Tuesday’s announcement that Furniture Row Racing will close its doors at the end of the 2018 season started a game of musical chairs.
“This could be one of the craziest silly seasons we’ve had in a long time,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America.
That announcement also began the conversation of the likelihood that Martin Truex Jr. and Cole Pearn will go to the same organization.
One of the most successful pairings in recent NASCAR history that has produced 17 wins and a championship could come to an end – or the sum of the parts might be too valuable for prospective owners to overlook.
“I think that you want to keep them together and I think they would like to stay together,” Earnhardt said. “They complement each other really well.
“A lot of people are going to think that Cole Pearn is maybe a bigger piece of that puzzle, but I would think that would be maybe underestimating Martin Truex Jr. and what he brings to the table as a driver.”
Pearn and Truex had success from the beginning. After finishing eighth in the 2015 Daytona 500 in their first race together, they scored 13 top 10s in the next 14 attempts, including Truex’s third career victory in the June 2015 Pocono race.
“One of the difficulties between drivers and crew chiefs is in finding out what a driver likes,” Earnhardt said. “And Cole knows those things. He can go, no matter where they go … he can go right in those organizations and build a car around Martin Truex Jr. that is going to be competitive right out of the gate.”
In the past couple of days, multiple reports have circulated that Truex and Pearn could land at Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 19 that was vacated by Carl Edwards at the end of the 2016 season.
That would leave current driver Daniel Suarez’s future uncertain, but it would be a good fit for Truex and Pearn, according to Earnhardt.
“If they end up at Gibbs, they know (Pearn) pretty well, they know what they’re getting.” Earnhardt said.
When the Truex/Pearn domino falls, several more will follow.
“It’s going to be interesting where Martin ends up – where Cole ends up,” Earnhardt said. “But what dominoes is this going to knock down? We‘ll have to understand what that does mean for Daniel and beyond. Because we’re hearing rumblings in the garage of other driver changes.”
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