May 14, 2021

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR

– It’s my privilege to introduce the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, my good buddy, Martin Truex Jr.

– In 2017 Martin scored career highs and wins, Top fives and Top tens, and Laps Led.

– Martin, when you see me with this box, you know you’re about to get to the moment here. Because it’s the championship ring that you’ll wear proudly, and more importantly will serve to remind you of your great memories of this championship here in 2017. Martin, Congratulations.

– Dale Jr. He about– he about put me down right there. My good buddy, but just unbelievable to be here tonight. So many people to thank. It’s a childhood dream for me. So 78 race team has carried the same motto throughout the season and that’s, never give up. No one has lived that out more than my life partner, Sherry. As we all know Sherry was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014. Today she’s still fighting her disease with tenacity and a never give up attitude that inspires millions of people to do the same. She is the true champion.

This has been an emotional journey. I can’t even begin to tell you about the highs and lows, but trust me there’s been a lot of highs and lows. I have so many people to thank so bear with me because they’re all the reason we’re here. At the top– at the top I’ve got to start with mom and dad. Thank you for all the love and support over the years and making me who I am. Dad, we did it!

Marcia and Levi, my brother Ryan, and Leah. You guys are awesome. Thank you. Sherry’s parents, Sharon and Greg, are here tonight. Thank you for your support over the years and most importantly, helping Sherry through her battle when I’m on the road. And all the things you do for her, it’s unbelievable. Thank you.

So the rest of the thank you’s I consider my extended family. The 78 team’s here tonight, a lot of them. You guys are the best of the best. Thank you to all of you and your families. We couldn’t do this without you. Barney Visser is the heart of this team. People thought he was crazy twelve years ago starting a NASCAR team in Denver. Barney, who’s crazy now? To the rest of the Visser family, I’m so proud to represent you and drive your race car. It’s an honor.

Joe Garone. Where’s Joe at? Oh yeah, I’m sorry. I’m just kidding. You’ve been there since the beginning, bud, starting this team from nothing. 2014 we struggled. You didn’t give up on me. Thank you very much. Shout out to Canada! All you– what can I say about Cole Pearn, he’s a Furniture Row T-shirt wearing Canadian. He never sleeps, and he’s more competitive than anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life. He’s the best crew chief and team leader I’ve ever known. And you, buddy, thank you for making me a champion.

I didn’t bring my glass up here tonight. But I want to make a toast to Jim Watson. Everybody raise your glass. Here’s to you, wild man. Cheers! Big thank you to Bass Pro Shops, my buddy Johnny Morris, his son J.P., the whole Morris family. They started partnering with me in 2004. They’ve been with me ever since and there’s no possible way I could be here tonight without them. Thank you. Toyota and TRD, what amazing people. Bob Carter, Ed Laukes, Jack Hollis, Bill Fay, and every Toyota associate. David Wilson, Tyler Gibbs, and Andy Graves from TRD. What an amazing job, amazing race cars and engines.

Of course, we couldn’t have done this without our alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. Coach Gibbs and Coy, Daniel, Matt, Kyle, and Danny– thank you for welcoming us to your organization, treating us like true teammates both on and off the racetrack. Thank you. Where’s Matt? I don’t see him. Matt, I wish you the best in the future bud, you’re an awesome person and awesome driver. And one hell of a champion. Congratulations on a great career.

Woody Boyd, and everyone at Furniture Row companies, thank you. Auto-Owners Insurance, Jeff and Mary, been awesome to partner with you guys. Rise’ Meguiar from 5-Hour thank you for the support of the 77 and 78 teams this year. We look forward to next year and our future together. WIX Filters, Jennifer Gibson, thank you for the partnership. It’s been great. Textron Aviation, Scott and Brad, thank you for getting us to the races safely and all you’ve done for us. Garmin Aviation, a new partner of ours, thank you for that as well. Thank you to Oakley and Sprint, really appreciate all your support.

How about Erik Jones and the 77 team? Where’s he at tonight? Good job, bud. Congrats on winning Rookie of the Year man, third year in a row, that’s pretty awesome. What? Truck, 6thXfinity and Cup. So I selfishly have to say that the new racing format with the stages has worked out pretty well for us. I’d like to thank Brian and Lisa, Jim, Mike, Brent, Steve and everybody at NASCAR for continuing to make NASCAR exciting for our fans.

All the track operators and employees, broadcast partners, FOX and NBC Sirius XM, MRN, PRN and all of the media, thank you for your coverage all season long. Monster Energy, thank you for becoming our series sponsor of this year. The trophy is absolutely unbelievable and very heavy. To the millions of NASCAR race fans out there thank you for your passion in making this sport what it is, and giving us all the best job in the world. I want to thank my MTJ motor sports staff who are here tonight. They keep my whole life rollin’.

To my buddy and hunting partner Dale Jr., did he make it back out here yet? No, his seat is empty. It makes it easier. Yeah, I wouldn’t be here without Dale. He gave me my first break in NASCAR. I’m damn sure going to miss racing with him on the racetrack, but we’re going to spend a lot of time together away from the racetrack and I look forward to that. Congratulations on an amazing career wherever you’re at. I wish you, Amy and your new addition the very best in the future. I look forward to spending more time with you guys.

And finally back to the love of my life. No, not racing. Sherry, babe, I love you and thank you for the change you’ve caused in my life. You’re an inspiration to all of us in this room. And winning is a great feeling, but spending life with you is the real victory. Let’s all never give up and have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you.