Ford Performance NASCAR: Texas 2 Joey Logano Media Availability

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

AAA Texas 500 (Texas Motor Speedway)

Friday, November 2, 2018

 

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 AAA Insurance Ford Fusion, heads to Texas after clinching a spot in the Championship 4 with his win at Martinsville last weekend. Logano looked ahead to this weekend and beyond before practice.

 

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 AAA Insurance Ford Fusion — CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR MORNING AND THE EVENT YOU JUST DID? “Of course. We did a great event with AAA out front about distracted driving and Driving While Intexticated. It was a great little experiment. We had a close course set up out there and a lot of young drivers that just got their licenses and teaching them what it is like to drive distracted. They made a lap without being distracted and then I started texting them to see if they would hit something or forget how to spell. It is a good reminder for all of us. A lot of times it is so easy for us to pick up our phone when we have a text or call coming in. It is better to just put your phone down for 10 minutes until you get home or wherever you are going and finish it later because I think we all take that for granted. A lot of times driving down the road it just takes a split second. I don’t know how many times I see people swerving or just looking up and almost getting in a crash and you know they were doing something in their car. It was a good eye opening experience for them and also for me too. We hit a lot of cones. If that means anything. We killed a couple of cones out there. There wasn’t much to hit otherwise.”

 

WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT MARTIN (TRUEX JR.) TEXTED YOU? WAS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WE SAW YOU GUYS SAY ON SUNDAY AT MARTINSVILLE? “No. I can’t say I was surprised that he texted me. I am glad he did. It kind of broke the ice. I was planning on waiting a couple days to let things settle. It got a lot of things out of the way. We both know where we stand. We know where it is at. It is what it is and we move on. He texted me on Sunday night. I was actually driving so I had to wait until I got home to respond. It worked out well. It wouldn’t make any sense if the AAA driver texted on the way home. That would be really bad.”

 

HOW MUCH DEVELOPMENT HAS THEIR BEEN WITH YOUR RACE CARS FROM DAYTONA UNTIL NOW? “There is constant development. We are always working on body specs and engine specs and how we can find a little more here and there. Especially through the playoffs it seems like that gets ramped up more and more. Everyone is trying to find that little bit. That is what the playoffs are about. Everyone has to bring their A game. You have to bring the best you’ve got. Not only the driver and crew chief, road crew and pit crew, but everyone at the shop that is building these things. We are asking a lot out of them to build cars really quick and get those updates from the wind tunnel to the race cars quicker and quicker. Everyone has pressure on them and are pushing as hard as they can.”

 

YOUR EXPECTATIONS AT PHOENIX NEXT WEEKEND AND HOW YOU THINK MOVING THE START FINISH LINE MIGHT IMPACT THE RACE? “I think it makes turn one pretty exciting. Or turn three. I guess we are calling it turn one now. Are we going with the whole number change now? Okay, here we go. I do think where the start-finish line is with the restart box, most of the cars are going to be restarting in the turn. Cars that are 15th-ish or maybe closer will be in the turn it seems like. Obviously there is a lot of real estate to go down low that we always use. I can see a lot of cars making those big moves and how turn three has that very inviting apron down there with no grip at all and there are a lot of cars that slide alot on cold tires there. It seems like with low pressure and cold tires that the tires really want to chatter on the race track. Once they start chattering it is hard to stop it. It is like a basketball. You will see a lot of cars slip up. If there is a car on the outside of them it will cause contact for sure. I think it is going to make restarts a lot crazier than they used to be. You used to just go down to turn one and it was two lanes. Three-wide wasn’t much of an option there at all. This will definitely open up a lot of options. I think that will be the biggest change to see. I think that is good. The other challenge that was at Phoenix all the time was the start-finish line and restart box was going straight. So you are able to see if someone is missing the gear or spinning the tires. A lot of times if someone misses the gear there you couldn’t see because all you see is the spoiler. This should help with that.”

 

AS A RACE TEAM, DO YOU ANALYZE FOOTAGE OF THE OTHER DRIVERS YOU FEEL LIKE WILL BE AT HOMESTEAD IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP 4 LIKE A FOOTBALL OR BASEBALL TEAM MIGHT ANALYZE FILM BEFORE A BIG GAME? “Of course. We analyze everything that we can. There is a lot of stuff that we can’t analyze but what is available is what we use. It would be dumb not to use it. A lot of times you have to als take it with a grain of salt and say know that it might not work for us but it is also good to know their traits. I look at races differently than Todd (Gordon) for different reasons. I am looking from a driver’s standpoint at moves that are made and lines on the race track where Todd is looking at strategy and things like that. It is funny because we will both watch a race and I will come back to him and he will ask me about something completely different that he saw. It is good we can collaborate afterwards. We look at different things. That is a good thing.”

 

WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREPARE HAVING BEEN THERE TWICE BEFORE IN THIS FORMAT? IF YOU COULD CHOSE THE OTHER THREE DRIVERS TO MAKE IT TO HOMESTEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE? “It doesn’t matter who they are, we have to win. That is the bottom line. Every year the race winner has won the championship. We need to win no matter who it is. I think everyone is able to raise their game when they get to Miami. You are racing for the win at that point. I honestly don’t think it matters because you have to be better than 39 other cars.”

 

SO YOU ARE MORE OFFENSIVE THAN DEFENSIVE THERE? “I think you have to be. You don’t have anything to lose. I would say we made it further than maybe we thought we were going to even. Our team has really picked it up here the last eight of nine weeks and we have led a lot more laps and are running in the top-five a lot more and won a race. A few weeks ago I would say we were the underdog and now I don’t feel like that at all. At this point we are in good shape and have a great advantage by being there already. I think that is the approach we have. We are an aggressive race team all the way through and we will be on offense when we get there.”

 

HOW DOES HAVING CLINCHED ALREADY CHANGE YOUR APPROACH THIS WEEKEND AND NEXT WEEKEND? “We don’t have anything to lose and that is cool, especially this time of year. There is still a trophy to win so we focus on winning that trophy. Todd and I were in the trailer a few minutes ago going over notes and getting ready for qualifying this afternoon and what I need to look for. It is not like we have just come here on vacation. That is not what we are doing. We need to continue the success that we have had here the last few weeks and continue that to Miami. It is important for us to run well. The advantage of being able to focus on Miami and making that car as great as possible, we have that advantage to be able to start doing that now. I also don’t think it is worth throwing away these races at this point either.”

 

IS THIS VINDICATION FOR YOU TO GET TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR? “I think you always have something to prove, no matter what it is. It is a performance business. That is what it is. It is like that for everybody in here. You have to perform or else you are out looking for a job. Been there, done that. After a year like we had last year with missing the playoffs after finishing second in the points, that is a big hit to take. That one hurt. I am proud of the rebound this year that we have had. We have been consistent and maintaining up toward the front in points all year long and now won one of the most important races to lock ourselves into the Championship Four. That is a heck of a rebound and I couldn’t be more proud of our race team and Todd and the whole 22 team and all of Team Penske for improving throughout the season to put ourselves in great position to hopefully win a championship.”

 

YESTERDAY CLINT BOWYER SAID, WHEN ASKED ABOUT YOUR MOVE LAST WEEKEND IF HE WOULD HAVE DONE IT, HE SAID, ‘MY GOSH YES, AND SO WOULD MARTIN TRUEX JR.’ HAS THAT BEEN THE GENERAL CONSENSUS FROM DRIVERS THAT HAVE REACHED OUT TO YOU THIS WEEK? “I think the majority of them have supported it. Supported the move. It is a position that our sport puts you in. In the playoffs. You are in the playoffs and have an opportunity to lock yourself into the Championship Four. You don’t know what is going to happen the next two races. It is Martinsville. It is classic short-track racing that we have seen 100 times. Like I said, some fans love it and some don’t. Either way you are going to have plenty of questions afterwards. If you don’t do it they want to know why you didn’t do it. If you do it, half are happy and half aren’t. I am not here to make everyone happy. I am here to do my job for my race team and they did such a great job all day long and we led 300 laps. If you don’t try to win the race, I would expect them to be very disappointed in me as a driver for them. It was a classic bump-and-run. There was no crashing or cars in the wall. It was a bump up to get there and then that classic drag race and that cool finish for everybody.”

 

BASED ON THE TEXT YOU RECEIVED, IS EVERYTHING COOL WITH MARTIN OR IS YOUR HEAD ON A SWIVEL? “I think time will tell. I think he was a little frustrated and that is part of it. I also think it is short track racing. All of that was on the line at that point and I think we both understand that there was so much on the line and that is what happens sometimes. Like I said, it is short-track racing. That bump-and-run move, although that was probably the most popular one of the whole race because it was for the win on the last lap, probably happened 10 or 15 times before that and it didn’t get covered. It is a classic move in NASCAR that happens a lot, everytime we go there, whether it is on lap 20 or lap 499.”

 

 

DID IT CROSS YOUR MIND THAT MOVE WAS ONE THAT GUYS LIKE DALE EARNHARDT DID A THOUSAND TIMES? “I can honestly say nothing crossed my mind like that in the moment because there were a lot of things going on. But I know it is something I have seen plenty of times by a lot of greats in our sport. I am not trying to compare myself to Dale Earnhardt. I know I will never be who Dale Earnhardt is. I want to be the best Joey Logano I can be, not the best Earnhardt or Gordon. I want to be the best myself. Does that solidify the move any, I don’t know. Maybe. It is something I grew up watching plenty on TV as a kid.”

 

FORD HASN’T WON A CUP CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE 2004 WITH KURT BUSCH. HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO BE THE GUY TO WIN IT FOR THEM? “I don’t have to give it thought. I get reminded plenty of times at how big of a deal it is to win a championship and a manufacturer championship as well for Ford. We want it. Of course. We know how big of a deal it is to do that, not only for Ford but for Roger Penske., myself, Shell, our race team. I brought it up last week about how it affect everybody’s livelihood. We are a performance based business and there are a lot of bonuses that come with winning races and a championship. There are a lot of people looking at us to make it happen and it affects their life personally a lot. It is nice to have that support behind you. I like that pressure. That is a cool place to have that.”

 

WHERE DOES HOMESTEAD FALL ON YOUR LIST OF FAVORITE TRACKS? “I don’t think there is a driver that doesn’t like Miami. I think everybody likes it. It is such a cool place. It is a wore out surface with a lot of slipping and sliding. Tires wear out, running at the bottom, running right up next to the wall. You can find clean air and do some things. It is a cool place to race, for sure.”

 

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