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June 3, 2018

Joe Garone

Cole Pearn

Long Pond, Pennsylvania

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by members of our race‑winning team, which is the No.78 Bass Pro Shops 5‑Hour Energy Toyota. We are joined by the crew chief Cole Pearn and by the team president for Furniture Row Racing, Joe Garone. Cole, take us through that last pit stop there from your point of view in the pit box.
COLE PEARN: The not‑pitting one? Yeah, obviously that worked out now, but I was pretty nervous at the time, just didn't know how it was going to shake out. Kind of the 18 ducked off there and knew if we pitted we'd be behind them and then trying to come through traffic, so didn't think that was the call to win, at least at that point. You know, kind of wished maybe six or seven would have stayed out instead of four, but a little bit more nervous at that point. But obviously it worked out.
Even in practice, our re‑fires were really good on scuffs and felt like all day we had a good car. We were really equal. I think us, the 18 and the 4 were super equal all day, it was just a matter of kind of who was up front. Obviously taking the track position at that time and getting away from them was‑‑ made it feel good those first couple laps we ran. Some of those were the fastest laps of the race, and kind of knew then we had a good shot at it.
THE MODERATOR: Joe, second win of the season for you. What does this mean for Furniture Row racing?
JOE GARONE: Well, it's a continuation of checks and balances. We got a win early in the season there, and then somewhat struggled and then come back and get better and better and then be able to get a win again, and it just is good for all the guys in the shop to pick up their spirits and continue working hard and realizing that the product that they're giving Cole is something he can take with Martin and win with. It's big. Winning is everything.

Q. Cole, at some tracks, maybe most tracks, clean air is what you want, but in some cases you almost have to come in and take four. Is that something here that you would have more or less decided pre‑race, or was this sort of an at‑the‑moment decision?
COLE PEARN: It was definitely an at‑a‑moment decision. It was just win, one side or the other, it was pretty much a coin flip really when it came down to it. It's kind of a nicer spot to be in. If we were running second at the time, leading, it's a tougher decision, I think, and once the 18 ducked off, made the call to stay. Just thought our best odds was to do something different, and obviously it worked out.

Q. Cole, last week after the race, Martin had said that he thought you guys had top‑5 speed but not the winning speed that was going to beat Harvick and Kyle. Does this now show today that you guys are up there, or was this more a product of clean air and track position, and it was the circumstances?
COLE PEARN: No, I think it was a step in the right direction for us this weekend. We've been working really hard and felt good about it this weekend. I think you look at the first stage, we were third behind both those guys, and we passed them both to win the stage. So I think that really has nothing to do with the end. It showed that the speed was there in our car, and I think all three of us all day were give and take, where each of us were on the balance, we were all pretty equal. Obviously having track position then was good.
Just at the end, even before that, it was all three of us in a row kind of racing for it. It was a good step in the right direction for us, and it hasn't come without work, I promise you that.

Q. Cole, you seem to be pretty much a week‑to‑week guy, but do you and Martin ever have conversations about, hey, we can do this again this year?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, I mean, ultimately you can only control your own destiny, so I think it's just a matter of continuing to work on the areas that we know we need to improve, and there's still areas after this weekend we feel like we can improve. It's a matter of staying after it, and if you manage your own inputs, the output is going to be the best that you can hope for.
Obviously those guys, the 4 and the 18, have done an unbelievable job all year, and we've been close for sure, and today was a great step in the right direction and let us know that we were kind of working the right way.

Q. Cole, last year the 18 got beaten at this race by staying out when everyone came in for tires. Was that in the back of your mind at all knowing that in years past tires were more of a premium? Were you concerned that the clean air wouldn't be enough?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, obviously when only four of us stayed out, it was a little bit more of a concern at that point. But I think that race is a lot hotter, and today was kind of cool, kind of a little bit more gripped up, and even in practice we were able to re‑fire really well on older tires. I think that kind of gave us some optimism at least that, all right, if we can stretch it out‑‑ honestly, I thought it would have been closer. I think‑‑ I thought he would have been closer to us, but really once we got out running and the balance was really good at that point with the fuel burned off and scuffs, Martin was really happy with the car and able to make lap time. Once I kind of saw what we could run, I thought, all right, nothing crazy happens here, we've got a shot at it.

Q. Joe, there's been a lot of talk about potentially using the All‑Star package later in the year. How would that affect what you guys do as far as cost, and are you guys willing to go that direction?
JOE GARONE: You have to be willing to go that direction. Cost is a consideration because everything we do, no matter how it's presented, costs significant money to get into development. It sounds‑‑ you talk about it, and it sounds simple sometimes to do some of the changes, but we're all competitors, so these guys will take the cars and try and optimize them, and we end up pouring a lot of dollars into those kinds of moves. However, if it can produce a better product on the track, that product is really good right now, quite honestly. I think it's good that we research that stuff if we can, given enough runway, enough time.
COLE PEARN: I feel like you could really argue, though, that today was really better than yesterday. I think the racing today was better than what we saw yesterday, so that's something to consider.
JOE GARONE: You look at the laps times there for a certain period of time between the 4, the 18 and the 78, and you could have laid them over each other for a lot of laps. It was pretty impressive.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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