Ford Performance NASCAR: Talladega Media Availability (Joey Logano)

Ford PR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Friday, April 26, 2019

EVENT: GEICO 500 Media Availability


JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang — WITH THE ARCA SERIES BEING HERE THIS WEEK, YOU GOT YOUR LAUNCH AS A DEVELOPMENT DRIVER AND RAN SOME RACES FOR VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS. WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE? “At the time I was running a lot of the K&N Pro Series races before that and you only got to run some of the bigger tracks. Big tracks were considered Dover and New Hampshire. It is only a mile long and we consider those short tracks in todays world, in the Cup world at least. ARCA was a great avenue to be able to get experience on mile-and-a-halfs, superspeedways and things like that. Pocono, when you go there the first time to a track that is so difficult and different, to have those laps and that experience was something that helped me as a driver quite a bit. I was able to run a race here in Talladega and one in Daytona in the ARCA cars. It gives you the ability to kind of learn a little bit about the draft. Obviously when it is your first time you don’t really know what you are doing out there and you don’t know what moves to make. You can tell when you watch a race that there is inexperience mixed in with experience. Some drivers know how to make the moves and some don’t. As you move up the ranks, everyone knows what they are doing. The race looks completely different. It is just something that is a good learning tool to get you to the next step to get you a little experience before you get to the next level in the trucks and then Xfinity and Cup.”


YOU AND MARTIN (TRUEX JR.) RACED EACH OTHER CLEAN AT RICHMOND BUT MARTIN SAID HE DOESN’T KNOW IF YOU GUYS ARE GOOD. ARE YOU GUYS GOOD? “I have never had a problem with him so I guess that is his question to answer. We were racing there toward the end of the race and I didn’t feel like I got there in time to be able to make any moves. I needed to get by Clint a few laps earlier and by the time I found some speed in the car I was a little bit too late and just couldn’t get there in time to try to make a pass. The only change I had to make a pass was going into three and that was it. I needed a few laps to kind of set him up and catch some lap cars in the right spot and try to put him in the right spot to try to pass him. I needed about, instead of 400 laps 405 laps might have been the difference. I am sure there are plenty of times we can all say the same thing. Overall, like I said, to be upset with second place is a good spot to be in as far as speed in our race cars and where we are in the season right now. If we execute a little better we are sitting here with four wins right now instead of one. I think we just need to clean up some of our mistakes throughout the whole team, myself included, and when we do that we will have more victories under our belt.”


HOW WOULD YOU SUMMARIZE THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE SEASON? “I think we came out of the gates strong. The car has been fast. If I go through some of the races, Atlanta we were in position to win with a loose wheel and had to come down on the last run. California we finished second and should have finished there. We weren’t fast enough to win there. I look at other races, Bristol we were in position to win and strategy bit us a little bit. Richmond you can argue that when we lost the lead coming down pit road was the difference of losing control of the race which could have been the win. There are a lot of if’s, and’s and buts through the first quarter of the season where I feel like we were in position to win and didn’t capitalize. For me, I guess that only gives you a B. We had the speed and didn’t capitalize on the victories. We have solid finishes because we have speed in our cars and are second in points and not far out of where we need to be. It is tough to give those wins away when they are sitting right in front of you. We have a long way until the playoffs start and I am confident we will clean that stuff up and get to that point. It is all about maintaining the speed that we have right now. The biggest piece is the speed the Penske and Gibbs cars have, it will be harder and harder to maintain that gap that we’ve got. We have to work hard to maintain that as long as possible.”


HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE DEVELOPED YOUR CRAFT OF BUMP-DRAFTING AND HOW MUCH DO YOU EXPECT TO USE IT THIS WEEKEND? “I don’t know how the draft is going to work this weekend. I do feel like as far as the bump-draft, it is something that I have worked on a lot in Xfinity cars or even when we did tandem, I feel like I was able to do a good job at being able to latch on and stay attached for a long time when we were able to do that. I kind of hope it gets to that point because I feel like it falls into a strength of mine. We will have to wait and see. I think this practice will be interesting to see if anyone can lock on to bumpers and go faster. With that big spoiler, there are so many what-if’s that we don’t really know. I think after you get through this practice here we will have a general idea somewhat if how we are going to go fast and how this race is going to play out and what we need in our race cars. We will then at least have something to work on. Todd and I were talking about it before we got here and there were four or five scenarios that can happen on how this race will play out. Until we get on the track we don’t know. We will figure it out here in a few minutes.”


WHAT IMPACT DID YOUR MOM HAVE ON YOUR CAREER? “My mom, and I think most drivers moms and parents have put a lot into their sons or daughters racing careers or their lives in general, even outside of racing. Your mom plays a huge role in what we do and how we get here. I remember growing up racing, my mom is a typical Italian mom that cooks a lot of food and every time we would come to the race track we won when it came to best food at the race track. We had more food than we could handle. I think that made people want to work on our race team, so that was good. Most of them were volunteers, kind of a, “will work for food” situation. It was fun. It was a good thing.”


THE PENSKE FORDS HAVE BEEN LIGHTS OUT HERE IN THE PAST BUT DO YOU KIND OF WISH IT WASN’T SO POLITICAL WHEN IT CAME TO RACING AT THIS TRACK AND AT DAYTONA SO THAT YOU COULD FIND THE BEST CAR TO GO WITH IF NECESSARY AND NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO RELY ON YOUR TEAMMATES OR ANOTHER FORD?  “Not really because I kind of think the political game – if you want to call it that – is part of the competition. It is part of the fun of it. You are going to need help to be able to overcome other cars. To be able to beat other cars and other teams you have to work together now. The draft has changed so much over the last few years. Because of Toyota, they started it when we went to Daytona in the 500 and they kicked everyone’s butt because they were selfless and stayed together. We have taken that model and tried to make it better with working together and we have found success because of that. It is part of the game now. The cars are not what made it like that. Everyone used to help their teammate here and there but manufacturers didn’t really work together or were committed to each other. Once we saw how those four cars were able to stay committed to each other and beat everyone that day in Daytona, that forever changed the draft. That moment was a key moment in superspeedway history, in my opinion. When we all saw that we had to make a change or we were going to get beat. We were forced into the next move. Teamwork has become the play in these races. The stages have probably added to that once again. When you come here with the stages and pitting in between and trying to keep everyone together and all those things when everyone pits, that is a big part of the game at this point.”


HOW DO YOU BALANCE NOT WANTING TO SHOW TOO MUCH IN PRACTICE BUT NEEDING TO GO OUT AND FIND OUT WHAT THESE CARS CAN DO? “I don’t know if there is any more pressure. We are trying to figure it out every weekend if we can. That is the fun part about this sport. You have a good mix of engineering that can kind of predict a lot of things that are coming our way, yet there is still the old school feel of what a driver wants and what we need to be able to make it happen. We all need to communicate to move forward together. That is a fun challenge of our sport. When you come to a race track with a new rules package, it is something that neither one of us are confident in. We go to Richmond and I call tell them the things we are going to probably fight and they will tell me with the new rules what we will fight and we can collaborate and make changes and be prepared when we come to the track. Here, I have never raced anything with a spoiler this big. Neither have they. How is this draft going to work? None of us really know. We can do as many studies and talk about it but until you get on the race track and really see it and take it off the paper and put it into reality, that is sometimes where you see a little bit of a change. There will be plenty of wheels spinning after practice to think about what we are going to do. These are the moments you go out there with five or six questions and you come back with 10 questions. You answer maybe three of them and get 10 new ones.”


WILL YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL SUNDAY TO REALLY KNOW OR FIND OUT IN PRACTICES? “I think we will get a general idea in practice. Who knows how many cars are going to want to go out there and draft and what they are going to need. Whether teams go out or OEMs go out together or everyone goes, sometimes you just don’t know until practice starts how it will play out. I would assume there will be a decent size group of cars learning what they need.”


HOW DOES SOMEBODY PREPARE OF THE UNKNOWN? “It is just trying to expect the unexpected. You try to prepare yourself and look back at notes and look at stuff from recent events and honestly, I think a lot of the prep work that you typically do maybe just gets shifted to Friday night and Saturday night. You don’t know. You don’t want to overload yourself with races and not know what is going on. For me at least, it is probably better for me to figure out what we have here first and then kind of study and add to the strategy of what we need from there.”

SO THIS WEEK LEADING IN IS EASIER FOR YOU? “I don’t know if I would call it easier. You are still thinking about what can happen, a lot. I don’t think it makes it any easier from that case at all.”



Greg Engle