Ford Performance NASCAR: Ford Championship Weekend (Todd GordonTeleconference)

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Ford EcoBoost 400 Advance – Homestead-Miami Speedway
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Todd Gordon, crew chief for the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion and Joey Logano, was part of a teleconference today discussing this weekend’s Championship 4 in which Logano will be one of four drivers competing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.  Here is a transcript of Gordon’s comments.

TODD GORDON, crew chief, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion – DOES THE WIN LAST WEEKEND IN PHOENIX IMPACT THE TEAM HEADING INTO MIAMI FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE? “I think it definitely brings momentum. That is something all sports key off of. We have had great momentum with the Talladega win at the end of the second round and then to capitalize on a win at Phoenix to end the third round. It brings us into Homestead with momentum and to be on an upward track.”


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CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CAR YOU ARE BRINGING TO THE TRACK THIS WEEKEND AND ALSO HOW DO YOU FEEL SHORT-PITTING COULD IMPACT THE RACE THIS WEEKEND? “That is a great question. The first one you will get a little chuckle out of but we really don’t pay attention to the car history here. We kind of treat it like a factory. The car will come back and go through getting the body cut off and come back. I do remember the car number, 848, it has been through a couple wins. That is the primary car we are taking. It was our Watkins Glen tire test car. Just a tidbit there. They go back and forth here at Team Penske from car to car. They are not designated as just an intermediate car. It is a good car with a new body and new body spec. I am looking forward to it.”

“As for the short-pitting piece. You saw that at Texas. I felt we got beat by it. We had a dominant car early and the 78 ran us down a little in the middle of the race and actually got to our inside and pitted. That short-pit sequence, only being a lap, got us from the lead to third. It took us awhile to recover from it. It will depend on this tire. I think you will see a lot of fall off at Homestead as well. We had a competition caution on lap 25 lap last year. We were one of four cars to stay out and lost 11 spots. It is burned in my memory that we need to be aggressive on this short pit cycle with what happens this weekend. I don’t think you will ever see a fuel run completely because someone will start the sequence and you have to react to it. I would think you will see something similar in the 40-lap range going forward at Homestead.”

JOEY WAS EXCITED ON SUNDAY NIGHT. HE ALSO SPOKE ABOUT HOW HAPPY-GO-LUCKY HE IS. HAVE YOU SEEN MORE NERVOUSNESS IN HIM THAN MAYBE HE SHOWS? “Really not. I think in 2014 there was when we went through this the first time with not knowing what to do or expect or how it would flow with the championship race and race weekend. This time around I don’t see it. I think it is matters as usual. The piece that we have had success and speed for the last five races kind of builds your confidence to feel like we just need to go forward and do the things we have done and we can be successful. He is focused on that and focused on making sure we can run the way we have run our weekends. It doesn’t change anything. I feel a lot of calm from his feedback and what he is saying and doing and the mannerisms. He is all over just making this just another race and I think he is in a great position.”

A FORD HASN’T WON A MILE-AND-A-HALF OR TWO-MILE RACE WITH THIS PACKAGE SINCE BRAD AT VEGAS. IS THERE CONCERN OR DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE CAUGHT UP TO THE COMPETITION ON INTERMEDIATES? “We led a lot of Texas and I felt like we were very strong there finishing second to Carl on a rain-shortened race. I would have love to see where that race went. I feel very strong about our chances going forward here. I feel really good about the improvements we have made and felt like at Charlotte we had speed but had a tire failure. We finished well, we were second on Chicago on the same tire and second at Texas on the tire that will be at Homestead. I feel like we have been able to battle for it and we are continuing to make our stuff better. I love our chances going to Homestead.”

IN THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF TEAM PENSKE. HAS THERE BEEN ANY DISCUSSIONS AMONGST THE TEAM ABOUT TRYING TO BRING THIS SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP HOME TO MATCH THE INDYCAR CHAMPIONSHIP FROM EARLIER THIS YEAR? “Yeah, definitely that has come up. It is not really a focus but something that would be a great achievement and we have an opportunity to follow through on that. Simon did a great job with the IndyCar championship and an awesome opportunity to race between two of their cars for the championship in the last race. It was a great accomplishment. Being the 50th year and the celebration that it is and even the paint scheme with all the pictures of memories in the last 50 years of Roger’s racing career, it is pretty special to take that to victory lane and we would love to do that at Homestead and cap the year being successful on both sides. We would like to do that with the XFINITY car as well. There has been talk of it. It is not the focus though. The focus is to continue to race the way we need to race and do what we have to do to win this race.”

HOW WAS THE DECISION MADE TO HAVE THE 2 CAR TEST AT HOMESTEAD LAST MONTH AND DO YOU REALLY MISS ANYTHING IN THIS ERA OF ALL THE INFORMATION THAT IS SHARED? “At the time the tire test was both the 2 and us were part of The Chase. That was leading up to the Talladega race and we were both in a transfer position. We really break down our testing and look at it team wide. Those organizational test are dictated where you can send one car per organization and you know what races those are going to be and we divied them up at the beginning of the year and share information. I think our engineers work as well together as anybody out three and team wise we work as tightly with the 2 car as any organization out there. That decision was made earlier in the year that they get to go there and we kind of broke up the tracks that we test at in the beginning of the year and kind of earmarked that one for the 2 car. Now, if the position had changed and they weren’t part of the Chase at that point I think we would have had more discussions about it. Brad and Paul did a great job down there and brought back lots of data and we have been raking over that data and looking through their notes to prepare ourselves. I feel good about what they have brought to us to be able to look forward and use some of what they had to make our program better.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE IS ANY DISADVANTAGE BECAUSE OF THE TWO GIBBS CARS OUT OF THE FOUR? “I don’t see it that way. I guess if I looked at it if we were able to carry two cars to the Chase then there would be some pull – everybody here at Team Penske is on board with making the 22 car as good as it can be. I am sure they do that at Joe Gibbs as well but there has to be some separation or hold-back as well. I don’t know how they handle that and glad we don’t have to go through those thoughts. It is a great effort here and everybody is in full support of getting us to victory lane. Whether it is two Gibbs cars or someone from another organization, history has proven you have to beat everybody to win this championship. I don’t see it any differently. I am glad we are in the situation we have and feel great about our opportunity.”

HOW DO YOU STRATEGIZE TO KNOW THAT EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE PLAYING ODDS TO MAKE SURE THEIR ORGANIZATION WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP, REGARDLESS OF THE DRIVER? “I think you have to just be aware of the circumstances and who you are racing around but inevitably I think it will boil down to the four teams in the Chase and how they race each other. There are situations that can happen and you prepare for the ones you can control but inevitably there are situations that are beyond your control. Working on what other organizations do with their pieces and teammates just distracts you from making your team successful. We will work on what we do and be aware of what is happening around us but the focus will be on how we race.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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