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September 17, 2017

Joe Garone

Cole Pearn

Barney Visser

Joliet, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with our post race media availabilities for today's Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
We're joined by Cole Pearn, with the No. 78 Furniture Row Denver Mattress Toyota. We're also joined by Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing.
Gentlemen, pretty neat to start off the Playoffs with a win there, a little bit of slime out in Victory Lane. Take us through the race.
COLE PEARN: Yeah, kind of a down day there for a little bit. We were fortunate enough to overcome. The 18 was definitely a little better than us those first couple runs. We sped on pit road there that last segment. Seemed like a lot of people were having issues with that today for whatever reason. Then we kind of battled back.
We were lucky enough to stay on the lead lap. That was really the key there. Then we left lugs off on the next stop, had to come back, which was kind of just poor execution on our part. We should have put them back on when we were in there, but we didn't.
We kind of took that time to make some bigger adjustments on the car that we had really kind of been not wanting to make, just to not slow the stops down. That was really where we started to pick it up, got the balance right.
Martin did an unbelievable job driving back through the field there that second stage, got us up to third, got us in position. Pretty confident towards the end of that run that we were better than the 4 and 24, especially on the long run.
Yeah, we were just able to have a smooth, clean execution the last stage.
THE MODERATOR: Joe, from your perspective?
JOE GARONE: I have to say I didn't hear the question because I was walking in when you asked it.
THE MODERATOR: Take us through the race.
JOE GARONE: Cole pretty much explained just about all of it. Starting from practice, when we first got here, I watch these guys. I see sometimes how far the car is off at the beginning of the practice sessions, what they do to get it dialed in. You're running up front, they come into pit and make changes. Sometimes you're like, Man, you're already pulling away from the field, but you pit and make more changes.
It's just amazing, honestly, what Cole and the guys do. It comes down to that last three laps. This one in particular is, like, you just couldn't breathe. It was nice to get it done and in the books.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by Barney Visser, the owner of Furniture Row Racing.
Barney, what does it mean for the team to start off with a win like this in the Playoffs?
BARNEY VISSER: Ed Laukes, chief marketing officer for Toyota, is from Chicago. It's nice to come into Chicago and bring the trophy home again for him.
It's real nice to relax for the next couple races, but I know the guys won't. It will give us a little bit of a break, but they won't take it.
We'll just keep working like we always do.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions for the team.

Q. Cole, with the win, you automatically transfer to the next round. It lessens the importance a little bit of next week. I ask that because you're probably going to have a practice hold. Is that a good feeling? Take me through why you had the issues in tech.
COLE PEARN: I told Martin before the race, You need to have a real good strategy to win today because I don't think we're having much practice next week. It was kind of one of those snowball mornings in tech. We had a small issue on the top of the splitter that kind of got dinged up when they put the nose module on. That just kind of took us a couple times to get that fixed. It was just kind of confusing because it was an odd scenario kind of what had happened.
We had the always untimely fail of the LAS at the end after we got all that fixed. You can only get through that thing so many times. Anyway, yeah, that's the way it went. There we go. We probably have 45 minutes or so next week, I guess.

Q. Cole, does this win feel any different or mean anything different than last year's win here?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, I mean, I don't know. Yeah, last year we kind of had an up‑and‑down day, too. We had a tire come apart last year when we were running up front. Had to go down a lap and overcome that.
I don't know. We definitely haven't had the cleanest days when it comes to Chicago, but we have a good understanding of what we need to do to be good here. We really had to work for it this weekend. We were pretty far off when we unloaded off the truck. Swung a lot more than we normally would.
But when you only race at some of these places once a year, it's kind of tricky. You're coming back with a new tire, new downforce rules. You haven't been here in a year, so much has changed. It takes a little bit of time to get ahold of it.
We really worked hard last night trying to understand our problems from practice. I feel like we made the right changes and were able to get the car in the right direction for today.

Q. TV showed them taking your tires over to the dunk tank. Does that happen all that often? Were you surprised that was done, considering how many laps you'd been leading?
COLE PEARN: No, we've had that a lot. I think last year they took them like 15 times or something like that. Usually when you're running good, they're going to come take 'em. That's fine. They're just doing their due diligence, doing what they should be doing. No issue there.

Q. (No microphone.)
COLE PEARN: I don't think it's been as many this year for whatever reason. Definitely five or six times, I guess. I'm guessing at that, though.

Q. Barney, I don't see any green slime on you. Was that a team owner designation?
BARNEY VISSER: I knew it was going to happen. That's what I do, I stayed out of it (smiling).

Q. Cole, Martin was obviously really disappointed last week, despite the positives of winning the regular season and all that. Do you think the way he drove today was sort of a response to that? Did he come into this race a little more charged up than normal?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, for sure. After last week he was like, I want to go to Chicago and lap the field twice. I think he was pretty motivated this whole weekend. Even when we were struggling in practice, he kept an upbeat attitude, kept everybody calm and focused, which shows more of his leadership skills.
I think, yeah, coming off last week, definitely motivated. I think he showed that in how he drove today.

Q. Barney, Martin mentioned this sometimes before, but really seems to be kind of grasping this moment in his career that he didn't think he would ever be able to have the chance to run like some others have in such a dominating fashion. What does it feel like to you to be able to give him that opportunity?
BARNEY VISSER: I think we all realize it's just a unique time in history, in all of our lives, that this has come together. It's pretty rare that you can pull together a group of people this talented, and they will communicate well and get along as well as these guys do.

Q. Cole, do you wish the 18 didn't have problems so you could have seen what you could have done head‑to‑head against him?
COLE PEARN: That's a loaded question. I mean, I like those guys, so I don't want to wish them ill will. I was pretty happy we weren't racing them. Even when they were back in there, they were really strong, had good speed. With all those long runs, new cars would get lapped, they wouldn't be able to be in position for the Lucky Dog.
For sure, if they would have got back on the lead lap, they were going to be a challenge. They were really good, especially early on. We didn't have much for them.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on the win. Look forward to the Round of 12.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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