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For crew chiefs, it’s life in the fast lane


Cole Pearn and Chris Gayle feel right at home in Golden, but neither is home very often.

Both are crew chiefs for Denver's NASCAR Furniture Row Racing teams.

Pearn is in his second season as crew chief for the No. 78 team and driver Martin Truex Jr. Truex, who won March 12 in Las Vegas, is third in driver points and has a series-leading eight playoff bonus points following the March 26 Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California.

Gayle is the crew chief for the No. 77 and rookie driver Erik Jones, for the second FRR team. Jones is 15th in the point standings.

Pearn and his family moved from North Carolina to the Denver area before the start of the 2016 season. They are embracing the Colorado lifestyle, but it's not always easy.

"It's hard being away," said Pearn, a native of London, Ontario, who plays hockey in an area league and skis during the offseason. "I've got two young kids (Callum and Freya), so it's hard on my wife (Carrie)... We just do the best we can with it, but it's a challenge."

On most NASCAR weeks when races are on Sundays, the FRR teams return to Denver after the race Sunday evening and depart on Thursday for the next track

Gayle, along with his wife Brandi and 2-year-old daughter Cora, moved to Golden from North Carolina on Nov. 30, 2016.

"I moved out (here) and three days later it dumped 9 inches of snow and it was like 4 degrees for a high for two straight days," Gayle. "I was like, 'whew, this is more than I expected,' but then three days later it was 50 degrees and all the snow was gone. It's nice and sunny and I like that."

American football in Italy

Football is the most popular sport in Italy, but in America that sport is called soccer.

Castle View senior Riese Lutz is part of the American Football Worldwide USA Elite 19U team that will tour Italy April 15-22 and will play a game of American football on April 22 in Milan against the Italian National U19 team.

The Italian team gets together a couple times a year to train and compete against other national European American football teams. The USA team will help refine the American form of football for Italy's team.

Lutz was all-conference player in the Mount Wilson league last season. The cornerback/free safety made 26 solo tackles, had five interceptions and blocked two field goals.

Later start shouldn't effect sports

Start time for classes at the high schools in the Cherry Creek School District will start later for the 2017-18 school year. The school day will start at 8:20 a.m. and release at 3:30 p.m.

Cherry Creek High School Athletic Director Jason Wilkins doesn't anticipate any effect on Bruins' athletic practices or after-school games, even those away games that start at 4 or 4:15 p.m.

"We do anticipate a few more students wanting off the last period of the day as athletes will not want to miss class for a game," Wilkins said. "We also anticipate more students wanting a first-period class since it will now start later.

"When I went through and looked at every game played last year, the location and the times, it was surprising to see how few games would have been affected by this new end time. One of the benefits is that many coaches are out of the building these days, so practices started later anyway. This later end time will help to eliminate some of that down time while kids waited for practice to start."

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton


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