Joe Gibbs Racing announced Thursday that James Small has been promoted to crew chief of the NASCAR Cup Series No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota team with driver Martin Truex Jr. The news came just 10 days after Truex’s former crew chief, Cole Pearn, announced his departure from JGR.
Small, a native of Melbourne, Australia, has worked with Truex for the past three seasons beginning when they were both with Furniture Row Racing. In 2019 he joined JGR as the lead engineer for the No. 19 team with seven race wins, 15 top-five finishes and 24 top-10s as Truex finished runner-up in the year-end standings.
It will be interesting to see how the 2017 Cup Series champion performs with a new crew chief. Racing enthusiasts can check out the Online Casino Guide to keep up with the latest odds and betting strategies.
This will be the 36-year-old’s first full-time season as a crew chief. Small’s only previous experience as a crew chief was for two races In 2017 when he filled in to work with Erik Jones at Furniture Row Racing. His NASCAR resume includes two years at FRR where he began as lead engineer for the No. 77 team in 2017 before moving to work with Truex’s team in 2018. Prior to that, he served in an engineering role at Richard Childress Racing from 2014-2016.
“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.”
Pearn gave Small his full support, stating on Twitter, that Small “was the unanimous pick and I am so stoked to see one of my best friends get this opportunity and I know he is going to kill it.”
Truex also gave Small his endorsement, saying, “I know James well and feel very comfortable with him. 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.”