Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Watkins Glen Q&A Session

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Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Go Bowling at The Glen Advance (Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY)

Friday, August 3, 2018

 

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, completed the first weekend sweep of his NASCAR career when he won the NASCAR XFINITY and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International in 2015.  He stopped by the infield media center earlier today to talk about this weekend.

 

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – SINCE TALLADEGA YOU HAVE BEEN THE TOP FINISHING PENSKE DRIVER TWICE.  WHERE DO YOU GUYS NEED TO STEP UP AND WHAT WILL HELP YOU GET BACK TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE?  “I think there are a lot of different situations that happen after you win a race that may have some reason for that as well after we secured ourselves in the Playoffs.  That’s a good thing, and don’t take this wrong that we’re not trying to win more races, but it also becomes a priority to make sure our teammates are in the Playoffs as well because they can help us a lot through the Playoffs, too.  And it also presents us an opportunity to try different things.  We all talk about the big three and how fast they are, well, we’re not gonna catch them if we don’t try something different.  A majority of the time when you try something it doesn’t work, but maybe one out of 10 things you try does work and you’re able to make some gains.  I think just the mentality and the thought process has changed a little bit on how can we get faster for when we get to the Playoffs because the speed that we have right now is not enough to win the championship right now.  We have to get better, no doubt.  The only way I know how to get better is you have to try new things.  You have to be willing to change as a driver, as a team with the setups, the way we build cars and the thought process.  Things have to change to be able to keep up with the top three cars right now that we constantly talk about and we constantly see winning.  So we have to be willing to change and try things and because of that sometimes we don’t get the best results for that, but we’re in the position where we can do that right now.  We’re still fourth in overall points.  We have seven Playoff points, which isn’t a lot, but we’ll also have some good points if we’re able to maintain and stay up towards the front in the regular season points right now that will change into some good Playoff points as well.  We’ll do as much as we can here the next few weeks to try and find some more speed.  Obviously, this is a kind of a weekend that is just different and it’s hard to really say much, but I still expect the same cars to be fast.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see those three cars being three of the fastest, but it’s also one of those type of race tracks that not much transfers over to most race tracks.  Even the Roval is so different than what it is here at Watkins Glen.”

 

IS THE GAP THESE BIG THREE HAVE BUILT FORCING YOU TO THINK OR DO MORE RADICAL THINGS?  “Yeah.  The answer is yes.  Like I said, you have to think outside of the box and you have to use everything you have right now.  There’s not really any holding back.  What you have for new pieces and parts and anytime you develop anything it has to get on the car as quick as possible because we have to catch them.  I’m sure, you hope they don’t have more in the tank, but I’m pretty sure they do.  If they’re as fast as they are now, I’m sure they have a little more left when it comes to Playoff time, so we have to work really hard to keep trying to find this.  It’s no secret.  It’s not just Team Penske or whatever, it’s just three cars that are faster than everyone right now.  We haven’t seen a run last this long with three cars since I can remember, so it’s pretty incredible what they’re doing.  When you’ve got momentum on your side, your teams are working well, the cars are fast, things are going well.  They don’t have many , ‘Ah, we had the fastest car and we blew it today.’  They have the fastest car and win, at least one of them does, it’s just what happens.  We know what we have to do we just have to get it there and try to figure out what those pieces are to make the car go faster.”

 

DO YOU FEEL THINGS COULD BE GETTING STALE WITH THE TEAM?  IS THERE A SPARK THAT IS NEEDED?  “I think it’s important to remember when you’re going through something like this, and I guess you can call it a slump because you just haven’t won, but nobody has won really outside of those cars, so you’ve got to remember that.  You’ve got to remember that we’ve won 20 races or so together and we do know how to do it.  We know how to be competitive.  We’re race proven, so I think that gives us a lot of confidence and allows us to believe in each other and stay strong.  Sometimes you have to remind yourself that and talk about that because it’s easy for us, and it’s only human, as competitors to dwell on what we could do better.  You get frustrated and say, ‘Oh man, we made this mistake,’ or ‘We should have done this this weekend,’ or ‘We cost ourselves here or there.’  Sometimes it’s good to look at the positives as well and look at what we did good over the weekend or in years past or whatever it may be and make sure your head is still in the right spot when you show up to these race tracks because the worst thing that can happen is to feel defeated before you show up at the race track.  When you feel that way, you might as well just stay home.  So it’s important for us to learn from our mistakes and understand where we’re lacking, but it’s also important for us to show up at the race track thinking we have it fixed and we can win this weekend.  Sometimes it’s harder than it sounds.  It’s easy to say and hard to do, but I think as an athlete you have to think that way or else you should just stay home.  I think a lot of things, and all sports are mental sports, no matter what you’re doing – if you’re playing shuffleboard you can get in somebody’s head pretty easily.  It’s just human nature and if you can be mentally strong on the race track, then that’s gonna play into your favor for sure.  It’s easy to be mentally strong when you’re kicking everybody’s butt every week in times like a majority of the field is in right now and that’s when you need to be strong to be able to lead your team and keep everyone confident that way, but also lead yourself.”

 

DOES THIS WEEKEND ALLOW YOU TO PLAY YOUR STRATEGY DIFFERENTLY TO GET SOME PLAYOFF AND STAGE POINTS TO SET UP FOR THE PLAYOFFS?  “Last year we ran here and we weren’t too bad on speed, but we had to win.  We were in a must-win situation and we were swinging for the fence and we went for a strategy that was either gonna win the race or finish 20th and it didn’t work out.  This year, we’re not really in that situation that we have to go all-or-nothing, but I think if the opportunity is there to try to go for a win, we’re gonna try to do that.  It’s no secret.  A lot of times we are sometimes off strategy.  The Penske cars, in general sometimes, get themselves off strategy to try something different and why not?  You’ve got to try something.  Sometimes you have to be different to be better and I think that’s kind of fun to race that way.  If the opportunity presents itself to win a stage or to win the race, I’m sure that we’ll do everything we can to do that, but we also don’t want to put ourselves in too big of a hole to where we don’t get a good finish either.”

 

DO YOU STILL LIKE THE FORMAT OF TECH INSPECTION AFTER QUALIFYING?  DID YOU FEEL YOUR CAR WAS ANY DIFFERENT ON SUNDAY THAN IT WAS ON SATURDAY?  “The answer is yes because when you don’t pass post-qualifying tech, whatever you want to call it, the tolerances change on a lot of the wheel alignment stuff, which is a pretty big disadvantage from what you would have been, so there are weeks that sometimes it’s not like the whole field is trying to stick it to NASCAR.  That’s not the case.  It just at times it seems like things are held a little tighter on certain weeks than others.  I don’t know.  I’m sure half the field wasn’t thinking, ‘Today is the day.  Let’s all get together.  Today is the day we’re gonna get them.’  That’s not the case.  It just seemed like it was one of those weekends where a lot of cars got busted for different things.  A lot of cars were just all different parts on the car and different things, but when you don’t make it through and then you have to go again and change all of your wheel alignment stuff, it becomes a pretty big disadvantage, so it’s important to get through the first time when you can.  I honestly can say we did everything we could possibly do.  We missed some of practice to make sure our car was legal and make sure that didn’t happen and it still happened, so I guess it’s frustrating.  There are always two sides to every story.  It’s just part of it.  Good luck getting to the bottom of it.  I’ll read your article.  Let me know what you come up with.”

 

IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE GLEN THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE TO RACE?  “Yeah, every corner is unique when you think of Watkins Glen.  I love it.  It’s such a fast road course.  It’s a track that rewards the aggressive racer from a driving style standpoint, but it’s also the way you race around other cars.  That’s what makes it a lot of fun for me.  It’s kind of what my wheelhouse is in.  You think about some of the great racers here at Watkins Glen – Marcos Ambrose back in the day here compared to what he was like in Sonoma, this was his race track.  I remember following him and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy is driving the living you-know-what out of this car.’  And then I was going, ‘That’s what I’ve got to do,’ and be able to figure out some things.  AJ is definitely really good at this race track, but I think as time goes by everyone follows those cars when you’re around them and you see what they do and then you go, ‘I’ve got to get my car to do that,’ and then they make your car do that and you’re as good as them, and they lose their advantage over time.  But it’s definitely one of those race tracks that is a lot of fun.  Like I said, it rewards the aggressors.”

 

GIVEN THE TIGHT CONSTRAINTS OF THE RULES.  WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHAT A FELLOW FORD DUO LIKE HARVICK AND CHILDERS ARE DOING WITH HIS CAR?  “They’re not gonna tell you and they shouldn’t.  It would kind of be funny if they did.  I’d love if they did.  It’s impressive that really ever since those two have worked together they’ve been one of the top three cars the whole time.  That’s really impressive what they’ve done over there with their cars and what they’ve done as a team during the races.  We have all the data these days.  We have all the SMT stuff to look over.  ‘Oh, he’s doing this different as a driver.  He’s doing that different.  His car is allowing him to do that, where I do that and I can’t.  My car is not allowing me to do that.  So it’s a little frustrating sometimes because you can see it and you’re like, ‘Oh, I just have to do that,’ but you can’t do it.’  So you know what you’ve got to get to.  I guess it gives you a good goal and a good baseline to try to get off of.  He’s driving a Ford as well, so we know it’s possible, we just have to get to that point.  Like I said earlier, it’s a lot of trial-and-error to get there.  Sometimes you give up some sometimes, but you also gain a couple things every now and again when you do it that way.”

 

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