(Photo credit: Martin Truex Jr. Official Facebook Page)
Ever since I’ve been a racing fan I’ve been a fan of Martin Truex Jr. He’s a gentleman, a fun guy and a hell of a driver, but he just never seemed to have the support structure around him to allow him to reach his full potential. That is, until this year – Martin Truex Jr. is your 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion; capping off his season with his 8th win this season to bring home the title at Homestead-Miami Raceway.
It didn’t come easy for him, though. He was sure put through the ringer along the way. From his former team (Michael Waltrip Racing) folding, then wondering if he’d even have a ride, to taking a ride with the then mediocre-at-best Furniture Row Racing, to the championship three years later. All while battling his own personal life demons with his longtime girlfriend suffering from stage III ovarian cancer, I can’t think of a much better near-tragedy to triumph story in the world of racing (maybe with the exception of James Hinchcliffe in the IndyCar series, but that’s also why he’s my favorite IndyCar driver).
It’s moments like these that serve as a real reality check for me. Just when you think it’s all over for you, when you think there’s no way forward – maybe there’s that tiny glimmer of hope things might turn around for you.
Now, do I have any aspirations of ever being a racecar driver? Oh, not at all. Would I like to maybe do the NASCAR or IndyCar experience someday? Oh totally, but I have no interest in doing it as a career. Nonetheless, when it seems your dreams are so out of reach, stories like that of Martin Truex Jr. just go to show that they might not be out of reach as they seem.
So yes; there will be a party in my house tonight, but beneath that partying is a whole new fire under me – a fire fueled by desire to chase that which seems so distant and unattainable at this point. I’m a beaten dog, I’m in dire straits, but I ain’t dead yet. As Project Semicolon states “your story isn’t over yet” (religious bullshit aside), and mine isn’t. Neither was (nor is) Martin Truex Jr.’s. I still have so many personal demons to battle and lay to rest, so many ongoing challenges that won’t ever completely vanish (damn you autism!!!) and so much personal growth to do, but my dreams are not, and never will be, truly out of my reach. The only time they will be is when/if I give up. Alas, that’s not happening anytime soon.
Cheers to you, Martin. This has been a long time coming and you and your team totally deserve this. Thank you for the great season, your inspiration and your inner strength. Here’s to 2018!