Cole Pearn is getting back into racing. But he’s not returning to NASCAR.
Martin Truex Jr.’s former crew chief will be the lead engineer on Conor Daly’s No. 47 in the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500. Pearn abruptly resigned as Truex’s crew chief in the weeks after the 2019 season and has spent the 2020 season running a ski resort in Canada and providing analysis for NASCAR’s website.
“I am super excited to get a chance to compete in the Indy 500 with Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing. I wasn’t sure when I would want to get back to racing, but this is a great opportunity to do so. To be able to do it at a high level was too hard to pass up,” Pearn said in an Ed Carpenter Racing statement. “Obviously, it will be a steep learning curve but getting to work with [ECR engineer] Pete Craik again and the rest of the ECR team is about the best situation I could hope for.”
Daly, who has driven part-time in the IndyCar Series this year, is driving a third car for ECR at the 500 alongside Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter.
Pearn, 37, became Truex’s crew chief in 2015 as Truex finished fourth in the points standings after making the championship race. In their five seasons together — four at Furniture Row Racing and one at Joe Gibbs Racing — Truex won 24 races and made the title race in four of those five seasons. Truex, who won at Martinsville earlier this year, has 27 career Cup Series wins across 15+ seasons.
Pearn and Truex’s best season together came in 2017 when Truex won eight races on his way to the title. Truex led 2,253 laps that season and finished in the top 10 in 26 of 36 races. While Kyle Busch and crew chief Adam Stevens won two titles in the time that Pearn and Truex were paired together, you can make a good case that Pearn and Truex were the best crew chief-driver pairing of the past five seasons.
The Indy 500 is being run in August instead of its traditional Memorial Day weekend spot because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race is set to be run with fans in attendance, though Indianapolis has said it’s capping attendance at 25 percent of capacity.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
More from Yahoo Sports: