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The name Truex holds a lot of sway in NASCAR right now, just as long as the name also has Martin in front of it. If it’s Ryan, not as much.

As a 2017 Camping World Truck Series driver, Ryan Truex had a pretty decent season. He had 8 top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes and almost made the playoffs. Despite that, the younger brother of NASCAR’s Cup champion found himself on the outside looking for more sponsorships to stay with Hattori Racing Enterprises for 2018.

“I love the Truck Series, it’s just tough to make it work,” the 25-year-old Truex said to speedsport.com. “If I hadn’t gotten this deal I don’t know if there was an opportunity to go back to the Truck Series without having to find more sponsorship than I already have. That was kind of why, in December, I still didn’t have a ride because we were still searching for sponsorship to be able to return to the Truck Series.”

The “deal” Truex mentions is the one out of nowhere that gave him the chance to jump into an Xfinity ride. Kaulig Racing owner Matt Kaulig saw something in Truex he liked. Initially, Kaulig considered Truex for a second car but then needed a primary driver to replace Blake Koch.

“I actually flew to Ohio and met Matt in late December and honestly we just hit it off right off the bat,” Truex said. “Honestly, I didn’t think it would happen because I’m a bit of a pessimist when it comes to these things. It seems like every time I have a deal almost done something happens, something falls through.”

Truex has had his share of bouncing around in NASCAR. His 7 seasons had stops in all three national series, but nothing consistent till last years fulltime ride in trucks. Realistically, he’s happy to still be racing. Optimistically, his aim is to get another shot at Cup someday. He says he’ll be ready.

“I think all the things I’ve gone through, all the struggles and the races I’ve almost won and the races I’ve run in last place and have made me a better driver and has made me appreciate it a lot more,” Truex said.

After getting dumped by his team, promising young driver thought he’d have to sit out 2018 Sean Gardner/Getty Images
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