Cole Pearn said “there’s absolutely a distraction” with the impending closure of his current team, Furniture Row Racing.
Pearn, who will join Martin Truex Jr. at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019, discussed his next job and the strains on his current one on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” a few hours after JGR’s announcement.
“You can’t go a day without being distracted by it,” said Pearn, who has two races left in charge of the No. 78 Toyota before the season ends. “You’re not going to be working with the same people. We’re all not going to be coming to the shop here in a few weeks. Those things start to bother you for sure. It’s going to be a tight-knit group we’re all going to miss.”
Pearn’s last chance to get the No. 78 team into the championship round comes Sunday at Phoenix (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC). Truex enters the race second on the playoff grid among drivers still not locked into the championship four. He is 22 points above Kevin Harvick who has the last transfer spot.
Pearn has been with Furniture Row Racing since 2010 and has been the crew chief for the No. 78 car since 2015. The team has had a technical alliance with JGR since 2016. Furniture Row Racing won the 2017 title and is in contention for this year’s crown.
But Pearn, who resides in Colorado where the team is located in Denver, admitted working under the JGR roof will be “a lot different” to Furniture Row Racing, where “you can walk around the shop in 10 minutes and know what’s going on.”
“Being in the building and being a part of it at a deeper level is going to be a big change,” Pearn said of working at JGR. “The day-to-day is a lot different. We got it pretty good out here with a small group of people.”
Pearn estimated that he’ll begin working on the No. 19 at JGR by the first week of December.
But everything that will go into his move to North Carolina, including “packing the house up” is “something we kind of keep shoving off and off because we’ve got this championship we’re running for this year.”