Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Charlotte Press Conference

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS WEEKEND AND SALUTING THE MILITARY? “Honestly, this is some of my favorite times of the year to be able to do that, especially when you come here for the Coca-Cola 600 and what this weekend really means. It’s a good reminder for us because I think a lot of times we think of Memorial Day Weekend and if you’re in this industry sometimes you think of three really big races that are happening this weekend, but, for me, I think it’s a good reminder and Charlotte does a great job, the speedway here does a great job, at reminding all of us how we get to do that safely. The only reason we get to do that safely is because of our men and women in the military fighting for our freedom. In the past, or now, that is the reason why we are here sitting here today and we should all feel blessed and lucky to be here living in this great country. Whether you like our leadership or not I don’t think it matters, I really believe it’s all about us being united together and we’re pretty strong when we can do that. This is a great weekend for all of us to remember that and have the opportunity to shake the military members families and all of them and say thank you – shake their hands and, to me, I almost wish this happened two or three times a year because I feel like sometimes as a country we need to do this more often.”

TAKE US INTO YOUR EXPERIENCE TO VOTE FOR THE HALL OF FAME YESTERDAY? “It was really neat. I felt a little out of place, to be honest with you. There were some legends in that room and some real Hall of Famers that have been around for a long time. I really enjoyed that part and listening to everybody’s reasoning. Everyone has the opportunity to stand up and say why they think a particular person belongs in the Hall of Fame and everyone has different reasonings why and you kind of have that discussion between everybody. It’s very formal. It’s not like you just say something. You raise your hand, get a microphone and talk about what you want to say about them and things like that. That was really interesting to hear everybody’s perspective because there were a few members on the ballot that I knew, that I raced against or knew personally, but there were also a few that I never met and I never had the chance to watch racing and things like that. For me, that perspective was important for me when I was filling out who my votes were going to be. I’d say pretty much all but one made it into the Hall of Fame that I voted for, so that’s pretty cool. I was impressed by all that. I thought it was neat, just the whole discussion was fun and afterwards everyone just kind of hangs out. I talked to Richard Petty for 15 minutes and anytime you get to do that it’s just a cool feeling. I’m still a race fan at heart, so I kind of took a moment to enjoy it.”

DOES NASCAR NEED A 600-MILE RACE? “This is a special race. The Coca-Cola 600 has been around for a very long time. Yeah, you keep it. That’s what makes it so special. It makes it unique. It makes it different. Does every other race have to be 500 miles? Probably not. Maybe certain ones, the iconic ones need to be. This is an iconic race. It’s 600 miles. That’s what makes it special. That’s what makes it a crown jewel event. Yeah, you keep the 600 miles. That’s a no-brainer. I get mad when someone asks me that question. It’s a no-brainer. I’m not mad at you, I know other people are asking, but I’m just saying that is the heritage of this event and you can’t change that.”

WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO DOING RADIO AND TV BROADCASTING? “For me I enjoy doing it. I think it’s a lot of fun and it’s kind of my way to give back to the sport. We talked about this as far as Hall of Famers yesterday in there. My only comments that I had was I felt like the definition of a Hall of Famer is somebody who gives more than they take and if you have the opportunity to give back to your sport and try to make your sport bigger, instead of just being a race car driver and driving in circles, taking your check and driving home and never doing anything else, that, to me, doesn’t define somebody that belongs in the Hall of Fame. I think everyone agreed with that there. I’m not saying I’m a Hall of Famer at all in any way, don’t take that the wrong way, but I feel like those are the things that I’m supposed to do – to try to gain more interest into our sport than what there already is and that’s one of the few ways that I’ve found to do things and it’s good for the brand of NASCAR, it’s good for Joey Logano’s brand. It’s a good way to get my personality out there and who I am because a lot of times everyone’s perspective or who they think I am personally when you see an interview when I first get out of the car is a lot different than when you have a moment to relax and you’re talking and you’re not wearing a race suit and you’re wearing your jeans and you’re having a good time, then all of a sudden it’s a different person. It’s like that for every driver, too, so it gives you a good opportunity to show that side of you as well.”

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES? “I used to get nervous about it because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and then I realized just be you. It’s way easier and a lot of fun. I just kind of lose a little bit of a filter and just be who I am, which is great. I think that’s a fun part about it. There are some challenges on Saturday when we’re on TV, probably the hardest piece for me is when you’re talking and you have someone in your ear and you’re trying to listen while you’re trying to put a thought out and they’re counting you down to how much time you actually have to get what you’re saying out, and you kind of start rambling because you’re trying to listen but you forgot what you’re saying and it becomes a disaster (laughing). That’s probably my hardest thing to get through sometimes, but I will honestly say being an analyst is maybe one of the easier parts for me because I do it so I really know what I’m looking at, so to be able to just talk about what I see is simple. It’s the TV stuff that makes it hard, just the way everyone is supposed to work together and some of our TV partners how they can bring it back from commercial and send it back and do that so smooth. That’s really where the true professionals can do that really good.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS PACKAGE AT POCONO NEXT WEEK? “That’s the longest straightaway in NASCAR. That’s what I know. Every time I go there that’s what they say, so you have a long time to draft down the front straightaway and really down the Long Pond straightaway you have a long time for the cars to suck up to each other before you get into the corner, so I don’t really know what to expect. I expect restarts to be nuts. The amount of time, it’s always nuts as it is because you have so long from the start-finish line to turn one, where now you kind of have more time. It’s the same distance but you’re going slower, so you have more time for all those moves to be played out as you get into turn one before everything kind of funnels in and we have to funnel in as much because we won’t be going as fast. Maybe we can hold it wide-open through turn one, probably you can’t if you’re towards the front, but not towards the back. That momentum piece of how you get off the corner, if you have a little mistake off of turn three or off of turn one they’re gonna be passing you like you’re sitting still and your hands are gonna be tied. There’s nothing you can do at that point, so making the right decisions about what is best at the end of the straightaway and not necessarily off of the corner is what we have to think about. It’s gonna evolve throughout the race and that’s what has been happening all year. Sometimes the lanes that work the first few runs of the race on restarts changes after the second restart or third restart, where everybody has now seen it and now you have to evolve and try something different. It’s gonna be the same thing when we get to Pocono, but maybe even more extreme.”

DID YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT ONE DAY YOU MIGHT BE A MEMBER OF THE HALL OF FAME? “I didn’t because I guess I feel like I’m still in this sport and I haven’t achieved everything I want to achieve. I want to keep that rolling. I don’t know. In quite a few years from now I would hope that I can get what I think is Hall of Fame material. I’m getting closer inch-by-inch, but the good thing is I have a long ways to go in my career, I’m pretty young, so I have quite a few years to reach what I want to do, but, like I said, it was an honor to be in the room and just be around those people and see how the decision-making goes because it’s interesting what people think Hall of Fame means and it’s different for each person, whether you believe the Premier level means a lot or somebody that’s won a ton of short-track races racing a late model or a modified and what that is. It’s interesting to hear everybody’s perspective on what defines a Hall of Famer and that was fun for me to see that and we all have a different take, and I’m sure everyone in here has a different take on it, but it was fun to listen to.”

HOW LONG IS THE FRONT STRETCH AT POCONO? “I don’t have time. He must be really good because I don’t have time to do any of that in there. You might be going down the straightaway, but you’re still racing. There are cars around you. You’re getting a run on the car in front of you, you’re thinking about how you’re gonna get through the corner, maybe you’re side-by-side and you’re side-drafting, maybe there’s a car behind you if you’re side-drafting is gonna go three-wide, maybe even four-wide. There is a lot of racing down the straightaways these days with this 550 package. There is a lot going on all the time to where you really don’t get a moment to chill. There’s no moment for that. It’s like Daytona and Talladega, you’re constantly in the mirror looking around trying to figure out how do you position yourself best to get through the next corner ahead of the car that’s behind you or in front of you. I feel like mentally these days are maybe more straining than ever working or trying to pass cars. Physically, it might not be as much because you have more time down the straightaway where you’re not working and sawing on the wheel, but mentally you have to be more engaged, I think, than ever.”

WHAT QUALITIES MADE JOE GIBBS A NASCAR HALL OF FAMER? “I think when you think about the qualities of Joe Gibbs where do you start? There’s a lot. There’s a reason he’s a champion in multiple sports. There’s a reason why he’s now in the Hall of Fame of multiple sports. That doesn’t happen often. I think there’s only one other person who is in two different Halls of Fame in two different sports and that’s an amazing accomplishment to be able to do that, but his leadership is probably what that all stems from. That’s what he is, he’s a leader. He’s a great coach in football and he’s been a great coach in NASCAR and putting together a great team. It’s all about people when it comes to this level and he’s done a great job at finding great talent, putting them together and then he sees success because of it. Obviously, they have the parts and the pieces to go along with that, but we can all buy parts and pieces – someone has to run the machine and that’s the part that’s the most challenging sometimes to figure out, so his leadership, his faith, what he does for our sport outside of owning a race team, I think those are the biggest things to where he, in my opinion, was a shoe-in. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t on everybody’s voting sheet at that point. We didn’t have to talk much about him. We just kind of all said, ‘Yeah, he’s in.’ What else is there to say?”

DID BEING INVOLVED YESTERDAY MAKE YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS SPORT? “I feel like I try to learn as much as I can already. I really like learning about it. What I probably enjoy the most is just hanging out around some of our retired racers of any sort or track promoters from back then or whoever and just hearing their stories because that’s as much fun as anything. I think our TV partners do a great job of putting some specials out every now and again that they air usually during rain delays (laughing). That’s usually the best time to watch some of those and those are a lot of fun to watch and hear their stories, but when you hear them first-hand that’s a very special opportunity not many race fans get to experience – when you hear some of the stories they went though when they were racing. Those are the most fun moments for me in those situations.”

WILL THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF RACING WITH THIS PACKAGE CONTINUE? “Did you watch Kansas? It’s the same thing. That’s what this rules package has kind of promoted is that we’re so close to each other and to be able to clear someone or to really put yourself in the position you need to sometimes you’ve got to make those aggressive moves, whether it’s an aggressive block, maybe you’re pushing someone by, maybe you find yourself four-wide like the did down the frontstretch. I didn’t think that was possible, and it really kind of wasn’t, but they got through it somehow down the front straightway here at Charlotte. A lot of it is the rules package. We’ll see that continue. The other piece though is just the All-Star Race and you have nothing to lose and everyone says for lack of better words is ‘screw it, I’m going for it, this is what it’s about, we’re going for the win and second doesn’t mean anything to me.’ I know that’s my attitude. I’m pretty sure that’s most driver’s attitudes when they get into that race because it’s an all-or-nothing race. That’s why we pitted from fifth. We said, ‘Well, fifth, that doesn’t pay a big check. Let’s give it a shot. Let’s go back to 17th and see if we can pass a few cars.’ That’s what that race is about. If that’s the Coke 600 do we still make that play? I don’t know. We might not, so it’s really a combination of those two that really makes it like that.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THIS RACE SUNDAY? “This is probably, when it comes to races that I haven’t won yet, the Coca-Cola 600 is probably the one that’s at the top of the list for me, personally as a race car driver for a few reasons. Anytime you win at Charlotte is special because you get to celebrate with everybody here because our race teams are in Mooresville and most of them are around this area to where your family is here and maybe some of your crew guys their families are there, so we all get to celebrate. Victory lane becomes really fun, but it’s the Coca-Cola 600 which makes it one of the crown jewel events. That’s one reason why I want to do it. I’m a Coca-Cola driver, part of the racing family, that’s a big piece that you want to make sure you win for them in this thing and one of their drivers win. You really want to make that happen. I noticed yesterday when I was sitting in that Hall of Fame voting area and one of the big stats that everyone always had up on their resume was Coke 600 winner. That was something that was on there. There wasn’t anything about the fall race as much as the Coca-Cola 600. That was a big deal. Daytona 500, Coke 600, maybe the Southern 500 – those were the key races on their resume that helped them get into the Hall of Fame. That’s what makes this race special.”

CAN YOU GIVE A LUIGI UPDATE? “I don’t know. Our little Luigi, I believe he’s stolen, I think. We can’t really put a match to anything. We put a bunch of signs up and things on social media and we watched the cameras at our house and you see him run around the backyard and then you don’t see him again, so I’m not really sure what happened there. I hope we can find him. We haven’t given up hope yet, but hopefully over time someone will find it in their heart to do the right thing and hopefully give us a call and we can find him.”

HE HAD A MICROCHIP? “Yeah, he’s microchipped, but it doesn’t do GPS. The only way I think it works is if you go to a vet or someone that has a scanner, they can scan it and say who the dog belongs to. If you’re getting a dog that you’re buying from someone that’s a little sketchy, go get that dog scanned because that might be someone’s dog. It’s really not that funny. You hope someone does the right thing there and returns the dog when that happens. It’s kind of sad We’ve learned that Frenchies are one of the most stolen dogs around, so it’s kind of sad that someone does that because it’s a member of your family. It’s kind of a jerk move. Hopefully, we can figure it out.”

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? “My wife put some stuff out on her social and some other lost dog stuff. She’s been on it. Believe me, we’ve had flyers going up over the neighborhood, putting them up everywhere. Hopefully, something gets figured out eventually.”

HOW MUCH DO YOU DO TO REMAIN MENTALLY SHARP AS YOUR CAREER HAS PROGRESSED? “I guess the thing that makes me feel mentally sharp is being prepared. I don’t do much mental training. I never get into any of that stuff, but the more prepared I am, the more calm I am and usually the more calm I am the longer I can do something. I try to know what’s going on around me and not be surprised by anything. If I’m getting surprised left and right, boy, I’m gonna be exhausted because I’m not gonna know how to react if I keep getting beat. But if I’m in control and I know what’s coming, and every move I see what’s gonna happen, I’m aware of my surroundings, I’m able to maintain a high level of focus for a long, long period of time. I feel that’s a trait that you learn from racing as a kid, going from track to track, running races that get longer and longer and you find yourself making mistakes and learning from those. And eventually you find a way to train your mind to get into this mode that you just got this ultra-focus. There’s nothing else going on in your life besides driving that race car in that moment. That’s all you think about. You have to find ways to get yourself to that point. Some of it is just the risk that you take and naturally you get to that point because you know a mistake is the end of the race and maybe worse, so that’s almost enough to keep you focused alone, but to be able to do that for a long period of time you have to find some ways to make you work and it’s different for everybody, I would assume.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE 43 CREW WAVING TO ALL THE CARS AS THEY COME OFF PIT ROAD? DO YOU NOTICE THAT AT ALL? “I don’t know what they’re doing. They wave at everybody and the do this really goofy Forrest Gump wave going on (laughing). I’m like, ‘What are these guys doing here?’ But at that point I’m not really, I don’t know, call me a jerk, but I’m not really wishing anyone luck at that point. It’s all about going to win.”

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