(AP Photo/Terry Renna)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Cole Pearn, considered one of the top crew chiefs in NASCAR, is leaving the sport to spend more time with his family.
Pearn won the 2017 NASCAR championship with Martin Truex Jr. and guided Truex to the title race in four of their five years together, including the last three seasons. 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.
The team put tires on the wrong side of Truex's car during a routine stop and it put him a lap down - too much to overcome to catch Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Truex finished second to Busch in the race, and Busch won the title for Gibbs.