NASCAR: Truex, Pearn join JGR in 2019
By Kelly Crandall | RACER.com NASCAR correspondent
Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed Wednesday that Martin Truex Jr. and his crew chief, Cole Pearn, will join its organization beginning next season.
Truex and Pearn will slot into the No. 19 team, replacing Daniel Suarez. Sponsorship for the team was not announced.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to bring two people of this caliber into your organization, it’s certainly an exciting time,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “They obviously have developed a chemistry that has led to tremendous success, including a championship. We’ve gotten to know them well over the past few years through the alliance and having been part of the Toyota family. They both make us stronger as an organization.
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“We really appreciate everything Daniel [Suarez] has done for Joe Gibbs Racing over these past several years. He has made the most of every opportunity from winning the championship in the Xfinity Series to making the jump into the Cup Series for us. We look forward to hearing about his plans going forward and know he continues to have a bright future in our sport.”
Pearn and Truex have worked together since Truex joined Furniture Row Racing in 2014. Pearn moved into the crew chief role in 2015, and since then he and Truex have won 17 races and the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship. Their ’17 season will go down as one of the most dominant performances in history as Truex won a season-high eight times, led over 2,000 laps and led the series in stage wins (19).
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to join Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Truex. “Obviously to be able to make this transition and still be able to work alongside Cole is something that was very important to me. There is also a real comfort level working with the JGR team and I wanted to stay in the Toyota family. We still have big goals for the remainder of this season, but it’s nice to know what we will be doing in 2019.”
Said Pearn, “I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish over the past few years out of Denver and the move to JGR will make the transition for 2019 an easy one. It’s a great organization with a lot of great people and a leadership team that wants to win. We still have work to do this season of course, but it’s nice to finally make our plans official for 2019.”
Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser decided he would shut his team down after this year, citing lack of funding as one reason. Sponsor 5-hour ENERGY is leaving NASCAR after this year and the team was not able to find a replacement.
“I want to personally thank Martin and Cole for their contributions in making Furniture Row Racing a championship-caliber team,” Visser said in a statement. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they will continue to be a winning driver/crew chief combination with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“They are outstanding representatives for NASCAR and I am proud to have been associated with them. But before Martin and Cole depart for a new endeavor we still have two races remaining, and hopefully we will be celebrating another championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”
Truex goes into this weekend’s elimination race at ISM Raceway above the cutline by 25 points. Truex has four wins this season.
The 2019 season will be Truex’s 14th full season in the Cup Series.
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ABOUT KELLY CRANDALL
Kelly has been on the NASCAR beat full-time since 2013, and joined RACER as chief NASCAR writer in 2017. Her work has also appeared in NASCAR.com, the NASCAR Illustrated magazine, and NBC Sports. A corporate communications graduate from Central Penn College, Crandall is a two-time George Cunningham Writer of the Year recipient from the National Motorsports Press Association.