Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano New Hampshire Q&A Session

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Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Advance (New Hampshire Motor Speedway; Loudon, NH)

Friday, July 20, 2018



Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, has one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win this season, and two career series triumphs here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  He stopped by the infield media center before practice and talked with members of the media about this weekend’s race.


JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionWHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL SCHEDULE IF YOU COULD DESIGN IT?  “That’s a great question.  I think really going to a race track one time kind of makes sense to me, whether it’s a mile-and-a-half, a superspeedway, whatever it may be, I think if you go to a race track once it makes it more of an event.  I think sometimes when you have two races, this weekend will be a great test to see how that works as Loudon goes from two to one.  When you think there are two races and you’re a fan that can only afford to go to one, you’re most likely going to choose the Playoff race here.  So it will be interesting to see what the stands look like on Sunday because now it’s an event.  You can’t miss this one and have a chance to go to the next one.  This is the race for a lot of people and from where I’m from in this New England region, so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s gonna work.  That’s kind of my thing.  Short tracks are a lot of fun.  I like short tracks a lot.  If you want to go dirt racing, strap in, let’s go, I don’t care as long as I’m racing.”


ARE YOU SURPRISED WE STILL HAVE THREE DOMINATING THE WIN COLUMN THIS DEEP INTO THE SEASON AND HOW CAN BREAK INTO THAT BIG THREE?  “I’m surprised by it because we haven’t seen this in a long time to where three cars that dominant and being able to win races.  There are other cars that can lead laps, but it doesn’t seem like the right ones.  It seems like they always find a way to prevail at the end, whether it’s the speed in their car or their pit stops or restarts, whatever it may be they find themselves up front when it matters the most.  Obviously, they can recover from mistakes pretty well because of their speed, so they’re just able to be there at the right times.  We’re not quite at that point yet as a race team.  We’re not far from it.  We just hang really close.  We’re consistent.  We can run in the top 10 about anywhere right now.  We can make some top five finishes every now and again, but we have to have a perfect day to win a race at this point.  We have to have the perfect strategy, a great car that’s maximized to the best handling we can possibly make it.  There’s just no margin for error throughout the whole event for us right now.  We just have to be on our game right now to be able to win races and I’m not saying we can’t, we just have to be perfect and it’s not easy – not that it’s ever easy to win a race, but the margin that we’re working with right now isn’t as big as what you see those top three cars at that are able to be consistently fast even if they’re car may not be quite perfect.”


THE GO-KART RACE YOU HAD THE OTHER DAY, DO YOU HAVE ANYONE TO APOLOGIZE TO FOR THAT EVENT?  “As far as crashing anybody?  No, we’re good.  I’m good.  Anytime you strap a helmet on, Todd always makes fun of me and says it cuts my blood circulation off and I might not make the best decisions.  It’s just a competitive environment.  We had a great time.  We broke the race down into four stages, so you have four 10-minute stages and after each 10-minute stage you got out and the next member on your team would drive, and then we have a five-lap shootout at the end. 

 “I was driving for Planet Fitness’ team, Brad had Harvest Investments and Blaney was driving for a company called GNT that owns a lot of Planet Fitness franchises and then there were a lot of other great companies too.  At the end it was actually really cool.  You put all of your heavy hitters at the end of the race and we had one heck of a race to the end.  Blaney got me.  I’ve got to give it to him.  He won, but we had a good race all the way to the finish.  It was fun.”


AS A YOUNG DRIVER FROM NEW ENGLAND DID YOU LOOK UP TO RICKY CRAVEN?  WAS HE THE EXAMPLE OF A NEW ENGLAND DRIVER TO YOU?  “Yeah, as a New England racer growing up you think of the Ricky Cravens, you think of a lot of the modified guys really is what I grew up watching.  I used to race at Thompson, the little T was the quarter-midget track down at the bottom of the hill, and then we’d go up to watch the modifieds and watch Teddy and a whole bunch of guys be able to slug it out up there.  Up north, modifieds are the deal.   That’s as big as it gets up here and they put on one heck of a show and we see that every week here, but they do it at about every race track they race.  They always have a hell of a race and that’s really who I grew up watching was all the racers up here, and then obviously as I moved down to Atlanta and then to Charlotte you watch more and more of the Cup racing and the stock cars type of stuff like late models and stuff like that.”


IS ALL THIS TALK ABOUT MAKING THESE DIFFERENT BIG CHANGES IN THE SPORT NON-SENSICAL OR IS IT A CASE WHERE BIG, BOLD DECISIONS NEED TO BE CONSIDERED AND MADE?  “I think it’s important for us to make change and keep up with the times because the way people consume sports in general has changed.  It’s not the same as what it used to be with social media and just the way people are these days.  Not as many people sit down in front of a TV for that long, so you have to figure out ways to keep peoples’ attention during a long period of time, so we have to make changes.  Every sport is gonna make changes  We have to keep up with the times, so I think that’s what you see in the sport right now.  We’re realizing that and realizing that a lot of the social numbers are growing and that means people are consuming our sport more from a digital or a device way.  TV still has great numbers.  When you think of it on most weekends we’re still the number one sport on television, so that’s something we should be proud of and we’re still realizing that we’re big.  I know we like talking about negative stories and I don’t know why, but we seem to always draw that way, but there are a lot of positives going on in our sport and the changes are just to make it better and why not?  You’ve got to try things every now and again.  You can try different packages on the car, try different race tracks, try different formats, things like that.  Why not?  You don’t know until you do it.  We can talk about things and talk about doing this or that, but you don’t really know until you try it, so you might as well give it a shot.  At least that’s my opinion.  I’m all on go with trying things and if it doesn’t work, then we say, ‘We tried,’ and we move on.”


NO IDEA IS TOO FAR RIGHT NOW?  “No, I think there are some that are probably too far.  You can go too far.  We still have to be methodical about it and be smart and make the right decisions.  We can’t just jump out and do something, but, at the same time, I think going out and taking some risk and trying some things is not a bad thing.”

 CAN NHMS BE A TRACK THE EQUALIZES THINGS FROM AN AERO STANDPOINT?  IS THE FIELD MORE EVEN HERE?  “I think it is one of those race tracks where you see the same drivers fast every time.  It means it’s a challenging  race track and the drivers that get it, something clicks in their head with the way they drive their car or what they’re looking for, they’re able to make some speed out of it.  So there is some uniqueness there for sure, but, at the same time, aero is still a pretty big deal.  We’re still going pretty fast.  A fast car is a fast car.  You’d say that about Sonoma too.  The same cars are up there racing for the win that you would expect and that would be at about any other race track, so a fast car is a fast car at this point.  It’s not just air that makes those three cars faster than anybody.  There are a lot of mechanical pieces that are working really well into their favor as well, too.  It’s racing, though.  It’s never just one thing.  It’s a bunch of little things that stack up and this is a race track that, yeah, dirty air does play, getting clean air is a lot of times a big deal.  The PJ1 or VHT or Track bite, whatever we’re calling it today, that definitely helps make the track a little bit wider to try to get some air on our nose and help that, so I think that’s a good gain, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same guys fast because they are good cars and they’ve got great drivers.  You’re gonna go fast.  That’s what happens.”


HOW SPECIAL IS IT FOR YOU TO COME BACK HERE TO NEW HAMPSHIRE AND WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN AGAIN?  “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when we won here in 2014 that, to me, was as big as winning the Daytona 500 – just conquering a track that at the time was my most challenging race track.   As a driver I was one of the drivers that didn’t have their head wrapped around it and understand what it takes to go fast, so to be able to conquer at the time the most challenging race track that happened to be your home race track as well, that, to me, was the coolest.  Winning that race and having my family here and a lot of friends and to celebrate in Victory Lane with.  You don’t have that everywhere.  I think every driver can say winning at their home track is one of their, if not their biggest win of their career.”


DID YOU DREAM AS A KID WATCHING RACING THAT YOU WOULD COME THIS FAR?  “For me, when your seven or eight years old and I came to watch my first Cup race here, when you’re that old, yeah.  There’s nothing telling you you can’t.  ‘Yeah, I’m gonna make it Cup racing.  I’m gonna win championships.  Watch this.  I’m gonna be awesome.’  All kids have a dream like that and it’s really cool, and kids should have dreams like that and be able to try to make them happen.  Sometimes you may have to change your dream as you go, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be able to continue that long road to try to get to a championship.  I still think it is cool, though, to be out there.  I remember coming here my first time and watching the time it was the Busch North Series and the modifieds and the Cup race and I met Jeff Gordon.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world and then you go out there and race against him 10 years later or so.  It’s crazy to think how quickly that can happen and that it actually did happen because you think out it our sport is one of the hardest sports to make it in because obviously there are only 40 seats out there and not all of them are really good ones, and in the life span of a driver is pretty long.  You can race for a long time.  You can race into your mid-forties and sometimes even longer, so to be able to break in is really challenging. 


“It’s not easy to do.  It’s not a rotating door a lot of times.  Once someone gets in there and gets that experience you’re in, so it’s hard to break in.  I was fortunate enough to have the right opportunities and make the most of it and be racing against the best.”


WHO WERE YOUR HEROES RACING AROUND HERE, NOT THE CUP GUYS BUT THE MODIFIED RACERS?  “Reggie and I remember watching him a lot, and Teddy Christopher obviously.  As I got older I got to know them a little bit and race against those guys, and that was cool.  The New England guys, it’s a different feel when you go to the race tracks up here.  I think that, to me, just kind of makes it feel at home because that’s what I grew up around.  You’ve got the museum right across the street here that has a lot of the New England history that a lot of it I didn’t even know and you walk through it and learn a lot about the drag racing, dirt racing and all that stuff that I didn’t quite follow as a kid when I was young and didn’t really know what was going on either.  There’s a lot of racing heritage in New England that I think it’s overshadowed a lot of times because everyone things of NASCAR’s roots being born in the south, and some of that’s true, but at the same time there’s a lot of really good racers that came from up north and a lot of great racing that happened up here and a lot of great race fans as well, so I always enjoy coming up here.  The food is better, too.”


HOW COOL IS IT TO SEE RYAN PREECE CLIMBING THE LADDER NOW?  “Ryan and I started racing at the same time at Silver City in Meriden, Connecticut.  We started at the same time and raced against each other the whole way.  You see Bobby Santos, he’s probably in the modified race this weekend, he came from Silver City as well.  There are a lot of really good racers that came from the same little quarter-midget track, which is crazy.  We all raced against each other growing up and it’s neat to see that coming full circle to where we’re racing against each other in the big leagues now.  That’s pretty neat.”


HAS YOUR MINDSET CHANGED SINCE LAST YEAR?  “Honestly, my mindset isn’t much different than last year.  The fact that we’re locked in the Playoffs is great, but that’s only one part of it.  That’s not what the goal is.  The goal isn’t to make the Playoffs.  The goal is to win the championship.  Like we talked about earlier, we’re not quite at that level yet to make that happen.  We can make that happen this year, we’ve just got to make some gains here and we’ve got to make them pretty quick because the Playoffs are right down the road from where we are right now.  We’ve definitely got to make some gains here soon, but the mindset isn’t any different.  At this point last year my goal was still to win the championship and then we kind of realized we had bigger problems than even that.  I think the mindset is always, ‘How can we be better?  How can we work harder to find that advantage?’  That’s always a constant.”


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.