Martin Truex Jr.‘s path to NASCAR started with countless hours riding the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in his youth hoisting nets full of clams for his father’s family-owned seafood business in Mayetta, N.J.
The money earned working for his dad, who also owns a pretty impressive racing resume, allowed the younger Truex to polish his skills as a driver in the go-karts and Northeastern modifieds. Success led to the NASCAR world where he won back-to-back Nationwide Series championships and earned a fulltime ride in the Sprint Cup Series.
Carving out a role as an established driver in the highest form of stock car racing in the world is a notable achievement, but it’s just a start for Truex. With one Sprint Cup trophy on the mantel from his 2007 Dover victory, Truex plans to earn many more during his tenure at Michael Waltrip Racing. In 2011, he embarks on his second full season driving the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry.
He’s already shown flashes of the success many predicted for him and his veteran crew chief Pat Tryson who joined Truex at MWR before the 2010 season. Truex nearly won the 2010 Daytona 500 taking the lead going into Turn 1 on the first of three green-white-checkered flag finishes. He then earned the pole at Dover International Speedway in May. A week later he visited victory lane in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the second time in his career. The season came to a close with Truex contending for the win at Phoenix and Homestead.
In 2011, the driver stars in several fan-oriented commercials scheduled to air on national television as well as NASCAR race broadcasts.
The 30-year-old also hasn’t moved far away from his down-to-earth roots as giving back to the community is a huge priority in his life. In just three years, the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation raised more than $500,000 for community programs and initiatives such as the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Backpack Program and building the Martin Truex Jr. Pediatric Unit at Southern Ocean County Hospital in N.J. Like his victory totals, Truex plans to increase those numbers in the coming years.
Q & A
When did you turn pro?
In a large/national series… in 2004
What are the events, wins, memories that stand out most throughout your career so far?
Nationwide (Busch) Series Championships, win @ my hometrack of Dover, Sprint Showdown win @ Charlotte
If there’s one thing that people in the industry would recognize you by, what would that be?
clean racing/respect for other drivers
When did you first start riding/racing? Where/why?
go-karts, age 9
If you weren’t ripping on the track or dirt, what kind of menial task would you want to do?
I’d probably be back on the clam boats in N.J. working for the family seafood business.
First thing you do when you get back from a trip is…
Dream vacation spot:
a beach with great fishing
You’ve been mistaken for…
some people get my name confused with Mark Martin since a lot of drivers are known by last names
tacos, burger, seafood… any kind of seafood