Ford Performance NASCAR: Logano Looking To Repeat Kansas Victory

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Hollywood Casino 400 Advance – Kansas Speedway
Friday, October 16, 2015

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, advanced to the Eliminator Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after winning last weekend’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Logano talked about how that win will impact these next two races.

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – YOU’RE THE DEFENDING WINNER HERE AND ARE IN THE NEXT ROUND.  WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO THIS WEEKEND?  “It makes us feel a lot better.  I was sitting at the house on Monday night and I was watching Race Hub and I was like, ‘Man, this feels great.  Everyone else is stressed out in this garage, except us right now.’  That’s something to be proud of and something that we need to take advantage of.  That stress will wear a lot of teams out as we’ve seen, so right now it’s an important time for us to take these next two weeks, enjoy them, but still go out there and try to win the race.  This is one of our best race tracks, maybe our best race track in the last couple of years, so we want to keep that roll going here and try to get another win.  As far as where this puts us, we’re proud of that and we’re proud we don’t have to worry about Talladega and we’ll just keep pushing hard here.”

American Muscle

YOU WENT TO SOUTH CAROLINA THIS WEEK.  CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RELIEF EFFORTS AND HOW YOU CONTRIBUTED?  “We drove down there yesterday morning with Jeremy and my wife and Shelly, my foundation director, and really we just wanted to check it out and see what was going on.  Obviously, the Joey Logano Foundation’s mission is second chances, and there’s a lot of areas down there for people that need a second chance after seeing it.  It’s always heart touching for sure because the media only shows so much or what they want to show a lot of times, and to see it in person and talk to some of the victims there’s a lot of people that don’t have flood insurance there.  They weren’t really expecting this and you see what it has wiped out and it’s kind of wiped out everything they’ve got.  Then you’re starting from scratch again, so the foundation donated $50,000 to three of the charities down there that are helping rebuild the city and helping with some food to keep everyone where it’s helping them some.  We visited a lot with the Salvation Army and Red Cross and United Way and seeing a lot of the work they’ve been doing down there, but it’s incredible – not only the flooding part and what it did to a lot of peoples’ homes, but what it did to their fresh water system and how it kind of wiped that out and the struggles that put them in there.  So it’s incredible.  I think the important part of all this, and one of the main reasons I went down there, is to keep awareness on what they’re doing there.  It’s natural, but it happens to all of us, after a couple weeks we forget about it, but the people that live there they can’t forget about it.  Their life has changed and the most we can do to help them is to go down there and say hey and try to keep that awareness on them because in another week or so no one is gonna talk about it anymore.  They’re not gonna get the help that they need or deserve down there, so that’s the least we can do is just to keep that ball rolling down there.”

HOW MUCH CAN YOU ASSIST BRAD THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS?  “As much as we normally are.  That doesn’t really change in our situation, especially this weekend in Kansas.  Team Penske, as you well know, we work really good together.  The drivers do.  The teams do.  We’re very tight-knit.  We’re a great team.  That’s not gonna change, nor will it change in the future all the way to Homestead.  That will always be there.  The way we work together both on and off the race track, that’s not gonna change.  You can’t do much more.  There’s only so much we can do, but we’ll work together the best we can.  Obviously, it’s our goal to have both our cars in Homestead racing for a championship.  That’s Roger’s goal and if he’s your boss, you listen to what his goals are and you try to make those happen.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED — WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION ON THE 2016 RULES PACKAGE AND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT CHRIS BUESCHER AND WHAT HE’S DONE IN THE XFINITY SERIES?  “To answer your first part about the 2016 rules package – great.  I think that’s exactly what we want.  I think all the drivers have always wanted less downforce on the cars.  I think there’s been some great tests this year as far as race conditions – Darlington, Kentucky.  We’ve seen, I feel like a huge improvement in racing at those two race tracks.  Darlington has been a race track in the past that’s been kind of a tough race track to see a great race, and this year is one of the best races we’ve had all year.  And the only thing that’s different is the rules package, and a softer tire to go along with it.  Heck yeah, perfect.  What else do you need to hear?  It’s obviously the right direction after that, so I’m excited to see where that’s gonna go.  It’s a lot of fun for the drivers.  It’s a lot easier to be behind another car and be able to race them and pass them and stuff like that, so that’s good.  That’s the right direction.  I’m not against going more someday, but this is a great step to see where it takes us next year.  I think it will be a lot of fun to be a part of it.   To answer your second part about Chris Buescher.  He’s obviously doing a great job over there leading the points in XFINITY.  He’s been consistent and kind of doing his thing out there.  He’s got some good drivers aimed at him trying to win this championship as well, and it doesn’t seem like the pressure is making him crack yet.”

IN HINDSIGHT IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYTHING HAS WORKED OUT WITH THE MOVE FROM GIBBS TO PENSKE.  WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON IT HOW HAVE YOU LEARNED TO HANDLE CHALLENGES AND SITUATIONS LIKE THAT?  “I’d say as I’ve gotten older and learned more about life, challenges are opportunities to do something great and you should look forward to challenges in your life.  Those are a lot of fun.  Sometimes they may not go the way you want them to, but that’s why it’s a challenge.  If it was easy, it wouldn’t be called that.  I don’t know what they’d call it, but it would be something a lot different.  Racing is a tough sport.  Any professional sport is a tough sport.  You’re going up against the best in whatever that is.  If it’s baseball, you’re going against the best.  If it’s NASCAR racing, all of us have gone through the ranks and have done what we’ve had to do to get here, and now we’re all racing against the best and it’s hard.  It’s not gonna be easy.  In this sport it seems like you’re good one week and the next week you can be completely different, so you’re always pushing forward.  I guess the way I’ve handled it as I’ve gotten older I’ve just kind of learned that you keep your head down and keep digging.  You never quit, obviously, but I’ve learned to really love challenges in my life and making them an opportunity.”

A LOT OF GUYS MADE MOVES, BUT THINGS HAVE REALLY WORKED OUT FOR YOU.  “I guess the toughest part for me was most of my Cup career at Gibbs from the beginning not really living up to the hype, and obviously that’s a challenge and trying to figure out how to be better, and then as you get a little bit closer but then you’re kind of still not where you need to be and the next thing you know you’re kind of looking for a job and you don’t know if you’re gonna have a job.  There’s more stress that’s put on you and you say, ‘Man, am I gonna race anymore?’  You start thinking in your mind, ‘What’s the back-up on this whole thing?  What else are you gonna do?’  I didn’t have a back-up.  I put all my eggs in one basket to be a race car driver, so this had to work, and I got a second shot at Team Penske.  Obviously, there’s another challenge.  How do you make the most out of that opportunity?  I walked in those doors as a new man and create a new team.  Obviously, they had a great team already there, but to kind of plug yourself in and build it up from there is another challenge.  That was a lot of fun, and now seeing the reward we’re getting out of all that work is fun, but obviously we haven’t won a championship yet.  Last year we came really close.  This year we’re on track right now, but that can all change so we can’t stop now.  We’ve got to keep pushing forward.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED — IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEEL NOT KNOWING WHETHER OR NOT YOU’RE GOING TO ADVANCE TO THE NEXT ROUND AS OPPOSED TO KNOW YOU’VE ALREADY GOT THAT IN YOUR POCKET?  “For sure.  There’s definitely a different feel.  For example, we’re racing like we did most of the season after we won Daytona.  We’re back to that mode.  It’s like, ‘Ahhh,’ that relief.  You go out there, you race, you race relaxed, you race you have a lot of fun, which a lot of times is an advantage.  That’s the way you need to race all the time, even in those stressful situations – whether you’re trying to set yourself up good for Talladega or in the next round trying to set yourself up to race for that championship.  That pressure keeps building each round, especially this round.  I think Kyle was second in points last year going to Talladega and didn’t make it, so no one feels good.  After seeing that last year and seeing what can happen, no one feels good unless you win and that’s why we feel really good.  We have to take advantage of this opportunity we have right now.  Winning that race last weekend is the biggest win we could have gotten at this point of the season, and it can really help boost us in the next round by being ready and not having our tongues hanging out by the time we get through Talladega.  We’re gonna be rested and charged up and ready to rip, and I can’t say all teams are gonna be like that after going through what they’re about to go through here in the next couple of weeks.”

WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT AT TALLADEGA IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE A WIN?  “If I didn’t have a win, I’d have to race different.  Yes, I would.  And it’s hard to say what that right strategy is.  It would depend on what your situation is going into that race.  The one thing I have learned about Talladega though is there’s no safe place.  I’ve been crashed running second.  I’ve been crashed running 30th, so where do you go?  There’s nowhere good to go.  I think that’s why everyone gets so stressed out about it is there’s just so much unknown and that’s why I’ve been saying and everyone has been saying is Charlotte and Kansas could be the two most important races in this whole Chase.”

WHAT CLICKED FOR YOU AT THIS TRACK THE LAST FOUR RACES?  “For some reason this has been a race track that’s been really good for us the last couple years.  I look at just kind of being with Team Penske and kind of growing that notebook and doing what we need to do.  I think this is a race track that’s similar to Michigan – smooth, fast through the corners.  Michigan has been a very good race track for our team, so what we’ve learned there we can really transfer a lot of it over here.  I think it fits my style, which is good.  At some race tracks you’ve got to go outside your box to find speed – as a driver – go outside of what you would feel natural doing to find speed in your car.  For here, it’s just kind of self-explanatory to me.  It just happens as far as knowing inside the car what I have to do, and then obviously trying to look for that feel that we know we need to have.  So I think once you kind of get an idea of that, then you can always work towards that in practice and be decent in the race.”

DID YOU LOOK UP TO JEFF GORDON AS A KID?  HE’S DOWN TO HIS LAST FEW RACES.  “That’s incredible, actually, to think about it.  He’s been doing this for so long.  I was a huge Jeff Gordon fan as a kid.  He was my favorite race car driver.  I think about every kid my age that was their favorite race car driver at one point just because he was the young guy out there and he was winning a ton of races, so he was easy to root for.  I had all the Jeff Gordon stuff.  I had the jacket and the cars and all.  I thought I was cool.  To obviously race against him has been incredible.  It’s a dream come true, and I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve raced against him and raced him for wins and stuff like that.  That’s a lot of fun.  He’ll obviously still be around the sport a lot doing the stuff with Fox next year, but it’s kind of hard to put into words what it’s like racing against him and kind of knowing that he’s coming to the end of his career.  We’re kind of living through a historic moment in a way – these next few races and really this whole year – and I think everyone has realized that.  Everyone has done a great job.  Everytime I go to the race track I see 24 stuff everywhere – on the race track or fans and on the tickets.  You constantly see it, so I think everyone is doing a great job saluting him on his farewell tour, which is pretty cool.”

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