Martin Truex Jr. grew up in New Jersey wanting to follow his dad into racing. Martin Truex, though, mostly raced on free weekends when he wasn’t running Sea Watch International, which harvests and processes clam products.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver worked as a teenager on his dad’s clamming boat, often rising before dawn ahead of a day spent on choppy waters, knowing even then that life at sea wasn’t for him.
“I’m glad I figured out how to go fast so I could get the hell off that boat,” Truex said.
Truex got off the boat, into stock cars and — after a bumpy start to his career — became one of the more dominant drivers of his era. He had achieved just about all he could — except celebrate with his brother as winners on a NASCAR weekend.
With his dad at the track, Truex mastered the Monster Mile on a Monday for the third time in his career, the former NASCAR champion snapping a 54-race winless streak overall in the Cup Series at Dover Motor Speedway.
Thanks to a race postponed a day because of rain, it was a long weekend sweep for the Truex brothers. Younger brother Ryan Truex won the second-tier Xfinity Series race on Saturday for his first NASCAR victory across all three national series in 188 career starts.
“Ryan has been through a lot. He’s really worked hard, and he’s gotten beat down and knocked down a lot and been through some tough times that he’s had to kind of persevere through,” Truex said.
Big brother was the first one to poke his head in Ryan’s Toyota as he pulled it into Victory Lane. Dad was there to celebrate with both sons.
“He’s pretty quiet when he’s at the track and all that,” Truex said. “But just obviously really excited, really proud of his two sons going to Victory Lane.”
Ryan Truex was unable to attend Monday’s race.
“We would love to have Ryan in the car,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “He does a lot of simulation work for us. He’s a dedicated young guy, and as everybody knows, it’s hard to get sponsorship.”
Gibbs made repeated phone calls and FaceTimed friends in Victory Lane — “I’m going to talk to my wife first,” he said as he momentarily rejected one interview request — and told everyone on the other line “It was a Truex weekend!”
“We just won the race at Dover with ol’ Martin Truex!” the team owner nicknamed Coach bellowed into his phone.