Canadian first graders ‘adopt’ Martin Truex Jr. in hopes of changing his bad luck

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It’s no secret that NASCAR is doing everything it can to attract new fans, especially young ones.

You know the scenario: hook ’em young and you have ’em hooked for life.

Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr. is certainly doing his part in promoting the youth movement.

According to Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long, a group of Canadian first graders has adopted Truex as their favorite driver.

And in so doing, the kids from Front of Yonge School in Ontario province hope to change the miserable luck Truex has had thus far in his first season with Furniture Row Racing.

Truex quipped on his Facebook page after a crash in practice at Fontana two weeks ago, “Does anyone have a good luck charm I can use for…oh I don’t know, the rest of the season??”

Carla Bangma’s students picked up on that and sent Truex a video serenade of “Bring It All Back,” which includes lyrics such as “Your time is coming around, so don’t you stop trying” and “Don’t stop, never give up, hold your head high and reach for the top.” (See the video below)

The class also sent him a book it put together called “Awesome Truex” that touted Truex’s humanitarian efforts, his love of hunting and fishing, and even his dog Boden.

With a group of cheerleaders like that, maybe Truex’s luck will indeed finally change this Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

He sure needs any luck he can get: he’s currently 28th in the Sprint Cup standings, 122 points – essentially the equivalent of three full wins – behind series leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.