Sherry Pollex, the longtime girlfriend of NASCAR Cup Series star Martin Truex Jr. and a beloved figure within the NASCAR industry, died Sunday morning after a nine-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 44.
Pollex was the daughter of longtime NASCAR car owner Greg Pollex, whose PPC Racing team won the 2000 championship in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series with driver Jeff Green. In the mid-2000s, Pollex was working on the public relations side of the racing industry when she met Truex, who won back-to-back Xfinity titles in 2004 and 2005 before moving up to the Cup Series in 2006. The two began dating in 2005, starting an 18-year relationship that lasted until the couple announced their split prior to the start of the 2023 season.
In August 2014, Pollex and Truex's lives were changed when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, beginning a nine-year battle against the disease that made her a hero to many in NASCAR, a source of inspiration during Truex's run to the 2017 Cup Series championship, and also spurred the couple's significant philanthropic efforts away from the racetrack.
"Although there are no words to express our sadness, we take solace in the fact that Sherry is no longer suffering and has been taken back in the arms of the Lord," read a statement by the Pollex family. "As we all know, Sherry lived her life to the fullest, as she influenced thousands, if not millions of people through her own personal journey. Her love for her family, Catwalk kids who she adored and her friends will last forever.
"Please join our family in thanking God for giving us Sherry, she's such an incredible expression of love that will live on. We will continue her legacy of love and caring for those in need as she will always be alive in our hearts."
Pollex championed many causes related to cancer through the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, namely initiatives specific to childhood and ovarian cancers. The foundation's most notable event has long been the Catwalk for a Cause, an annual fashion show for children with pediatric cancer that many NASCAR drivers and figures participate in. This year's Catwalk was held this past Wednesday, with Pollex -- who was not in attendance -- receiving a standing ovation.
Pollex also created SherryStrong.org to help women understand early detection and treatment options for ovarian cancer as well as the Sherry Strong Integrative Medicine Oncology Clinic at Novant Health in Charlotte, N.C.
"I often wonder if that's my purpose here," Pollex told The Athletic of her cancer advocacy in July 2022. "It's maybe not what I would have chosen for myself — nobody really wants to be the poster child for any type of cancer — but maybe I'm supposed to go through all this so I can pave the way for other women.
"On some days, that can be a really hard pill to swallow. But on other days, it's like, 'You know, I've been given this really important role in this life, and if I'm going to leave a legacy behind and help other people, then I need to do it 100 percent.'"
The Pollex family has requested privacy at this time.