Reluctant Truex soaks in big-city excitement on eve of Chase
Martin Truex Jr. would rather have been racing. Or bass fishing. Anything but spending the day on the streets of New York City. Turns out, the Chase contender's visit to the Big Apple wasn't so bad after all, writes David Newton.
Truex barely was settled into the leather seats of the SUV when he pulled out his new iPod and began showing off pictures of him fishing in the Bahamas.
Martin Truex Jr.
Truex nodded his head and made his way to the green room to wait for his call."Look at that sign," he told public relations representative Blair Minton. "Attention guests. Potty-mouths beware." This world isn't totally new to the 27-year-old, who less than 24 hours earlier was part of the Top Ten -- turned into a Top 12 for the Chase -- segment of David Letterman's Late Night show."Just different," he said. "It's not bad, but I'd rather be at the racetrack, obviously." The desire to be in his No. 1 Chevrolet magnified when Truex was taken to makeup. "Am I shining or something?" he asked.No, but he was blushing when the woman began applying things to his face that he's sure the elk will sense when he goes bow hunting in Colorado next week or with Earnhardt in Oklahoma the following week."You don't know how much crap I'm going to get for this," said Truex, blocking the lens from a NASCAR Images crew tailing him.The woman in an adjacent chair didn't make Truex feel any more comfortable as he left the room."Have a great drag queen show," she said with a laugh.The piling on continued after Truex returned to the green room and watched a promo for his segment in which the host referred to him as Martin Tru. "Tru?" he said. "Tru? I've never been called that."Minton laughed and replied, "I'll have all the guys on the team calling you that tomorrow."
Junior vs. Junior
Back in the SUV, Truex was handed a cell phone for his first radio interview of the day.
The headline on the front of the New York Post resting on a table in the "Fox & Friends" studio reads, "Knick Knock. Marbury Tells of Sex in a Truck."
Past to present
Truex ran into Jimmy Blewett in the infield of New Hampshire International Speedway on Friday, the first time the two had talked in person since Blewett's brother died in a racing accident Aug. 16.
When we made the decision to leave [DEI], he went out and won at Dover, sort of stepped up to the plate and became that guy. He wants to be that guy.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Truex
"That's kind of the unspoken racer deal," Truex said. "As a racer, you just don't talk about things like that. You just do your prayers and go on. It's what you do. As a racer, you don't know how to do anything else."Truex remembered past conversations in which Blewett had told his brother that if they had to die young, there would be no better place than a race car. He still can't imagine what his good friend is going through."Getting in that car is the best medicine for everything," said Truex, who sent Blewett a helmet when Blewett had trouble getting one after the accident. "Once you're in there, you forget about everything that is going on around you. When that car and helmet is on, that's the only thing that matters."Little outside of racing matters to Truex. Perhaps fishing on his bass boat and hunting come close, but he knows he might not have the luxury to afford those things were it not for his career."I'm very thankful for where I'm at, where I came from," Truex said. "I don't forget. I'll be honest: There are a lot of people out there that can do what we do. "There's just a select few that get the chance. You really just need to be in the right place at the right time and just have talent. It's being able to show it."
A woman wearing a Dale Earnhardt Jr. shirt sat in front of Truex during a question-and-answer session with fans at the ESPN Zone in Times Square.
Times Square vs. Talladega
Truex was impressed with the way his chauffeur whipped the SUV through traffic as Truex returned to the hotel before catching a private jet to New Hampshire.