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June 24, 2018

Joe Garone

Cole Pearn

Barney Visser

Sonoma, California

THE MODERATOR: Joined now by owner of the winning team, Barney Visser, and Furniture Row Racing president Joe Garone. Welcome. We'll start with a question for Barney. What was going through your mind during the last 10 laps of the race?
BARNEY VISSER: I should have a better answer than I do right now because I've been asked that about six times tonight. Yeah, I'm like everybody else. I'm just praying there's not going to be a caution here. It was a pretty intense‑‑ I was thinking about last year and having the fastest car here and just not being able to pull it off. This place can break your heart, so I just didn't know what was going to happen.

Q. Did you understand what Cole was going for when he was first calling Martin into the pits, or were you in the dark as much as everybody else was initially?
JOE GARONE: Oh, I got it, 100 percent. And it was flying by the seat of your pants kind of call. Had we not been running second at the time and feeling like we maybe weren't quite as good as the 4 car, at least at that point in time, it was a call that the guys rumbled back and forth about and made, and obviously the first time we called it, it didn't work, so it was really cool that we were able to call it the second time‑‑ yeah, what a great move by Cole.

Q. Barney, you kind of alluded to this, but Rodney Childers said he felt last year you all had the best car, and the 4 won. Now he felt like the 4 had the best car and you won, so he feels like everything is square. Do you have the same feeling?
BARNEY VISSER: No, I think we still need to beat them a few more times. No, that's right. This place can break your heart. You show up with the fastest equipment, and we both think we have the best driver, and I‑‑ today we won and they lost.

Q. You have been growing this organization for a little while now; what does a win like this mean as far as the maturity of the team and what you're building out of it?
JOE GARONE: Well, it continues‑‑ any time we get a win, it continues to strengthen the team and validate our efforts, in particular coming off a championship. You want to come back the second year and be as strong as you can possibly be. It's not just about putting good strong cars out on the track and guys doing good stops and making the right call, it's also about the platform we build for our sponsors, and I think that continues to grow, and I think we've shown real strong strength there as a leader, and it's just‑‑ winning is everything and validates our efforts.

Q. Barney, Harvick has a little bit owned the series at the start of the year. You all seem to be coming along here. Have you felt after last year, have you been feeling greedy, like why can't we win them all? And where do you see your team just as far as championship contention versus Harvick?
BARNEY VISSER: Well, it's taken us a little longer to get this downforce package pulled together. They started out a little faster than we did. I think we're starting to get a handle on it now, and I think we're going to be real strong the rest of the season.
THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by winning crew chief Cole Pearn. Questions for Cole?

Q. I was wondering about the strategy; how long before you made that call were you thinking of that, and did it become obvious to you like, all right, this is the only shot we have here to run with this guy?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, I think kind of as the first run went and they started to make gains on us, it was clearly they were a little bit better. We continued to work on the car, too. I think really before we pitted the last time we were getting way more equal with them. We were starting where I thought we were actually gaining on them a little bit. But earlier in the race, we were like, hey, if this goes long, this might be an opportunity to do something different, and fortunately it worked out.

Q. First off, how did you get the gash on your face?
COLE PEARN: I wish I was fighting a bear or a cougar or something cool, but my wife has been on me about building this treehouse for our kids. Anyways, I wanted nothing to do with it, but we were fortunate with the West Coast race we were able to fly out Friday morning, so I actually like had somewhat of a day off on Thursday and I decided to get involved.
They kind of had it screwed up a bit from what they had done before, and we kind of took it all down and reset, and we were resetting like a four‑by‑four corner post, and I thought my wife had it and she didn't, and I walked away to get a clamp and she yelled my name and I turned right into it and basically got KO'd by it. But yeah, it went right down to my skull, bled a lot, and had to get stitched on the inside, then on the outside. Was back in about an hour, and I worked until about 9:00 Thursday night and I finished the stupid thing, so I'm glad it's done.
JOE GARONE: He probably wouldn't have made that call if he wouldn't have been hit in the head.

Q. Do you have a sense of pride of snookering them, and if the thought was to do it, were you thinking do we do it today or do we maybe wait for another road course race where this strategy could work?
COLE PEARN: I don't know. I think you've got to take the opportunities when they present themselves. You know, we were fortunate‑‑ last year we had a really great car, by far better than they were, and they were the second best car, and we blew up and they won. You know, so fortunate enough for us to work out and win. But you never know what's going to happen in the future, but at the end of the day, we really wanted to win today, and proud it worked out.

Q. How often does stuff like that go on? Sometimes at an oval race or something, it'll be like, oh, the guys jumped up on the wall, but I don't really know if that affects a race that much or at least we can't tell from our perspective or TV perspective that it really played a factor in the race. This one was so obvious today it seemed like that this was deciding the outcome of the race. Has this happened before in a situation in your career where that type of call actually really changed the outcome of the whole event?
COLE PEARN: I think there's little things that go on every week on an oval track, but I think the harder thing is that everything happens so much quicker. Here you're 78‑, 80‑ second lap times versus 30 seconds on an average week, so it's a little bit different, more time to react kind of to set something up, I guess, like that. So it's definitely a little bit of a product of just having a longer track and more opportunity to do that.

Q. Rodney came into Victory Lane; what did he say to you? Were you surprised to see him, and do you guys have a pretty good relationship as you're continuing to battle here for titles?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, we have a great relationship I feel like. I respect him a lot, and I feel like he does the same. Him and Martin worked together back at MWR, so they're good friends. At the end of the day, we're playing a game, so it's like at the end of the day, he's a good guy, and I think it's kind of cool for him to do that, and I think‑‑ I always try and congratulate them when they win, and he always does it when we win. Like I said, we've raced against each other now for ‑‑ as long as I've been a crew chief, we've battled them a lot of weeks, and they're a great race team, make us better. I think that was cool.
There's plenty of days where they're going to be up. Kevin Harvick is an awesome race car driver, and I've got a lot of respect for him. I was race engineer for him when I first started. I think it's pretty cool to be able to race them like we do.

Q. Is that usual, Cole, to have that kind of respect between top race teams like that?
COLE PEARN: Well, I think that's the cool thing about racing. I think you go from this level down to short track level, at the end of the day, you're competing against each other, but you're all there to help each other out when you're down. At the end of the day, we're playing a game. I mean, it's kind of cool to have that camaraderie, and you spend so many weeks together beside each other in the garage area working next to them, and obviously competing with them on race day and stuff. So I think that's one of the cool things about motorsports from go‑karts to even the Cup level is it's kind of a family at the end of the day.

Q. Cole, I wasn't quite clear on how Martin knew not to come to pit road. Did "pit now" mean don't pit, or did you call him off at the last second?
COLE PEARN: I called him off at the last second. As far as he knew we were pitting. I'd like to say that we're smart enough to use codes, but we're not. We probably would screw it up. It was just.

Q. Truex shared in Victory Lane that he trusts you wholeheartedly; win or lose, you guys do it together as a team and as an organization. So whenever you're able to pull off kind of what we felt was a strategy gamble when you guys only pitted once in that final stage versus everyone else pitting twice and then obviously hoping that no caution is going to come out in the closing laps, how does that help strengthen your bond together as a team?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, I mean, caution could have came out and we would have been snookered the other way. We've got a good relationship, and we get along really well. I think when it comes to these races, calling strategy, you've just got to make the best call you can at the time, and that's what we did, and it worked out. So I think as far as his confidence in us, it's really good, and same with our confidence in them. I think that's the cool thing with being together as long as we have now. You continue to get better, and that's a neat thing.

Q. Cole, was it about 15 laps from the end when you told Martin, we've got this? What exactly was the language that you used? And what was going through your head at that point?
COLE PEARN: Once they really opted to‑‑ once we were able to get the lead and opted to pit again which was the smart call for them at that point, that was for sure the right call for them to make, but we had made our bed at that point and we were sitting there with a 23‑second lead, it's like, well, you know, this kind of worked out, so just be smart here, and it was good that no caution came and we were able to bring it to the line.

Q. If Harvick doesn't pit, then would you guys have pitted at that point, or was the whole intention to stay out?
COLE PEARN: The whole intention was to stay out. We had a lap in mind that we were going to pit at, and it was just trying to get ourselves off sequence from them.

Q. You all have a championship from last year. You're the defending champion team. And you're also kind of seen as the scrappy team, the smaller team that could, and you go against some powerhouse teams that are out there. What do you think keeps you as defenders and as champions?
COLE PEARN: We've got a lot of great people, and obviously Barney's commitment to our team. He enables us to kind of do it at a high level for a single‑car team, and on top of that we've got great partners in Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing that we couldn't do without, period. They're awesome to work with, and we have a great relationship with them, so it's kind of a unique situation where we've got a lot of good people, and being out in Colorado is definitely a challenge at times, but we look to the opportunities that we can embrace it. It really just comes down to people. We've got a great team of people, even though it is a one‑car team, and we rely on them heavily.

Q. Can you elaborate a little bit on that? What is the difference between being a two‑car team but still‑‑ how is it that it works with you and Gibbs?
COLE PEARN: You know, we work back and forth a lot. Some weeks it's difficult, especially on East Coast races. We have to load a lot earlier just logistically to get there, and then these West Coast races it's an advantage for us over most teams. We're able to have the car in the shop a few days more than everybody else to get them out here. We like the West Coast races a lot. It plays into our favor. But I think the biggest thing is it just comes down to relationships with people, and we've got a lot of really good ones and a lot of trust and a lot of ones that have just been built over time. It's not something you just go draw up. We struggled for a lot of years and we just kind of adjusted and massaged and found a place that we know works for us, but it's a constant struggle. It's something we have to work at every week, and it's just fortunate enough, again, that we have a really good team of people and we've got a really good group of people that we work with.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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