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September 4, 2016

Joe Garone

Cole Pearn

Darlington, South Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We will continue on with our media availability for tonight's Bojangle's Southern 500. We are joined by crew chief Cole Pearn and Furniture Row Racing GM Joe Garone with the No.78 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota for Furniture Row Racing. Cole, talk to me about this win. You were here with this race team when it got its first win here at the Southern 500. How sweet is this victory tonight?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, honestly, it's somewhat of a similar feel. I thought no way we'd win. The one we won five years ago, I thought midway through the race there was no way we were going to win tonight. We just kept plugging away on it, and we had one run in the race where we kind of made some more aggressive adjustments and took off and we weren't very good. I was kind of like, oh, no, the wheels are going to fall off, but it started to come around on that run, and we got really good and kind of gained a direction to work. Just as the race went, just got better and better. We got better track position. The pit crew just did an unbelievable job.
We just had the night we needed. We've had a lot of fast cars here lately but just haven't really had the night go all our way. It was nice to have it go our way, and then the best car was, the last run of the race, and luckily we were able to drive and get it done.
THE MODERATOR: Joe, that No.78 Toyota has been a dominant car this season. What's it like now to see that dominance pay off with getting multiple wins?
JOE GARONE: It's great. It's been a rough season, but it's hard to have speed, and Cole and the guys, they've been bringing speed in the cars just every weekend. We've had a flurry of either mistakes that we've made or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for it to all come together finally, especially where we're at going into the Chase here shortly, it's just perfect timing.

Q. Cole, a lot of people would say that winning the Coke 600 and winning here in Darlington would make a great season. Does it make a great season, or is your season defined but what happens starting at Chicago in a couple weeks?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, for sure. I mean, we've still got 11 races left, and we've got Richmond next week and then into Chicago. It's a lot of work and a long way to go. We've prepped all this year to try and make it to Homestead again and win the championship, so that's definitely the goal. But to win two crown jewel races like this in one season is something you'll never forget for sure, regardless of what's happened. You've got to take the highs when they're here and then get back to work and be ready to give it hard the rest of the season.

Q. Cole, the 78 seems to have a lot of speed on intermediate tracks for sure, and with the predominance of intermediate tracks in the Chase, does that give you an even greater feeling of confidence going into that final 10‑race stretch, or is it all a matter of the fluidity of this sport can change at any minute?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, it for sure can change any minute, but they are, we have a lot of great tracks that we ran really good on earlier in the year that are in the Chase. We kind of had the same thing happen to us last year. We ran really good at those tracks early in the season, so we feel like we've got a real good understanding of what we need to do there.
But at the end of the day, you still have to run the race, and you never know what's going to happen. But definitely gives you confidence that you know what you need to do and you know the direction you need to work. I'm really hopeful that plays to our strength.

Q. Cole, do you feel at all for the 4 team? You guys have had pit crew stuff and things happen to you this year. Can you tell us what they're going through right now?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, I feel like they're my only sanity check, because I'm like, well, at least it happens to them, too. I feel bad for them for sure. I mean, it's not easy. They had a great car again tonight. To have the issues they had, I don't know, it's a team sport. Like it or not, you can have one side of the team doing great and the other side struggling. That's where I was so happy for our pit crew tonight. You've got to make so many pit stops here, and it was just the perfect night for them to get in a rhythm, and I really credit a lot of the win to them.

Q. Cole, at one point Martin was screaming over the radio about he's loose, he's tight, he's horrible, everything is going to hell. How do you kind of regroup in the middle of that and come back and get everybody calmed down and win?
COLE PEARN: I don't know, you just shake your head. That was the oddest thing ever because the run he was screaming like that, it was five laps later we were the fastest car on the track, so I don't really know. We had planned overhaul changes, and then we threw them out the window and didn't really touch it after that. Yeah, I think it's just a product of these rules. The cars are on edge, and this track is just really difficult to get a hold of. It's low grip. So all of a sudden you find a groove that suits your car better and then you get to running good again.
It's really fun. I mean, all weekend you're having to think outside the box, maybe more so than the typical intermediates because you've got asymmetric corners and low grip and bumps. It's got really all the elements that really make you work on the race car.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on grabbing another Southern 500 win, and good luck next week in Richmond.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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