Cole Pearn hadn’t yet followed engineer Cole Pearn on Twitter until the decision was made to pair them together at Ed Carpenter Racing in the Indianapolis 500 this month, but Daly knew the ex NASCAR crew chief had started to become quite the internet sensation this summer.
His reputation had preceded him.
"Look, I did not follow Cole, to be honest," Daly said. "I seen Cole retweeted many times. Big Internet guy. As an Internet man myself, I have a passion for Internet humor, content, creation."
If he didn’t know already, Daly has also been made aware that Pearn is a big deal when it comes to engineering a race car too.
"I got texts from so many people, messages," Daly said. "It's as if, like, we had hired the alpha of all racing. It's as if Mario Andretti has come to our team and blessed us with his experience and career, some alpha wizard of engineering. That's great. It's going to be a lot of fun to see what happens.
"I mean, we're going to get along, I can tell already. That's the best part."
The 37-year-old crew chief engineered the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship and 24 wins across 179 starts with Martin Truex Jr. at Furniture Row Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.
Even though the basics remain the same, Pearn knows the upcoming three days of practice before qualifications will be pivotal to giving Daly what he needs before the August 22 race.
"I think just getting more familiar with everything," Pearn said. "Obviously, when everything's kind of first nature, it comes quicker, you're able to make decisions better and quicker. I think getting more and more comfortable with everything.
Everything seems fine. Again, it's getting more familiar with it all. I think just getting through a couple days will feel a lot more comfortable. Definitely you kind of know where your feet are at that point. I think fortunately enough the Indy schedule is long enough that will hopefully help in that."
Pearn says NASCAR and INDYCAR cars both require the same principles when it comes to setting-up a good car, but "the values" differ due to the weight and downforce contrasts between them.
"You're still looking for the same things in terms of handling and all those type of metrics you kind of study are the same," Pearn said. "It's just the values are slightly different."
Pearn arrived in Indianapolis on Tuesday to work alongside his new team, but had been preparing for weeks thanks to a computer Ed Carpenter Racing sent to him at his Canadian home.
The great equalizer this year very well could be that the 2020 Indianapolis 500 will be the first with the new aero screen, meaning that notes from last year are not entirely apples-to-apples for contending teams.
"You're always relying on last year's data to kind of do your prep work," Pearn said. "For me, it's still having to learn what the differences are and understand that. When you're looking at stuff from last year, trying to correlate that to this year, you got to have that. Obviously, the aero changes, the weight distribution changes.
"I feel like kind of in the same boat with the other guys as far as what they're having to adapt to."
Working with Pearn in a one-off capacity shouldn’t be too challenging for Daly this month considering this is the third different car across two organizations that he will have driven for this season. Daly is contesting the full IndyCar Series schedule in 2020 but is driving the ovals for Carlin Racing and the road and street courses for Carpenter.
The Indianapolis No. 47 is with ECR but is a different than the No. 20 he drives on road and streets.
"I've learned to just try to get along with everyone," Daly said. "I have enjoyed working with a variety of people because everyone has a bit of a different way they like to do things, a bit of a different way that they like to tune the setup. I think I've learned from that, as well.
"There are a few things that I know that I like in the car, and there are a few things that a lot of engineers really want to make work because that's what they like. There's a lot of different things I can learn from that.
"I'm a very, like, trusting individual. I'm going to be like, ‘Hey, I know that you are a very smart man and have done more school than me probably, have been in this racing world for a long time.’ Obviously Cole has an incredible amount of experience in the racing world. Was a driver himself, as well. He knows what's going on."
Daly conceded that INDYCAR will challenge Pearn, but also expressed confidence that the skillset is enough to overcome it.
And once Pearn learns, perhaps his NASCAR background will lend ECR a strength few other teams will have at the corner of 16th and Georgetown.
"Is there a lot to learn in the INDYCAR world? Absolutely, I think for sure," Pearn said. "There is for anyone, for all of us. We're still learning every day, even me. It will be cool to see how that progresses.
"But, yeah, I mean, I look forward to getting into something new. This is an exciting time to get into the Indy 500 because it's been a bit of a crazy year. I mean, I just can't wait. It will be cool to see what his type of experience kind of brings to the table.
"You're always looking for something else that 32 other people don't have, something small. All you need is something small on race day to help you just do a little bit better of a job than anyone else. You never know, maybe a fresh opinion to the situation might give us that little advantage."
Pearn shockingly left NASCAR after the 2019 season, choosing instead to return to his native Canada to operate a ski lodge.
Furniture Row Racing closed in 2018 with Pearn and engineer (Pete) Craik opting to work remotely out of Denver, Colorado -- the town where the former team operated out of before most of its assets and personnel were absorbed by Joe Gibbs Racing.
Pearn remained with Truex at Gibbs but did not want to work out of the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Craik ultimately left Gibbs to work with Carpenter’s IndyCar program and was instrumental in bringing Pearn over for the Indianapolis 500.
Has Pearn considered additional IndyCar assignments?
"Too early to say," Pearn said. "(Full-time is) definitely not the A plan. Never say never to anything. Got to have a job and be able to pay for things and stuff like that.
"Yeah, who knows. This experience is something I'm really looking forward to. I think it's fun to be able to go and try something different. I don't know what my view of it will be once it's over. Anxious for the new experience."