Martin Truex, Jr. and his girlfriend Sherry Pollex celebrate win at Sonoma on June 21-23, 2013. (Brian Czobat/LAT Photo USA)
While Martin Truex Jr. gets revved up racing his No. 56 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, has a passion for fashion as the owner of Lavendar Boutique, a high-end denim store.
They put their passions together for “Catwalk for a Cause,” an annual fundraiser for the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.
The event raised $7,000 in its first year, but brought in a whopping $175,000 in May for the fourth-annual event. There were $60,000 in advance sales.
“We have a special-needs fund there to pay for the kids’ health care,” Pollex said before coming to Bristol to watch Truex compete in this weekend’s IRWIN Tools night race. “It’s certainly grown in four years, and we had 550 people in attendance. I think next year it’s going to be even bigger. It’s amazing the support from the community.”
For their fundraiser, several high-profile NASCAR personalities showed up, while Danica Patrick planned to attend before a testing session forced her to miss it.
“Ryan Newman, Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and all the crew chiefs were there,” she said. “Mark Martin and Regan Smith were there. It was a huge turnout from the NASCAR community. It warmed my heart that they cared enough to be there. Martin and Dale Jr. have been friends for a long time, so we’re all connected and support each other’s foundations. But to have that many drivers come to an event, it was incredible. I think they loved seeing the kids walk the runway. I had a lot of people tell me they would be back next year.”
Many of them are longtime friends of Pollex, who grew up in the sport. Her father, Greg, was the owner of PPC Racing, which won the 2000 Nationwide Series championship by a record 616-point margin with driver Jeff Green.
After graduating from Florida State University, it was only natural that Pollex would work in the sport. She got a job with a sports marketing firm, and that was where she met Truex.
In addition to the fashion show, the couple hosts a golf tournament through the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation to support a children’s hospital in New Jersey.
She’s certainly had an influence on Truex’s fashion sense. An avid fisherman, his usual attire was a T-shirt and pair of Wrangler jeans when they first met. It’s not the case any more.
“Now he wears designer denim and designer shirts, so he’s changed his fashion a little bit since we’ve been together,” Pollex said. “He’s still a jeans and T-shirt type of guy, but he’s gotten to know some of the designers I buy from. They sent him jeans and invite him to some of the events, so it’s been a natural progression.”
Their relationship has grown as well.
There have been times to celebrate like earlier this season when Truex won on the road course at Sonoma. But there are also the days when the driver is frustrated after the race.
“You learn how to handle those days,” she said. “At the end of the day when he’s had a bad day, the best thing you can do is remind them there’s a whole world outside of racing. To them, it doesn’t seem like that in that moment. But, I always remind him how we live a very blessed lifestyle and how we get to help a ton of kids through our foundation. You have to put things in perspective.”
It’s a lesson that Pollex had to learn herself.
She laughs about getting into trouble after the 2012 race at Sonoma when she blasted Joey Logano on Twitter after he wrecked Truex.
For the most part, they have great relationships with their fellow racers. Pollex said some of them are more like family than friends.
“When certain drivers are friends with each other, it’s natural you become friends with their wives and significant others,” she said. “Martin is really close with Dale Jr. and Ryan Newman, so naturally their wives and girlfriends are my friends. We hang out with them a lot as well as Kevin and Delana Harvick. It’s nice to have close friends like that who become your family when you travel 40 weekends out of the year.”