Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Dover Media Availability

Ford PR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Gander Outdoors 400 Advance (Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE.)

Friday, October 5, 2018


JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – THE NEW RULES PACKAGE CAME OUT.  CAN SLOWER BE BETTER?  “Yeah, I think so.  I think it can be.  I think there’s a lot of unknowns.  We don’t know how it’s gonna be yet, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity for it to be better as well.  I think the halfway test that we’ve kind of had is the All-Star Race and what we’ve seen in the XFINITY Series so far with a package that’s close to it.  Your foot is in the gas pipe a lot more, but at the same time you’re able to make a lot of moves with the draft and change a lot of different lines.  The All-Star Race was a lot of fun, but obviously that’s an All-Star Race, so I think we need to have a little asterisk next to it and say it was the All-Star Race and everyone is racing for all-or-nothing and have that attitude, but I think at the same time this package, at a lot of race tracks I think it will be better and at some race tracks it may be similar to where we’re at, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”


PENSKE HAS BEEN GOOD AT TALLADEGA OF LATE.  WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY THERE?  “The superspeedways have been good for all of the Fords as of late, and I think there is a lot of strength in numbers.  We have a lot of fast cars out there on the race track.  I think we’re able to work with each other as much as possible and I think that keeps us at some points it kind of keeps us safe on the race track and other times it shows we have a lot of speed as well.  For the 22 team, I know we either win or finish top three or we crash.  It seems like that’s where we are because we’re pretty aggressive when it comes to superspeedway racing.  I am as a driver, I think as a strategy we are, and I think a lot of times that’s what wins races there and a lot of times it might get me in some crashes, but it just happens in general.  When we think about the Playoffs and what it’s gonna take to win there, we’re gonna have to do the same things we’ve done to get through it and we’re gonna have to score stage points.  We’ve seen how important that is.  You think about one point and what that would have done for some drivers last week, so we’ve got to be aware of what that means and racing up front, but we also don’t want to put ourselves in too big of a hole going into Kansas.  We’ll have to keep our foot in the gas pipe out there and working hard to stay up towards the front and making the right moves and the right decisions from behind the wheel.”


DO YOU LIKE THE FORMAT OF TRACKS IN THE ROUNDS?  “Each round so far has had that wildcard race.  We went to the first couple races and you go to Vegas and try to score as many points as possible.  Richmond, you try to score everything you can to get a cushion to go to the Roval.  That was the goal, just try to get that cushion up.  You do everything you could there, and then you come to this race track and you try to get somewhat of a cushion to get some points at least built up for Talladega because some of the Playoff drivers will crash at Talladega – one of us will at least – and you try to not be that car and to set yourself up, and then when you go to Kansas you know what you’ve got to do.  It’s the same thing at the Roval.  Everyone knew what they had to do there.  Some cars had to play it safe, some cars had to win, some cars had to do a little bit of both.  I think it makes it so interesting.  I love this Playoff system.  I think it’s incredible what it’s able to do because it rewards the regular season guys that have gone out there and won stages and won races and it gives them the reward, but it also says that those same cars need to go out there and perform at the right time, and that intensity is up.  They deserve the reward for racing all year.

“They deserve that, but at the same time I still think one of them won’t be in the top four.  One of those three cars that we’ve talked about all summer won’t be in the Championship Four, in my opinion.  You’re gonna get a couple of winners and it’s gonna knock one of them out, so you’ve got to still perform at the right time.  We’re hoping to be the car that can do that.  We’ve made a lot of progress here in the last couple of weeks, so we hope to be one of those cars that are able to squeak off a couple of wins here.”


DO YOU FEEL JOEY SHOULD RUN MORE ROVAL-TYPE RACES?  “I think it’s different.  I think all of us sometimes are really scared of change, whether it’s the 2019 package or when you here the Roval.  I don’t know if you know, but I think almost every driver when they heard the Roval they were like, ‘Oh, no.’  We made laps and we couldn’t make a lap without crashing.  We were like, ‘Oh, no.  This is a horrible idea.  This is gonna be really bad,’ and it really wasn’t that bad.  It was actually a pretty good race all the way through.  Are there things we want to change to make it a little better?  I’m sure there is, but you can say that about every race track, so I think a lot of times we’re always thinking, ‘I don’t want to do that,’ but when we’re scared of it and what we’ve got is great, and what we’ve got is great, but how we got here is by taking chances and by making changes.  That’s how we got our sport to where it is today, so to keep moving forward we have to be open-minded that we can still make our product on the race track even better, and whether that’s changing layouts of race tracks, I think there’s a big piece of that.  I think a lot of times the car might not be the issue, it’s the type of race track we’re at.  I think that there’s some of that, so more Rovals or road courses, whatever you want to call them, can be a good thing because I think it’s shown that our race cars put on a really good race on road courses.  There are a lot of times there are last-lap passes on road courses for whatever reason, so I think that’s a good thing and then I think NASCAR has done a good job as well in terms of thinking outside the box a little bit on how do we make the Michigans of the world a better race than what it is right now.  I think this package will help a track like that or an Indy or places like that.”


WHAT IS THE CONFIDENCE LEVEL LIKE AT TEAM PENSKE THESE DAYS?  “It’s a great question and actually I was on SiriusXM and a fan called in and asked a similar question about the momentum that it builds, and it really does build a lot of momentum within the race team.  You want to be the driver and the team that brings home the win for the race team, but there are still a lot of good things to see your teammate win that comes along with that.  Obviously, the momentum for them, but the momentum for everybody back at the shop, but it also motivates you because you want to be the guy that brings home the wins and it proves that your cars can do it, your cars have the speed to be able to take advantage of opportunities when they’re there and I think that’s what you’ve seen over the last four to five races.”


FORD PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN GOOD YEAR OVER YEAR IN TERMS OF RESULTS.  WHAT CAN YOU POINT TO AS A REASON?  “When you’re constantly working and constantly trying to find where that is and whether that’s from the aero side, the mechanical side, the engine side, there’s not one magical piece in a race car.

“I wish there was, but there’s just not and whether each department you’re looking at it’s not like you’re just gonna change a spring and it’s gonna go three-tenths quicker.  It’s not like you’re gonna adjust one fender a little bit and find 100 pounds of downforce.  That ain’t gonna happen.  You’re gonna have to stack pennies all the way through this whole thing, so to answer your question of what we’ve found, it’s a lot of little things and that’s just what our sport is.  As a driver, you’re always looking for those little things as well.  We talk about the car so much, but as a team and the driver and the crew chief we need to be open as well to saying, ‘What we used to do doesn’t seem to fit with this car right now,’ or be open to seeing what other cars are doing, whether it’s your teammate or whoever, and having that open mind.  The same way we want an open mind about the rules package.  You have to have an open mind about your car set up and also how as a driver you need to drive the car.”


IT’S IMPRESSIVE THAT FORD HAS SEVEN DRIVERS IN THE ROUND OF 12.  “Yeah.  That’s awesome.  We had a little group text going on after the race last week, and to see all the Ford drivers on that, and how excited Ford really is and how big of a deal that is.  That’s huge and to have that many bullets still in the chamber right now to go out there and try to win a championship with one of them, but we want to try to get them all into that Ford Championship Weekend.  It would be really cool to have Ford Championship Weekend really mean something different than what it has been in the past.  If you put a bunch of Fords in it, it would be really cool.  We’re on the right track right now.  There are a lot of things that can happen throughout this round and the next round before we get there.  There’s a long season still left ahead of us with a lot of battles ahead and a lot of drama that’s gonna lead towards it, so we’ve just got to keep fighting hard.”


AT WHAT POINT DOES THERE GET TO BE TOO MANY CHANGES FOR THE SPORT?  “I don’t know.  There could be a point that you have too many changes, but, honestly, change is really good for our sport.  I said a little bit earlier that any time we’ve made a rules change, the first 10 races of it has been awesome all the time.  When we went to this low downforce package it was great.  This is the fix-all, and it still has been great, but how do you make things better?  You make change, and not every change is good, but you learn from every change.  If you just sit still, you never make any progress forward.  You don’t learn what’s wrong, you don’t learn what’s right, you’re just there.  I give the industry credit.  I think it’s more to just NASCAR, I give the industry credit for working together and willing to make some changes.  Am I up here saying that this is gonna work?  No, I’m not saying that.  I don’t know if it will.  It may not.  It may be great, but we will learn from this decision one way or the other, and I think as a society we need to be open to do that, not just in our sport, but in life.  It’s a good thing for us.  It’s healthy.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WANTING TO BE ONE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR THAT MAY KNOCK OUT ONE OF THE BIG THREE WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT ALL SUMMER?  “How cool would it be to be that story?  That storyline is awesome, to be that underdog at that point because I think anyone outside the big three is an underdog at this point and to be one of those cars that makes that happen and get into that Championship Four, that’s the goal right now.  We can change our goals to win the championship once we get there, but we have to make it to the Championship Four first.  It’s gonna be a tough road ahead of us.  We are fighting from behind the eight-ball compared to most, but we still have a decent amount of Playoff points that we’re able to work with and get ourselves through, and all it takes is a win and that changes everything.  That’s all it takes.  One weekend can change this whole thing up, so I think for me as a driver and as a team we need to stay positive about that because are you the underdog?  Probably.  Is it hard fighting from behind?  Yes, but one weekend changes everything and changes that whole piece and that whole view.  So we need to keep that in our mind that even though we haven’t won as many races this year as we’d like to, that anything can change really, really quick and your whole season could have a big turnaround and you’ll be sitting here saying something completely different a few weeks later down the road.”


WITH THE CURRENT LOW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE CREW CHIEFS ARE TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO ADD DOWNFORCE TO THE CAR.  WITH THE NEW CONFIGURATION DO YOU THINK WE MIGHT REACH A TIPPING POINT WHERE WITH 50% DOWNFORCE ADDED THEY’RE ACTUALLY TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO TAKE SOME OUT?  “You wouldn’t be trying to take downforce off, you never want downforce off the car, but you’re gonna want drag off the car.  When your foot is in that gas pipe that much and you’re just going at some point you’re gonna think about how long you’re on that gas and the speed that you’re giving up by drag, and then the question is gonna be, ‘OK, if we can gain four or five pounds of downforce, but also have 20 pounds of drag that adds to the car, is that worth it?’  At some tracks it will be, but will it be at every race track?  When those options come up and you’ve got to make those decisions, right now you’d say, ‘Yeah, I’ll take all the downforce I can.’  That’s what you want, but eventually that decision has to be made about does that five pounds of downforce make up for the speed that you lose on the straightaway?  And not even that, but even when you’re setting up your race car and the pitch and angle that you put into your car and the things that you do.  We fight that stuff when we go to Talladega right now.  We go to Talladega and we don’t bring a car that makes as much downforce as possible.  You try to find that balance in between.  You don’t have the most slick car either because then you can’t drive it, so you look for something in between that you can balance with the chassis, within the body, so it’s gonna be a similar situation, I think.  Some race tracks you’re gonna be all you can get, but it’ll just be different everywhere.”


YOU KNOW EVERY POINT MATTERS, BUT ISN’T WILD TO YOU THAT LAST WEEK THERE WAS A THREE-WAY TIE?  IS THAT MORE OF A FOCUS NOW EVEN THOUGH YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW VALUABLE EVERY POINT IS?  “Absolutely.  I think it’s a reminder.  We always say, ‘Man, we need every point possible.  We need to get every little bit that means so much.’  But think about like not only during that race, but the races leading to it or the regular season.  You know how big one stage win would have been?  That’s all that matters sometimes to make a huge difference.  Your whole season can be on one point and that’s what these Playoffs bring and that’s so cool.  We all knew that, but when you see it again and sometimes you get kind of comfortable with a situation and then you see that and it’s like, ‘Wow, one point would make a really big difference a lot of times,’ so we need to race aggressively knowing that.  You can be put into a situation where the smallest thing makes a big difference.”
DOES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS RACE?  “It will for me.  I can’t speak for the rest of the field, but I know for me I have that in the back of my mind that we can be really tight.  We’re a car that’s sixth in points right now.  We have some Playoff points, but we don’t have enough like some of those cars that make you feel kind of comfortable and you just kind of go through them.  This is a race that we need to be aggressive.  We need to set ourselves up a cushion because we don’t know what Talladega is gonna be.  We don’t know what Kansas is gonna be for all that matters, so it’ll be one step at a time, but at this point we need to score as many points as possible and if we could win, we’ll feel really good about it.  But we’ve got to beat this Jimmie Johnson guy that is really good here.  He wins a lot of races here, I guess.  They talk about it a lot.  He’s ignoring me (laughing).”



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.