Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Phoenix Transcript

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Ford Performance Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Friday, March 8, 2019


EVENT: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver Availability (Joey Logano)


JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – WHAT KIND OF RACING WILL WE SEE WITH THIS ADDED DOWNFORCE?  “I guess I’m unsure right now.  I think a few years back when we had the bigger spoilers and the bigger splitters on the car, I know we’re a little more than that again.  I guess I think of that a little bit.  I guess it’s kind of hard to say.  After the few laps that we’ve run so far, man, you can hustle the heck out of the car.  I know I was huffing and puffing after a couple of qualifying laps at the time out there because you’re just driving the car so hard.  I’ve never gone around this race track that fast before.  It’s incredible, so I have not been around another car, behind another car, I can’t honestly tell you what I think it’s gonna be like until we get practicing tomorrow and we get around another car.  We’ve just been in qualifying trim all day.  Most cars have, almost all of them have.  There are just a few of them that ran more laps than the others, but I haven’t been around another car to know yet.  I’m just kind of unsure now at this point of what it will be like.  We’ll see.”


DID YOU TEST THE CAR WITH ADDED DOWNFORCE?  “I didn’t test the car out here, so this is my first laps with these rules and all that horsepower, which took me a second to get used to again.  I was like, ‘Wow, this thing has got some good power,’ which was kind of fun.  But, you know, like I said there’s just so much for us to learn still, whether it’s the 550 package or the 750 package it’s hard for us to really know exactly what we need right now and of what’s gonna go fast and what we need to race.  We just don’t know, which makes this part of the season really fun and this west coast swing really challenging because you can’t really adjust your cars too much in the amount of time you have before you’ve got to get another car back out here, so it’s definitely been a challenge for all these race teams right now to be able to figure all that out, but it’s been a fun challenge and presents a great opportunity to figure it out first.  Every time we show up to the race track I go, ‘What are we gonna do?’  And I’m like, ‘I don’t know.  I don’t know what it’s gonna be like.’  We’ve just got to wait and see.”


HOW MUCH COMMUNICATION GOES ON BETWEEN YOU, BRAD AND RYAN?  THEY WERE BOTH FAST IN PRACTICE.   “They unloaded fast and really carried a lot of speed throughout practice.  We’ve been looking at what they were doing and there’s not much time from when practice ends to when qualifying starts to be able to change really big items and change things in a quick enough time to get into tech.  Yeah, there is a lot of time between practice and qualifying, but all the cars have to go through tech as you can see out the window over here, so you don’t have much time to do a lot of things.  By the time you communicate about it, talk about it and try to make some decisions and give your team enough time to be able to put that in the race car, you’re out of time.  There is only about 40 minutes or so that you have between – somewhere around 40 minutes – so we took what we can and kind of saw some balance differences and the opportunity to kind of look at a lot of their stuff, talk to them and try to make some decisions to get a little faster.  We’re not that far off.  We’re just a little bit, but it doesn’t take much and it’s nice when you have a teammate that’s the fastest car because you can look at it and say, ‘Alright, I know exactly what they’re doing,’ so it’s a nice advantage to have right now.”


HAS THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND BABY CHANGED YOU AS A PERSON AND DRIVER AND YOUR APPROACH TO THIS SEASON?  “It’s changed me a lot as a person.  It hasn’t changed me as a driver, really, at all.  Your priorities change and the things that you want to do is different than what it was before, like I want to go home.  This west coast swing I used to want to stay out here and do things in between the races, especially between Phoenix and California.  There’s a lot we can do to help promote our sport on the west coast in the L.A. area, so I really liked doing that and I’m still gonna go out a little early for it, but I’m gonna go home.  I’m gonna go home and see the little man and my wife and be able to spend a little time there.  For me, my perspective has changed a little bit and what’s most important in life and all that, that’s changed a little bit, but when you get to the race track you have to be able to flip a switch when you get in that race car or when you walk into the garage and you’re just full-on race mode and focused in because to compete against the best you can’t have distractions.


“Not that they’re distractions, but you’ve got to be 100 percent focused on the job at that point, and then it’s also healthy to be able to go home and flip that switch back off and not be thinking about the race car all the time and I think that’s something that kind of helps keep you fresh when you get back to the race track, so I really worked on that a lot last year and it was pretty challenging because just like any new parent you get a little overwhelmed at times.  It’s like, ‘I can’t do anything as good as I want to,’ so you just have to really compartmentalize exactly what you want to do.  That was a challenge for me.  I wouldn’t say I’ve got it figured out yet, but I’m closer than where I was last year, so that’s good.”


IS WHEEL SPIN AN ISSUE THIS YEAR WITH MORE POWER FOR THE RESTARTS?  “Yeah, wheel spin wasn’t too big of a deal.  It was a little bit at Atlanta, not much last week in Vegas.  Wheel spin will probably come into play here, especially where the restart zone is and all that with the new off of turn two, the new turn four.  That’s what it is.  I call it the banked corner and the flat corner because I can’t get it right (laughing).  I don’t think I can ever get it right, but it will change that part of it just going through the gears, the ratios, all that stuff is different than what we had the last week.  This place is always fun for restarts because you’ve got that dogleg and cars get wide and you have such a wide entry into turn three where you can go way below the yellow line.  Not that there’s much grip down there, but there’s room to do something when cars make mistakes or go up the race track you can get around and do stuff.  I wouldn’t expect that piece to change at all.  I think the racing is gonna be every bit as good as it was last year with the chance of it being better.  That’s kind of my thought at this point.  We’ll have to wait and see, but I do think restarts are still gonna be chaos here for the first couple of laps like we’ve seen in the past.”


HOW LONG WILL IT BE UNTIL YOU’RE RELATIVELY CONFIDENT THAT WHAT’S COMING OFF THE TRACK IS WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO NEED?  “Probably not until we get to the track the second time.  I think we won’t take off as far off, like even when you go to maybe a Texas for the first time, it won’t be as far off as when we went to Atlanta the first time, but when you go to Texas the second time you’re gonna pretty much have a really good idea of what you need, especially after you go through a race once and you realize, ‘OK, this is most important.  I need this in my car.’


“As a driver you know what you’re looking for and as a crew chief and the engineers you’re all talking about the same thing, everyone is on the same page and you know what you’re building the car for and what you need most out of it.  Right now, we all think we know.  ‘This was important at Atlanta and this was important at Vegas.’  Is it gonna be important in Texas?  Some of it yes.  Some of it we don’t know, but, like I said, that’s a fun challenge right now.  Anytime there are new rules there’s that challenge that comes along with it.  It’s a fun piece that I enjoy and it really gets you thinking outside of your box you had before after the running the same rules for a few years.  You get so refined and you think of these little changes and little changes and now you’re thinking more broad big things and that’s pretty fun.”


THERE HAS BEEN SOME SOCIAL MEDIA TALK THIS WEEK FROM FANS THAT MAYBE TEAM PENSKE IS PEAKING TOO SOON.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?  “Maybe we haven’t reached our peak.  You can’t be peaking too soon if you didn’t get to your own peak.  That’s my opinion.  No, it’s so early in the season things are going to be changing week after week of who the dominant car is.  What I will say is, yeah, we came out of the gates pretty strong and I’m super-proud of that, but I wouldn’t say we’re peaking too soon.  No way.  I wouldn’t want to think that way if we were.”


HOW CRAZY IS THE WIND OUT THERE?  “The wind last week was a pretty big deal in Vegas.  You have that wind that we had in practice that was blowing down the back straightaway into turn three.  That was really upsetting our cars quite a bit.  It’s the same for everybody, but it’s funny sometimes when you have a gust of wind and the car in front of you moves and then you move and then everyone slides up the race track together when there’s a gust of wind because you obviously can’t see it coming.  It’s tough in practice because you’re setting up the car in conditions that aren’t gonna be there the next day and that’s just one of the variables.  There’s the wind, the amount of rubber, the track temperature, that amount of cars that are on the race track – all of that stuff really plays in in practice when you’re thinking about what you’re gonna do for the race, so you’re trying to think of those variables while you’re tuning on your car.  Last week, the entry to three was not our strong suit in practice and when the race started it was OK.  We made some adjustments to fix it, but the wind was bigger than anything we adjusted to fix it.  The wind went away on Sunday.  Here, I thought it was gonna affect us more, but I don’t really feel it right now.

“There’s so much more grip than the last time we were here.  I don’t think we’ve gotten to the point that we feel the small pieces of the wind yet.”

THERE WAS A REPORT THAT ROCKINGHAM HAS NEW OWNERS AND THEY’RE TRYING TO GET IT BACK TOGETHER.  DO YOU FEEL THAT WOULD BE A VIABLE TRACK FOR NASCAR TO GO BACK TO ONE DAY?  “Absolutely.  I think Rockingham is one of the best race tracks there is with the surface the way it is, and I haven’t been there in a few years so I don’t know if over the winters if it has worn out more, but we’ve tested there.  I tested there I can’t tell you how many times and how many laps I’ve made early in my career and it’s always so much fun because you had these huge swells that are in the center of the corner.  The car would go up and down kind of like Atlanta and you had a surface that was so wore out and you could run the top, the bottom, there’s just no grip.  Anywhere you looked there was no grip and that was fun.  That was so much fun.  It was hard to test because you’re saying was it the change or the tires wearing out.  You could never figure out what was what, but the racing was so much fun and you had the cars that some would be fast in the short run, some were good on the long run, and I had a great time.  I only raced an ARCA race and a Truck race there, but I loved it.”


THERE WAS TALK THAT THEY MIGHT RESURFACE THE TRACK.  WHAT WOULD YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?  “Don’t do it.  Don’t resurface.  I don’t know if that goes all the way to the new owners, but don’t repave it.”


IF THEY DO IT TAKES AWAY EVERYTHING, RIGHT?  “Yeah, you’ve got to start all over.  It’s cool the way it is.”


Greg Engle