CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Championship winning crew chief Cole Pearn of Joe Gibbs Racing is leaving NASCAR to spend more time with his family.
Pearn won the 2017 NASCAR championship with Martin Truex Jr. and guided Truex to the title race the last three years. Truex was the championship runner-up the last two years, including last month when a rare mistake in the pits cost the No. 19 team a shot at the title.
Pearn and Truex joined JGR this year when Furniture Row Racing closed. The move required Pearn, a Canadian, to relocate from Colorado to North Carolina and he made no secret of the outdoor time he missed with his family.
"At the end of the day, I really want to spend time with my family and actually see my kids grow up," Pearn said Monday. "Being on the road, you are away from home so much and miss a lot of time with your family. I don't want to miss that time anymore. ....I don't want to look back in 20 years and think about everything I missed with my wife and kids while I was gone. They are what is most important to me."
Pearn and Truex had a series-best seven wins this season. In five years together, the duo qualified for the title-deciding finale four times. They won 23 races since the start of 2016, best among all driver-crew chief combos over that time.
"I cannot say enough good things about Cole and what he has meant for my career," Truex said. "I appreciate his hard work and dedication to our race team over the past six years going back to when he was my engineer at Furniture Row. Our friendship is what matters most to me and I'm happy that he's doing what's best for him and his family."
Gibbs did not name a new crew chief for Truex.
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