Monday, June 8, 2015

Right Sides Only: Pocono Winning Crew Chief, Cole Pearn

After the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte last month, Cole Pearn was a little frustrated. His driver, Martin Truex Jr., had led a race-high 131 laps but finished fifth. Pearn tweeted his irritation, "Arrrrgggghhhh!!!!! Is what it is, want it bad for . Proud of our effort."

Pearn should have been proud. Truex has finished inside the top 10 for all but one race this season. That performance has kept Truex near the top of the points standings week after week.

Cole Pearn at Pocono, June 7, 2015.
Credit: Rebecca Kivak/Skirts and Scuffs
Frustration has finally given way to excitement. Pearn spoke about the Axalta 400 win in the post-race press conference: "Yeah, I was honestly pretty calm most of the way until we kind of came off Turn 3 and I started cheering and I started getting a little choked up at that point. I was doing pretty good. I was proud of myself to that point. No, it was just pretty awesome and just so proud of him. He did an unbelievable job today. All his restarts he just was 10 out of 10 perfect, and that really made the difference."

Truex and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team have garnered the respect of drivers and fans alike, and the win at Pocono Raceway all but solidified their place in the Chase.

Chase eligibility aside, Truex was happy to win for his team.

"Honestly because this team deserves to win, and I knew that. I've known that all year long, obviously, especially after the last couple weeks. I felt -- I've kind of throughout my career, I've kind of got used to the disappointment, honestly, and I've learned to deal with those days where it didn't go your way, even though you didn't do anything wrong. That can get a lot of people down, but I've learned kind of to deal with those.

"You know, I wanted to win for this team because I knew how good they were, how much they deserved it, the job they've been doing, and I've just honestly been so proud of their outlook on the way this year has gone. It would be easy the last three weeks to get down and to hang your head and to make excuses and honestly just be disappointed, but they weren't. They were excited. They knew we were going to get this win, and they knew we were going to get it soon, and they worked hard. They didn't lose focus of how we got to where we're at, and honestly, that's what pushed us over the edge and was able to make the difference today."

Truex Jr. & Pearn in the garage at Dover, May 2015.
Credit: Beth Reinke/Skirts and Scuffs

How that team does what it has been able to accomplish week in and week out is a bit of a mystery to some fans since Furniture Row Racing isn't based in the Mecca of Motorsports in central North Carolina alongside most other teams. Housed in Denver, Colorado, the logistics alone to get equipment and personnel to each race would be enough to frighten even veteran crew chiefs. Pearn? Not so much.

"It's something that they set up really well in the beginning. We have a truck that runs back and forth to North Carolina every week that brings our engines and transmissions and gears and chassis when they need to, so that side of it just kind of happens and you don't even know it happens. I'm probably the worst guy to ask about the details of all that side of things.

Credit: Beth Reinke/Skirts and Scuffs
"You know, it's awesome. The biggest reason I work there is because it's in Denver, Colorado. Being Canadian, I love it out there. I love the outdoors, love to be able to ski and play hockey and do all those things outside of life, and it makes for a fun group. We've got a really good, tight-knit young group of guys, and it makes it a lot of fun being out there. We've made all similar commitments in our lives to live out there. We all hang out with each other on days off, we do things together, and just makes it a ton of fun when you can succeed with a group like that."

That tight-knit group may be having fun, but they're also turning heads in the garage. It isn't always easy for a single-car team to find success, but the No. 78 team has been performing consistently all season. It does, however, make things difficult for them when things change.

When asked about whether NASCAR should change anything related to the rules package at Pocono, Pearn was quick to respond.

"I don't want to change anything. I'll be straight up with that.

"It's a lot of work when they change the rules. It costs us a lot of money and makes it pretty difficult for us, especially for us as a single-car team. Definitely I don't want them to change it."

His driver agrees.

"There you have it," Truex affirmed.  

The No. 78 team now has a win and a ticket to the Chase. Those drivers who respect him should beware because this team isn't backing down. Truex and Pearn, along with the rest of the Furniture Row team, should be considered a real threat when September rolls around. There you have it.


    Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
    The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far. 
    Her other interests include country music, though she can't carry a tune; collegiate football, though she needs a lot of work on her spiral; and Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life.


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