Cole Pearn was praised after crafting the perfect strategy to get driver Martin Truex Jr. to Victory Lane Sunday afternoon.
Pearn came over the radio and repeatedly told his driver to pit with just under 40 laps to go. Then at the last minute, Truex, who was running second, stayed out while leader Kevin Harvick ducked down pit road.
When things eventually cycled through, Truex overcame a six-second deficit on his fresher tires to retake the lead. He would then drive to Victory Lane for the third time this year.
“We’re not that smart, he probably screwed up,” Pearn said before later admitting Truex indeed thought they were pitting until Pearn called him off at the last minute.
“I was telling him to pit and he probably thought he was pitting. At the end of the day it worked out and we’re sitting in Victory Lane, so it’s good.”
Truex made just one pit stop in the final stage, that coming with 30 laps to go. After being passed for the lead, Harvick came back down pit road to get fresh tires in case of a late-race caution.
The race went green through the final stage.
“We knew we were going to do one stop. That was kind of our plan,” said Pearn. “We just — we really needed them to pit earlier for it to work out. It was a bit of a gamble obviously, but obviously it paid off and worked out great. It’s tough. Everybody is so good in this it sometimes takes something different to mix it up to pull one out.”
Rodney Childers, Harvick’s crew chief, went to victory lane to congratulate the Furniture Row Racing team. According to Pearn, he and Childers often congratulate each other on their success.
The defending series champion Truex is fifth in the point standings with 18 playoff points. Harvick leads the way with 26, and Kyle Busch has 25.
With three wins, Truex now has the third-most wins in the series behind Harvick (5) and Busch (4).