On Monday, President Donald Trump honored NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr., praising his team’s vow to “never give up.”
The 78 Toyota Camry team fought through adversity throughout their championship season. Truex’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex has battled with ovarian cancer and team crew member Jim Watson died of a heart attack mid-season.
“Your determination in the face of adversity has been an inspiration to millions of Americans who know what you’re going through,” Trump said to Pollex. “You’ve endured extremely tough treatments with grace and grit and a tremendous and beautiful smile. You are Sherry Strong.”
On their way to their championship, the 78 team won eight races, more than any other driver during the season. “Does it get lonely being in front?” Trump asked. “Not at all. Never, right?”
“Fast cars, burnt rubber, and great NASCAR champions thrill the American heart and excite the American souls,” said Trump. “As many of you know, NASCAR grew from the back roads of America’s south to become one of the world’s premier and beloved sports.”
“At every NASCAR race, you will see thousands of patriotic Americans, from the grandstands to the pit stalls, proudly waving our flag and roaring with joy at the words ‘Start your engines,’ he continued. “This lively sport reflects our national spirit and our can-do attitude.”
Trump also made a jab at the NFL by stating that NASCAR should be proud that their fans “do indeed stand for the playing of our national anthem.”
“Somebody said maybe you shouldn’t say that, that will be controversial. I said ‘That’s OK, NASCAR is not going to mind at all.’ Right, fellas?”