Pearn: Indy 500 venture with ECR doesn’t signal a career U-turn

Cole Pearn, the former NASCAR Cup championship-winning crew chief with Martin Truex Jr., says his deal with Ed Carpenter Racing for the Indianapolis 500 is not a sign that he wants to get back into racing full-time.

Pearn: Indy 500 venture with ECR doesn’t signal a career U-turn

The Canadian was one of the keys to Truex’s 23 wins over six seasons with Furniture Row Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, the zenith of which was title glory in 2017 with FRR. Then, last winter, Pearn quit racing to go into business with his wife.

But in July he was announced as Ed Carpenter Racing’s race engineer for its one-off third entry, driven by Conor Daly in the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.

However, Pearn says he’s not thinking of reversing his December decision and returning to motorsport on a full-time basis.

“I don't think so at this point,” he said. “Definitely just focused on this race… I don't know if a full-time schedule is back in my future any time soon.

He later commented: “It's nice to be able to follow the race, close your computer, turn the TV off, go do something else. You don't have to go through the cleanup and go home afterwards!”

However, he did add: “Never say never to anything. Got to have a job and be able to pay for things and stuff like that. Who knows?

“This experience I'm really looking forward to. I think it's fun to be able to go and try something different. I don't know what my view of it will be once it's over. Anxious for the new experience.”

Pearn played down the differences between engineering a stock car and engineering an open-wheel car.

“Honestly, a lot of things are super similar,” he said. “Obviously the values that you're looking at are way different, way more downforce, a lot lighter car, all those things. [But] you're still looking for the same things in terms of handling, and all those types of metrics you study are the same. It's just the values are slightly different…

“I think obviously it will be a fully different experience, but racing is still racing. Throw a green and checkered. So looking forward to getting to that side of it and getting into the action.”

Whereas rookie drivers have had nothing to ‘unlearn’ regarding the aeroscreen’s changes to weight distribution and tire wear, Pearn as a rookie IndyCar race engineer says that he’ll be relying on Ed Carpenter Racing’s full-time engineers to provide information comparing and contrasting car behavior before and after the screen.

“I think with reviewing past notes, you're always relying on last year's data to kind of do your prep work,” he observed. “For me, it's still having to learn what the differences are and understand that.

“When you're looking at stuff from last year, trying to correlate that to this year, you’ve got to have that. Obviously, the aero changes, the weight distribution changes.

“Yeah, I feel like kind of in the same boat with the other guys as far as what they're having to adapt to.”

Although there will be only three days of practice at Indy before qualifying this year, Pearn believes that the postponement of the Mid-Ohio races scheduled for this weekend has at least allowed teams to fully focus on the 500.

“I was kind of hoping to go to Mid-Ohio this weekend and at least get to hang out with Conor and the team, stuff like that, view it from that standpoint. That didn't happen.

“In a way it's OK. It's been nice to have more time to prep with the singular focus on Indy. Everybody at the shop is kind of focused on that now because they're not worrying about Mid-Ohio. That's been nice.

“It's in everybody's frame of mind. That, I feel, is a lot better learning experience, better opportunity for me to get comfortable.”

 

 

shares
comments
RC Enerson: Road America NASCAR debut "a little intimidating"

Previous article

RC Enerson: Road America NASCAR debut "a little intimidating"

Next article

Coyne signs Davison for Indy with old and new partnerships

Coyne signs Davison for Indy with old and new partnerships
Load comments
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021