NASCAR celebrates its new champion, a thankful Martin Truex Jr.

1 Comment

Martin Truex Jr. celebrated his Cup championship Thursday night by thanking those who helped him reach the sport’s pinnacle.

Truex was honored at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Awards at Wynn Las Vegas.

Before his moment, close friend Dale Earnhardt Jr. introduced the champion.

“Tonight we celebrate our championship driver,’’ Earnhardt said. “But to me and many who know him, he’s a champion in so many ways. Like when his professional career turned challenging, his options limited, he blamed no one. He kept his head high, he persevered because he’s a champion person.

“While the love of his life battles the most evil of diseases and he stands with her to make her fight his fight, he’s a champion partner.

“When he’s away from the track, perhaps enjoying his true passion for hunting or fishing, you realize this, he’s a champion friend. He’s the man. The champion in so many ways and no one more deserving of this night.’’

Truex started his speech by thanking his parents and family.

“Dad we did it!’’ Truex said.

“This is a childhood dream for me. The 78 race team has carried the same motto throughout the season and that’s ‘never give up.’ No one has lived that out more than my life partner Sherry. As we all know, Sherry was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014. Today, she is still fighting her disease with tenacity and a never-give-up attitude that inspires millions of people to do the same. She is the true champion.’’

Sherry Pollex’s health battles were only part of what Truex and members of Furniture Row Racing faced throughout the year. Truex noted that this “has been an emotional journey.’’

When he got to car owner Barney Visser, who was unable to attend as he recovers from bypass surgery after a heart attack in early November, Truex said: “Barney Visser is the heart of this team. People thought he was crazy 12 years ago starting a NASCAR team in Denver. Barney, who is crazy now?’’

After thanking others on the team, Truex asked the crowd to raise a glass and offer a toast to Jim Watson, the crew member who died the night before the Kansas race in October.

“Here’s to you ‘Wild Man,’ ’’ Truex said. “Cheers.’’

Truex went on to congratulate Matt Kenseth on his career, thanked the fans and many others before turning his attention to Earnhardt.

“To my buddy and hunting partner Dale Jr. … I wouldn’t be here without Dale,’’ Truex said. “He gave me my first break in NASCAR. I’m damn sure going to miss racing with him on the race track but we are going to spend a lot of time together away from the race track, and I look forward to that. Congratulations on an amazing career.’’

Truex finished his speech by talking about Pollex.

Finally, back to the love of my life,’’ Truex said. “No, not racing. Sherry. Babe, I love you and thank you for the change you’ve caused in my life. You’re an inspiration to all of us in this room. And winning is a great feeling, but spending my life with you is the real victory.’’

 and on Facebook

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s ‘Last Ride’ diecast is Lionel Racing’s bestselling ever

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has set a new benchmark for Lionel Racing’s most purchased diecast in its 25-year history.

Lionel Racing, NASCAR’s official diecast producer, has announced that the diecast of Earnhardt’s “Last Ride” No. 88 Chevrolet in the Cup season finale last month is now its bestselling diecast in company history.

The “Last Ride” car is based on the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet that Earnhardt drove in his rookie Cup season in 2000.

The previous bestseller was another Earnhardt diecast, for his 2014 Daytona 500 win.

Lionel Racing says that QVC’s “For Race Fans Only” show that featured Earnhardt and unveiled the car helped contribute to sales. But even without QVC, sales of the “Last Ride” diecast outpaced the 2014 Daytona 500 diecast by more than 10,000 units.

“The demand for this car has been simply astounding,” Lionel Racing President Howard Hitchcock said on the company’s website. “The fan response to this diecast is a true measure of how much Earnhardt has meant to both casual NASCAR fans and serious diecast collectors.”

Lionel Racing has also revealed the top-10 selling diecasts for the year, which you can find below. Earnhardt has six cars on the list. Chase Elliott has two and Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney each have one.

Casey Mears likely to split 2018 between NASCAR, Global Rallycross and Stadium Super Trucks

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Casey Mears still plans to compete part-time in NASCAR in 2018, but he’s also looking to expand his racing horizons.

The veteran NASCAR driver told The Checkered Flag recently that he also expects to race in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, as well as Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks series.

“Right now I’m talking to a few NASCAR programs to do maybe limited stuff,” Mears told The Checkered Flag. “I don’t have anything that would be a full-time ride in a NASCAR series.

“I’ve been speaking with Robby Gordon in the Stadium Super Truck program. I think that’s a really cool up-and-coming-series and I’d definitely like to be involved with the GRC. It looks like a lot of fun.

“I think there’s enough difference between all those that it could leave room for doing a bit of both so we’ll see how it works out.”

Mears did not race in the Cup Series in 2017, having lost his ride at the end of 2016 to Ty Dillon in the No. 13 Geico Chevy. He has amassed 488 starts and one win (2007 Coca-Cola 600) in his Cup career, along with 13 top fives and 51 top 10s.

However, he did compete on a part-time basis in 2017 in the Xfinity Series, making 14 starts, with season-best finishes of ninth place at both Richmond and Road America. He also has 107 Xfinity starts with one win, 16 top fives and 34 top 10s.

Make donation to Martinsville toy drive to take laps around track

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Have you ever dreamed of making a lap around the oldest track in NASCAR?

Today and tomorrow, Martinsville Speedway is making that dream come true.

With a toy or monetary donation for the Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County, you can drive your own car around the half-mile track in Martinsville, Virginia.

A $10 donation gets you five laps and $20 gets you 10 laps.

The laps are being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET today and Friday.

Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.