As the end of the 2017 NASCAR season draws near, fans prepare for the post-Dale Earnhardt Jr. era. Many drivers, meanwhile, have been reflecting on how the second-generation racer helped them break into the sport.
Martin Truex Jr. on Friday stopped by FOX Sports 1’s show “NASCAR Race Hub,” where he was asked where he would be now, had Earnhardt not been part of his career. Given that the Furniture Row Racing driver currently is the championship favorite, his answer reveals just how highly he regards Earnhardt, and how appreciative Truex is of him.
“There’s no telling. I could still be living in (New) Jersey, working on fishing boats,” Truex said. “I’d probably still be racing — I don’t know if I would have made it to the Busch series or the (Monster Energy NASCAR) Cup series. I definitely would still be racing, but there’s no telling where I would’ve ended up, how much success I would’ve had.”
The story that Earnhardt offered to let Truex test his car minutes after the two met might sound unbelievable, but it isn’t the first time we’ve heard about him doing something like that.
Brad Keselowski recalled a nearly identical situation in his Oct. 9 blog post that paid tribute to Earnhardt. Keselowski claims that in their first conversation together, Earnhardt said the Team Penske racer’s driving style reminded him of his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr. What’s more, Earnhardt said he’d keep him in mind if any opportunities opened up, ultimately leading to Keselowski racing for JR Motorsports.
Thumbnail photo via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images