing to try and figure out how to talk to them, what to say and try to cheer them up just a little. It’s definitely a humbling thing to come here and maybe help just a little bit.”

While children have always been at the heart of the MTJ Foundation, the focus shifted a bit in 2014 when Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Truex better understands the challenges faced by the children after watching his life partner’s courageous battle. SherryStrong.org offers support and raises awareness for ovarian cancer.

After Truex returns to Charlotte, he and Pollex will deliver Christmas gifts to the patients at Levine who are unable to go home for the holidays. 

NASCAR's ambassador 

If there’s any question as to how Truex will represent NASCAR as its most recent champion, Tuesday offered a glimpse as to what fans can expect from the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team.

“I love NASCAR. I love racing. It’s what I grew up on,” Truex said. “This is a childhood dream of mine. So, I’m going to do the best job I can. I’m going to represent the sport well. There have been a lot of great champions that came before me and hopefully, I’ll just be able to hold up my end of the deal. 

“I’ll try my best. I’m probably a little different than most have been, I would say. But hopefully I’ll bring something to the table that will help the sport.”

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Champions Week
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Author Lee Spencer
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