Ford Performance NASCAR: Phoenix 2 (Joey Logano)

(Ford)
(Ford)

Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes
CanAm 500 – Phoenix International Raceway

Friday, November 11, 2016

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion, heads into the penultimate NASCAR Sprint Cup series race of the season firmly on the edge of making the Championship Four next weekend in Homestead. Logano spoke about what it will take and his mindset heading into the weekend.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion – YOU ARE RUNNING A PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA SPECIAL SCHEME ON YOUR CAR THIS WEEKEND. TALK ABOUT HOW SPECIAL THAT IS, PARTICULARLY ON VETERANS DAY. “Yeah, it is a great combination with Shell and Pennzoil and Team Penske as well, along with the Joey Logano Foundation, we have all supported the PVA over the last few years. Obviously being Veterans Day today and throughout the weekend we couldn’t have picked a better time to put it on the deck-lid and we also changed the mosaic paint scheme a little. Instead of having race wins from Team Penske’s 50th anniversary we have a lot of pictures of veterans. It is a cool way to try to honor our military who are fighting for our freedom.”

WHAT IS YOUR MENTALITY COMING INTO THIS RACE? YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. AND CAN YOU ALSO TALK ABOUT THE RESTARTS? “Yeah, when you and I talked after the race I was mad so I have calmed down since then a little bit. I think after the race last week that it felt we missed an opportunity to win that race. I think now we understand what we have to do when we come here. We pretty much have to win. I was joking about it earlier this week talking about when we went into Talladega in the last round we were in by zero points. This time we are in by one point, so we are closer than we were. This has been a good race track for us. In the past we have run really well here. We haven’t gotten the win yet but we have come really close and we had a good car here in the spring as well. Restarts become pretty hairy here, especially going up through the gears into one. There is no banking, no turn down the front straightaway so it is really hard to see the cars in front of you. It happens here every now and again when someone maybe spins their tires or miss a gear on the restart and the second row back behind that car can’t see and the driver will run right into the back of the other one and make a big stack up. You see that at Watkins Glen too. It gets crazy. When you think about the dogleg and we are all two, three, four-wide barreling into turn three after the dogleg is pretty crazy.”

HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR POINTS SITUATION DURING THE RACE? “It is pretty simple in all honestly for us and what we have to do. I know what I have to do and what the situations are but obviously I kind of need to know during the race if something changes that I don’t know or just to make sure we are all on the same page. It is important for me to know. I think so. Some drivers may say something different but for me, I don’t want an update the whole race but every now and again, especially toward the end of the race, to know where we are at and what I have to do to get in.”

IS IT AN ADVANTAGE TO YOU BECAUSE TEAM PENSKE CAN FOCUS ALL ITS RESOURCES ON YOU? OR IS IT AN ADVANTAGE TO GIBBS TO HAVE THREE CARS GOING FOR THE LAST COUPLE SPOTS? “In all honestly I feel like it is probably an advantage for me. If we can develop something new here in the next couple weeks, this week, last week and the week ahead of us, we are able to come up with just one and put it on the car. They really can’t do that. They have to build four of them. I think the ability to put something on the car quick is something that Team Penske has talked about a lot with having a smaller race team. That is the advantage we have. We may not have as much information coming in from four teams but when we do develop something we only have to make it for a couple cars, not four of them. I think that is a pretty big advantage for us, through the whole season, not during the Chase. It is an advantage we have that I feel we use to our strengths.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED … YOU HAD AN EXPERIENCE THIS WEEK WITH JAKE LEATHERMAN’S FUNERAL SERVICE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW THAT CAME TOGETHER AND WHAT THAT WAS LIKE? “Actually it came through my wife. We were in the bus in Texas and I guess it was on Facebook and she showed me this video that told us the story about Jake. Actually, to be honest I walked into the bus after qualifying on Friday night and she was inside crying. I thought, ‘oh no, what did I walk into.’ She had just watched the video and told me about him and how he was a big race fan and I thought it would be cool if we could do something for his funeral. She got in touch with Molly from the local TV station there and Molly’s Kids, who Jake was one of the kids in her program. We got in touch with her and ended up going and getting him a little race suit and put his name on it. He was a big Richard Petty fan so we put the 43 on it. The coolest thing about all this is the whole racing community got into this. It wasn’t just Brittany and myself. There were around 100 team members there. It was one of the most real moments, one of the proudest moments I have been a part of in this NASCAR community. To see everyone come together, competitors we compete against every week out here at the race track and fight the crap out of each other every week. To come together as one team and be NASCAR as a whole for a child that who looked at us as superheroes. That is how his family members described what he thought of NASCAR. The only part I was really bummed out about was that I didn’t get to meet him and we didn’t get to do this while he was alive. That part was kind of the most depressing part for me. We all came together and were all there for him but we didn’t get to meet him and give him his race suit and how cool he would have thought that was. To see all his heroes and pit crew members there that day would have been very special. I have never been to a funeral for a child before. That is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done but also one of the most impressive things to see our NASCAR community come together like that. It was definitely eye opening and it puts life into perspective. I don’t have a kid yet but I can’t even imagine – watching his mom and dad and sister and grandparents all there it tore my heart out. When you see kids like – we were at a children’s hospital yesterday which was already scheduled but it sure made that visit different for me.”

ARE YOUR INDY CAR COLLEAGUES COMING TO GIVE YOU MORAL SUPPORT IN THE LAST COUPLE RACES? “Simon was in Martinsville. That is the cool thing about Team Penske, we are able to have a lot of different drivers from different forms of racing and we can all hang out and talk about our different disciplines of motorsports. It is fun to have them around for sure.”

WITH HARVICK HAVING WON FIVE OF THE LAST SIX HERE, DOES IT CHANGE THE DYNAMIC AT ALL? DO YOU LOOK AT WHAT HE IS DOING ANY MORE IN PRACTICE THAN YOU WOULD USUALLY? “I think it is no secret that what he has done here is very impressive. He has won a lot of races here and definitely has something figured out. We have learned as a race team to worry about ourselves. That is the only way we will control our own destiny. We also learn from what other people are doing to change what we are doing sometimes. We watch what he does on and off the race track. We have to. We have to see what it is and what makes him dominant at this race track. I will say it seems like he is very fast here but he is also beatable here. If you look at the spring race, that was pretty close. That was really close. It was fun to watch for me on the way out here. There have been times that he hasn’t been very strong. He didn’t qualify very well here in the spring race. There are a lot of opportunities out there for us and it isn’t a given for him. This garage area is very tough and advantages don’t last very long. Yes, he has had an amazing run here and his advantages have lasted a long time and will still be a car we have to go compete against to beat but we don’t come in here feeling defeated. I feel like my team has everything it takes to beat him.”

 

DO YOU CARE WHO THE OTHER THREE GUYS ARE IN HOMESTEAD IF YOU MAKE IT? “No, I don’t care. I really don’t. I just want to get myself in. it doesn’t matter in all honesty because I think you have to win the race at Homestead. It has happened the last two years and it is a good chance the winner of that race will be one of the final four guys. You have to win the race and to win the race you have to beat everybody. I worry most about us getting in, not really about locking somebody else out.”

 

 

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