Ford Performance NASCAR: Dover (Joey Logano Media Availability)

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

AAA 400 Media Availability (Dover International Speedway)

Friday, May 4, 2018


Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion, fresh off his victory last weekend at Talladega, met with media members at Dover prior to the opening practice sessions of the weekend.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion — HOW DO YOU GUYS CAPITALIZE ON THE MOMENTUM YOU’VE BUILT GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND? “It is super important. It felt so good last week to finally break through and get that win again. We have had a few second place finishes since Richmond but to be able to break through and lead a lot of laps the last couple weeks and get stage points at Richmond and then go to Talladega and get that win was a huge confidence builder for our race team. We have always believed we can do it and are the best race team out there but when you don’t win it gets harder and harder to believe that. To go out there and make that happen is a big boost for us. It is all about carrying that momentum now. We are in the playoffs. It is all about getting as many playoff points as possible, winning stages, collecting regular season points and winning races. Now we can keep doing what we have been doing. We are not going to change what we have been doing. This is what we have been shooting for all along. The consistency has been there but the speed is here now and that is the big difference. We feel good heading into Dover this weekend. We will push hard and try to get that big monster trophy this weekend.”


HOW IS IT BEING BACK CLOSE TO HOME THIS WEEKEND AT A RACETRACK YOU HAVE POSITIVE HISTORY AT? “I started my first Xfinity race here back in 2008 so Dover has always been a special place for me. I got to do my victory tour here the other day and go to the Air Force base down the road and visit a lot of our service men and women and say thank you. That was special. Thanks to the racetrack for setting that up. I do enjoy coming here. As a race car driver it is probably one of the race tracks where you still feel like you are going very, very fast and things are happening quick. It is a bad-ass race track. That part never changes every time I get out there. It is a lot of fun for us race car drivers. I look forward to Dover all the time and hopefully we are able to find some speed in our car. This has been probably a weaker race track for Team Penske as of late. We have run well here but the last two or three years have been kind of a little bit of a struggle for us. Hopefully the speed we have had in our cars the last few weeks and things we have learned in the past here we can make our cars quick here today and win on Sunday.”


HOW DID YOU AND YOUR TEAM MANAGE TO NOT GET DOWN ON EACH OTHER THROUGH THE STRUGGLES AFTER THE RICHMOND RACE A YEAR AGO? “You are 100% right. It is definitely a time that it can be easy to start pointing fingers. That is when teams can implode from the inside out and that is basically the end of that race team. To be able to fight through that you have to stay together and you have to keep working together and do the things you did when you won. Obviously it is a lot harder when you are not winning. For us, we stuck together as a team, not just as the 22 team but Team Penske as a whole. No one in the race shop was pointing fingers at me or Todd (Gordon) or anybody really. We all kept our heads down and kept digging. We knew we were going to fight through it and had the capability to go out there and win races because it is the same group that did. The same group that almost won two championships. I was always confident in what I had around me. Honestly, once you get through something like that, you become stronger as a team and the team that is able to get through that learns a lot. That is why God puts you through things like that, to force you to learn something. I learned a lot about myself as a driver and as a team we learned a lot about each other and hopefully it prevents it from happening again.”


DID YOU HAVE A SENSE OF RELIEF WHEN YOU FOUND OUT THAT THE CAR PASSED TECH AT R&D? DOES THIS WEEKEND FEEL ANY DIFFERENT KNOWING THAT YOU ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS COMPARED TO THE LAST 46 WEEKS YOU’VE COME TO THE TRACK? “Yeah, it is funny we had a driver council meeting at the R&D center on Tuesday and I walked in there and they had snacks. I walked over to the snacks and said, ‘You aren’t serving cucumbers over here are you?’ and everyone got a good laugh out of that. They said we were good. Thank God. I didn’t want to go through that again. That feels really good. As for this weekend, there is a little feeling of relief knowing that we are in the playoffs. The goal has changed. When you start the season, it is always to win the championship which you have to take one step at a time. You have to get in the playoffs before you can win the championship. I learned that last year. Now that we are in the playoffs we can focus on winning the championship. Earn stage points. Earn playoff points. Win races to help us get to Miami. That is the goal now. Get to Miami and fight for the championship. One of the three goals are now checked off and it is on to the next one. That is a good feeling.”


NOT TO BRING UP A BAD MEMORY BUT WHEN WE COME TO DOVER ALMOST EVERY HIGHLIGHT REEL STILL SHOWS YOUR INCIDENT NINE YEARS AGO IN THE 20 CAR. WHEN YOU COME HERE, DO YOU STILL THINK ABOUT THAT? “I honestly don’t until you bring it up. Well, not you but everybody. It is a spectacular moment here. Unfortunately when people think of Joey Logano and Dover they think of that big crash. Even if I win, I still think people will think of that crash. That is just what happens until someone else barrel rolls. I hope that doesn’t happen to anybody. Oh well. It was so long ago that it doesn’t bother me. It is what it is. I always thought the funniest part was when I came back here the next race and they had the race program with Miles the Monster and it had Miles the Monster holding my car in his hand and when you moved the cover the monster slammed my car into the ground. Thanks Dover! We are good now though.”


HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH BEING OUT THE OUTSIDE OF THE PLAYOFFS LOOKING IN THAT WHOLE TIME? “I just kept looking at what we could do to get better. We were in a slump for sure. We came out of that Richmond race and we had our penalty and then we crashed the next two weeks at Talladega, here, actually three weeks because we crashed in Kansas. We lost so many points those three weeks it was like, ‘Uh oh, what happened?’ When you don’t have speed in your car you tend to get caught up in more junk. You don’t score stage points. By the time we started figuring it out and getting better the playoffs were starting and it was too late. It was definitely a challenging season and you just try to get better. Is it frustrating? Is it really hard? Do you have to have those tough conversations? Yeah, you have to to get better. You have to have those conversations with yourself and with your team. They are not comfortable. They are not fun. But it isn’t supposed to be. It is a job. It isn’t supposed to be all about fun. I am lucky enough to enjoy it and have fun with it but you have to remember that it isn’t really about fun. It is about winning. The fun comes along with the winning part. You have to work for that and that is what makes it rewarding. That is what made it feel so good last week. I said it felt like we won the Daytona 500 because it had been so long and we went through such a slump to finally win again. It feels so good. We have to keep working hard to maintain this level that we are at right now. We won the race, yes, and we scored some stage points but we are not where we need to be yet. Our speed is no there yet. We are getting closer. We are making progress but we are not where the 4, 18, 78 are at. Those guys have been quicker than us in recent weeks. We have made a big step to get closer but we aren’t there yet. We have to keep our heads down and keep pushing. Like Rogers says all the time, don’t trip on your press clippings because you won one race. We have to work hard to find more speed and win more races.”


YOU MENTIONED THE DRIVER COUNCIL MEETING ON TUESDAY. WAS PIT GUNS ONE OF THE TOPICS THAT DRIVERS CARE ABOUT AND ARE TALKING TO NASCAR ABOUT? “I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned that meeting (laughter). I knew as soon as it came out of my mouth. I think there are a lot of different things we talk about in these meetings and a lot of it comes from NASCAR and helping the communication to the drivers on what their thoughts are and what the next steps are as a sport. Then we put together a list ourselves of questions and things that we would like to see changed. Mainly it is just a place for us to be vocal and be able to express our concerns, good and bad, in our sport. That is good because the drivers care. We care. It is not just about what the drivers want, it is about what the industry wants. What is good for the media and fans and owners. NASCAR does a good job at venting all that and listening to us drivers, listening to the team owners, listening to competition directors. Putting that together and making the right rules changes. It is something new for our sport. It is something we haven’t really had. We haven’t had those avenues for all of us to work together as one for our sport. Usually you just walk in the trailer and complain about something but now when we can come as a united force with NASCAR together to make the right decision for our sport going forward and are in a thriving industry. Our sport is in great health and we talk about that. We talk about the amount of fans that are still watching our sport and how great things are going and we have a lot to be proud of. There is also a lot to work on and I don’t think that is a secret either that we are trying to make our sport better and better each day. You look at the things that come out of all the councils like stage racing, ways we have been able to raise the intensity and save money for race teams. It will all come with some growing pains but if we don’t make change we will fall behind as a sport. I think we have all done a great job at trying to stay innovative and make changes and make sure the health of our sport stays there.”


BUT DID YOU TALK ABOUT PIT GUNS? “Yeah, we talk about everything. We talk about pit guns and lots of other things. I think the pit gun thing will be find. Like I said, I think there will be growing pains with some changes. There is a learning curve for the teams and NASCAR but we have to make changes to continue growing and somethings there will be pain when that happens. You can’t stay in your comfort zone forever because there is no growth in your comfort zone.”


AT WHAT POINT IN THE SEASON TO YOU HAVE TO BE FULLY OUT OF THE SLUMP TO BE CHAMPIONSHIP WORTH? “This weekend would be nice. I feel like we are getting out of it. The win helps a lot. Richmond helped a lot. Nine out of 10 races in the top-10, the consistency is there. We are doing a good job. I feel like the confidence in the team is as high as it has been in a year, that is for sure. I think if we can go out here and have another good run and keep building those points and stay up there in the points. We are second in points right now and not far out of the lead. If we keep just doing our thing, eventually we are going to feel like we are a championship winning team. We just have to get a little faster. That is the biggest thing. How can we be the car that is leading consistently? We have been that car the last two weeks but how can we do that the rest of the way. If we can do that we will be in championship contention. We have time, which is good. I don’t look at it like we have time because I want to win each week and the playoff points mean so much. We need to be considered one of those top three cars that I brought up earlier to feel like we are a strong threat of winning the championship.


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.