Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano and Austin Cindric at Phoenix

Ford Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Can-Am 500 Advance (ISM Raceway, Avondale, AZ.)
Friday, November 9, 2018

Joey Logano and Austin Cindric both participated in an event last night at the Penske Museum in which MoneyLion was introduced as a sponsor for the 2019 season. Both drivers answered questions from the media about the new deal and other issues concerning their respective Playoff chances this weekend at ISM Raceway.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – YOU’RE STILL THE ONLY ONE LOCKED IN TO HOMESTEAD. “Yeah, I guess it’s the same as last week going into that race. Obviously, things happen in our sport. Everyone pushes hard and it’s nothing new. It’s been here forever. We like making a big deal out of it, a big stink out of it, but honestly it’s part of our sport but there are a lot more items on our cars than there is in football. As competitors we push to that edge and sometimes we go a little over the edge and sometimes it’s all about the way you interpret the rulebook could be the difference. I think NASCAR does a good job enforcing that rulebook and probably better lately more than it has been in a long time, so they should be proud of that. They have to make these things. I don’t think anyone wants to make these calls in our sport at all, but I think you have to to keep everything in control. It doesn’t’ change anything for us. We’re still focused hard at Miami. We’re gonna have a little fun out here in Phoenix and try to grab a win here, but still for us we’re focused in on grabbing that championship when we get to Miami.”

American Muscle

DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE ANY HICCUPS FROM THE 4 TEAM CONSIDERING THEY DON’T HAVE THEIR REGULAR CREW CHIEF AND CAR CHIEF THIS WEEK OR NEXT WEEK? “There can be. I think, honestly, it’s a pretty strong race team. They’ve been one of the fastest cars, if not the fastest car, all year long. I think if thsre’s gonna be a hiccup it’s not gonna be on Kevin’s part. I think Kevin is the type of driver that rises to the occasion. We’ve seen that happen a lot of times, but I think there can be a hiccup in communication. You guys know how it is when you know somebody for a very long time you can almost look at them and know what they’re thinking or hear in their tone maybe during the race and that’s not really gonna be there. Obviously, they’ll be in communication with Rodney, but it’s not gonna be very quick by the time it goes one way or the other and you know the way things get lost in translation sometimes on the phone compared to being face-to-face. You’re gonna have those situations, and it’s for the next two races. I’d say it’s a big hit for them, but I’d also feel like that car is going to make it through as fast as they are and going to their best race track.”

WHEN YOU HEAR NASCAR SAY IT WAS BLACK AND WHITE, IT WAS A CLEAR-CUT VIOLATION WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND? “I don’t know what it was, I just know it was a spoiler infraction. I don’t know anything more than that. They were pushing pretty hard obviously.”

IT WAS MOUNTED 3/8 OF AN INCH TO THE RIGHT. “So that’s public knowledge. I didn’t know all that, but now you know the specifics. OK, I don’t know what you want me to tell you. It’s not my race team. It’s not my race car. I don’t’ know what you want me to tell you guys. I’m still gonna drive my race car this weekend whether every race car gets dq’d or not. It doesn’t make a difference to me.”

BUT DO YOU GO BACK AND WONDER IF THEY’VE BEEN DOING IT ALL YEAR? “No. I mean, I don’t know. They could have been doing it all year or that could have been the first time. I don’t know. Does it change my race car any? No, so it doesn’t affect me. I don’t worry about it that much. I heard about it. I think we were all in shock. I was in shock. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s huge.’ And I’m sure everyone here thought the same thing, but does it really affect my life? Nope, so I just move on.”

A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THIS PENALTY SURPASSES YOUR PENALTY FROM RICHMOND AND OPENS THE DOOR FOR BEING THE BIGGEST PENALTY IN NASCAR HISTORY. WOULD YOU AGREE? “It’s pretty big. It could be. It depends on how the last two races go, right? You could call it the biggest one ever if the don’t make it to Miami, I guess, and you could probably say that. If they are still able to make it to Miami, then it probably wasn’t a huge deal, but I’m sure they’re a lot less comfortable going into this race than after last week’s race.”

DO YOU THINK NASCAR NEEDS TO JUST SET BLACK AND WHITE RULES AS OPPOSED TO LEAVING ROOM FOR INTERPRETATION? “There are a lot of black and white rules I think the sport does a good job enforcing. Can we be better? Yeah, we can be better at everything we do. I can be a better driver, too. I think that’s just the way people are. We’re constantly trying to find ways to be better. How can you be a better reporter? How can you be a better driver or better marketing person. Whatever it is, you’re trying to be better at it, so can we do better as a sport? Of course. Are we doing bad? No, I don’t think so. There’s got to be a little bit of room within the rules to have some racing though. I think there are some things that need to be black and white and there are some things that we need to race within the tolerances and as long as those tolerances are black and white, then we can play within those and build cars faster than others. I don’t think a Roger Penske or a Rick Hendrick or a Joe Gibbs or any of those guys want all the cars to be the same speed. I think that just kind of takes it out of all the race teams’ hands. That’s the competitive advantage we work for all week long. If we all drove the same race car, we’d just show up on Sunday and race and not practice our cars and not do anything, but I think part of our sport is that we have some tolerances and we need to keep that, but we also need to enforce like we’ve been doing the things that can’t be messed with.”

WITH ALL THE TALK ABOUT THE BIG THREE THIS YEAR WE’RE ONE WEEK AWAY FROM THE BIG FINALE AND YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE LOCKED IN. “If I would have told you that 15 weeks ago would you have believed me? I wouldn’t either. (laughing) BUT YOU ALSO BY A SIGNIFICANT MARGIN HAVE SCORED MORE POINTS IN THE FIRST EIGHT RACES THAN ANYONE ELSE. “I did not know that.” IS THERE ANY REASON WHY PEOPLE SHOULDN’T CONSIDER YOU AS MUCH A CONTENDER AS ANYONE ELSE WHO ENDS UP IN IT? “Honestly, it’s funny I was talking with Todd on the way out here and I told him I said, ‘When the Playoffs started I kind of felt like we were an underdog of making it and honestly the last six or seven weeks we’ve led a lot more laps, we’ve won a lot of stages, won a race, was fast at Kansas, was fast at Texas, you know what, I think we’re the favorite now to win now.’ And I think it’s so crazy to think that it can change that quick, but we are the one team that has been able to say we’re locked in the last couple of weeks. I can promise you, I haven’t watched no Phoenix tape when I flew out here. I was focused on one race.”

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE’VE SEEN THE MUSTANG FOR NEXT YEAR WRAPPED UP IN TEAM COLORS. WHAT DO YOU THINK? “I think it’s super-cool. The body lines are cool. It makes sense to race the Mustang. To me, I want to race a sports car and that’s what it is. I’m excited about that. Obviously, the couple or races that MoneyLion is gonna be on it is gonna be really exciting for us. Like I said when I was up there, to have a financial tech company that hasn’t been in our sport before that’s super-exciting. That, to me, is a huge story for you guys and for all of us in the sport to break out into something new like this. Penske does a great job of working all those B2B deals, but also finding some great marketing tools for them to really get a return on their investment, so I’m excited about that. I’m excited to be part of it and definitely a great group. I will say that when I talked to them the first couple of times they were very green to our sport, didn’t know much about it, but I think we’ve turned them into diehard race fans already with some great perks like I spoke about – the five percent cash back on a lot of the purchases at the race track and I think a lot of that are creative ways to market and also help our race fans out that really make our sport go round in the first place.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED AS A PERSON FROM HOMESTEAD IN 2016 TO NOT BEING IN IT IN 2017? “I’m always gonna enjoy the opportunity. That’s the kind of person I am. I love life. Every morning I wake up and think this is a little ridiculous. There’s no way I get to drive a race car for a living and I’m racing for a championship. Does it make it hard last year when we didn’t make it? Yeah. Was it harder to put a smile on my face? Yeah, I had to convince myself to smile sometimes because there were times I was very frustrated as I think anyone would be, but I also still get to drive a race car that weekend and that’s still pretty kick ass, so I think, to me, I remind myself of that every day. My family helps me a lot with all that and, obviously, what have I learned? Don’t take anything for granted that you’re gonna make the Playoffs next year after you finish second the season before. You think that’s kind of a given and it’s not, so I think I got some really good check-ups on that and some great lessons on approaches to the weekend and mentally being tough. There have been a lot of things I might have been able to learn and I’m looking forward to the lessons ahead because there are gonna be plenty of them. I know over the last 10 years of my career from where I was when I started to where I am now I’m proud of that. It’s something that I think is great, but I also don’t hang my hat on that either because I’m not where I want to be yet.”

DO YOU NOTICE MORE FAN SUPPORT? THEY SEEM TO APPRECIATE THE FACT YOU’RE GOING TO GO OUT THERE AND GIVE IT YOUR ALL EVERY RACE AND NOT BACK DOWN. “Our sport was built on tough racing and, like I said, I’m gonna race hard. I’m a racer. That’s what I am. I can be a hard racer and smile when I get out of the car. There’s nothing wrong with that. It might look maybe not as real or authentic as a lot of people think, but that’s really who I am. I can flip a switch and put a helmet on and go racing and then by happy about life afterwards and I’m out there to win. That’s who I am. I’ve got one gear when I get in a race car and it’s not letting people go a lot of times, it’s to go win the race. To be a good race car driver a lot of times you have to be selfish, you’ve got to think about what’s best for your race team and I think that’s kind of the approach I’ve taken over the years and I will say that once I started racing that way I’ve won a lot more races – not a championship yet, but we’ve been close a couple of times and hopefully this is the time.”

YOUR TEAM WAS PROBABLY NEVER BETTER THAN THE YEAR KENSETH DUMPED YOU. “I would agree with that.” BETWEEN THE YEAR YOU AND CARL GOT TOGETHER AT HOMESTEAD, WHAT DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THOSE SITUATIONS TO HOMESTEAD NEXT WEEKEND WITH EVERYTHING ON THE LINE? “It’s just experience. I think this is normal for everyone, but when you go into a situation you’ve never been through before you can’t help but be nervous because you don’t know what’s coming. Like even media day. You go up there and you’re kind of getting thrown to the wolves. It’s like, ‘What am I gonna say?’ And there’s just so much drama and questions coming at you and you don’t know how to handle that and you get to the race track and all that goes through your mind is, ‘I’ve got a chance to win a championship. I can win a NASCAR championship’ and you can get lost in those thoughts too easily sometimes. I think after going through that once, twice and now even for a third time you still have that thought go through your mind that you have another great shot at becoming a NASCAR champion, which has been a lifelong goal since I was a kid, but I guess I find myself a little more relaxed knowing that I’ve been here before, I’ve done it before, I know how to handle the situations, I know how to race at the race track, I know my team has done it before. It’s not like it’s a new race team that hasn’t been in this situation before. Almost our whole race team has been in all three of them, a majority of us has been, so I think that gives me a lot of confidence and it should give my race team a lot of confidence too that we’ve been here before. We know what to do, we know how to fight for it, so we’ve been really close. We’ve been closer every time we’ve done it, so hopefully one more time.”

HOW FAR HAVE YOU COME FROM THAT MOMENT AT POCONO WHEN YOU SAID DELANA WEARS THE FIRESUIT IN THE FAMILY TO WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW? “You know how you say there are no regrets? I regret saying that (laughing).” WHY DO YOU REGRET IT? “Because you’re not supposed to take things personal like that. You make it personal like that and that’s just wrong, but, hey, you laugh about it but you also get embarrassed by it. When you’re 19 years old, and I’m pretty sure when you were all 19 years old you said something stupid it’s just that mine was on national television and quite the quote. Anyways, I’ve learned a lot from that moment until now, but, like I said, I’m still 28 years old and I don’t think there is any 28 year old that knows everything at that point. I’m still young and got a lot ahead of me and a lot of mistakes I’m going to make and I look forward to those mistakes. I’m gonna learn a lot from them when they come.”

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN PICKED ON BY OTHER DRIVERS? WHY DO THEY THINK THEY EXPECT YOU TO ROLL OVER OR GET OUT OF THE WAY OR THAT THEY CAN SHOVE YOU AROUND? WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? “I don’t know if that’s the case. I don’t know. I think for whatever reason a lot of the situations I’ve been in have been pretty popular with higher profile drivers and things like that that make it look bigger, but I don’t really think I’ve been in more run-ins than most drivers. When you think about, we’re racing against the same drivers every week. You’re bound to run into each other and make somebody mad. It happens every race to somebody. Somebody is mad at somebody all the time it just doesn’t go out in public. Mine, really every one of them has, so learn how to handle them better I guess.”

ARE YOU TOUGHER? “It makes you pretty tough. It makes you tough as nails.”

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST CHALLENGING? SOMETHING WITH SMOKE? SOMETHING WITH HARVICK, KENSETH? “That was probably the toughest one, obviously. But I will say that I’ve learned how to handle situations like that and a lot of times, like I said, you’ve got to go through things to learn things sometimes and you just have to learn things the hard way. It’s not the fun way to learn things the hard way, but you do and not only does that help you on the race track, but for the rest of my life I’ll be able to take those lessons with me. Even though it’s on a race track and you may think it doesn’t correlate to anything else it really does. There’s a lot of transfer.”

THE YEAR YOU HAD THE INCIDENT WITH KENSETH DO YOU THINK THAT WAS YOUR BEST SHOT TO WIN THE TITLE? “It’s hard to say, we didn’t get there. We won a lot of races that year and it looked like we were gonna win Martinsville that year, which would have put us in a great spot for Miami. Could we have won it that year? Yeah, I’d like to think we could have, but you don’t know unless you’re there, but I’d like to think my shot this year is as good as it’s ever been.”

BUT YOU DON’T LOOK BACK ON THAT YEAR AS ONE THAT WAS LOST? “Yeah, it was lost. Of course it’s lost. We didn’t win.”

ARE THEY ALL THAT WAY THOUGH? “Yeah. If you don’t win, you lose. What do they say if you’re not first, you’re last? Isn’t that what they say? I think you can be second, but I’d rather not be.”

YOU’VE BEEN IN THIS SPORT 10 YEARS NOW WITHOUT A CHAMPIONSHIP, SO HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THAT? IS IT DISAPPOINTMENT OR JUST SUCH AN ARDUOUS JOURNEY? “The goal is to win championships, no doubt. The goal is there. Am I bummed that I haven’t got one yet? Yeah, I am, but we’ve been really close and I’m proud of that. There’s a lot of these races you look at and you can look at the amount of points you’ve scored in the Playoffs, we’ve done a great job of raising our game when it comes to Playoff time and we’ve done that every year and that’s something I’m probably most proud of and the way the championship is now, obviously, it takes a lot to get there and it takes a lot to get to Miami, but anything can happen in one race whereas before you could set yourself up like you said I had 40 points more than the next person. Well, man, if you’ve got a 40-point cushion going into the last two races you’re feeling pretty good about that and now, yeah, it gets you there, but now I’m at zero with the other three and it comes down to one race, which is great. I’m not saying anything bad about our Playoff system. I love it. I think it’s super-cool and it’s fun to be a part of. It’s fun to watch. Last year it was fun to watch even though we weren’t a part of it, but I don’t know if it makes it more challenging or not, but it comes down to one race which just makes it different. Like I said, we’ve been close and had some big moves and had that situation with Carl and if things change a couple inches a different way and we win the championship or that caution doesn’t come out when we had that restart after that, maybe we could have passed the 48 and we would have won that race. We’ll never know, but it all comes down to situations in that final race, which is crazy.”

SO HOW DO YOU NOT DRIVE YOURSELF CRAZY? “Because you can’t, you just can’t. It’s easy to overthink things and have it on your mind. Even coming out here we watched the 2016 race. I don’t know why, but I did. Todd and I were watching it together and every time I watch that race I get so mad I slam my laptop closed. It’s like, you’re that close and I don’t want to watch that again, but there are lessons to be learned in there. You think about it. That moment will forever be burned into my mind of how close we were to winning a championship that day, but we’ve got another opportunity to right that, so here we go.”

WHAT WAS THE LESSON LEARNED? “I think we did a good job the way we played the race and the way I played the race in not moving up I think it kind of cost us a little bit, put us in a different situation. The last restart I just did what I had to do and Carl did what he had to do, so there was really nothing back there, but just watching the restarts and watching the little things that could be better at, but I thought we did a really good job that weekend in all honesty. I thought we kind of approached it good. We had decent speed. We didn’t qualify well, but we ran up front and led laps, so I think we did a lot of good thing, but there are obviously things we can do better.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM 2014 to 2016 AND HOW TO TREAT THAT WEEKEND? “Just enjoy it, relax and have fun. Honestly, I think you’re more relaxed, you’ve been through it before. You know what’s coming at you and the more you can just tell yourself it’s another race because it really is just another race. There’s a lot more on the line, but it’s just another race. You’ve still got to go out there and win either way, so nothing really changes. Is your season on the line in one race? Yeah, it sure is, but it is every race a lot of times, especially with this Playoff system.”

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE ONLY ONE LOCKED IN NOW? “It caught me by surprise, for sure. I said 15 weeks ago I said we were an underdog and I would be surprised if we made it to the final four and now I feel like we are the favorites to win this thing. It’s crazy how things change.”

DOES THE CHAOS WITH THE REST OF IT HELP YOU GUYS? “Yes, it does because we’re focused in on one race for the last two weeks and other teams really have to focus in on getting there first. Instead of working on just one car, they had to work on three cars to get in and then another one on top of that for Miami. It’s not that we’re not working on our car for this week. We still want to run well, but that extra time in going to the wind tunnel and doing all that stuff to make sure the Miami car is the best we can possibly make it that’s a huge advantage to winning Martinsville.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – HAS IT BEEN EASY TO FORGET ABOUT THE LAST TWO RACES AFTER EVERYTHING YOU’VE GONE THROUGH THIS SEASON? “I still can’t get over the entire race from Texas. That whole weekend was absolutely insane and to say that we had a sniff at win at the end there would have been awesome, but, like I said you’ve got to have a short memory and obviously Kansas pretty much ruined any hopes I had at pointing my way into owners or drivers points, which really stings, but I’ve got an awesome opportunity this weekend to go out and try to win a race – a must-win situation. Obviously, I’m not the only one in a must-win situation, so I’m fighting for a lot and we’ll do the best we can.”

HOW TOUGH WAS TEXAS WITH THE GROOVE ON THE TRACK? “It wasn’t easy and I feel like there was more attrition last weekend than you would think for a repaved track that would have aged. You see every year we go to Kentucky and it’s better. It’s tough to put my finger on it. Obviously, I’m not a tire expert but a lot of guys talk about the tire because that’s the only factor that changed since the spring race and I felt like the spring race was more raceable than when I raced there in the trucks. I personally like Texas because it’s a mile-and-a-half track where you actually have to use the brakes. You have to drive it. There’s a lot of factors that you can do as a driver to help yourself into turn one and anywhere you can use the brake pedal I feel like is somewhere you can make a difference as a driver, but, like I said it’s really tough when you’re all fighting for one groove. You’re put in a lot of compromised situations and it’s unfortunate that those can sometimes affect championship pictures.”

WHAT ABOUT THIS RIDE FOR NEXT YEAR AND HAVING MONEYLION ON THE CAR? “For me it’s a huge opportunity. Without MoneyLion this wouldn’t be possible. As a young driver these are the opportunities you live for, you work for and you hope come around. This is a huge step in my career to be able to repeat and do a second season in XFINITY and be able to have the continuity of having one team around you the entire year. I’m excited for the opportunity because I think we can be a really serious contender. Obviously, there are a lot of great things to come along with the MoneyLion partnership, not only for everyone at Penske and everyone at the race team, but all the race fans. You talk about five percent cash back on tickets, five percent cash back at the track, they’re giving away 1500 tickets throughout the year to their members, so there’s a lot of fun things to go along with this, not only for us but for the race fans.”

TWO YEARS AGO YOU CAME INTO FULL-TIME RACING EXPERIENCE, BUT DIDN’T HAVE A LOT OF STOCK CAR EXPERIENCE. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN THAT TIME? “It’s funny. I got to do a Continental Tire race at Road Atlanta in between the Dover and Kansas round in the Playoffs, and it was the first time I’d been in a sports car since the Daytona Rolex 24 in January, and I couldn’t believe how comfortable and aggressive I was in traffic and in racing conditions and I can only credit that to NASCAR racing because you don’t get that kind of close racing anywhere else, you don’t get that kind of restart aggression, you don’t get any of that anywhere else. You’re usually racing yourself, racing the race track and in NASCAR you’re constantly around other people and I feel like there’s a lot to be learned in that from a social aspect as well because you’re racing against the same 39 other drivers give or take all year, so those guys have to know you, those guys have to trust you, those guys have to understand whatever it takes from you and those can put you in compromised positions sometimes and sometimes it can cut you some breaks, so I feel like those have been pretty big opportunities for me this year and last year to really be able to step up and understand what that takes from that aspect of racing.”

STAGE RACING WILL BE IMPORTANT NEXT YEAR. “Stage racing will be important. Stage racing will not be very important for me this weekend as I try to win the race. I’m just pumped. It’s huge to have an opportunity to go out and race for another championship as I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I’m gonna race for a championship in a week’s time, so I’m excited and looking forward to what’s next.”

WRECKERS OR CHECKERS ON SATURDAY? “How about just checkers.”

HOW WOULD YOU CLASSIFY THIS YEAR? “It’s gone by fast. I want to win a race before the year is over. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone a year without winning a race and we’re all here to win races, so I’ve got two more chances to do that this year and two more really good chances I feel like. But, for me, this year has gone by fast. It feels like only a few weeks ago I was spinning out in front of the field at Daytona and then only a week ago I was flipping in front of the field at Daytona, so I look at improving my superspeedway results next year (laughing), but it’s crazy to think, perspectively, how far I’ve come and as a driver how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time and that’s a credit to everyone that’s been around me at Team Penske and Roush Fenway. I’ve had a lot of good advice from a lot of really smart people that have been doing this for a while and it’s about applying that and applying that in the right scenarios and forgetting the noise and just going out and executing races.”

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


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