MLB has the Flying Molinas — Bengie, Yadier and Jose, all catchers.
The NBA even had family members from the Auburn family, Chuck and Wesley Person.
And when it comes to NASCAR, there have been flocks of brothers. Literally, including the Flocks: Tim, Bob and Fonty.
Today when the green flag drops on the Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312, Ryan Truex — brother of Cup star Martin Truex Jr. — makes his debut at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Ryan starts 18th in today’s race, which was set on owner points because of rain. Martin qualifies today at 11 a.m.
With all the brothers that have come before them — totaling a dozen in the sport’s highest level — these two have a uniqueness.
It’s not a story about hand-me-down cars and on-track rivalry. Martin, 31, is almost 12 years older than Ryan. That age difference creates a more unusual dynamic.
“When I moved down here to start my career in racing, I was 22, 23 years old,” Martin said. “So, there was a lot of time we spent apart. A lot of his early racing career I wasn’t around for that.”
Ryan admits during that time racing was the last path he saw for his life. As he excelled in the classroom, Ryan said his parents had dreams of him becoming a doctor or a lawyer.
“They thought I was smart enough not to be a race car driver,” Ryan said.
But while it’s still early in Ryan’s racing career, it may turn out to be the perfect profession.
At 13, Ryan started out in a bandolero car, one designed for younger drivers, typically with only 30 horsepower. The next year, he moved up and moved on, winning the Legends Series championship at Wall Stadium in Wall, N.J.
And ever since then, he’s steadily been gaining ground — just like his brother.
In Martin’s first full season in the Nationwide Series (2004), he won the championship, then did it again the next year. He moved up to Cup the next season and currently stands fifth in the point standings.
Ryan followed in those same successful footsteps in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, becoming only the second rookie champion. He repeated the championship in 2010, and just like his brother, struck while the iron was hot.
His success earned him a spot with Michael Waltrip Racing, where he is today, running a limited schedule.
That limited schedule over the past few years has offered him only one opportunity to run a restrictor-plate, which he admits because of the draft is a bit different from anything he’s ever done. In his lone start on a plate track — Daytona this season — he crashed and finished 31st.
He said he takes pointers from his brother at all venues and Talladega Superspeedway is no different. But because of how important partnerships are in the draft, he admits he tried to play the brotherly love card.
“I told (Martin) to get out here and show me how it’s done,” Ryan said. “Guess he didn’t want to.”
While Martin missed much of Ryan’s early years, the two are close now — though it may be hard to tell because of their quiet nature. Ryan lives in an apartment above Martin’s garage, and he said many — if not all — mornings when he comes down, he’ll find Martin working on something and then comes the typical conversation.
“I’ll ask him, ‘What’s up?’ He’ll say, ‘Not much,’” Ryan said. “And that’s about it.”
Martin says it’s maybe a little bit more.
“I’m really trying to help him a lot,” he said. “Trying to help him understand the sport, understand his position and the things he needs to do as a driver to be better and be part of the team and make sure people understand how bad he wants to get to the next level.”
Bran Strickland is the assistant managing editor for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3590 or follow him on Twitter @bran_strickland.