Martin Truex Knows ‘The Flow’

Only Dover is closer to Martin Truex Jr.'s Mayetta, N.J., hometown than Pocono Raceway. (Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Only Dover is closer to Martin Truex Jr.’s Mayetta, N.J., hometown than Pocono Raceway. (Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, June 8, 2015, 8:49 a.m.

If you can’t get a good race, get a good story.

And try, try again.

Kind of like Martin Truex Jr.

Among the thousand or so words Truex said after winning Pocono Raceway’s Axalta 400 were these: “You know, I wanted to win for this team because I knew how good they were, how much they deserved it, the job they’ve been doing, and I’ve just honestly been so proud of their outlook on the way this year has gone.

“It would be easy, the last three weeks, to get down and hang your head and make excuses and, honestly, just be disappointed, but they weren’t. They were excited. They knew they were going to get this win, and they were going to get it soon and they worked hard. They didn’t lose focus of how we got to where we’re at, and honestly, that’s what pushed us over the edge and was able to make a difference [Sunday].”

Monte Dutton

Monte Dutton

The first Pocono wasn’t a particularly good race, but Martin Truex Jr.’s victory made for a good story. In these dreary days of writing, racing, and writing about racing, a man has to take what he can get.

Every week, what happens reminds me of incidents that have happened in the past. It’s a consequence of age and experience. For instance, I remember a sit-down interview (literally) in which I sat next to Truex one sunshiny Daytona Beach morning outside his recently acquired motor coach in the infield at Speedweeks.

My impression then was “good guy.” As best I can tell from afar, that’s the impression now. A lot has happened in the meanwhile. It speaks well of Truex that he doesn’t seem to have changed any more than any other man would with the onset of age, money and the twists and turns of life.

What has changed is that, when I talked to Truex on that morning long ago, the general consensus was that he had it made.

As Lee Corso might say, not so fast.

At last, this could be Martin Truex's time.  (Harold Hinson/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

At last, this could be Martin Truex’s time. (Harold Hinson/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

At 34 and closing in on 35 (end of the month), Truex has had a respectable Sprint Cup career. The latest victory was his third. The first was in 2007, the second in 2013. He’s plied his trade for several teams. When he landed at Furniture Row Racing, it was his best, not the best, opportunity.

Truex won championships in what is now the Xfinity Series in 2004-05, winning six times both years. He’s never won a Truck race but only competed in two. He won IROC races in ’05 and ’06.

The modern description that applies to Truex’s career is from the old Charlie Rich song, “Rolling with the Flow”:

Some might be calling me a bum / But I’m still out there having fun / And I ain’t never growing old / I keep on rolling with the flow.

The song got most of its airplay in 1977. I remember it. Truex was born three years later.

Sherry Pollex, Truex’s longtime girlfriend, is fighting cancer. She was in Victory Lane Sunday and is in a round of chemo today. His grandmother died last week.

See what I mean by “rolling with the flow”? Life is full of peaks and valleys. Weeks have peaks and valleys. The best a man (and a woman) can really depend upon is the occasional fruited plain.

The team from Colorado had quite the reason to celebrate.  (Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo  for Chevy Racing)

The team from Colorado had quite the reason to celebrate. (Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Truex may just get his stardom yet. He’s second in the Sprint Cup points, which makes no tangible difference at all since he’s won a race. Truex — driving a Chevy in a plain, black wrapper, its team commuting everywhere from Denver, Richard Childress keeping Welcome (N.C.) supply lines open, with the series’ only Canadian crew chief (Cole Pearn) and a furniture baron (Barney Visser) as owner – has finished in the top 10 in every race but one.

In the season’s first 10 races, Truex led a total of 32 laps. In the last four, the total is 458.

These are not the numbers of an underdog. These are the numbers of a contender.

My new novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, will be available at amazon.com for advance order on June 29. You can read it beginning July 14. Or that’s the plan at the moment. My existing books are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

 

About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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6 Responses to Martin Truex Knows ‘The Flow’

  1. bobi says:

    What do you mean this “wasn’t a particularly good race”? I watched the post race show, listened to Sirius radio and saw Race Hub today and everyone from Darrell Waltrip to Chocolate Myers told me what a great race it was and how all the fans were happy because it was such a good race and now you tell me it wasn’t particularly good? I just have to figure you’re wrong since you are in the minority. Since I’m too stupid to decide for myself, I guess I’m just going to believe it was a good race since Fox and Sirius have spent so much time telling me how good it was, even though I did watch it and didn’t really think it was that good, I surely must be wrong and I’m guessing you’re wrong as well, but you’re certainly entitled to your opinion.

    I was happy to see Truex win; he’s certainly deserving.

  2. Mike says:

    Truex seems ok for a yankee. Back when I had hair (that wasn’t gray) and NASCAR was fun the only other outsider I’d “cheer” for was Kulwicki. By “cheer” I mean as long as he was behind my guy he was ok. But when AK won the chase, err Winston Cup that is, I didn’t too spun up since he beat the odds. Similar David v. Goliath feel good story as Truex’s win.

  3. John says:

    Good article!

    Truex winning this past week was not a fluke. He and his team have been running well all this season.

    It was also nice to see an ECR Chevy motor finally break into the winner’s circle this year.

  4. racefangurl says:

    I kind of like Truex and the guy needed something good to happen in his world.

  5. Al Torney says:

    After Kurt did well two years ago in the car and then Martin didn’t seem to do as well it looked like he didn’t have near the skills of Kurt. He has more then demonstrated his skills this year. Good for him.

    His win is a good story but the rescinding of the penalty to the 48 car winds up being the big story today on the NASCAR radio today. Hence one of the problems with NASCAR today, the off track shenanigans take precedent over the on track action every time. Truex deserves all of the accolades for his win and ends up playing second fiddle to a meaningless news story.

  6. Wayne says:

    Folks, you need to tread lightly with all this criticism of NASCAR. NASCAR has been named one of the United States’ “National Treasures” by PARADE magazine and was featured in the widely distributed print edition last Sunday. PARADE’s ongoing series highlights “uniquely American people, places and things that make us very, very happy,” and so has also recognized the Declaration of Independence, the Hollywood sign, Stevie Wonder and potato chips among other “National Treasures.” So there, show some respect; the sport we love is right up there with potato chips.

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