Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes – Las Vegas

by Official Release On Sat, Mar. 11, 2017

Boyd Gaming 300 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Ford Finishing Results:
1st – Joey Logano
6th – Darrell Wallace Jr.
9th – Ryan Reed
10th – Brad Keselowski
11th – Cole Custer
17th – Aric Almirola

JOEY LOGANO – No. 12 REV Ford MustangVICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “It was hard to figure out what to do and what lane to pick, but the one thing we did know was we had a very fast REV Ford Mustang. Brian Wilson and all the guys that bring this 12 car out, that’s three wins in a row for this 12 car, so that’s something I’m proud to be a part of and work with these guys. Man, it’s a lot of fun to have these Team Penske cars fast again in this XFINITY Series. Man, it feels good. Those restarts were crazy, though. You don’t know what lane to pick. It depends on who is a good pusher, trying to remember what was going on the last one, but, overall, I’ve got to thank Discount Tire, Snap-On, PPG, Shell/Pennzoil, Coke, Wheels Up, everyone that helps us out with this whole Team Penske organization. I’m proud of it.”

DARRELL WALLACE JR. – No. 6 Leidos Ford Mustang – HOW DID YOU GET THROUGH YOUR ILLNESS TO FINISH SIXTH TODAY?  “I’ve been racing for 15 years and that always makes me feel better anytime I can climb in a race car, so that helped out a lot. It was tough, though. Under caution, I just wanted to go to sleep every time, but I can’t thank my guys enough. We had such a fast race car. We drove up to fourth there. We had a good long-run car. On balance we were flopping back-and-forth from free to loose it seemed like on every restart. It was a handful to start with, but she had some speed.  It’s a good run for Leidos again, but I wanted a top five. That’s where we should have been. We were fourth to fifth all day. We got a little bit more speed to gain, but I tell you it’s fun coming back to the race track. Being fast, hell, I’ll do it with the flu every time when we’re that good.”

RYAN REED – No. 16 Lilly’s/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang – “Our day was a lot of up-and-down. I knew we had a decent car. We faded at the end. I think if there’s one thing we’ve got to get better at is closing these deals out, which we did today. I felt like we had an eighth or ninth place car and finished ninth. It wasn’t exactly how I saw it going down, but we got the finish. We fought hard all day and there’s a lot to be proud of and a lot to build off of, and the 6 had a really good run, too, so we’ve got good Ford Mustangs right now.”

COLE CUSTER – No. 00 Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang – “We started out with some radio problems and then got those fixed. I got better as the day went on with restarts and we definitely had a good long-run car and we got better by the end. I was able to make our way up there and got lucky by avoiding that wreck right there at the end.  It was right there in front of us. I can’t say enough about all of our guys at Stewart-Haas and Ford with all of their support.  It’s been a great first few races and we’re looking forward to the rest of them.” 

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE GOT SOME SOLID MOMENTUM GOING TO PHOENIX?  “Yeah, for sure. Our goals were to kind of get through the west coast swing solid and see what we’ve got from there. We’re accomplishing our goals right now and it’s gonna put us in a good spot for the rest of the season.”


JOEY LOGANO – No. 12 REV Ford Mustang – “It was a fun race, for sure. First off, what a great group of guys and girls that have been put together for this 12 car. That’s three wins a row for this 12 car since Watkins Glen last year, so I’m proud to be a small piece of that and get to drive that thing. We have a lot of fun. It’s a pretty funny group. It seems to work pretty well, so I’m proud of that – to be able to go out there and win today. It was a fast car. Brian did a good job being able to unload with quite a bit of speed and it seems like these Team Penske cars are coming back over here on the XFINITY side, so really looking forward to the season now compared to where we were last year. Obviously, we had a fast car today. We were able to pull some good strategy at one point towards the end of a segment and find ourselves back in the lead when it cycled through and being able to hold off the 18. They gave us plenty of opportunities to screw it up at the end, or at least me screw it up at the end when it comes to restarts. Every time I thought we had the race won and be able to pull away, boom, another caution. I was like, ‘Golly, this is the race that would never end.’ I felt more relieved coming across the line than anything. There were so many different restarts and trying to figure out what lane to pick and think about who you’re restarting against and what their cars can and can’t do, and who is a good pusher and who isn’t, and then you’ve got to change it up every time because what works the first time doesn’t work again. It’s just a challenging day from a restart standpoint because a lot of times as the leader you’re a sitting duck up there and trying to figure it all out. I leaned on the guys a lot asking them questions. I’m not sure they knew the answers either, but they at least helped me along a little bit.”

BRIAN WILSON, Crew Chief – No. 12 REV Ford Mustang – BIG PLANS THIS EVENING?  “No, unfortunately.  We’re going back across country, but it seemed like the REV group was having fun. They might be celebrating a little bit tonight.”

WHAT KIND OF COACHING AND DISCUSSIONS DID YOU HAVE WITH JOEY DURING THOSE LATE-RACE RESTARTS?  “Like Joey said, we didn’t really have any idea what was gonna happen there. Tab (Boyd, spotter) and myself, we were both talking through it with Joey. A lot of times, for me, I was just relying on what had worked the past couple times, knowing that the high lane had worked for us, but it’s always tough. You’ve got to look at who’s pushing, what’s been working, who’s gonna be inside. We were just very fortunate. Logano is the best at restarts, so we’re really lucky to have him.”

WAS THE WINNING MOVE STAYING OUT AND FLIPPING TRACK POSITION LIKE YOU DID?  “I don’t know if that was a winning move, but for me, I think it was a key move. It allowed us to get up front, see how our car was gonna handle up front because it definitely seemed like it handled a little bit differently in traffic, so anytime you can get to the front and work on your car and know what you need to have to be out front, I think, is important. No, it didn’t win us the race, obviously, the restarts did, but it was key to be able to have the balance to be able to have the good speed at the end.”

JOEY LOGANO – “Yeah, I thought it was a good call.  Obviously, we talked a little bit before the race and said, ‘What does it matter if we win a stage, we’re not racing for points.’ So our strategy, obviously, is able to change because of that. There were a few other cars that were thinking the same way and that was really the first time since this new format that a caution came out that close to the end of a segment, and you get to see that excitement. That’s what this is for.  The restart was bananas after that – three, four-wide, trying to get back up there – and then it cycled through to find us back in the lead and we were able to, like I said, hold off the 18 car, which made me feel like we’ve got a really fast car to have older tires and be able to hold him off. At that point, I knew we had the winning car, we just had to execute the rest of the day.”

HOW DID YOU STAY CALM AND MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES AT THE END?  “We were confused (laughing). I was confused. I kind of put my two cents in and just what previous experience I’ve had here at the race track and there’s that moment that sticks in my mind from last year in a Cup race and I started on the inside as the leader and I lost the lead and felt like I lost the race last year to win, so I’ve got that in the back of my mind. The other part in the back of my mind was the 18 car and how good of a pusher he was, and how long is he gonna push before he starts to make the move and push us three-wide, and how do you line up to the start and how are you gonna beat these guys. There’s so much to think about. The restart game has evolved so much over the last two years because everyone has gotten so good at it, everyone is focused in on it so well, and you’ve got to keep changing it up. I think it’s the most challenging part of our sport as a driver to understand restarts and making the right decisions, not only what lane to pick or getting up through the gears, but the first two laps of a restart is intense and important.”

BASICALLY, IT’S FLYING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS ALL THE WAY THROUGH?  “You have somewhat of a game plan, but you’ve got to be ready to change at any moment. That’s just sports, right? You can put a plan together, you can have a whole play figured out and then one little thing changes and you’ve got to be ready to change with it, so you kind of have to expect the unexpected as well.”

BRIAN WILSON CONTINUED – HOW MUCH IMPACT DID YOU HAVE ON THE RESTARTS?  “I think I chimed in on each one of them. It was kind of a group effort and I think afterwards there Joey said, ‘At least we were all going down together,’ because, for the most part, we all kind of chose the same thing each time. I think the biggest thing was just trying to look at who was gonna be in that second row because it seemed like that kept changing each time around, so figuring out who was gonna be the best pusher and who might be more aggressive to go three-wide, I think that’s the main conversation we were having.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED TODAY THAT WILL HELP YOU TOMORROW?  “There are some. I really thought, this is my first time I’ve run an XFINITY race here, and I really thought the race kind of played out like a Cup race does as far as the balance of the car and the way it kind of goes through a run, so some good things I can take away from that. And understanding the difference from practice to the race is sometimes a little bit of a struggle, so I feel like I have a little glimpse of that, which will help. And the track widened out today, and it didn’t in Cup practice very much. I think as a driver that kind of helps me know what lanes I can go for the first few laps of the Cup race before five laps later when everyone figures that out, so it’s a small advantage for a little bit, but I’ll take it.”

BRIAN WILSON CONTINUED – HOW MUCH DOES TIRE WEAR IN STAGES 1 AND 2 DETERMINE WHEN YOU PIT?  “I think that was the biggest thing we were weighing out, not only the amount of tire wear that we have but the amount of sets that we have. You’re pretty limited with the number of sets that you’ve got in the pit box.  Coming into the race it seemed like from practice we had 20 laps on tires and we had pretty heavy right-side wear, but not a lot of left sides, so it seemed like two tires might come into play, but pretty early in the race, you start seeing the wear and both sides are wearing out. I heard a couple cars had left-front issues with a little bit of cording, so at that point, you start to realize, ‘Alright, it’s gonna be four tires,’ and you’re just picking when do you want to use the sets that you’ve got left in the box.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH SPOTTER TAB BOYD?  “I think when you work with any spotter you better have some kind of relationship there because you’ve got to trust that person. That’s your eyes in the skies and when he says clear, I’ve got to be sure of it. On top of that, the spotter role, just like restarts, has evolved a lot. It is important, obviously, to clear you and that, but, really, the spotter’s job has become way more important to the driver as far as giving information about other cars and where other cars are running and what to do. You really have to be a student of the sport to be a good spotter today. You have to really work at it. It’s not an easy job, believe me. A lot of us can see it. I can go up there in the spotter’s stand and as a race car driver I can see everything that’s happening and I know what’s gonna happen, but seeing it and then putting the words is where I would struggle. It’s really hard to do and that’s where a lot of these spotters are really good at being able to see it and put it into words where the driver can understand that. Obviously, when you have that lingo and things that you have to put into words that quick, you have to have a relationship with your spotter that is more towards a friendship that you guys kind of understand what you’re saying with even the tone of his voice sometimes.  It’s something I work at a lot. I know he works at it a lot and now we can be better and it’s typical for us.  We talk every week about what happened and what we could have done better. We do reviews just like everyone else on the team and how we can improve ourselves as an individual.”

HOW LONG DOES YOUR RELATIONSHIP GO BACK WITH HIM?  “My first year of Penske, but I had him three or four races before that, so I’m four years into Penske – so a little over four years.”

WHAT ARE YOU PLANS BETWEEN HERE AND CALIFORNIA WHEN WE GO BACK HOME?  “Go back home and prepare for the next race. I’m gonna go back and forth every time and just kind of keep that rhythm going on. I’ve stayed out here before and there are some good things and bad things that come along with it, but I feel comfortable with going back and being able to debrief with the team and think about the next races coming up and kind of keep that routine.”

YOU’VE WON A LOT OF XFINITY, BUT THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT.  “Yeah, I won as a rookie, right? I’m kind of bummed out. This is kind of a funny story.  We were talking the other day at the shop and I said, ‘Hey, I think I’m a rookie.  I should have rookie stripes and I should have a rookie set of tires for practice.’ That got shot down pretty hard by NASCAR, and my answer to that was, ‘I saw Mark Martin do that at Michigan one time and he was a rookie.’ I said, ‘Shoot, Mark Martin has been racing a lot longer than me,’ but we kind of got a kick out of it. Overall, was I technically a rookie today or no?  No, but it is the first time I’ve raced here.”


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