Truex on his Cup career: "Glimpses of greatness ... kept me alive"
Martin Truex Jr. has had an amazing career in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series but the vast majority of his success has come in the past three years.
Truex picked up his fourth series win of the season Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, giving him 19 on his career. He also won his first series championship last season.
It may seem hard to believe now that his first series win came back in 2007 when he was driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc., an organization no longer in existence.
And Truex then went through a 218-race winless streak before securing his second series win, this time for Michael Waltrip Racing, another team that is no longer in existence.
Then it was another 69-race winless streak before Truex picked up his first victory in 2013 with Furniture Row Racing, with whom he still competes today.
FRR team owner Barney Visser was quizzed Saturday night about the ability of his No. 78 Toyota team to enjoy sustained success with Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn.
“Five years ago you never heard of these guys, and you didn’t think that much of Martin, but the truth is he was that good, and they’re showing it,” Visser said.
“The team comes together, and I think that’s part of the sport. It can happen. If you just keep working, it can happen.”
It certainly has for FRR.
But during those long winless streaks and difficult endings at his previous organizations, did Truex believe the success of the past three years was possible?
Never giving up
Having recently turned 38 years old, there are likely many in this era of the “Young Guns” who may have thought his best years were behind him.
“I would say that I always felt like I could get the job done, and I had enough glimpses of really good days or glimpses of greatness that I think it just kept me alive, kept me hungry enough to keep fighting for it,” Truex said.
“You know, obviously we won a race at DEI my second year in Cup and should have won a few more. Really at MWR we were in position to win a handful of races, and I felt like back in those days we were just jinxed. But more so than that, we just didn’t do a lot of the little things right that it took (to win).
“I don't know what everybody else thought, I know I had some people that probably didn’t think I was that good. That’s part of this deal. You’re only as good as your last race. And if you’re not getting results now, people question your ability.”
Truex, however, said he always believed he had it in him to be “a great driver” but that still didn’t mean he thought a season like 2017 – which included eight wins and a championship – was possible.
“That’s been amazing. It’s been humbling. It’s been fun,” he said. “They all still feel like the first, and I’m going to keep treating them that way because you never know when it’s going to stop.”
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