Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | November 4, 2021

To Martin Truex Jr., racing in the NASCAR circuit means more than jockeying between competitors.

The New Jersey native and his longtime partner, Sherry Pollex, use his position to support the community with causes like ovarian and childhood cancers.

“We were so fortunate as kids to be healthy and to have great families and access to things to be successful,” Truex Jr. says. “We felt very fortunate, and we do our part to help give back to kids.”

Truex Jr. and Pollex established the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation in 2007 to help children in need.

In 2014, Pollex was diagnosed with stage-three ovarian cancer and the couple refocused their mission to raise awareness, boost advocacy and generate financial support for underfunded cancer initiatives specific to childhood and ovarian cancers.

Pollex’s cancer recurred in December, according to her Instagram.

“Unfortunately, my cancer is back (which is expected with Stage 3C recurrent ovarian cancer as the cancer begins to outsmart the drugs we are on),” Pollex said in her posted message, which included photos of her and Truex Jr. in her hospital room. “So here I am going to battle again.

“Praying my doctors can remove all of the disease so I can start chemo again soon and be out there fighting for all of you soon! Much love to all of you out there fighting or caring for a loved one that is.”

The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation recently broke ground on pediatric emergency department at Novant Health in Huntersville, North Carolina. NBC Sports reported the foundation is well known within racing circles for its Catwalk for a Cause in Statesville, North Carolina. It has steered $600,000 toward cancer initiatives at Atrium Health and Novant Health in Charlotte.

The foundation and Pollex’s organization, Sherry Strong, celebrated the grand opening of the Sherry Strong Integrative Medicine Oncology Clinic at Novant Health’s new Weisinger Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Truex Jr. will put rubber to the road on Saturday, November 6, during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway. Truex Jr, won the first race of the 2021 season in Avondale in March.

“That was my first win at the track,” he says. “I always feel like it’s a good track for me. It was one of my better tracks until they repaved it in 2011.”

Then known as Phoenix International Raceway, the track was repaved into a reconfigured 1-mile oval for about $10 million.

“It’s been hit or miss since they repaved it,” says Truex Jr., the driver of the No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. “The last couple of years have been tough on us. We’re definitely feeling really good about it now.”

Besides Avondale, he won Martinsville I, Darlington 1 and Richmond II this season. He is one of seven Cup Series drivers to have won multiple races this year (Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott).

For the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series, which starts at the Daytona 500, fans will see cars that are more cost effective for teams and safer for drivers. It will also reportedly intensify the quality of racing,

“It’s going to be a big learning curve for us,” he says. “The new car is so different, compared to what we’ve done in the past. It’ll be interesting.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, November 6

Where: Phoenix Raceway, 7602 Jimmie Johnson Drive, Avondale

Cost: Tickets start at $35

Info: phoenixraceway.com