Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are established stars. Truex said he can go almost anywhere because no one recognizes him.
But more than anything else, Truex looks at life differently. For more than a year, his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, has battled ovarian cancer. And Truex’s foundation does a lot of work with pediatric cancer patients — as does Jeff Gordon’s — with Pollex playing a key role in the operation.
Take all those factors into account and maybe it explains why Truex was so relaxed at Thursday’s NASCAR Contender 4 Round media day.
"Everybody keeps telling me to enjoy myself and don’t take it too serious and have a good time with it," said Truex. "This is coming from guys who have done this before, experienced it. And I really didn’t need that advice."
"Racing is certainly important, and it’s a big part of my life, but it’s not the only thing that matters."
- Martin Truex Jr.
The reason he didn’t need the advice is a combination of Truex’s on-track success and off-track attitude.
"I’ve really had a fun season in general," said Truex. "The Chase has been fun. Last year and years before, I probably would have been a lot more stressed and been a lot more on edge and been nervous about the races and making it or not making it and what’s going to happen and really worrying about it.
"But this year, I don’t know. I’ve got a different outlook. It’s just been a lot of fun for me and it’s been really smooth sailing."
And then Truex paused.
"I’ve been through a lot of crap in my life," he said. "Honestly, there have been a whole lot of ups and downs throughout my career, really, and then with the things that happened last year with Sherry being diagnosed with cancer — the stuff we do with our foundation, the kids that we’ve met. I just have a different perspective on things.
"Racing is certainly important, and it’s a big part of my life, but it’s not the only thing that matters," said Truex. "Each and every single weekend, and every week getting prepared for the race, I give it my all. That’s all I can do. There’s a lot of things in this sport you can’t control. And I’ve just learned not to worry about those."
That’s a refreshing attitude, to be sure.
And regardless of what happens on Sunday, it makes this a championship season for Truex.