NASCAR Champ Martin Truex Jr. Goes to Washington
President Donald Trump honored the 2017 NASCAR premier series champion Monday at the White House.
"You [had] 19 top-5 finishes and led more than 2,000 laps. Does it get lonely being in front?. Not at all. Never, right?” Trump asked the reigning NASCAR champion during his speech in front of the Presidential residence. "Thanks to incredible speed, lightning-fast pit stops and exceptional driving, this team stood alone among NASCAR's many contenders.”
During his visit, Truex presented the President with a replica helmet.
"I'm just really proud to be here today to represent the sport, to represent our millions of fans out there across the world," Truex said.
Truex won eight of 36 points-paying races last year, including the season-finale at Homestead-Miami speedway last November. His championship-season stats also included 19 top-fives and 26 top-10 finishes.
So far in 2018, 12 races into the season, Truex already has a playoff berth locked up, courtesy of a win at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in March. That is his only win, to this point, in 2018. His season stats, so far, include seven top-fives. Truex is one of two Toyota drivers with 2018 wins in the first 12 races of the season, joining three-time winner Kyle Busch.
During the 10 minute ceremony Monday, Trump also acknowledged Truex’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex’s battle against ovarian cancer.
"She is an incredible woman, and, Sherry, your determination in the face of adversity has been an inspiration to millions of Americans who know what you're going through," Trump said. "You've endured extremely tough treatments with grace and grit and a tremendous and beautiful smile. You are Sherry strong.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France controversially, publicly endorsed Trump for President in 2016 — a move NASCAR downplayed by classifying the endorsement as a personal one by France and not an endorsement by the racing sanctioning body. Still, Trump thanked France for that endorsement Monday.
"Brian has been with us since the beginning, like so many others who love NASCAR," Trump said. "He's been really a supporter right from the beginning. He said, 'We support Trump.' And so I want to thank you very much, Brian. That was incredible. That meant a lot.”
Trump also commended NASCAR fans. collectively, for its patriotism.
"At every NASCAR race, you will see thousands of patriotic Americans from the grandstands to the pit stalls proudly waving our flag and roaring with joy at the words, 'Start your engines,'" Trump said. "I will tell you one thing I know about NASCAR; they do indeed, Brian, stand for the playing of the national anthem, right? They do, indeed. Somebody said maybe you shouldn't say that; that will be controversial. I said, 'That's okay. NASCAR is not going to mind it at all, right, fellas?'"