Ford Performance NASCAR: Logano Looking To Repeat Talladega Victory

(Ford)Joey L

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes

Hellmann’s 500 – Talladega Superspeedway

Friday, October 21, 2016


Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, is the defending race-winner of this weekend’s Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.  He currently sits eighth in the point standings, and needs to finish at least that high in order to advance to next week’s Round of 8 opener at Martinsville.


JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – THE STAKES ARE HIGH THIS WEEKEND.  IS IT A CONFIDENCE BOOST TO COME IN HERE AS THE DEFENDING RACE WINNER?  “I think it definitely helps knowing you can win here.  We’ve had a good, solid speedway program at Team Penske the last couple years and when you come to Talladega you get excited about it.  It’s not quite like that for everybody, but for us we get excited about speedway racing and the opportunity that presents itself this weekend, so we’re ready to get on the race track and see what we’ve got.”

GUYS WILL BE TRYING TO KNOCK YOU OUT ON SUNDAY.  HOW MUCH PRESSURE IS THAT ON YOU AND HOW DO YOU AND BRAD WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN?  “I don’t really think about how people are trying to knock me out, I think about how I’m gonna knock other people out.  That’s my attitude.  If I’m on defense, we’re not gonna win.  We better stay on offense.  That’s what this 22 team does.  We’re gonna go out there and race hard because that’s what we know how to do when we come to speedways.  Some guys can do it good the other way but, for us, we’re gonna go out there and race hard and try to stay up front, try to keep making our car better for the end of the race and be there at the end.”

WAS THERE AN EFFORT ON YOUR PART TO HELP BRAD HERE IN 2014 AFTER YOU ALREADY HAD A WIN, AND DID YOU TALK ABOUT THAT BEFORE THE RACE?  “Yes.  That day there was.  Brad was in a do-or-die situation and I was locked in, so our main goal was to get Brad through.  That was our goal.  There was a lot of talk about how we help each other and how we can put him in position to make the moves at the end of the race.  I gave him my commitment that I was gonna be there for him.  I was gonna push him along.  I was gonna do everything that I knew how to do to help him win.  That situation will happen throughout a lot of other teams this week, but it’s something Brad and I need to have an understanding that, ‘Hey, yeah, we’re gonna help each other as much as we can, but we both kind of have to win.’  It’s a little bit different than that race, but at the same time we’re good teammates.  We’re gonna race each other and we’re gonna help each other like we do every single week.”

WHAT’S THE STRENGTH OF YOUR RESTRICTOR PLATE PROGRAM?  “I think there are a lot of different reasons for it.  Having fast race cars become key in these speedway races.  I think we’ve had some fast cars lately.  I think that helps.  I think having a good understanding of the draft is something that’s been a big deal.  We were able to win a couple speedway races last year, so I feel confident that we still know how to do this.  But I think having that relationship with your spotter and understanding what happens in the draft and why you’re gonna do things and understanding what information you need to hear and what is useless information and clarifying that as much as you can before the race, during the race and even after the race to help you through the next one.  Speedway racing isn’t as much of a crapshoot as a lot of people like to believe it is.  It sounds like it’s just an excuse to me.  I think there is a lot of strategy and a lot of knowledge that has to go into playing this game.”

DO YOU KNOW IF EITHER YOU OR BRAD HAVE THE NEW 2017 FOOTBOX CAR WITH YOU THIS WEEKEND AND DID YOUR POSITION IN THE CHASE DETERMINE IF YOU WENT WITH THE 2016 OR 2017?  “I don’t know.  I can’t answer that, honestly.  I can honestly say we’re not gonna change our car lineup depending on what spot we were for this race, but I honestly don’t know.  I focus on things that I can affect and things that involve me.  Yes, you can make an argument that involves me quite a bit, but it doesn’t have an effect on the way I’m going to approach this race and race, so I didn’t really get in the middle of that.”

WHY NOT RUN IN THE BACK IF GUYS HAVE A POINTS CUSHION?  “I think it depends on what your situation is.  Everyone’s situation is different.  The bigger points cushion you have, you can argue that you can afford to go up there to race or you can argue, ‘why would I go up there and race?’  The last time I kind of checked this thing is called a race and I believe racers race.  That’s my opinion.  Everyone has their own way of doing it.  I’ve seen people ride around the back and crash.  I’ve seen guys running up front and crash.  It happens, but being aware of your surroundings becomes very important throughout the race.  Is there a safe place?  I don’t know if there’s really a safe place, especially towards the end of these things.  It becomes chaotic that being in the middle is definitely not the safe place.  You’ve got to be one or the other.  Maybe if you had a decent enough cushion that maybe you would play it safe, but I can’t make decisions for what other drivers are going to do throughout this weekend.”

CAN YOU SHARE HOW MUCH DIFFERENT IT FEELS THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR WHEN YOU HAD SO MANY WINS AND WERE LOCKED IN?  “Honestly, not much different, which is a good thing.  I feel like our team is in a good spot.  We had a great run last weekend in Kansas.  We did make up some points.  We’re in a great spot with having a really bad Charlotte, so our team has a lot of confidence in themselves.  We know we can do this.  We’re coming into a race track that we know we’re good at.  We know we can win here.  Is the situation different?  Obviously, it is.  Last year, we were locked in.  There was nothing to worry about.  This year, we’re not, but we still have the same goal so why should we approach the race any different?”

HOW DO YOU FIND A SAFE PLACE DURING A RACE AND AS THE RACE PROGRESSES HOW MUCH DO YOU GET OUT OF THAT COMFORT ZONE?  “You said it in your question – depending on who you’re around a lot of times.  Know who you’re racing.  Know who you feel comfortable with.  When you’re around other cars it may not be who you’re driving against, it may just be the way their car handles.  You might say, ‘His car looks loose, or he looks out of control for some reason,’ and understanding that scenario and what position you’re in.  There are times in the race that you can back out of it and say, ‘OK, let’s wait for this to calm down a little bit and then we’ll try to work our way back up.’  The whole race you weigh out in your mind risk vs. reward.  That’s what you think about.  ‘Am I willing to take this risk and if I do, what do I gain?’  You think about that when you’re trying to make a move and say, ‘Am I gonna make this move to take the lead and am I gonna go back to 20th if it doesn’t work?’  You weigh that out.  Is it making a move that’s gonna put you in a really tight spot and you could possibly crash to gain three or four spots?  You’ve got to weight that out.  Does that make sense?  A lot of that changes throughout the race when it’s early in the race a lot more people are conservative and say, ‘It’s not really worth it at this point in the race.’  But at the end of the race everyone is trying to get every spot they can and depending on your point situation you’re gonna have to make decisions knowing once you collect all that data from inside the car and kind of understand the situation you’ll make those decisions off of that.”

HOW MUCH OF WHAT HAPPENS HERE IS SKILL AND PREPARATION AND HOW MUCH IS LUCK?  “I think it’s all skill and preparation – 100 percent in my opinion.”

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS RACING LUCK?  “You create your own luck.  That’s what I think.  There might be a chance you run over something or something happens, but some things are just meant to be and some things aren’t.  But if you can work and do everything you can do and prepare yourself to go out there and be the best, then that’s all you can do.  I feel like that makes it, in my opinion, a lot about preparation.”

IF YOU LOOK AT THE POINTS NOW, CAN YOU PREDICT WHAT KIND OF PERSONALITY A RACE CAN HAVE IN TERMS OF PEOPLE’S DESPERATION?  WHAT KIND OF RACE WILL WE SEE SUNDAY?  “I think the fall Talladega race, a lot of times because there are a lot of different situations going on on the race track, it’s usually a little calmer than the spring race.  I think a lot of times just because some guys, like we talked earlier, some guys may just ride around and say, ‘OK, just don’t crash today and I make it through.’  Other guys may have to win, but they have to be there at the end to win.  I think there’s a lot to lose for a lot of people and they may not make it as crazy as far as things going on.  There might be some non-Chasers that don’t want to get in the middle of it and say, ‘I don’t want to be the one that takes this guy out.’  This race usually seems to be a little bit calmer until the end.  At the end of the race that’s when people get desperate and when that happens people make aggressive moves to make it happen.  You’ve got to expect that.  There will probably be a crash on lap 10 after I say this, but I would think it’s gonna go green for a while and everyone is gonna kind of settle in, and then at the end I would assume it’s gonna get crazy and there will probably be a lot of crashes then.”

TALLADEGA MOVES UP A RACE NEXT YEAR TO BE THE MIDDLE RACE IN THIS ROUND.  “I think it’s a good thing.  I kind of like knowing what you have to do after Talladega.  As much as you say you can control your own destiny here, which you can, you can’t as much as you could at Kansas – maybe not as much.  A lot of times it would be kind of nice to know, ‘Hey, you’re in a must-win situation,’ and you can do a strategy play at a race track like a Kansas or Charlotte or whatever it may be.  A lot of times it’s a little bit, I don’t want to say easier to call a race, but knowing what that situation is your strategy is kind of stuck here of what the rest of the pack does, but when you go to those other race tracks and you know you’re do-or-die, you may make some different calls that may have a better reward.”

HOW MUCH BLOCKING ARE WE GOING TO SEE SUNDAY?  “Blocking is always going to be a big player in speedway racing.  What goes on behind you dictates what you’re going to do and what happens in front of you a lot of times, so I’d say there are more times you look in your mirror than you look at what’s going on in front of you because decisions are made on what’s going on behind you.  It may not necessarily be as much blocking as just understanding where the runs are coming from and getting in those lines.  It’s gonna happen all day.  You’ll see the leader going back and forth from lane to lane to block them from getting on the outside or inside of them, and you’ll see it going throughout the pack of guys just trying to keep themselves in line because a lot of times if you kind of get off your game for a minute you’ll get what I call snookered, where someone will pop out and put you three-wide in the middle or three-wide on the bottom where there is no one behind you, and you’ll lose all those spots.  If you don’t stay in line and stay up in your mirror and be up on your game to make those blocks, you lose a lot of spot really, really quick.”


About Greg Engle 7420 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.