As the 37-year-old driver stood on stage alongside his crew chief Cole Pearn and longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, who is battling ovarian cancer, Truex wiped away tears in between public address, television and radio interviews — understandably caught up in the emotional triumph of hoisting his first Cup trophy, and the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup.
And just behind them on another stage, his Furniture Row Racing team celebrated heartily — their arms in the air, shouting and cheering — so appreciative of the moment. A fan was invited to stand on the corner of the stage alongside the team members to hoist a homemade, blown-up head shot of team owner Barney Visser, who couldn’t travel to the race as he recovered from a heart attack and bypass surgery two weeks ago.
“This means the world,” Truex said, emotional in the car as he circled the track to begin his formal celebration.
“I couldn’t even talk,” he said. “I was a wreck thinking about all the tough days, the bad days, the times where I thought my career was over with, the times when I didn’t think anyone believed in me. But the guys who mattered did — my fans, my family and then when I got with this team. They are unbelievable and they resurrected my career and made me a champion.”
Truex’s title-earning win at Homestead-Miami Speedway was his series-best eighth victory of the year in an effort that included an impressive 19 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes in 36 races. Eight of his top-five finishes were either runner-up or third-place showings.