Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Loudon Media Session

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Friday, July 19, 2019

EVENT: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, Loudon, NH.  (Media Availabilities)

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 AAA Ford Mustang – WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO COME BACK HERE AS A CHAMPION?  WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN LIKE?  “It’s actually been, I didn’t really think about it before I got here much because you’re kind of thinking about how do you win here, but I went out this morning for the champions breakfast that Speedway Children’s Charities does every year and to see some of the support there, and I guess that’s when it kind of hit me.  It’s kind of cool to come home for the first time, or at least the home track for the first time since we won the championship and that’s been pretty neat so far.  I’m looking forward to Sunday because it’s always a fun race for us, but especially just because of the support my team gets and I get here.  At home it’s cool.  I always say I feel like Dale Jr. here because there’s so much 22 gear and a lot of New England race fans are rooting for their hometown guy, so that’s a pretty special and neat feeling.”

DO YOU FEEL THERE WAS NOTHING YOU COULD DO ON THAT FINAL RESTART AT KENTUCKY AND IS BEING THE LEADER WITH LANE CHOICE SOMETIMES NOT AN ADVANTAGE?  “It was a perfect storm, really.  The lineup of that restart, I don’t really know what I could have done a whole bunch, but there is one thing I think I could have done a little better.  There are a lot of what-ifs in my mind.  None of them have the outcome of me winning I don’t believe.  Some of them have an outcome of maybe better than fifth or seventh, maybe we could have still squeaked a top three out of it, but the way the lineup was with teammates on the inside, teammates behind me, that was a tough spot.  It just seems like in today’s world with the less horsepower like that you’re side drafting way earlier than what we used to.  We used to start side drafting maybe off the corner in turn two, but now we’re going back and forth because we have a longer period of time from the restart zone to turn one or really to when you lift.  You don’t lift until you get to turn three now, so you have way more time and distance that you’re wide-open and side drafting back and forth, and if cars can get behind you with a big push like the two Ganassi cars did, that on top of getting slowed down by the 18 on the side draft and air coming at me five miles an hour quicker I couldn’t stop it.  I just had to pick a lane and hope for the best that something was gonna save me.  It was frustrating because we had the race won basically.  It was over.  We were far enough ahead and then that happens.  That always stings, but that’s why there is next week all the time, but I’m not really sure if I could have done anything to successfully win the race, but I think there might have been one or two things I could have done to stop the bleeding a little bit sooner.”

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YOUR CAR WAS SET FOR LONG RUNS.  IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO WHEN YOU GET A SHORT RUN AT THE END?  “We had it set up to run the long haul and it showed how good we were on the long haul.  I mean, the first run went pretty long and we started driving up through the field.  I felt like if we went the full stage we would have been in the lead, and then the last run obviously was a pretty long run with a green flag cycle and then, boom, drove to the lead and that whole theory was working out really good.  We didn’t have the opportunity to change anything because we didn’t come back down pit road.  There’s the typical may be air-pressure, fuel load, things like that you can maybe adjust a little bit to help your car fire off quicker on a late-race restart, but there was never the opportunity for us to come down pit road.  If we pitted there with a green-white-checker for the lead, we would have come out like 15th.  I don’t think anyone was gonna pit.”

CAN THE DRIVER DO ANYTHING?  “You’re pretty committed.  It’s a decision we made as a team beforehand, and it looked like it was gonna work until it didn’t.  But I don’t think we went the wrong way with it, the race just didn’t play the way we thought it would.”

DID YOU LEARN A LOT AT POCONO THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU CAN TAKE BACK THERE NEXT WEEK, AND HOW WILL THE PJ1 PLAY A ROLE?  “We definitely learned a lot at Pocono.  I feel like we made a lot of mistakes and I feel like we learned a lot from that, so I don’t see mistakes as such a negative thing.  I kind of think of it as a positive because we learn from a lot of them, and with the PJ1 that will change some things.  I still think what we learned is valuable, but the groove will probably move around, things will be different.  You might come back a little bit like when they had that paved section with the old asphalt there, when we used to call it the grip strip, I don’t know, call it whatever you want, but it may kind of play that way a little bit more like it used to, so I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun.  I’m kind of excited about getting back there.  Kudos to Pocono and NASCAR on that one.  Try something.  I think it was maybe not one of our best races and I think that was probably well-documented afterwards and let’s try something to make it better.  I think honestly this traction compound that we’ve been laying down at these race tracks has not hurt.  I think Kentucky without it wouldn’t have been the same race.  I don’t think it would have been as good as what it was.  It would have been really hard to pass without it, but I think the ability to move up the race track and car be able to go to the bottom and be about the same speed and be able to find clean air created a lot of passing – more passing than I thought there would be – so I thought that was a gain.  When you look at that and you look at how Pocono was without it, let’s try to apply it and try something different.  We’re gonna learn as a team one thing, but I think as a sport we’re gonna learn what corner was the best.  Maybe we need to apply it thicker in one corner than another, so how much does it wear out, how often do you reapply.  We learn it as we race.  There’s no scientific way of figuring that out until we race, really.”

WHAT WAS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING THING ABOUT POCONO IN JUNE?  “You couldn’t pass.  That was the most frustrating part, but, like I say, I think this is gonna be directionally better.  I think it’s definitely gonna help the racing.  It should open the race track up for cars to start to run the top more in the corners.  It’s gonna allow, like Kentucky, go to the bottom and find cleaner air which will get you through the corner good and that way the top and the bottom are comparable.  Right now, you couldn’t move up the race track.  You wouldn’t have anywhere to race.  There was no grip up there before, but now there should be grip up there to where you can go to the bottom and find air, so it’s all good.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED THE DRAFT DIDN’T WORK THE WAY PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WOULD AND PASSING WOULD BE A BIT EASIER AT POCONO?  “I wasn’t too surprised by it, actually.  I thought restarts were pretty crazy and that’s normal at Pocono with those long straightaways and your restarts and the cars area already two-wide and you go three-wide and all that.  That was all there like normal and that was just as chaotic as it usually is, but what I think we saw happen is that bubble we talk about behind the car, when you get to a certain point, a certain distance behind the car in front of you, you push that lead car ahead and that lead car actually has less drag than the trailing car when you get to a certain point.

“That’s what we need to try and fix because you get the draft and then it stops, so if you’re able to somehow continue that momentum to a back bumper of a car, you’ll see more passing, so I think that will be an adjustment for the cars in the future.”

A COUPLE OTHER NEW ENGLAND GUYS ARE DEBUTING THIS WEEK IN ANDY SEUSS AND USTIN THERIAULT.  HAVE YOU TALKED TO THEM?  “I have not had a chance to talk to them.  I don’t really know them that well.  I maybe know Austin a little better than Andy, but it is cool to see the New England guys get into this more and more.  You think about these race teams, and I think a lot of people think of NASCAR’s heritage as being a southeastern sport, but you think of what kind of racers come out of New England, I think Dick Berggren’s museum out there, the Northeast Motorsports Museum, really shows how present motorsports is in the New England area.  It’s special to be a part of that heritage.  It’s really cool to be able to see that and to see more, but you look at the race teams out here and there are a lot of crew guys that are from up here, that come from modified racing or just racing up in this area and whatever it may be.  There’s a lot and the majority of my team is from around here, not too far, and that’s a lot of fun for us to be a part of.”

IS THIS A FEEL TRACK WHERE ONCE YOU GET IT YOU’RE GOOD ALL THE TIME?  “Yes.  Definitely.  This race track is one that, for me earlier in my career, was the most frustrating track for me to go to, which always was awful because it’s my home track and it’s where you want to run the best, but for years it was the most challenging track for me to get my head wrapped around, but there are tracks like New Hampshire or Richmond or Martinsville that it seems like – and Sonoma is a little bit like this – but once you get something that works and the driver and the team understand what you need to be really good, not just in practice and not just in qualifying, but in the race when you have a long run or trying to pass cars and what traffic and restarts are, and once you figure out that balance – because it’s never perfect here.  It never drives the way you want it to.  If it does, it does for three laps and then something goes wrong – either your front or rear tires give up – so trying to figure out that compromise here with those flat corners like that it seems like once somebody gets their head wrapped around it and understands it, they get it for a while and it doesn’t matter if their racing tricycles or Cup cars out there, they have it figured out and that’s just kind of how this place is.  I still don’t feel like I’ve got it figured out by no means, but we get closer and closer to where we need to be.”

DOES DEFENDING THE TITLE FEEL DIFFERENT THAN CHASING IT?  “I still feel like I’m chasing it.  I think we accomplished a goal last year and we’re trying to accomplish the same goal this year.  It doesn’t make a difference if we won or not last year, our goal is the same this year.  We still want to win the championship.  It’s nothing new.  I feel like we’re in a better spot this year than we were last year at this point.  We’ve got more speed in our cars.  We’ve got more Playoff points and more wins.  We should have a few more wins, but overall the speed is there and I think that’s a key thing to think about right now, so we’ve got to continue that into the Playoffs and have the run that we did last year through those 10 races.”

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