Cole Pearn has resigned from NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing to pursue outside opportunities.
In a development that has tremendous ramifications, Cole Pearn has resigned as crew chief of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Cup Series, according to a team statement released on Monday evening.
Pearn has elected to leave the organization to pursue other opportunities outside of the NASCAR.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision,” Pearn said in a statement. “At the end of the day, I really want to spend time with my family and actually see my kids grow up.
“Being on the road, you are away from home so much and miss a lot of time with your family. I don’t want to miss that time anymore. I want to be there for all the things that my kids are going to experience while they are still young.
“I love racing and there isn’t a better place to be than Joe Gibbs Racing, but I don’t want to look back in 20 years and think about everything I missed with my wife and kids while I was gone. They are what is most important to me.”
Pearn had become one of the elite crew chiefs in the sport over the past five years alongside driver Martin Truex Jr. Together they won 24 races (second-most in that span), advanced to the Championship 4 four times (times for second most), led the third-most laps and captured the 2017 Cup Series championship.
Even more remarkable was that Pearn and Truex did it with both Furniture Row Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I cannot say enough good things about Cole and what he has meant for my career. I appreciate his hard work and dedication to our race team over the past six years going back to when he was my engineer at Furniture Row,” Truex said. “Our friendship is what matters most to me and I’m happy that he’s doing what’s best for him and his family.”
The news did not come to a surprise to those who have followed Pearn’s career. He has always said he didn’t expect to be a racing-lifer, citing the length of commitment to travel with the sport at the highest level.
He expounded on that on Monday night during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with host Dave Moody.
“Everybody in the sport understands the grind of what the schedule is,” Pearn said. “To do it at the top level, you have to be all the way in. I was somehow making it work with my family until my kids got in school and once they’re in school and you have a day off on a Thursday, it really doesn’t matter. You pretty much go all week and you barely see ’em.
“I didn’t want to look back at my life and miss those moments. For me to get the opportunity to work in racing has been just a dream come true and then to have the success we’ve had just blows my mind. When you’ve achieved more than you’ve ever dreamt, you look at the other things in life you’ve been missing and I just felt like it was time.”
With that said, Pearn doesn’t yet know what the next stage of his life holds as of yet.
“We’re working on that and going to let the dust settle a bit,” Pearn said. “I’m must looking forward to being around the family. I’m going to keep myself busy. I’m definitely too young not to do anything so I’m definitely going to keep working, that’s for sure.”
This also wasn’t something his team expected to happen this off-season, especially considering Pearn and Truex had arrived as a packaged multi-year deal during the last offseason.
“Yeah, I definitely don’t think anybody saw that coming,” Pearn said. “There’s no easy way to deliver that news, especially to people you respect and care about. I’ve been losing a lot of sleep trying to figure out the best way to do it, but at the end of the day, just being honest and speaking from the heart was the way to do it. They’re both amazing people and I think they took it about as best as anybody could.”
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