Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex Named
RacingAroundJersey.com Drivers of the Week
When we started the RacingAroundJersey.com Driver of the Week award our intention was to bring some attention to the local New Jersey racers who have had an incredible week at one of the three oval tracks in the state. Drivers who don't get the coverage a NASCAR star does, but whose accomplishments may be just as great at their particular track.
We certainly had no intention of ever naming a Sprint Cup driver as our Driver of the Week, let alone his long-time girlfriend. Yet that is just what we are doing as Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex are our shared Driver of the Week.
The honor has nothing to do with the rain-shortened shows at Bridgeport Speedway, New Egypt Speedway, and Wall Stadium Speedway, not producing a true candidate. It has even less to do with Martin's accomplishments on the track as the Mayetta, New Jersey native unfortunately failed to qualify for the Sprint All-Star Race in a year when he is most deserving.
No this honor is based on the couples tireless efforts to raise money for pediatric cancer research, and in particular their recently completed "Catwalk for a Cause" held on May 13th. The event, was the idea of Sherry in 2009, who has been battling Ovarian cancer herself recently. It features children with cancer walking the modeling runway with a NASCAR driver, and their wife or girlfriend.
The event, which has grown from 50 attendees in 2009 to more than 600 this year, was attended by a who's who of NASCAR personalities including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Boyer, and Danica Patrick, to name a few. This year the show raised more than $250,000 for the Levine Children's Hospital, in Charlotte, and pediatric cancer research.
The highlight of the 2015 "Catwalk for a Cause" was a video, near the end of the show, which featured a song by Edwin McCain and Maia Sharp. "Hold out a Hand" was written by the two talented songwriters as part of a partnership between the two, and the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.
The song is available on both iTunes and the Google Play Store for only 99 cents per download. The video can be seen on YouTube. 100% of all the money raised by downloads will go to the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation to help fund Children's cancer research.
Speaking about the song, Truex said, "It's a song that carries a special purpose, and meaning - we can all hold out a hand and make a difference. I want to personally thank Edwin and Maia for their continuing efforts to fund childhood cancer research. Now we just need everyone to download the song."
We never thought we would ever award our Driver of the Week honor to someone who failed to even make the race. However, the efforts of Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex, through the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, in battling cancer in children are much more important than qualifying for any race. For these children it is a race to live.
For more information on the event, and on how you can help go to www.martintruexjrfoundation.org.
Thank you to Martin and Sherry for all you do. You can be sure RacingAroundJersey.com will continue to support your efforts in any way we can.
Cruise4U Steps Up to Support Two Young
NJ Driving Talents
Phil Arons, the owner of the Cruise4U travel agency, was never much of an auto racing fan. He was one of those people who thought NASCAR was nothing more than a bunch of guys just going around in circles for hours.
That all changed when a new cruise ship was built featuring bumper cars. Always the astute businessman, Phil saw an opportunity to possibly build cruise packages around this feature to race fans. In order to do so he knew he needed to learn more about the sport.
He started to follow NASCAR, not just at it's highest levels of Sprint Cup, XFinity, and the Camping World Trucks, but also the K&N Pro Series and the Whelen Modified Tour. What he learned was racing was much more than just turning left. There was preparation, strategy, and of course driving talent.
What started as a way to generate more business for his travel agency soon turned into a respect, and love for the sport. Phil wanted to be involved in the sport somehow, and sponsorship seemed like the best option.
Knowing he couldn't get involved at the highest levels of stock car racing, he contacted Sponsor Drivers Motorsports Marketing, a non-profit group that tries to connect racers with potential backers. It was here that he first learned about Rob Silver, and Neil Rutt III, two young drivers who have had a tremendous amount of success, despite still being in high school.
Rob Silver started racing at the age of six in the Quarter Midget cars at "Little Wall", the asphalt oval for young drivers located next to the pit area for Wall Stadium Speedway. He raced there for seven years picking up the Young Lion NJ State Championship in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He was also the points champion in the Young Lions/Semi-Pro Division at Bethel Motor Speedway, while finishing fifth in the nation for the INEX Young Lions Asphalt Division.
In 2014, Rob made the move into full-size race cars by joining the Sportsman Division at Wall Stadium. Driving his number 26S, the sixteen year old finished eighth in the overall points standings competing against some drivers who have been racing longer than he has been alive. His performance earned him the Wall Stadium Speedway "Rookie of the Year" honor.
Rob's plans for 2015 will see the Howell High School Junior continue to compete in the Sportsman Division at Wall with a possibility of some starts in the Wall Mods later in the season. On Opening Night, at Wall, all the seventeen year old did was set fastest time of the 22 cars on hand. Unfortunately, an inverted start of the top eight times put him in the outside lane for the start of the feature. Trapped on the outside he fell to the back of the field, but raced his way back to seventh by race end.
Neil Rutt III is a third generation driver, who like Rob, has put together a quite impressive racing career despite his age. Neil first started racing in 2006 in the Junior Flat Open Go Karts, eventually moving up to the INEX Series Bandolero Cars.
During this time he picked up more than 50 wins, and three driving championships at Wall. He was the 2006 "Rookie of the Year", the 2009 "Racer of the Year", and the 2012 and 2013 NJ State INEX Bandolero Champion. He also won in World Karting Association national competition.
In 2014, Neil took his driving talents to the full-size Factory Stock Division at Wall. Despite his lack of experience with the heavy, full-fendered machines, he soon began to put respectful finishes together in a division filled with experienced drivers.
Thanks to help from friend Paul Hartwig Jr., and Cruise4U, Neil got to realize a dream on Opening Night at Wall by getting behind the wheel of a Wall Mod. Unfortunately, a lack of new racing tires to compete on didn't allow the Junior at Toms River High School East to show his full talent. However, he did a great job staying out of the way of the faster cars while picking up some experience.
The rest of 2015 is still up in the air for Neil. He is hoping to make a Race of Champions start at Chemung Speedway on May 8th, and may make some starts in the Factory Stock Division at Wall throughout the year.
As for Phil Arons of Cruise4U, he is not only excited to be part of two young drivers careers, but he has also signed on as an advertiser with RacingAroundJersey.com as part of our Shop the Sponsors page. He will be offering special cruise deals throughout the race season to NJ race fans, with the possibility of putting together a racing cruise by years end.
We like to encourage our readers to support the businesses which support local auto racing, so if you are even just thinking about going on a cruise be sure to contact Phil at Cruise4U. Who knows, you might just end up on that ship with the bumper cars that got all this started.