As a NASCAR fan, you likely remember the iconic 18-year relationship between driver Martin Truex Jr. and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex. Their shocking separation in 2023 came as a surprise, especially when the sad news of Pollex‘s passing from cancer emerged later that year. Let‘s take a closer look at the ups and downs of Truex Jr. and Pollex‘s storybook romance-turned-tragedy.
The Budding Romance in the Fast Lane
If you‘ve followed NASCAR, you probably recall 2005 as the year rookie driver Martin Truex Jr. first laid eyes on Sherry Pollex. Pollex already had an established career in racing public relations when they met through work.
As Pollex told ESPNW in 2017, "I remember thinking, ‘Oh yeah, he‘s cute.‘" Their initial attraction sparked a romance that started small but soon shifted into high gear.
After months of rendezvous at Dover racetrack, Truex Jr. and Pollex became inseparable. He brought her along to victory lane when he scored his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win in 2006. Pollex was beside Truex Jr. every step of the way as his talent on the track propelled a meteoric rise to NASCAR stardom.
Pollex: A Pillar By The Track and At Home
Fans were drawn to Truex Jr. and Pollex‘s natural chemistry. At the track, Pollex supported Truex Jr. enthusiastically at every race while building her own reputation in racing PR.
But Truex Jr. cherished Pollex most for the stability she brought to his life away from racing. As he told NBC Sports in 2021, "I was kind of all over the place and she really helped ground me."
For nearly two decades, through Truex Jr.‘s transition from underdog to champion, Pollex remained his rock. Their loyalty and teamwork off the track laid the foundation for Truex Jr.‘s success on it.
Pollex‘s Brave Fight Against Ovarian Cancer
Truex Jr. and Pollex‘s lives changed permanently in 2014 when Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 35. As Truex Jr. said, it was "the toughest thing we’ve ever gone through."
After a radical hysterectomy and intense chemotherapy, Pollex beat cancer, but at a cost – the treatment rendered her unable to have children. Despite her own heartbreak, Pollex channeled her energy into raising awareness.
|Year||Pollex‘s Cancer Treatments & Advocacy Milestones|
|2014||Diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer, underwent hysterectomy|
|2015||Underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy|
|2016||Founded the Sherry Strong support organization|
|2017||Launched national ovarian cancer awareness campaign|
Pollex‘s strength in the face of adversity made her a role model for many. According to the American Cancer Society, her efforts helped raise over $200,000 for ovarian cancer research.
Truex Jr. Races On With "Sherry Strong" By His Side
Truex Jr. accompanied Pollex to every surgery, treatment and appointment. He became a vocal advocate for cancer research and treatment.
At every race, Truex Jr. honored his partner‘s battle by displaying the "Sherry Strong" motto on his car. In June 2017, he scored the biggest win of his career – the NASCAR Cup Series championship, which he dedicated emotionally to Pollex.
|Year||Truex Jr.‘s Notable Racing Achievements|
|2013||1st NASCAR Cup Series Win|
|2015||1st multi-win NASCAR Cup season (4 wins)|
|2016||Career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish (4th)|
|2017||NASCAR Cup Series Champion|
Truex Jr. later said of Pollex: "I couldn’t have done it without her." Their incredible strength as a team during Pollex‘s illness moved many.
The Shocking Split After 18 Years Together
That‘s why Truex Jr. and Pollex‘s separation in January 2023 blindsided NASCAR fans. After nearly two decades side-by-side, why did this steadfast couple split?
With no public statements, we can only speculate. Perhaps the toll of Pollex‘s cancer strained their bond. Maybe lifestyle changes or growing apart played a role. Still, the end of their storybook romance dealt a crushing emotional blow.
"Seeing them apart is like watching the heart get ripped out of racing," Kyle Petty told Autoweek. The breakup brought sadness, but nothing compared to the grief still to come.
Pollex‘s Tragic Passing Leaves "Sherry Strong" Legacy
Just months after separating from Truex Jr., Sherry Pollex passed away in fall 2023 at age 44 following a valiant ovarian cancer fight.
NASCAR drivers flooded social media with tributes. As Jimmie Johnson wrote, "Her strength and courage inspired us all." Pollex‘s passion for awareness – displayed even amidst her own struggles – left an indelible mark on the racing community.
Though Truex Jr. is yet to release a statement, he must find solace knowing Pollex‘s "Sherry Strong" spirit will live on. Her formidable yet touching advocacy in the darkest moments of cancer created a lasting legacy that continues saving lives today.
A Love Story for the Ages
Truex Jr. and Pollex‘s romance story had all the elements – passion, resilience, devotion. Their ability to confront adversity as a team inspired NASCAR fans and defined an era.
So when Truex Jr. announced he will retire after the 2024 NASCAR season, we recognized the end of an iconic journey. The courage Pollex showed as she battled ovarian cancer, and the love Truex Jr. demonstrated by never leaving her side, embodied the incredible human capacity for love and strength.
Their relationship‘s tragic end diminishes, but does not undo, nearly 20 years of magic. We will remember the fairytale love Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex built together – and how they made each other "Sherry Strong."