Ford Performance NASCAR: Richmond 2 (Joey Logano Media Availability)

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Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond International Raceway

Friday, September 8, 2017

Cup Media Availability – Joey Logano

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil/Red Cross Ford Fusion knows exactly what is on the line this weekend at Richmond. Returning to the site of his lone win of the season, Logano still needs a victory to qualify for the upcoming Playoffs. Logano spoke about what is at stake the next two days with media members Friday morning.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil/Red Cross Ford Fusion —  YOUR SPONSOR, SHELL, IS BASED IN TEXAS AND YOU ARE RUNNING A SPECIAL RED CROSS PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND. CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THAT? “Yeah, I think it is the best looking paint scheme I have ever had on a race car. The timing couldn’t be better to have the American Red Cross on it. I am so thankful for Shell to give the car to the American Red Cross in this time of need. We saw what happened down in the Houston area and the devastation that is there and also looking in the future the next few days of what Florida looks like could possibly happen there. Obviously we need all hands on deck. If we are able to help out in any little way we should. It is what we should do as contributing members of our society. We should be thinking with our heart at this point. There are a lot of innocent people getting hit hard by these storms lately. Thoughts and prayers mean a lot as well but donating your time and resources to these communities is so large at this point. For Shell to give the car up to American Red Cross to help drive awareness to what is going on and hopefully drive more funds down to those areas is ultra important to me and hopefully everybody else as well.”

AFTER DENNY (HAMLIN) GOT HIS PENALTY THE PERCEPTION WAS THAT IT WASN’T AS BAD AS YOURS BECAUSE HE ALREADY HAD A WIN AND IT DIDN’T COST HIM A PLAYOFF SPOT. DO YOU FEEL IT IS AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD OR DO GUYS WITH WINS COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND HAVE MORE LATITUDE TO PUSH THE LIMITS? “The penalty is the penalty whether you have a win or not. It maybe didn’t affect him as much. He might say something different after the first round of the playoffs and he wishes he had those five point. I don’t know. That can affect his whole season as well. We’ve had the opportunity to win another race and we still have one more. Then we might say it wasn’t as big a deal, we might say the same thing you just said about the 11 car. I think the penalty is the penalty and the fact we haven’t won another race since then is why it affects us differently.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FROM A PERSONAL STANDPOINT IF YOU CAN GO OUT THERE TOMORROW NIGHT AND TAKE THIS WIN? “It will be huge for a lot of different reasons. We are in a do-or-die situation. Anytime you can win a race in that situation, there is no better feeling than that. Also returning here after our win in the spring and obviously the drama that followed, it would be very nice to be able to get back in victory lane and prove a point. I don’t see any reason why we can’t. We had great pit stops last week. We went for it on the strategy and it didn’t work out but we have to. That is the situation. Second place is a failure when you look at the goal this week. It is win or nothing. We have to race that way. Hopefully it all works out. We will just have to wait and see. We will see what our car has in a few minutes, we will tune on it and give it all we’ve got all week.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE SPEED TO GO OUT AND WIN OR WILL YOU BE IN A STRATEGY SITUATION LIKE DARLINGTON? “We will see when the race starts and as we get through practice. We know what we have to do. We know that the only option is to win. Have our cars been off a little compared to where they have been in past years? Yes. I would be lying if I said they weren’t. Richmond is one of those places where we can carry some speed. I was watching the spring race on the way up here. We had a good car. Brad (Keselowski) had a really fast car and we battled up front for the win and finished 1-2. That wasn’t that long ago. This is a short track which seems to kind of mask some of the challenges we have had with our cars. When I look at those things I feel confident that this is a race track that if we do everything right, it won’t be easy by any means, but if we do everything right we can squeak one out.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE 22 TEAM HAS BEEN MISSING OVER THESE SUMMER MONTHS? “We just need to go faster. It is just speed in general. The team is still the same team that almost won the championship last year. Nothing has changed there. We just have to get faster. I am proud of the team and the way we have handled these situations. Obviously this is one of the toughest spots we have been in as a team. We haven’t had to fight to get in the playoffs in a long time. This is a challenging position but the spirits of the team are strong. They are ready to fight and do whatever we have to do to get into victory lane. I am proud of that. This is a time that shows your true character. When I say that, you can be either down on yourself and be beat before you show up to the race track or show up here ready to go and have the right attitude and confidence that we are going to win. That is where the team feels like they are at. I am proud I am with a team like that. I wouldn’t want to fight this race any other way.”

IF NASCAR TOOK AWAY WINS, WOULD IT BE MORE OF A DETERRENT THAN THE PENALTIES BEING ISSUED CURRENTLY? “You mean instead of encumbering the win? I believe the fans came to the race to watch the race and they should see a winner after the race. If you come here to watch tomorrow night and it is a great race, you should know that it was a great race. What happens Wednesday is a challenging situation. How else are we supposed to do it? Do you want to end the race and then wait three hours and let them tear down the car completely and then we go to victory lane and celebrate? That isn’t exciting. Everyone would be gone. There would be no stories. You can’t do it that way. But we also need to have a fair race. We need to make sure we tear these cars apart and find what is right or wrong about the cars. I will say that the penalties handed out with these encumbered finishes have been really small. To me they don’t really affect the race itself. It is not like it has been a huge deal. There is pushing the line and seeing a little bit of a gap we are all talking about right now and then there is doing things a different way where it is just blatantly obvious, that I believe is really pushing too far. It is what it is. It is the rules we have been given and we all need to play within them. I am alright with that. But we all need to push it to be able to be successful on the race track. We can’t lay up because you would never be competitive enough to win a race. I do feel like the penalty of the encumbered finish and taking playoff eligibility and points away is very severe. It is very severe. I don’t think it needs to be more sever. I know. Believe me. You are still watching a great race. Last week was a great race. Hands down. If I am a fan, I am happy that I saw a great race. To me as a competitor, it isn’t so blatant that I say, ‘Man, it is awful that they did that.’ The gap is so small that it isn’t doing anything.”

DO YOU OR YOUR TEAM, OR YOUR RIVALS, TAKE OFFENSE WHEN FANS SAY THAT YOU GUYS ARE CHEATING? WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FRACTIONS OF AN INCH HERE. “Yeah, I don’t like the word “cheating”. It isn’t the classiest thing to say in general. We are talking about something very, very small. You go out there and soak your tires or something like that, then you should be thrown out of the sport. That is a completely different thing. This is pushing the edge. After 500 miles at Darlington or 400 laps here, parts are going to be worked obviously. We are pushing everything to the ragged edge. You are trying to bolt down 800-ish horsepower every lap with a design that is off an old pickup truck. We are talking about U-bolts and truck arms. Things are going to get worked and moved around. Gaps are going to form a little bit. We are pushing the limits on all that stuff. That is obvious to every team out here on the race track. It doesn’t start with that gap though. It just starts to work into it as the race goes and we don’t know exactly where that is going to be sometimes, especially after a long race.”

DO YOU THINK IF YOU WIN TOMORROW THAT YOUR TEAM CAN BE COMPETITIVE IN THE PLAYOFFS? “Yeah. I have thought about this some. The first round in the playoffs may be — I don’t want to say easier but maybe a little easier than getting in at this point. This is a challenging thing to try to get into the playoffs. There are a lot of fast cars trying to get in. You don’t typically see this many good cars that have this type of speed being knocked out at this point. Getting in is maybe the most challenging part. After that it is the playoffs we typically see. If you can tie together three strong races anyone can get there. The opportunity is the same for everybody once you get into it.”

DO YOU THINK YOU CAN BE CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER? “I feel like we can get there. Do I think we are there right now? Obviously not. We aren’t even in the playoffs. I wouldn’t say we are at that spot. I have seen this sport go through big swings within the period of four or five races where all of a sudden other cars get super fast and the fast cars kind of fall off. It is all about the timing. I never think that we are not. Not for very long at least. Anything can happen.”

IF YOU HAD TO PICK A TRACK WHERE YOU HAD TO GET A WIN TO GET INTO THE PLAYOFFS, WHERE WOULD RICHMOND RANK ON THAT LIST? “Right now Richmond ranks number one. If the playoffs ended in a different spot then that track would be number one. We need it really bad. We need to win. I honestly don’t care the shape or where the track is, we need to win at it. The irony of being here is something. I guess the story would be incredible. If we win, your guys fingers will be burning up on those keyboards. Hopefully I can make you work hard.”

HOW HAS YOUR MINDSET CHANGED IN TERMS OF POSSIBLY BEING TOO AGGRESSIVE HERE? “Our mindset hasn’t changed in the last three or four races. When we realized we are going to have to win. The mindset doesn’t change since then. This is just the last chance. This is the last part. We are trying to use everything we’ve got right here. This is a big weekend for us and a high pressure moment but I love these moments. These are what you live for. If you are going to be successful there is no better feeling. I am excited about the challenge ahead and hopefully we make it work out.”


DID THIS WEEK FEEL ANY DIFFERENT TO YOU MENTALLY? IS THERE ANY RESENTMENT OR BITTERNESS TOWARD WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SPRING HERE? “The last few years we have come into this race saying that it was kind of the last vacation race you get in a way. The last weekend that doesn’t have any stress or pressure before you have 10 weeks of hell. That is what we used to look at it as. Now that pressure has been on us for a long period of time. Over the last few months really. I am trying to get through this little slump we are in. Are we bitter about what happened? It happened. We are in the past. That is in the past. We have to keep looking out the windshield. Roger (Penske) preaches that to us all the time. What has happened, has happened and we can’t change it. We have to keep looking forward.”


Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.