Although Martin Truex Jr. had won three races prior to the I Love 355 at The Glen, his trip to victory lane at Watkins Glen International arguably meant more to his team than the other three combined.
Truex saved enough fuel during Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race to beat Matt Kenseth to the checkered flag, and in doing so, provide a much-needed morale boost for Furniture Row Racing.
The driver of the No. 78 talked about how much the win meant for his team, especially his crew chief, Cole Pearn, as soon as he hopped out of his car.
“This is a big one for our team. This is a big one for Cole,” Truex told NBC Sports. “He had a tough week, lost his best friend, and I’m really thinking about his family. Just proud of Cole, his perseverance and everything he does for this team.”
Pearn’s best friend, Jacob Damen, 35, died Thursday, roughly one day after he contracted a bacterial infection, according to NBC Sports.
“It was about the worst week of my life so far,” Pearn said. “To be able to win this for you, Jake, is just unbelievable.
The emotional impact of Truex’s victory was palpable throughout FRR’s post-race celebrations. The 37-year-old racer’s long-time girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, was noticeably overjoyed in victory lane and echoed Truex’s comments.
“We’ve had a rough couple weeks, so this is pretty awesome,” Pollex said, via NBC Sports.
Following Sunday’s win, Truex’s points lead over Kyle Busch now is extended to 116. What’s more, he continues to raise the bar in Cup, with a series-best 34 playoff points, 20 more than any other driver has.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew O’Haren/USA TODAY Sports Images