Martin Truex Jr. is almost two months into his reign as Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. But he has yet to have a day where he’s woken up thinking that way.
“I think it’s felt different as the offseason has gone on and I’ve gotten to do different things,” Truex said during a Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “It’s kind of sunk in more, but it’s not completely there yet, to be honest with you.”
It helps when Truex looks at his new firesuit. The tire test is the first time Truex has been on track since hoisting the 68-pound Monster Energy NASCAR Cup at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So when he put on his suit to climb into his No. 78 Toyota for some laps around Texas, there was a noticeable difference.
“To see my new uniform with the ‘Champion’ logo on it, it’s another thing that’s new to me and feels really cool,” Truex admitted. “There’s a lot more things, I guess, along the way. A lot more days for it to settle in, but it’s been an amazing feeling of accomplishment and, hopefully, it will continue to sink in as we go on.”
At 37 years old, Truex will represent NASCAR as its premier series champion for the first time this year. A title, no pun intended, that brings with it a role of responsibility. With his humble and down-to-earth attitude, Truex should have no issues with being the face of the sport, both on and off the track.
There are also no signs of Truex and Furniture Row Racing slowing down. It has been well documented that 2017 was a career year for both Truex and the team, ending with eight wins and domination in stage wins (19) and laps led (2,253).
However, title in hand, Truex isn’t going to change his mindset.
“I feel the same now as I did as the first time I got into a car last year,” he said. “It’s always fun. I think the coolest part for me is just coming back to the track and seeing all of the guys and spending time with them. The camaraderie part of racing and all the team aspect of racing is so much fun. It’s a big part of what I think we all look forward to as drivers, working together as a team to ultimately reach our goals. So, it’s fun to be back with the guys.
“At the same time, I don’t feel much different. We are all at zero points again right now, so the goal remains the same and the pressure is going to be there, but I’m definitely optimistic. I feel like we are in a good place and, hopefully, we can be competitive for years to come.”