Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. won the ESPY for Best Driver of 2018 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday. He was the top vote-getter in the category that also included the NHRA’s Brittany Force, Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton, and IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden.
“A huge honor,” Truex said during his media availability at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Friday ahead of Sunday’s Cup Series race there. “Really, definitely excited for that and the team to be recognized and definitely a great list of drivers that were up for that award, so to win it was quite a thrill for me and definitely a big honor and something, hopefully, we can use for a little motivation and keep the roll going."
Truex’s win of the 2018 award was based on his 2017 championship season that included a Cup Series-leading eight wins, 19 top-fives, and 26 top-10s in 36 points-paying races. So far, 19 races into the current season, Truex has four wins, trailing only Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who each have five wins.
Truex became the third NASCAR driver in the last four years to win the Best Driver ESPY, following Harvick in 2015 and Busch in 2016; Hamilton won the award last year. NASCAR drivers have won the award 17 of the 26 years in which it has been presented. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have the most Best Driver ESPYs, each with four.
Former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick hosted the 2018 award ceremony, making her the first female and first race car driver to do so.