Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Press Conference

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 Advance – Phoenix International Raceway
Friday, November 13, 2015

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, needs a win on Sunday to advance to the Championship 4 next week at Ford Championship Weekend.  Logano, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with six wins this season, spoke to members of the media after today’s practice session about his chances.

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – WHAT’S IT GOING TO TAKE TO WIN ON SUNDAY AND ADVANCE TO HOMESTEAD?  “We’re gonna have to go faster than the last four times we were here.  At this point of our season it’s no secret.  It’s not about a top-10 here, it’s about a win and nothing less.  I feel like after practice our car is decent.  I felt like in qualifying trim we were OK.  I didn’t feel like we were lights-out-fast by no means, but I think we’ve got a few changes we can make to our car and make it a little bit better for qualifying here.  Obviously, the track is going through a little bit of a transition right now, so I don’t know.  We’ll see what happens when we get out there and get ready to go.”

American Muscle

HOW HAVE THE LAST FEW WEEKS BROUGHT THE TEAM TOGETHER?  “We just don’t let it affect us.  I think we all are a very close team, this 22 team is, and we stay focused in on our job.  We don’t let someone take our mind or our focus off of what it should be, which is winning races.  So we don’t let things get to us as a race team.  I think we’re very strong and a very mature team to be able to just kind of look past that stuff and focus on what it takes to win these races.”

HOW GOOD DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES TO WIN BECAUSE NOBODY HAS REALLY BEEN ABLE TO TOUCH HARVICK?  “Honestly, the 4 car is fast here.  I’ve re-watched the spring race here a couple times and he is lights-out-fast for sure, really fast.  He’s been like that the last few times here and from looking at race trim practice the 41 looks fast as well this weekend, so we’ve got our work cut out for sure.  It’s not gonna be easy, but like we’ve seen plenty of times in these races this year recently you never know what’s gonna happen.  We’ve just got to try to make our car as fast as we can here tomorrow, qualify as good as we can tonight and just run our race.  Obviously, strategy comes into play here a lot.  A lot of people take two tires or four tires and a strategy call will definitely be played by multiple cars at some point, so having the race strategy, having good restarts, keeping yourself in the game here and going for that win at the end is gonna be super-important.  Yes, that car has been the fastest one here the last few times, but a lot of times the fastest car doesn’t always win.”

HAS IT BEEN TOUGH TO DEAL WITH EVERYTHING PERSONALLY WITH ALL THE FAN REACTION?  “No, it really hasn’t.  I get a kick out of it because even last night I was laughing with Brittany.  I posted a picture on Instagram and then all of the comments come up on my phone.  We were watching a movie and I’m looking at my phone and like every comment, there were a lot of good ones.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really nice ones.  I have great fans, awesome fans, but then there are a few that just come up and I start laughing because it’s so creative.  I’m like, ‘Wow.  I didn’t know I sucked on so many different levels.’  It was interesting to me (laughing).  Maybe I’m just the type of guy that laughs at everything and I have fun with life and I don’t regret living that way.  I don’t know.  I use it as motivation.  I try to use everything and try to spin it into something positive.  It’s something I’ve done in my life, especially recently, is spin things into a positive and try to look at the bright side of things.  I think it really helps my attitude.  I think it helps us as a race team because attitudes are contagious.  A bad attitude is just as contagious as a good attitude, so I think making sure your head is in the right spot helps keep the rest of the team motivated and thinking positively as we should.”

WOULD IT MAKE SENSE FOR NASCAR TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING WHERE THERE’S A FIFTH DRIVER AT HOMESTEAD – SUCH AS THE DRIVER WITH THE MOST POINTS THAT IS NOT YET QUALIFIED?  “I think five is too much in all honesty.  I think four is a lot because it comes down to one race for a champion against four cars.  A lot of times in other sports you see it come down to two teams, not four teams, so I think adding another one would be kind of weird and kind of odd.  It seems to be working.  If I was to change something maybe I would add bonus points for winning a race during the Chase into the next round like we do during the regular season, so then wins are worth something.”

BUT THAT GETS YOU INTO THE NEXT ROUND.  THAT’S THE BONUS.  “Yeah, but if you don’t need to win then what does the win do for you?  It doesn’t help you in the next round.  I think it would be interesting to have the bonus points that we do throughout the rest of the season.  If I was to change something, maybe that’s what I would say.  I think what NASCAR wants is a great race, high pressure, eliminations – they got that.  They got that stress out there, and I think the fans got that.  The fans want some excitement and I think it adds a lot of excitement.  I don’t think it’s a bad system at all, it’s just that you’ve got to have a great Chase.  Right now, if it was the old Chase with 10 races, we wouldn’t be out of it right now by no means, but we’re not out of it right now either.  Having two bad races in the old Chase you would be pretty much out of it anyway, so for us right now it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  We can definitely have a shot to redeem ourselves here and be racing for a championship at Homestead.  That’s where our mind is with it, and as far as changing it, that’s over my head.  I’m just a race car driver.  I’m gonna stick with that one.”

HOW DO YOU CONVINCE PEOPLE THIS IS ABOUT RACING AND NOT PEOPLE GAMING THE SYSTEM?  “I think we’ve seen NASCAR take actions in trying to control some of that, which I think is much needed, but at the same time that’s the drama that it’s going to create.  You’ve got to have game plans for certain situations and what’s gonna happen on the race track and how you’re gonna race the race because there’s just so much on the line.  You’ve got to know what everyone’s scenario is.  We know what Jeff’s situation is, but you’ve got to know what the top 8 cars have to do and when you’re racing around them you’ve got to know that in your mind of what’s going on and how they’re gonna race you.  So it’s just a lot to take in as a race car driver and have that game plan for who you’re gonna race and how you’re gonna race them and what you’re gonna do in situations.  You’ve got to have all of that worked out in your mind, which adds another element to the game.  It just adds more to it.  It’s part of it.  It’s a level playing field.  It is interesting.  It’s different because you look at some of the cars that make it to the final round may not have the most wins or may not have the most top-5s.  Look at Jimmie Johnson.  He’s had five wins this year and he’s knocked out in the first round.  It’s kind of interesting to look at it from that standpoint, but it is what it is.  I think it puts on a great race for everyone to watch, something interesting for everyone to watch, so I don’t see anything bad with it.”

HAVE YOU TALKED ABOUT CREATING A CHAMPIONSHIP TYPE MOMENT FOR YOUR TEAM HERE AND MAKING IT TO THE NEXT ROUND?  “If we win this weekend, it’s the biggest win of the year up to this point.  Obviously, the Daytona 500 is a big win, but winning here at Phoenix what it would do to set us up for racing for a championship at Homestead would be the biggest one of the year.  That’s what this point system brings.  It makes every moment the Daytona 500 moment.  It makes it that big of a deal to get through to win a race like that.  We’ve seen Kevin do it here last year.  Those wins mean a lot because everything is on the line and there’s only one way to get through, so I think that’s kind of interesting and would make this win the biggest win of my career if we were able to do it.  That’s what these races come down to.  It’s such a big deal.”

HOW DO YOU GET PREPARED FOR THE MENTAL SIDE OF ALL THIS STUFF BECAUSE THE RACE CAR PART IS PROBABLY THE EASIEST TO DEAL WITH?  “It is sometimes, actually.  Growing up racing you’re around situations a lot, you’ve raced in different scenarios and things that happen.  You learn a little bit then.  Obviously, you’re really young then, so you don’t really know exactly what you’re doing, but you’re just kind of going with it and you learn from your mistakes.  That’s really the biggest thing is you keep learning from what you do every day.  As long as you can lay down and say, ‘Hey, I learned this today, and I want to handle a situation like this next time and I want to do this and I want to do this,’ and then stay true to yourself, stay true to your character that you want to present and be yourself with it.  Sometimes it’s not easy to do that.  I’m not gonna lie and say it’s easy, but I think as I’ve gotten older and more experienced in this sport I’ve learned I feel like some of the right and wrong ways of doing things and that’s part of life.  You do that whether you’re in a race car or the media center or wherever you’re at – it’s just part of life, you live and learn.”

THE FACT YOU LOOK AT YOUR PHONE WHILE WATCHING A MOVIE WITH YOUR WIFE, DOES THAT SHOW YOU’RE TOTALLY FEARLESS OF ANYTHING?  (Laughter)  “No, because we both laugh at it.  We have a good time laughing at things.  We were watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles last night.  It was actually ironic.  It’s a funny story because our plane broke on the way out, actually not on the way out, we never got to Charlotte – the team plane to pick us up.  Some of the team flew commercial and got here last night.  Some of them had to fly to San Francisco and layover overnight and come here, some of them went to L.A. and laid over overnight.  I bummed a ride with Junior, so that was awesome and we flew up this morning. It was just a really weird night and then we were watching that movie and I thought, ‘This is kind of ironic that we’re watching this movie,’ so it was kind of funny just some of the travel issues that you can have sometimes.”

IS IT DAUNTING WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO WIN AS YOUR ONLY OPTION OR IS IT MORE LIKE IT’S SO HARD TO WIN THAT IT’S ALMOST LIKE ROLLING THE DICE BUT NOT TOTALLY?  “I don’t feel like it’s rolling the dice in my mind and I believe in my team’s mind.  We look at it and say, ‘Hey, the last three times we didn’t have an issue in the race we won.  That makes us feel pretty good.  That makes us pretty confident about what we can do together, so, really, we don’t change what we do.  We obviously know our situation, what we have to do, but we don’t change what we do every weekend because we know the recipe to go out there and win.”

DID JUNIOR GIVE YOU ANY ADVICE HOW TO HANDLE THE ADVERSITY?  “We didn’t really talk about that at all.  We just rode up.  Truex was on there and their girlfriends and fiancé’s were there and I was just hanging out.  I was fifth-wheeling it.  The dogs were on there.  The dogs were cool.  One of the dogs got sick.  That wasn’t so cool.  It was a little stinky, but it was OK.  We didn’t really talk about motor racing much at all.”

HOW DID IT COME TOGETHER TO RIDE WITH JUNIOR?  “Travis Geisler was on the move yesterday trying to figure out logistics for everyone, which is really challenging when you have to be here at 7 o’clock in the morning when the garage opens and how you get everyone here with commercial flights and some of them were booked.  A lot of the other planes that were coming out here already left, so it was a real tough situation for him.  I think he must have talked to Dale’s pilots at some point or something.  I don’t really know how it all came together, but it came together.  That’s the big part that matters.”

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