Sunday's roundup: Truex gets first victory since 2013

Dan Gelston
Associated Press

Long Pond, Pa. — Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps for the fourth straight race, only this time he was in front on the one that mattered most, breaking through Sunday at Pocono Raceway for his first Sprint Cup victory since 2013.

Truex led 97 of 400 laps and dominated in the No. 78 Chevrolet off late restarts down the stretch to snap a 69-race winless streak.

"I knew we were going to get one," Truex said. "I knew we had the team, I knew we had what it took."

Truex's Furniture Row Racing team had brought the same car to the track each of the last three weeks, with smashing results. Truex didn't win but he led the most laps at Kansas (95), Charlotte (131) and Dover (131).

With a new car at Pocono, Truex raced to his third win in 347 career starts. Truex is the 10th driver to win a race this season and qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch.

Truex's girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, was diagnosed with cancer last summer and she had various organs removed, including her ovaries, fallopian tubes and part of her stomach.

She was in victory lane Sunday and greeted Truex with a big hug and a kiss.

"It never gets any better than this," Truex said. "It takes time to heal things, especially with what Sherry and I went through. ... Sherry's here healthy and she's as excited as I am."

Pollex tweeted a selfie with Truex and the Pocono trophy from victory lane that said, "Chemo Monday victory lane Sunday."

Truex slumped in 2014, his first year with Furniture Row after four seasons with Michael Waltrip Racing. He had just one top-five finish, led all of one lap the entire season and was a dismal 24th in the standings. Furniture Row owner Barney Visser told Truex he could sit out the rest of the season following Pollex's diagnosis and still keep his ride for 2015. Truex, though greatly appreciative, declined the offer. Truex found the track therapeutic and kept him focused on something other than her disease.

Truex took another hit when his grandmother, Roberta, died Wednesday in the family hometown of Mayetta, New Jersey.

"Finally!!! So pumped for Martin and @FR78Racing we all knew it was only a matter of time. Got one for grandma," Truex's brother, and fellow driver, Ryan, tweeted.

Truex is one of the more popular drivers in the garage and was congratulated by other team members in victory lane. Dale Earnhardt Jr. hugged Pollex. Johnson fist-bumped Truex.

"He's had more to overcome personally and professionally than probably anybody sitting in that seat right now," Johnson said. "For him to still walk in the garage every week with a smile on his face, climb in the car, be the great guy he is, I think speak volumes. It's a very popular win."

With his girlfriend by his side, Truex has stormed his way toward the best start of his career in his second season. He has 13 top 10s in 14 races with four top-fives.

"Tomorrow we are still going back to normal life and we always try to remember that and be ourselves and remember why we are here," Truex said. "And how thankful we are to be here and how lucky we are to be doing this."

FRR, a one-car operation based in Denver, far removed from NASCAR's North Carolina hub, made the Chase in 2013 with Kurt Busch. Regan Smith had the only other win for Furniture Row in 2011.

Truex's only Cup wins came in 2007 at Dover and 2013 at Sonoma.

Truex's career seemingly hadn't recovered since he was booted from the 2013 Chase in the aftermath of the Richmond scandal. NASCAR determined that Michael Waltrip Racing manipulated the outcome of the race in a bid to get Truex into the Chase.

He's feels at home — and suddenly loaded with success — at Furniture Row.

One reason for the turnaround: Furniture Row promoted Cole Pearn from lead race engineer to crew chief, replacing Todd Berrier.

Formula One

Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, his fourth victory of the season. He leads the standings in a quest for his second straight world championship. Nico Rosberg was second. The two Mercedes teammates started on the front row and were never threatened.


Scott Dixon led 97 of 248 laps at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night for his second win this season and the 37th of his career, fifth on the IndyCar Series list.