At 20 points above the cutoff line for the round of 8, all Martin Truex Jr. needs on Sunday is some good luck and a little push to make it past the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval and move on to the next round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. And giving him that push, in part, is going to be an old ally from Truex's greatest successes as a Cup driver.
According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, Cole Pearn -- Truex's crew chief from 2015 to 2019 -- is listed as an additional spotter for Truex's team this weekend at the Charlotte Roval. Pearn will serve alongside Drew Herring, Truex's usual spotter, in helping him navigate Charlotte's 17-turn combination oval and road course configuration. It is presently unclear how Pearn's return to Truex's team came together.
In the mid to late 2010s, Truex and Pearn combined to form one of the more prolific driver-crew chief combinations in recent NASCAR history. Paired together at Furniture Row Racing, Pearn helped guide Truex to 24 victories, four appearances in the Championship Four of the playoffs, and the 2017 Cup Series championship after a season where Truex posted a career-high eight wins. After Furniture Row Racing shut down following the 2018 season, Pearn followed Truex to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019 before stepping down to pursue other opportunities. Pearn's role as Truex's crew chief was filled by James Small.
Although Pearn is no longer involved in the day-to-day of NASCAR, he has stayed involved in racing through some media work as well as a one-off appearance in IndyCar: Pearn served as the lead engineer for Ed Carpenter Racing's No. 47 team in the 2020 Indianapolis 500.
Thanks to a fourth place finish at Las Vegas and a 12th place run at Talladega, Martin Truex Jr. enters the final race of the round of 12 a full 20 points above the cutoff line to make the round of 8. Truex has finished seventh in each of the last two races at the Charlotte Roval, and was leading the inaugural 2018 race at the track in the final corner when he and Jimmie Johnson spun racing for the win.