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Pearn Joins ECR & Daly For Indianapolis 500

Pearn Joins ECR
Cole Pearn will serve as Conor Daly’s engineer for the Indianapolis 500. (Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – One of the most successful engineers in NASCAR will join Ed Carpenter Racing at this year’s 104th Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Aug. 23.

The engineer in question is Cole Pearn, who will work with Conor Daly’s No. 47 US Air Force Chevrolet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pearn will return to racing for the month of August, serving as the lead engineer for Daly.

Pearn was a key ingredient in Martin Truex’s 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship. The Truex-Pearn combination competed in NASCAR’s championship race at Homestead Miami Speedway in four of the five seasons they were together.

“I am super excited to get a chance to compete in the Indy 500 with Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing,” Pearn said. “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.”

The Canadian earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, and then moved to the United States to join NASCAR. He became an engineer with Richard Childress Racing before shifting to Denver-based Furniture Row Racing.

In 2015, he was promoted to crew chief of the team’s No. 78 with driver Martin Truex Jr. The pair won the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship, competed in the title race in four of five years, and won a series-high seven races last year.

Pearn stepped away from full-time NASCAR competition at the close of the 2019 season, returning to his home country of Canada with his wife Carrie and their two young children. The couple now own and operate Golden Alpine Holidays, which includes four backcountry lodges in British Columbia.

Pearn has remained involved in the sport, serving as an analyst for NASCAR.com.

Daly will be returning to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval after his most successful Indianapolis 500 run to date.

In 2019, he set the fastest lap of all practice sessions, nearly made the Fast Nine Shootout for the pole position and earned a career-best finish of 10th.

After serving as one of the most trusted reserve drivers in the paddock the past two seasons, Daly is back to full-time NTT IndyCar Series competition in 2020. Daly drives ECR’s No. 20 for the road and street course events, No. 47 in the Indianapolis 500 and races in the remaining oval events with Carlin.

This year’s Indianapolis 500 will mark the seventh time the Noblesville, Ind., native has competed in his home race and his third year of representing the U.S. Air Force.

Daly’s special edition No. 47 entry pays homage to the founding year of the U.S. Air Force and one of its most iconic aircraft, the Bell X-1.

While the 2020 Indianapolis 500 will be Pearn’s first as an engineer, it will also be Daly’s first with Ed Carpenter Racing.

“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.”

ECR has two full-time entries in the NTT IndyCar Series and has expanded to three cars for the Indianapolis 500.

Daly’s teammates will be team owner and fellow Hoosier Ed Carpenter and Dutch rookie Rinus VeeKay. Pete Craik, lead engineer on Carpenter’s No. 20, worked with Pearn at Furniture Row Racing and was also a part of the 2017 championship run. ECR’s chief engineer Matt Barnes oversees the department and will head up the No. 21 of VeeKay.

An ECR Chevrolet has qualified on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 six of the past seven years, including three pole positions by Carpenter (2013, 2014 and 2018).

Tim Broyles, general manager of ECR, spoke of the addition to the team’s engineering staff.

“We prepare all year to be the best we can be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and bringing on someone of Cole Pearn’s caliber for August only adds to that,” Broyles said. “We are proud of the engineering program that we have built, and Cole is a solid addition to that group.”

The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally slated for May 24 but has been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crowds will now be limited to 25 percent of IMS’s capacity and fans will be required to wear masks and pass temperature checks.

Practice will take place Tuesday, Aug. 11 through Friday, Aug. 14, as well as Friday, Aug. 21. Qualifying will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16.

The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 23.

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