Martin Truex Jr., NASCAR community racing with heavy hearts at Phoenix – SportingNews.com

Martin Truex Jr. and the rest of the NASCAR community raced with heavy hearts on Sunday after the death this week of 10-year-old Elijah Aschbrenner, who had a rare form of cancer.

Elijah, whose mother, Becky Hughes, works in the NASCAR industry, was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma in May 2014. He had become a big part of the NASCAR community as numerous drivers and teams helped and supported him throughout his 18-month battle with cancer.

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Truex and girlfriend Sherry Pollex, who has battled ovarian cancer, were particularly close to Elijah, who took part in the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Catwalk for a Cause in May. He also was a guest of Truex during the spring race at Talladega, flying on Truex’s plane and watching the race from his pit box.

Truex carried a photo of Elijah on his car at Phoenix International Raceway.

“Our brave Catwalk hero has gone home to be with the Lord,” Truex and Pollex wrote in a Facebook post this week. “Our lives will forever be changed because of him. We will never stop fighting for this horrible disease. He was the strongest little boy we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Now we focus on lifting his family in prayer. We shall meet again one day my sweet friend.”

Elijah’s fight against cancer attracted national attention through his Prayers for Elijah Facebook page and when Panthers quarterback Cam Newton attended his Halloween Party last month.

Truex was one of eight drivers racing to advance to the final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Truex entered the race fourth in the Chase standings. The top four advance to the championship race next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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