Ford’s Joey Logano Looking For Third Win of 2014

Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Irwin Tools Night Race Advance – Bristol Motor Speedway
Friday, August 22, 2014

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, has clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with two victories this season.  He answered questions from the media before Friday’s qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway.

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – HOW IS YOUR CAR AND OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND?  “The track is definitely different than what we’ve had here before.  This tire has rubbered up the top pretty quick and so far it’s been pretty amazing on how hard you have to drive these race cars to go fast.  You’re right on the edge of that rubber and if you’re not up in the higher lane there’s no grip at all, so it’s interesting.  I think qualifying is gonna be interesting to watch and whether there are gonna be cautions and stuff for guys hitting the wall because a lot of guys are gonna hit the wall.  It just seems the closer you can get to it, the harder you can drive and get up to it, the faster you are right now.  Our Shell/Pennzoil Ford is decent.  I don’t feel like we’re the race-winning car yet, but we’ve got all the way until tomorrow to fix this thing for the race.  I don’t think we’re bad, don’t get me wrong, I feel like we’re a top-10 car, but we just need a little bit more to be the winning car, which typical Bristol everyone is just within a tenth it seems like, so we don’t need a whole bunch to gain.”

American Muscle

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO NOT HAVE A THIRD WIN YET?  “It’s frustrating any time you don’t win, but we’re still pretty proud of what we’ve been doing the last few weeks.  We’re moving ourselves up in points, which doesn’t matter, but to be fourth in points and four DNFs, we’re pretty proud of that.  But really like I said it’s all about the win.  That’s why we raced so hard last weekend for the win and just didn’t quite get it done, but you always want to win more races.  You always want to end the season with the most wins, but I’d much rather have them in the Chase than right now, too.  That’s what this year is all about and this new point structure is all about winning races.  Whether it’s before the Chase or during the Chase it’s all about winning and we’ve capitalized twice.  We’ve been in position to win quite a few more races than that and we just have to make sure we capitalize on every opportunity we get.”

WHAT’S HAPPENED THE LAST MONTH THAT HAS HELPED YOU TURN THE CORNER BECAUSE THERE SEEMED TO BE A LULL JUST PRIOR TO THAT?  “I think we fixed a lot of the mistakes we’ve been making and it really hasn’t been my team or anybody, it’s just been things that have happened.  In Daytona we got in a crash.  We had a motor blow up at Pocono.   We had a lot of different things happening, but we had a lot of speed in our car.  It wasn’t like we all of a sudden found speed and it was the magic thing.  We were running well then too, we just didn’t get the finishes we needed, and then recently we’ve been able to finish at least where we deserved to finish.  We haven’t won that race we talked about, but we’ve been finishing where we’ve run.  We’ve been running in the top five and we’ve been finishing there.  That’s important, and that just builds momentum throughout our team.  That confidence heading into the Chase is very important, but I wouldn’t say we just clicked on something.  I do feel like towards the middle part of this season so far we did lose a little bit of speed compared to the field and recently I feel like we’ve picked it back up, which is a good time to do it.  Hopefully, we pick up a little bit more because everyone is going to when the Chase starts.”

ARE YOU DOING ANY EXPERIMENTING FOR THE CHASE?  “No, nothing crazy.  We’re doing the same stuff we always do.  We’re trying to develop our cars to be the best they can possibly be and finding every area we can, which we’ve  been doing that all year.  We come to the race track and we always have a couple little things we want to try, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  We haven’t done anything too crazy or too out of the box that I feel like, but we’ve raced really, really hard, whether that’s our pit strategy or I look at some of the stuff we did at Indy.  We race because we’ve got nothing to lose, so we may not have our car set up too crazy, but we’ve been racing crazy, so I think it’s different.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT MORE YOU DO IN THE CAR HERE?  “When you come to Bristol usually that second lane comes into play a run-and-a-half into the race.  You don’t really see it much in practice or qualifying and today it’s rubbering a lot more.  Whether it’s the Truck race, the Nationwide practice and being a little warmer than it was in the spring, or the different tire, it could be a combination of all that that makes you go up there, but it’s a lot of grip and it’s amazing because where they ground it down to where they didn’t the grip change is huge, and it’s funny because at first when the track is green and there’s no rubber, there’s no grip up there.  But as soon as it rubbers up it’s like you can feel it, you’ll slide, slide, slide, grip right before you hit the wall.  It’s just a matter of building that confidence up of how much am I gonna slide before it grips, or when am I gonna get there?  That just moves up higher and higher.  When it’s just a little bit, then it’s just marbles up there too, and if you go too far you hit the marbles and you hit the wall.  So it’s like, ‘OK, where’s the edge here?’ And you just keep pushing and pushing it and everyone else is pushing it so it gets a little bit wider, but it’s just who has the most guts out there when you’re going out there to qualify.  It’s gonna be insane.  I’m gonna be shaking after qualifying, I can tell you that much, and in the race we’re gonna have to find a way to be able to run up there all day and not hit the wall and not make mistakes, and somehow have your car good enough to be able to pass.  That’s gonna be the tough part because when you get that freight train up top, and it’s gonna be the fastest lane up there for sure, when you make that pass you’re taking a big gamble to pass the car in front of you because if you don’t make it work, you’re getting freight-trained pretty far back in a hurry.  So you’ve got to be able to kind of know where the cars are around you, look far enough ahead to see where the lapped cars are, and then you make that move when you feel you can definitely do it because if you don’t, you’re gonna lose two or three spots instead of gaining that one.  It’s kind of risk versus reward throughout the race – where you think your car is, how you think you can run, and that’s why it’s gonna come down to aggressive strategy, it’s gonna come down to aggressive restarts and whether you’re gonna be patient on the long green flag runs and wait for those opportunities to pass cars, or you’re gonna be the aggressor and try to make it happen.  Like I said, there’s risk on either way you do it, but that’s the way this Bristol race has turned out the last few years and I think this race will be even more like that.”

THERE ARE A LOT OF 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS IN THE TRUCK SERIES.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THEM AND WHAT LIES AHEAD OF THEM?  “I think, ‘Boy, I’m getting old.  I used to be like that.’  Each challenge is gonna be different for everybody and how they handle the adversity that comes to them and what that will be, but it’s good to see some of that young talent coming up.  I think that’s a good thing.  We haven’t had many rookies into the Sprint Cup Series up until this year.  We haven’t had any in a while, but have a couple good rookies in here this year.  I think obviously you have a bunch of guys in the Truck Series and watching the race here yesterday how many young guys are in it is pretty crazy, so it’s an advantage for them to be able to start running the Truck Series at the short tracks at that young of an age.  It’s an advantage for when they turn 18, so that’s a good thing for them and start understanding how NASCAR racing works.  Obviously, every step up gets harder and harder, but I think it’s kind of cool to see it.  It’s funny because a lot of them look like they’re 13 instead of 16, but I guess I was like that at one point, too, which wasn’t too long ago, but it’s kind of fun to watch that and how good they’ve been doing.  A lot of them have gone really fast.”

WITH ONLY THREE RACES LEFT HOW MUCH DO YOU ANTICIPATE THINGS TO GET CRAZY AND IS IT NICE KNOWING IF YOU GET CAUGHT UP IN SOMETHING YOU’RE ALREADY IN THE CHASE?  “It’s a lot nicer, believe me.  This race last year we just got our first win of the season at Michigan and that was giving us our hope of getting in the Chase, yet we still weren’t in it.  We had the win, but we still had to move up in points and make sure we had a few solid days leading into it.  There is a lot of pressure when it comes to that and I’m very happy and very fortunate to be in the position we are.  Our team right now to say we’re locked in and be able to focus in on the Chase and not focus on making the Chase, there are guys out there with a lot of different agendas.  Some guys are gonna try to be consistent and try to get it in by points because there aren’t gonna be that many more different winners, and then you have guys that kind of have nothing to lose – the same way I’m gonna race – they’ve got nothing to lose, but they’re gonna race the same way because they have to get in and you’re gonna have that coming up pretty soon.  I think this is gonna be one of the first races where that panic mode is really gonna set in like, ‘OK, we have to win or we’re out,’ and I think that’s gonna start coming into play in our races quite a bit.”

WHAT IS YOUR MENTALITY TRYING TO GET AROUND SOMEBODY HERE AT BRISTOL?  “I feel like there are three generations of Bristol.  There was the bottom before they re-concreted it, and then they just did it and then you could kind of go to the bottom, to the middle, the top wasn’t a big advantage to run up there.  You could run up there, but it wasn’t like the best lane by far, but now since they’ve ground it down the top has become the way best lane and I think it’s kind of the same as the old Bristol before they re-did it, except it’s up top instead of on the bottom.  You’ll start seeing guys get aggressive and stuff like that.  I think the last few years it’s been a pretty good race here, which is interesting because it’s so hard to pass.  As a driver it’s frustrating, which for some reason when everyone is ticked off it puts on a good race, so we’ll see what happens.”

WHAT WILL YOU BE EXPECTING?  “You’re gonna see slide jobs.  You’ll see people still pushing each other.  There’s still a little bit of room to push up.  Especially with the guys going for the win you’re gonna see a lot of bumping and banging, but a lot of slide jobs and that stuff going on trying to make a hole to get up.  Usually, when you get some of the slide jobs that makes them mad and they cross it over and then everything happens from there, but it makes it a lot of fun depending which end of it you’re on, but it’s definitely interesting for the fans and I think that’s the best part.”

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