Furniture Row Racing’s crew chief Cole Pearn is the team’s gatekeeper of stabilizing the emotional highs and lows that are prevalent in the sport of auto racing.
“Whether you lose a heartbreaker or win a big race, there is not any time to sulk or celebrate,” stated Pearn. “It’s all about getting ready for the next race. We don’t have the luxury of time between races to look in the rearview mirror.”
Pearn and his driver Martin Truex Jr. have experienced a roller coaster of emotions in the first 13 Sprint Cup Series races of the season. After suffering multiple heartbreaks when victory appeared in sight, the single-car team heeded Pearn’s advice, and the result was one of the most dominating performances in NASCAR history.
The 35-year-old Truex crushed the field Sunday night in the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, leading a record-breaking 392 of 400 laps en route to his first victory of the season. The 588 miles that he led set a NASCAR record.
The number of laps led in Charlotte also lifted Truex as the season lap leader at 809, 228 more than his season best of 581 set in 2007. He has led 611 laps in the last three races.
“Leading laps is great, but we need to keep winning some more and hopefully put ourselves in position to go for the championship,” said Truex.
He added, “Charlotte was the kind of weekend we all dream about. Our Toyota Camry was awesome. We won the pole, had the fastest car in the final practice and closed the deal in the longest race of the year. But that was last week and this week it’s Pocono.
“It’s always full speed ahead for this team. After a short celebration in Charlotte, our road guys were back at the shop early Monday morning in Denver putting the final touches on our Pocono car. I feel our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota will be strong this weekend.”
The last time Truex had a similar dream weekend was one year ago on June 7 when he won the Axalta 400 at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, his first win as a Furniture Row Racing driver. The emotional performance, with his girlfriend Sherry Pollex celebrating in Victory Lane, was called by some media pundits the most popular win of the season.
“That was also a pretty special day to get my first win as a Furniture Row driver,” said Truex. “As we all know, Pocono’s tricky triangular track is not the easiest to maneuver on. But our guys did a great job in setting up the car last year. The tunnel turn at Pocono is one of the toughest, it’s definitely intimidating. The hardest thing about that turn is that it’s flat and you’re carrying so much speed. If you want to contend at Pocono, you better figure out that turn or it will be a long day.”
Truex also had a strong run going during last year’s second Pocono race. He was running third in the closing laps and unexpectedly ran out of fuel as did the first and second place cars. He ended up 19th.
Truex is seventh in driver points, and with a victory in hand, he virtually secured a spot in the Chase playoffs, which commences at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 20.