Cole Pearn Heading to IndyCar for Indy 500

Cole Pearn

NASCAR champion crew chief Cole Pearn is heading back to the track. IndyCar team Ed Carpenter Racing announced Wednesday that Pearn has been added to its engineering staff for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Pearn will be the lead engineer on Conor Daly’s No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet.

Ed Carpenter Racing has two full-time IndyCar entries but will enter a third car for the Indianapolis 500 driven by Daly.

Pearn has a tie to the organization as well in Pete Craik — the lead engineer for Carpenter’s No. 20 — who also worked with Pearn at Furniture Row Racing and was part of the 2017 championship team.

“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!”

Pearn retired from full-time NASCAR duties at the end of the 2019 season after working on top Martin Truex Jr.’s pit box for five years. Over the course of 179 starts together, the two won 24 races overall and the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship.

It will be Pearn’s first Indianapolis 500 experience as an engineer.

“I am really excited to get to work with Cole for the first time at the Indy 500! We’re both going to have to get up to speed with this ECR operation, but I can’t wait,” said Daly. “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 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for May 24, but COVID-19 forced the postponement of the event. The 104th running will now take place Aug. 23. Unlike in NASCAR, there will also be IndyCar practice and qualifying for this race.

Greg Engle