Martin Truex Jr. Has Won The NASCAR Cup Series After An Emotinal Day

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On Sunday, November 19, Martin Truex Jr. became the 2017 NASCAR champion. In 2004 and 2005 he was the NASCAR Busch Series Champion but this is the first time the 37-year-old has won a Cup title. Truex Jr., racing the 78 Toyota Camry for Furniture Row Racing, barely beat Kyle Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, for the title by holding Busch off the last 12 laps of the race to win the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in Homestead, Florida. This was the eighth race win for Truex this season.

The 🏆 belongs to @martintruex_jr! Double tap to congratulate the champ!

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Going into the Ford 400, the contenders for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series were Truex, Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski. Busch came in second for the race and the championship. Harvick, the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion, came in fourth during the Ford 400, and third for the championship. Keselowski came in seventh, well behind the others, for the race, making him fourth in the championship.

Busch had a rough start to the season crashing during the Daytona 500, the first NASCAR race of the season and one of the most highly coveted races to win, but came a long way during the season with a total of five race wins, three more than Harvick and two more than Keselowski.

While Truex had a great year racing, winning the Cup title, the most races and leading the most laps, there were some rough spots along the way. Two weeks ago, Barney Visser, the Furniture Row team owner suffered a heart-attack and could not be present.

When Truex got out of his car, he went right to his girlfriend for an emotional hug. His girlfriend since 2005, Sherry Pollex, has been battling ovarian cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. Pollex has been Truex’s support system saying, “I told him `That’s why you never give up,'” she said. “That’s been our motto all along, ever since I started my cancer battle. We were never going to give up, and we didn’t.” During an interview on Victory Lane, Truex was crying saying, “We just never gave up… I’ve wanted this since I was a little kid and just never give up man. Never give up on your dreams, no matter what kind of crap you go through.”

While this race was an important moment in Truex’s career, it was the last full-season NASCAR Cup Series for some prominent NASCAR drivers. Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Danica Patrick are retiring. Patrick only made her announcement on November 17, 2017. Matt Kenseth does not have a car next year and will be taking a break from NASCAR.

While driving down pit lane before the race, Earnhardt Jr., and Kenseth high-fived all the NASCAR teams crew-members in an emotional thanks.

Kenseth finished 15th in the Ford 400 and seventh in the championship. Kenseth had his first race in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1998 at Talladega and went full-time in 2000. Kenseth has accomplished many goals in the Cup Series, including the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Trophy, 39 race wins and 327 top tens out of his 651 races in his career. His last race win was the Can-Am 500, the last race before the Ford 400, at Phoenix Intl Raceway on November 12, 2017.

Patrick, who finished 37th in the Ford 400,is one of the most popular and accomplished female Cup Series drivers of all time and at 35, was currently the only one. She has the most top 10 finishes for a women in the NASCAR Cup Series and is the only female racer in the Series to have started 100 races, as well as lead laps in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500; she raced in the IndyCar Series from 2005 to 2011. She started in the NASCAR Cup series in the 2014 season. She will race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 next year.

Earnhardt Jr., or Junior, as the 43-year-old is commonly known, is the most popular and beloved driver in NASCAR. His father, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was one of the best NASCAR drivers of all time. In Earnhardt Sr.’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series career from 1975 to 2001, he had many career accomplishments including: seven NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Only two other drivers have won seven Cup series: Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson. Tragically in 2001, he was killed instantly in a crash during the last lap of the Daytona 500. Senior was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.

Junior, number 88, kept his father’s memory alive and has accomplished a lot in his career as well. He started racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1998, with his first full season in 2000, along with Matt Kenseth. He was voted the most popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racer from 2003-2016. He has never won a Cup Series, his best rank was third, but he has raced 632 races in the NASCAR cup series with many wins and top ten wins over the years. The number 88 finished 25th in the Ford 400. After, Junior and his crew drank cans of Budweiser; his sponsor for eight years, including during the 2001 Daytona 500. In 2018, Junior will become a color commentator on NASCAR on NBC.

Leading up the Ford 400 and after, many drivers and fans took to social media to congratulate Junior on his career.

When Truex won at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Junior tapped Truex’s car with his, in celebration. Junior talked about how excited he was Truex won and congratulated him onstage later.

After the checkered flag, with the checkered flag in hand, Truex did a burnout in his car to celebrate.

Later, onstage in Victory Lane, Truex could barely talk during interviews, overcome with emotion. Truex got to hold up his trophy and finally, in traditional NASCAR style, Truex and his crew celebrated by opening wine bottles and spraying them everywhere. In pictures with his trophy, Truex held up eight fingers to celebrate his eight race wins during the 2017 season.

Truex said, “Just a dream season. I was going to be gutted if we didn’t win. We gave it our all, and it was enough tonight.”

@martintruex_jr in one word? Champion.

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What a way to end a season. An emotional win and some beloved good-byes.

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