Martin Truex Jr. Cinderella Season Continues with
Chance for NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship
If anyone had told most NASCAR fans before the 2015 season started that Martin Truex Jr. would be one of the four drivers going to Homestead-Miami Speedway with a chance to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship they would have thought you were crazy. And who would blame them.
After all, the Mayetta, New Jersey driver was coming off one of the worse seasons of his career in 2014. He drives for a single car team based in Denver, Colorado whose primary sponsor, Furniture Row, is owned by his car owner Barry Visser. Add to that equation a rookie crew chief in Cole Pearn, and you get what certainly seems to be an underdog at best.
However, when the skies opened up over Phoenix International Speedway with just under 100 laps to go a fourteenth place finish was just enough to secure the fourth, and final spot, of those drivers going to the final race of the season with a chance to compete for the championship. Joining him will be three drivers with their own unique stories.
Jeff Gordon, the only driver to advance to the final race with a win, which came at Martinsville, will retire following the race at Homestead. The driver of the number 24, for 24 seasons, would love nothing better than to go out with his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
Kevin Harvick is the defending champion. He stepped into huge shoes when he replaced Dale Earnhardt at Richard Childress Racing following his tragic death at Daytona. He finally lived up to his championship expectations in 2014, and can start to cement his own legacy in NASCAR with back-to-back titles.
Kyle Busch's season looked to be over before it ever started when he broke a leg, and a foot, in the XFinity race prior to the Daytona 500. NASCAR waived the rule of a competitor needing to attempt every race, but he would still have to win a race, and finish in the top-30 in points to qualify. Amazingly, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver did much more than that and finds himself as one of the final four.
Truex, and his Furniture Row Racing team, seemed to be the team most under the radar of those performing well all season. While drivers like Joey Logano, Matt Kenneth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., received most of the headlines it was the New Jersey driver's consistency that kept him in the hunt.
When asked what having a chance to run for the Sprint Cup championship meant to him following the race a huge smile came to his face as he said, "It means everything to us. A dream come true."
He continued, " When Barry Visser gave me permission to take time off to be with Sherry(Pollex, his long-time girlfriend who was battling ovarian cancer) last season I used that as extra motivation for this year."
As for Homestead the driver of the number 78 Chevrolet sounded confident saying, " Homestead is a good track for us."
Cole Pearn used the statement "we're not done yet" each time people seemed surprised that his team advanced to the next round of the Chase. Well at Homestead they will be done so they will turn to another phrase heard often from the Furniture Row team. "Why not us?"
With only four drivers left with a shot at the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship we can honestly say "why not Truex?"