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TRUEX CARRYING A HEAVY LOAD
At times, NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race drivers seem larger than life, but we shouldn't forget they're human and subject to the same emotions all of us go through when life punches you in the gut. As it is for all of us… sometimes it's just too much to handle.
So it was for Martin Truex, Jr. following his win in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Here he is enjoying the greatest season he's ever had while, at the same time, his longtime girlfriend and partner Sherry Pollex continues her courageous battle with ovarian cancer. In the midst of another round of chemotherapy, she couldn't
"She hates missing - seeing the guys succeed. I know our guys love having her around when we win and she's a fun person to celebrate with. So, I thought about that. I thought about winning this first race of the round, the pressure coming off. I
With the curtain pulled back and the whole world looking in, tears filled his eyes and Truex swallowed hard, unable to utter a word. "It just hits you like a ton of bricks and all of a sudden you can't talk. You feel like an idiot, but there's just so many things you're thinking about and so much you're thankful for."
First diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2014, Pollex went into remission, but the malignant cells returned and she underwent surgery while Truex was racing at Kentucky in July. Both know they're fighting long odds with Pollex stating 80% of the women with her type of cancer have a recurrence and die within five years.
What's remarkable about Pollex as she fights this disease, she has helped so many other women and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to, hopefully, one day wipe out this type of cancer. Many times, including last Sunday, Truex has confessed the way Pollex leads her life has made him a better man on and off the track. "It's just helped me just deal with the emotions of racing, the ups and downs and the heartbreaks, keeping that kind of even keel and keeping your head on straight and understanding the things that are truly important."
"All of those things are what I've really learned and when you get out of the car after a big win, you start thinking about all that stuff, and that's when it hits you."
Maybe the only time the 37-year-old New Jersey native doesn't have "all that stuff" rambling around his brain is when he's got his helmet on, roaring through the wind. "It's definitely like putting blinders on," admitted Truex. "It's definitely like I flip a switch and forget all about everything in the outside world when I'm in that car, and that's a really good thing sometimes, especially when you're going through tough times."
"We're going to keep working hard. We've got our eye on the prize, we know where we want to go and we still know there are some hurdles in the way. So, we'll just keep focused and enjoy the good days as they come."
For the first time in his life, Truex is the favorite to capture the Monster Energy Cup Series championship and the pressure is guaranteed to ramp up in the final races. Truex understands taking the title is a big deal, but he's also been taught by life it's not the most important thing. That takes a lot of weight
Victory lane, however, might be another matter.