Former NASCAR Cup Series winning crew chief Cole Pearn will be joining Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2020 Indianapolis 500, where he will serve as the head engineer for Conor Daly in the #47 Air Force Chevrolet.
Pearn was the crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. from 2015 to 2019, where the pair won the 2017 Cup Series championship, made it to the championship race in four of the last five seasons, and won a series best nine races in 2019.
Pearn left full time competition at the end of 2019, but has still been working for NASCAR.com as an analyst since his departure.
“I am super excited to get a chance to compete in the Indy 500 with Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing,” Pearn said in a press release.
“I wasn’t sure when I would want to get back to racing, but this is a great opportunity to do so. To be able to do it at a high level was too hard to pass up.
“Obviously, it will be a steep learning curve but getting to work with [No. 20 engineer] Pete Craik again and the rest of the ECR team is about the best situation I could hope for!”
This will be Daly’s seventh Indy 500, but his first with ECR. He already runs the road and street course events with the team this season in the #20 car, but runs all ovals (with the exception of Indianapolis) with Carlin.
Despite the learning curve for both of them, the 28 year old Indiana native Daly is eager to work with Pearn at his home track.
“I am really excited to get to work with Cole for the first time at the Indy 500!” Daly said.
“We’re both going to have to get up to speed with this ECR operation, but I can’t wait.
“Cole has had an incredible amount of success in the NASCAR world and now we’ll be going for our first Indy 500 win together!”
The team is notably strong at Indianapolis, as an ECR Chevrolet has qualified on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 six of the past seven years, including three pole positions by Ed Carpenter himself (2013, 2014 and 2018).
As mentioned before, Pearn will also get the opportunity to work once again with Pete Craik, who was a part of the 2017 championship winning team with Truex. Craik is the lead engineer for the #20 car which will be driven by Carpenter.
The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally slated for 24 May but has been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qualifying will be held on Saturday, 15 August and Sunday, 16 August, and the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, 23 August, 2020.