Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes Goody’s 500 Advance – Martinsville Speedway Joey Logano

(Ford)
(Ford)

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, has advanced to the Round of 8 for the third straight year after winning last week at Talladega Superspeedway.  Logano spoke about what lies ahead before today’s practice session at Martinsville Speedway.

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “Winning here at Martinsville might be the biggest win of the year.  It might be what wins you a championship if you think about it.  Being in this Round of 8 if you win, you’re obviously going to Homestead.  You know you’re not finishing worse than fourth in points and it gives you the ability to think about nothing but Homestead for two weeks while other teams have to think about the next two races to get themselves in.  You’ve got to get there before you can win the championship, so I think it’s a pretty big advantage to win this one.  This is a tough race, obviously.  We’ve yet to win here.  We’ve come close a few times, so we’ll just keep doing what we know how to do.  We keep making constant progress at this race track as the 22 team, so I’m excited about that.  We’ll get out there and see what we’re made out of in a little bit.”

CAN YOU SPEAK TO THE NEW NASCAR RULE ABOUT CUP DRIVERS BEING LIMITED IN XFINITY AND TRUCKS FROM NOW ON?  HOW WILL IT AFFECT TEAM PENSKE?  “It affects them a lot.  It affects the sport a lot.  As a race car driver, I want to race all the time, so if I put my race car driver hat on I think, ‘Man, this kind of stinks,’ because I want to drive.  But I think when you kind of take that hat off and look at it from more of a global view I understand it.  I get why we’re doing that.  I think it’s important to have Cup racers out there because I think growing up as a young race car driver I learned that you only get better when you’re racing against people that are better than you, and I think this has the ability to give young drivers that and young crew chiefs coming up through the XFINITY Series.  I think it gives them the ability to work with Cup drivers and things like that, so I think that’s good that they have that mix in there, but at the same time you also want to have the opportunity for young drivers to get into the seat and drive it at some point.  I get that.  If you look at it from the business end, it’s no secret that a lot of sponsors want to have the big-name drivers in there.  They want to have Sprint Cup racers that can go out there and are proven winners, so that’s definitely gonna change the game quite a bit from the business side of our sport.  For me, I’ve run 13 races this year, so it’s not gonna change my schedule a whole bunch, but for guys like Kyle and what-not, it’s gonna change quite a bit.  We’ll kind of have to wait and see how that goes, but then obviously not racing through the Chase is probably important.  I think that kind of makes sense when their Chase starts.  I get that, and obviously Homestead, and it also still gives the drivers that are younger with less than five years experience have the ability to go out there and race as much as they want.  That’s probably a good thing for that, so unfortunately I’ve been racing longer than five years so I don’t get to do that.  I get it.  It makes sense.  It’s a long answer to that, but it makes sense.  As a race car driver I just want to race and I hate that I don’t have the ability to race as much as I’d like, but I understand why this rule is in place.”

WHEN YOU ROLL INTO THIS TRACK HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR? “I was pretty sure I wasn’t gonna get this question (laughing).  I didn’t see that one coming (laughing).  You’re never gonna erase it from your mind.  I’m not gonna lie to you.  I’m not gonna say that.  But I will say that I don’t focus on it.  If I focus on it, that’s a distraction of what my main goal is which is to win, not think about what happened last year.  If I can use it to motivate me, I’m gonna use that to help me win, but that’s gonna be it.”

LIGHTS ARE COMING TO MARTINSVILLE.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?  “Cool.  I think that’s neat.  Martinsville is the most grassroots race track that we come to.  There obviously is a lot of history at this track, but we all grew up racing at tracks like this.  We all grew up racing on paved short-track ovals, so it brings you kind of back to home.  A lot of those races were always Saturday night races and you had the lights on and that’s just how it was.  I think racing a night race at Martinsville would be super-cool.  Obviously, you’d have the sparks and there’s plenty of bumping and banging as there is, but I think having a race at night just kind of adds something to that.  It’s pretty cool.  It’s gonna change the race some because I think this track is pretty sensitive to heat and how it rubbers up.  When you don’t have the sun on it, it’s not gonna rubber up as much, so depending on when the race is and the temperature of it during the day will have an effect on that, but night racing is cool to me.”

DO YOU FEEL YOU’RE GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN HERE NOW?  “For sure.  Just because we haven’t won here yet we don’t look at it as a bad race track for us.  It’s been a pretty good race track for us, we just haven’t broke through for the victory and gotten that clock yet.  I really would like to have that thing.  It looks super-cool, but I think this is a good track for us.  Obviously, qualifying has been very good for us, so we have that part figured out and as far as the rest of the race, we’ve been good on the long runs and we’ve been good on the short runs, but we haven’t put it all together at the same time.  I think that’s what it’s going to take.  We’ve been close before, so we’ll just keep working on that.  We really work off our notes here.  This track is one of those tracks where once you kind of figure it out and what it is, it seems that just continues every time you’re here and that’s why I think you see a lot of people here with so many wins.  There are so many drivers that have a ton of wins here at this race track because once you get it, you get it.  I don’t think the track changes much where you’re looking for something completely different, so we’re just trying to hone in on what that is and we’ve made steady progress at that.”

HOW COGNIZANT WERE YOU OF NASCAR HISTORY BEFORE YOU CAME INTO THE SPORT AS OPPOSED TO NOW AND DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR FANS TO KNOW THE HISTORY OF NASCAR?  “For me, I was 18 when I first came into this thing.  I probably knew the basics of NASCAR history, maybe not into as much detail, and I think obviously as you’re around it you learn more, you talk to some of the drivers who used to race then.  You hear their stories and you learn more about that stuff, and I think since then as well.  There’s been a lot of great specials that they’ve put on TV – NASCAR and a lot of the media groups here do a great job on putting together some really cool historic features, which I think helps us all learn about that.  I think it’s important to learn about the history of our sport.  You can look around here and look at some of the pictures and think about how awesome it is, but we’re all here for a reason and a lot of it is because of the pioneers of our sport.  We owe them something.  We owe them at least a handshake and say thank you for building what we see here today.”

IS IT ANY EASIER OR DIFFICULT GOING INTO TURN ONE HERE AFTER WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR COMPARED TO LIKE THE BACKSTRETCH AT DOVER WHERE YOU HAD THE BIG FLIP.  IS IT THE SAME TYPE OF THING OR IS IT MORE DIFFICULT EITHER PLACE?  “I honestly don’t think about it at either race track.  If I’m thinking about that as I’m turning into turn one, I’m probably gonna hit the wall just like that because I would be pretty distracted.  This track can sneak up and bite you pretty quick and you have to just be focused in, and not on that.  You’re focused in on how to go fast and I wouldn’t think about that the whole time I’m out there I can promise you that.”

IS THERE ANY OTHER TRACK IN THE CHASE THAT MAY PRESENT A CHALLENGE FOR THE DRIVERS IN GENERAL OR YOU PERSONALLY THAT YOU FOCUS ON?  “Every one of them becomes very, very important in the Chase.  We saw that last round.  We were fortunate enough to get through the round with having a bad race in Charlotte.  I really don’t think you’re getting away with that again.  We got lucky through that to be able to have a good run at Kansas and then winning ultimately in Talladega to get us through.  This round there are only four that get through and you have the best eight teams left, so really making a mistake or having a bad race is really hard to overcome unless you win in this round.  Each race becomes ultra-important to go out there and make it happen.  Like I said earlier, Martinsville is probably the most important if you can win here because you have two weeks to prep for Homestead.”

A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK AT THIS ROUND AND PREDICT JIMMIE JOHNSON AND KEVIN HARVICK SHOULD ADVANCE TO HOMESTEAD.  IF THAT PLAYS OUT IT LEAVES TWO SPOTS FOR SIX DRIVERS.  WHY DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN FILL ONE OF THOSE SPOTS?  “Our sport, you can go off of numbers as much as you want, and they’re there for a reason, but what you’ve done in the past doesn’t predict what’s gonna happen in the future as much as you think in this sport, or you can’t rely on that at least for a good finish.  You never know what’s gonna happen.  Our race team, I feel like, is very strong and we’re very consistent and level-headed.  I think that is something that really plays into our favor when you come to races like this.  I think a lot of times you add this Chase pressure.  We talk about pressure a lot in the Chase and a lot of teams crack under it.  I believe the 22 team thrives under it.  I think we’re excited about that and I think it’s something that makes us strong.  These are three good race tracks for us as well.  We’ve won at Texas before.  We’ve come close here.  Phoenix we’ve been consistently in the top five, so I think there are three good race tracks to help us get to the next round, and honestly, we don’t think about what other teams have.  We think about what makes them strong at each track, but the fact that we can’t go out there and beat them, we know we can do that.  We know we can come out here and win all three of these races, so we know we can do that.  We’ll go out there and try to.  You have to have an attitude like that or you shouldn’t even strap into the seat.”

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