Cole Pearn is the first Canadian-born crew chief to win a NASCAR Cup championship.
Which got us thinking …
Pearn is a native of Strathroy-Caradoc, Canada, near London (Ontario, not England). He grew up following both racing and, quite naturally, hockey (he’s a huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but has also come to follow the Colorado Avalanche, given that Furniture Row Racing’s headquarters is in suburban Denver). Heck, he still plays hockey himself in a weekly Denver recreation league.
As is a longtime NHL tradition, many players grow playoff beards for good luck en route to what they hope will end with a Stanley Cup championship, That kind of tradition rubbed off on Pearn, 35, who also grew a beard leading up to the Cup championship.
Ok, so that’s at least one thing he has in common with his Canadian-born NHL brethren.
Now, how about another NHL-like tradition for Pearn?
During the offseason, players on every NHL Stanley Cup-winning team get an opportunity to bring the Stanley Cup to their hometown for a day or two of celebration on their home turf, where it all began for them. It can be anywhere in the U.S., Canada or even Russia.
While we haven’t heard of a “Cole Pearn Day” being organized yet north of the border, wouldn’t it be cool to see him take the 65-lb. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup back home to celebrate his championship – Stanley Cup-style?
After all, Pearn and Truex and the rest of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team have been big news in the great white north, and have developed quite the loyal Canadian fan base.
“It’s been pretty neat, all the coverage we’ve gotten national media-wise in Canada,” Pearn said this past week in Las Vegas.
“It’s hard if you’re not a hockey player to get much attention there, so it’s pretty neat how much they’ve embraced it and embraced the sport, and deservingly so,” Pearn said.
While hockey is the undisputed king in Canada, racing – stock car, sports car and drag racing – are among the country’s other top sports.
“There’s tremendous racing there,” Pearn said of his native land. “The short track scene in Canada is awesome, that’s what I grew up in. To get that coverage and get the sport covered there is really cool.”
To show how big Pearn and Truex’s championship has been in Canada, check out a video of Pearn’s interview (starts about 17 minutes in) with Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole of Canada’s The Sports Network, the day after the No. 78 team won the Cup crown.
So we started thinking again … wouldn’t it be a great promotion and publicity for NASCAR if Pearn went back home for a day or two — and he brought NASCAR’s version of the Stanley Cup with him? Heck, maybe even take a few side trips to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, even Vancouver. He’s earned it, not to mention Canada has a lot of NASCAR fans who would probably like to share the celebration with him.
Pearn and Truex captured the NASCAR Cup championship one week before one of Canada’s biggest sports days of the year, the annual Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup championship (Toronto upset Calgary on Nov. 26). Toronto already had a big downtown celebration for its championship Argonauts this past Tuesday.
So hey, Strathroy-Caradoc — or even the big city a few miles down the road, London — how about a championship parade and a “Cole Pearn Day” for your native son?