Ford Performance NASCAR: Martinsville 1 (Joey Logano Media Availability)

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Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes

Date: Friday, March 31, 2017

Event: STP 500 (Media Availability)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Martinsville Speedway (.5-mile paperclip)

JOEY LOGANO (No. 22 Duralast GT Ford Fusion) – “WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO BEING SUCCESSFUL AT 500 AND 600 MILE RACES? IS THERE SOME COMMON THREAD? “I think the big thing is to keep cool and positive throughout the event. Most of the time if you have 500 or 600 miles, it presents a lot of opportunities for mistakes. Not only from yourself or race team, but for other race teams. It also presents an opportunity to recover from those mistakes. So, I think a lot of teams, sometimes you’ll have a mistake and you have walls and it keeps getting worse and worse and worse. If you’re able to overcome that you’re going to make up a lot throughout the day. I think those 500, 600-mile races are grueling. Five-hundred laps at Martinsville is just as long a lot of times. Just Cup races in general are long. Our team this year has been able to recover a lot to get solid finishes out of our cars and that’s because a lot of times our cars have been fast.

HOW WILL ADDING STAGES TO RACES THIS YEAR AFFECT ROAD COURSES LIKE SONOMA? “Possible more at those race tracks, in particular Watkins Glen, than any other race track so far. A lot of times we go to Watkins Glen and we talk about if it’s a two-stop or three-stop strategy. I don’t know how it’s going to work out because now you know when the cautions are going to fall. And you’re racing for points, obviously you can pit and not go down a lap and there’s not much tire fall off. I don’t know. That’s why Todd (Gordon) gets paid the big bucks. I always tell him I’ll drive the car and you can call the race. That’s how that’s going play out.”

IT WAS FASCINATING LAST WEEK THAT YOUR TEAMMATE BRAD KESELOWSKI SUFFERED A LOT OF DAMAGE AND WAS ABLE TO DRIVE IT ALL THE WAY BACK TO SECOND PLACE. LAST YEAR THAT WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED AT A PLACE LIKE AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY. WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GEN 6 CAR, MECHANICAL GRIP AND NOT AS MUCH EMPHASIS ON AERO GRIP, HOW CLOSE ARE WE TO THAT MAGIC FORMULA? “We’re always going to depend on aero. You’re never going to take that away. We can’t unlearn what we already know. We can try and make the car less aero dependent, which we have. I definitely know the damage on Brad’s car wasn’t helping him. They did a good job fixing it to make it competitive and was fortunate to have all those restarts at the end and all those different strategies. And during all that stuff they were able to work on their car and get their balance right and capitalize at the end on those restarts at the end to get a second-place finish. I think a lot of things lined up from them just right for the damage that they had. We’re still aero dependent, it’s always going to be that way. It just depends on the severity of it.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A TEAMMATE BESIDE YOU TO GIVE YOU A BREAK? HOW DAMNING IS IT TO RESTART ON THE OUTSIDE? “It’s awful to be up top. It’s hard to find a hole. If you can’t find one quick here you’re in big trouble. I was watching the race from the fall and we were fifth coming out of the pits and the 4 had a penalty and we started fourth because of it and we fell back to 12th-place from fourth. It’s really bad to be up top. That’s why you see all the games being played on pit road as everyone is trying to get in a better position. It’s challenging. As much as everyone keeps that gap closed it’s hard find a hole back in. If you can have a teammate help you get back in, it helps a ton. It’s very important to work those relationships.”

FIRST 500 MILE RACE TO FEATURE STAGE RACING HERE AT MARTINSVILLE. ARE STAGES VALUABLE ENOUGH TO WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO SEE AGGRESSIVE RACING NEAR THE END OF STAGES? “Yeah, these stage points are huge. You can look at a lot of times at the end of races and someone may have finished up front…Brad last week finished second and lost points to guys around him. These stage points mean a lot. Also, the playoff points that comes with it to win a stage, that’s a big deal. You just can’t say, ‘Hey, don’t worry about the stage and just focus on winning the race.’ (You have to) somehow worry about both. A lot of times it’s challenging but a lot of teams are doing the same thing.”

WHAT’S YOUR THINKING ABOUT SUBSTITUTE CREW CHIEFS? “I think it’s the general communication. It’s very challenging if you have a new crew chief or someone different that you’re working with. A lot of times it seems like the race engineer you typically work with takes over and you work really close with them. You almost work with the engineer as much as you do your crew chief. But he knows what’s going on week-in-and-week-out. You kind of keep the trends going of what you’ve been working on and what’s been working for you. That communication is still going to be there, it’s just going to be distant.  It’s going to be harder to communicate. A lot of times you can say something on the phone or in person and it’s a lot different with your body language. I think that’s a definite big challenge. It seems like these days teams are really strong and have a lot of depth and can overcome that for a certain amount of time. I think if it’s a really long time it will gradually eat away at you. I think for a few weeks a lot of teams can handle it well.”

HAVE YOU USED A BIOMETRIC DEVICE THIS YEAR TO GET DATA ABOUT YOUR HEART OR ANYTHING. IF SO, HAVE YOU LEARNED ANYTHING? “I have. I learned that I’m going crazy inside the car like you think I was (laughs). My heart rate is working in there, my heart rate doesn’t slow down. I’m antsy in general. I’m too wired. It’s cool to see your heart rate, in particular restarts, and then on the long run it comes down a bit. The elevation is usually 10 beats at the end of the race. My peak heart rate is at the end of the race, consistently. I thought what was interesting is that Daytona is just as high as Phoenix. Physically you’re working a lot harder at a track like Phoenix. I guess the intensity you need to have raises your heart rate a lot.”

YOU TWEETED A PICTURE OF A NEW CAR DESK YOU HAVE. THERE’S A PICTURE ON THE WALL NEXT TO IT, WHAT’S THE STORY OF THAT? “So, when you race quarter midgets growing up, your crew chief is your handler, which is typically your dad. We always had a running joke that I needed a new handler. So someone gave me that shirt. I’m not sure who gave me that shirt. I ended up wearing that shirt all the time around the racetrack and I thought that was funny. My parents gave me that for Christmas a few years back.”

WITH ALL THE DISCUSSION OF REPAVES OF TRACKS, WHAT MAKE A GOOD SURFACE TO RACE ON? WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO RACE ON? “Basically, you want a track that you’re able to move around and a track that wears out tires. Those are the two biggest things. Bumps are great and it’s definitely changes up the race track and the way you set (it) up. Having a track that has a lot of tire fall off like last week in Fontana, the strategy get crazy. The strategy gets pretty exciting. If you had a faster car and newer tires you were able to get around people, in particular restarts. I think that when you look at a good racetrack, and honestly I look at Auto Club at being one of the best.”

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT AT TEXAS NEXT WEEKEND? “Pretty much the same things you guys have seen. I saw Chris Buescher driving around on YouTube in a pace car. I don’t really know what Texas brings for us yet. Obviously, we can look at recent repaves and get an idea of what it’s going to be like. We’ll look at Kentucky and and see if it’s going to be similar that we fought there. The track will take some time to widen out. When you look at Turn 1 and look at how wide it looks and flat it looks since they repaved it, I don’t really know where we’re going to be running or if it’s going to widen out. We saw Kansas as a repave as one of the best repaves there’s been because cars can run on the top and bottom with the progressive banking. It takes some time to understand where Texas is going to go.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN AT MARTINSVILLE? “Martinsville is one of those places that every driver wants to win at. Everyone wants to have that clock in there house. It’s something that is very special. I come in this room and look at these pictures on the wall and I think, ‘Hmmm, this place has been here for a long time.’ Legends have won here and similar to Daytona, you want to say that you’ve won at Daytona and Martinsville. It’s one of those historic race tracks that you want to as a racecar driver to click it off the bucket list and say, ‘Hey, I’ve won at Martinsville.’ It’s very special and a hard thing to do. We’ve come awful close but this is one of the race tracks you want to click off.”

FORD HASN’T WON HERE SINCE 2002. HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO GETTING THAT DONE? “It’s depends on the day (laughs). Sometimes I feel like we’re really close and the next race it’s completely different. It’s a matter of keeping up with the changes. We have a new tire this weekend. How that is going to react?  We’re going to have to pay attention to that. I think track temperature has a big effect on how the race is played out and what you need in your race car to be fast. We’ll keep an eye on all that stuff. This weekend should be pretty good after we get through one more (rain) shower today. I think it’s going to be great.”

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.