By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
Since Furniture Row Racing announced they would be shutting down at the end of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the dynamic duo of Martin Truex, Jr. and Cole Pearn have been rumored to be moving in house to Joe Gibbs Racing for 2019.
After months of speculation, the move is now official as the team announced that Truex and Pearn would be taking over the No. 19 Toyota next season.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to bring two people of this caliber into your organization, it’s certainly an exciting time,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “They obviously have developed a chemistry that has led to tremendous success, including a championship. We’ve gotten to know them well over the past few years through the alliance and having been part of the Toyota family. They both make us stronger as an organization.”
Since teaming up together at Furniture Row in 2014, Truex and Pearn have won 17 races together, four of which have come this season, and they currently sit second in points with two races remaining in the 2018 campaign. They also conquered the sport last season by winning the championship, a first for the driver, crew chief, and the team.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to join Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Truex, Jr. “Obviously to be able to make this transition and still be able to work alongside Cole is something that was very important to me. There is also a real comfort level working with the JGR team and I wanted to stay in the Toyota family. We still have big goals for the remainder of this season, but it’s nice to know what we will be doing in 2019.”
Pearn noted that since they have been a JGR affiliate over the past three seasons, the transition to being in house at JGR should be a smooth one, but was quick to turn his immediate attention to the task at hand with the end of the 2018 season rapidly approaching.
“I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish over the past few years out of Denver and the move to JGR will make the transition for 2019 an easy one,” said Pearn. “It’s a great organization with a lot of great people and a leadership team that wants to win. We still have work to do this season of course, but it’s nice to finally make our plans official for 2019.”
While Truex and Pearn have a new home for 2019, the odd man out in the move is current driver of the No. 19 car, Daniel Suarez. After claiming the Xfinity Series championship in 2016, Suarez advanced up to the Cup Series the following year and has scored four top-five finishes, 21 top-10 finishes, and one pole in 70 starts with the team. Currently he sits 20th in points.
“We really appreciate everything Daniel (Suárez) has done for Joe Gibbs Racing over these past several years,” Gibbs added. “He has made the most of every opportunity from winning the championship in the Xfinity Series to making the jump into the Cup Series for us. We look forward to hearing about his plans going forward and know he continues to have a bright future in our sport.”