LONG POND, Pa. — Martin Truex Jr. is just glad he’s not in the same boat — literally.
That’s not to say a trip to his New Jersey home — and a visit to Atlantic City and the clam boat he worked during his youth — didn’t produce some pangs of nostalgia for the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
But Truex has come light years since his early days harvesting clams for his family business.
“It was very nostalgic, and that particular boat is very special to my dad, because it was his actual first boat he ever built,” Truex said Friday after practice at Pocono Raceway. “It’s just a cool story, his first boat, I got to work on it. It’s still in service, still working each and every day.
“But just to go in there and to look at it and just feel the memories of what it was like, how much time I spent on there, how much I didn’t like it, and then just so many things haven’t changed in that business. That boat is the same. It looks identical. There’s so many things in it that are still the same, and it just reminded me of how fast time really goes by, because it felt like just yesterday I was out there working on that thing. It’s crazy.”
Truex left New Jersey with some new memories, too. In Trenton, the state capital, Gov. Phil Murphy declared May 31 Martin Truex Jr. Day. On Friday, Truex was recognized as national driver of the year by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association.
NJ Gov. @PhilMurphyNJ reads proclamation to @MartinTruex_Jr at Office of the Governor in #Trenton. #MTJDay pic.twitter.com/oLWvkIGtN7
— Furniture Row Racing (@FRRacingTeam) May 31, 2018
“(Thursday) was a big day,” Truex said. “It was fun to go home, to go to the state capital and meet the governor and get the proclamation that yesterday was MTJ Day in New Jersey. That’s just crazy to think about. It’s crazy to think about things like that, where we’ve come to in such a short amount of time.
“It feels like just yesterday I was living up there working, building race cars and racing for fun and thinking, ‘Yeah, maybe someday somebody will hire me to drive for them.’ And here we are not that much further down the road with a championship and all the things that have come along with it.”
Reid Spencer writes for the NASCAR Wire Service.