James Small replaces Cole Pearn as Crew Chief for Joe Gibbs Racing Car 19

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 17: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead Speedway on November 17, 2019 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Joe Gibbs Racing Statement:



HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 19, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that James Small has been promoted from lead engineer to crew chief of the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Small is no stranger to teaming with Martin Truex Jr. as the pair have worked together in some capacity for the past three seasons dating back to their time at

Furniture Row Racing. Last season, Small served as the lead engineer for the No. 19 team that won a series-best seven races and claimed 15 top-five finishes and 24 top-10s on the way to a runner-up

result in the NASCAR Cup Series standings.

“This is an incredible opportunity,” Small said. “Having the confidence of Coach, Martin and everyone at JGR means a lot to me. I moved to the United States six years ago to work in NASCAR and I

wanted to work my way up to become a crew chief. I’m ready for this and I am excited about working with Martin and the foundation we have in place on the 19 team with the group of guys we have.”

While this will be the 36-year-old Australian’s first full-time crew chief role, he has experience atop the pit box when he filled in for two races working with Erik Jones in 2017 with Furniture Row Racing. In those two races, Small guided the then-rookie Jones to a 10th-place finish at Watkins Glen International and a third-place result at Michigan International Speedway.

“I know James well and feel very comfortable with him,” Truex said. “I feel like we approach racing very similar. He and Cole (Pearn) have a lot of similarities. It’s a natural fit and I’m really excited about it. I think he’ll do a great job.”

Before transitioning to Joe Gibbs Racing at the start of the 2019 season, Small spent the previous two years at Furniture Row Racing where he was the No. 77 team’s lead engineer in 2017 and eventually shifted to Truex’s team in 2018. Prior to that, Small spent eight years working in Australia in the V8 Supercars Championship before moving to the United States and an engineering role at Richard Childress Racing from 2014-2016.

Additionally, Jeff Curtis has joined Joe Gibbs Racing as lead engineer for the No. 19 team. He previously worked with Truex at Furniture Row Racing, including the team’s 2017 championship season.

Car chief Blake Harris will return to the No. 19 team in the same capacity for the 2020 season.

Crew chief for the No. 19 Toyota Camry will be announced at a later date.


2017 championship crew chief resigns role at Joe Gibbs Racing

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 9, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today that crew chief Cole Pearn has decided to leave the organization to pursue opportunities outside of the sport.

Pearn, who joined JGR following the 2018 season, led Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 19 team to a runner-up finish in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series standings following a series-best seven wins, 15 top-

five finishes and 24 top-10s. During the 2019 Playoffs alone, the Pearn-led No. 19 team claimed three wins, a pair of runner-up finishes and only finished outside the top seven once in 10 races.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision,” Pearn said. “At the end of the day, I really want to spend time with my family and actually see my kids grow up. 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 want to be there for all the things that my kids are going to experience while they are still young.

I love racing and there isn’t a better place to be than Joe Gibbs Racing, but 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.”

Over the past five seasons, Pearn and Truex have enjoyed one of the most successful stretches in NASCAR history where they won the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship and qualified for the

Championship 4 on four different occasions. The duo’s 23 wins since the start of 2016 are the best amongst 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.”

Crew chief for the No. 19 Toyota Camry will be announced at a later date.


About Joe Gibbs Racing:

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR with four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams, three NASCAR Xfinity Series teams and a driver development program. Its 2020 driver lineup will consist of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, and Martin Truex Jr. in the NASCAR Cup Series. Meanwhile Brandon Jones will be joined by rookies Riley Herbst and Harrison Burton to run fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, while Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin compete on a limited schedule. In addition, Ty Gibbs will continue in JGR’s development program running a partial schedule in the team’s ARCA program. Based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by Joe Gibbs — a three-time Super Bowl winner as head coach of the Washington Redskins and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — JGR has competed in NASCAR since 1992, winning five Cup Series championships, and five Xfinity Series owner’s championships along with more than 300 NASCAR races, including four Brickyard 400s and three Daytona 500s.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR

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