2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., his partner Sherry Pollex and Furniture Row Racing were honored by President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday afternoon. Like other popular sports, it is customary for the NASCAR champion to make a trip to Washington.
Truex's meeting marks the first under the Trump administration. Seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson did not make the trip last year due to scheduling and timing issues.
"Does it get lonely being in front?" Trump asked Truex before being presented with a replica racing helmet. "Not at all. Never, right? Thanks to incredible speed, lightning-fast pit stops and exceptional driving, this team stood alone among NASCAR's many contenders."
Truex won eight races last season including the Championship 4 contest at Homestead-Miami Speedway en route to his first Cup Series season title. The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota has already clinched a spot in the 2018 playoffs after winning at Fontana, California's Auto Club Speedway in March.
Trump has showed support for NASCAR over the years after being endorsed by chairman Brian France during the 2016 presidential election. The president also tweeted about NASCAR ahead of the 2018 Daytona 500.
My great friends from NASCAR are having their big race today, The Daytona 500. Brian France and the France family are special people. Enjoy the race!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
"Brian has been with us since the beginning, like so many others who love NASCAR," Trump continued. "He's been really a supporter right from the beginning. He said, 'We support Trump.' And so I want to thank you very much, Brian. That was incredible. That meant a lot."
The president also took the time to point out patriotism across NASCAR. Trump has been. He even went as far as saying players should be for not standing.
"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,'" Trump said. "I will tell you, one thing I know about NASCAR, they do indeed, Brian, stand for the playing of the national anthem, right? They do indeed. Somebody said maybe you shouldn't say that, that will be controversial. I said 'That's OK. NASCAR is not going to mind it at all, right, fellas?'"
Trump paid tribute to Truex's girlfriend Sherry Pollex as well. Pollex, an ovarian cancer survivor and battler, continues to raise funds and awareness for the disease and was at the forefront of Truex's championship run last 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."