Cole Pearn had words with Team Penske crew chief Todd Gordon after Gordon and his driver, Joey Logano, won the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Pearn was not happy with the contact between Logano and Martin Truex Jr. on the final lap — so unhappy that when the NBC Sports television broadcast caught Pearn in the garage after he had already stalked and paced around pit road by the No. 78 team and car, verbally letting his frustration known, Pearn was still shaking.
“Yeah, I’m happy I don’t have a baseball bat or a jack handle right now,” Pearn offered with a small laugh.
“Used a few choice words I probably shouldn’t have, but it’s racing,” Truex said of what he told Gordon. “You’re competitive, and you care about it. We put our whole lives into this, and when you come that close to it, you get emotional about it, for sure.”
Truex ultimately finished third, losing the runner-up spot to Denny Hamlin coming to the finish line as Truex tried to get his car under control. Truex said he hopes that Logano is proud of himself and expected the same courtesy that he had shown Logano by racing him clean throughout the day.
Logano is now locked into the Championship 4 while Truex is 25 points above the cutline. Truex and Furniture Row Racing are looking to not only defending their title in Miami next month but send the team out on a high note as team owner Barney Visser is shutting the doors after the season.
Truex has still never won at a short track.
“That’s tough to take,” Pearn said of the emotions. “Had a great car today and Martin did a good job racing him clean and worked him over and eventually got him. I guess we shouldn’t have cleared him and given him the chance, you know? But not surprised coming from him. That’s kind of how he drives, and whatever.
“That’s his choice to make, and I guess that’s short track racing. Kind of a crappy way to have it, with it being that close and work so hard for this team, and just everything we got riding on it with team closing down and to have it right there, that close, it’s tough to take.”