Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano and Chase Briscoe Media Availabilities

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Thursday, August 6, 2020

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series and Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, both participated in a NASCAR Zoom call this afternoon to talk about this weekend’s action at Michigan International Speedway and Road America. Here is a transcript of both sessions:

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GO TO MICHIGAN WITH TWO RACES IN ONE WEEKEND? “Yeah, it’s definitely a big weekend for Michigan. I’m excited about heading up there. I’m actually going up there tomorrow morning to do something for Ford and the new Mach-E, so I’m really excited about heading up there and doing that with Vaugh (Gittin Jr.), but also for the races. It’s been a great racetrack for us in the past, a track that seems to kind of fit my style and what I look to do on a racetrack. I’m looking forward to seeing what setups Paul can come up with and what we’ll have here for these two races. When I look at the Team Penske cars there, we were all pretty good there last year. The Fords in general were really good. You look at what the Stewart-Haas cars were able to do at the end of the race, so I feel pretty confident in it. I feel like we’ve been making some good progress here over the last few weeks in getting some speed back in our cars to where we can run in the top five again consistently. We’re just looking for smooth races at this point and those points will start coming again. It seems like we’re getting back on track right at the right time to head into the playoffs, so I’m looking for a strong weekend here with a couple races and hopefully we can come out of there with a couple of trophies and keep that Heritage Trophy. That’s also a cool one that goes with the manufacturer. I know Edsel has brought this one up to me quite a few times about how much he wants that in the old headquarters in Dearborn, so I want to make sure we bring that back.”

American Muscle

A LOT OF CHATTER ABOUT USING THE CHOOSE RULE THE REST OF THE YEAR AT MOST RACES. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ABOUT THAT? “Finally. That would be my answer to that. I’ve been looking for this for years. I’ve brought it up in meetings for years and to see it kind of come into action at Bristol is something that I thought went really smooth. It was kind of exciting and interesting to see the decisions that drivers made and it was different every time. If you do that at Bristol, what’s it look like at Michigan? What’s it look like at a road course? There’s one we really don’t know. There’s a lot of questions that kind of come along with that on what it is and there might be some races where it looks identical to what it is right now where third is on the inside and fourth is on the outside. That can happen. It might be every other, but I think every now and again there might be two or three cars lined up in one row and you have the opportunity to move up two or three rows. It definitely adds another piece to the strategy and even more importantly it has everyone not doing the whole stopping at the end of pit road and letting a car go by because, for one, it’s not safe to stop at the end of pit road for anyone jumping over the wall and having cars swerve like that. But, two, that’s not racing. The goal should be in front of whatever car is in front of you, not let one go at the end of pit road so you can have the outside lane or the inside lane. That’s backwards. You don’t want to do that, so we can get past that. Every time we’d try to count cars like that someone would have a penalty anyway, so it never worked for me. You’d always let one go and then the car in front of you has an uncontrolled or a speeding penalty and you’re like,’ C’mon!’ So, it gets rid of all that. That’s nice.”

THERE IS SOME TALK TOO ABOUT NOT DRAWING FOR STARTING LINEUP GOING FORWARD. IT WILL BE A MIX OF POINTS AND FINISH AND FASTEST LAPS. ARE YOU GOOD WITH THAT? “I am. It makes sense. It’s maybe a little bit more confusing than what I would have gone with. If they end up going with the process that has been talked about here, just for the race fans I feel like it’s confusing, but, outside of that, so it’s fair and I guess that’s all that matters. It’s fair and I’m sure that’s probably what the fans care about the most. If all of us competitors can agree that it’s a fair way to set the lineup, I don’t think any fan is really gonna care how it happened as long as we all feel like you earned your starting position, just like we used to. You used to earn your starting position by qualifying. Well, now you’re going to earn your starting position by three different ways, whether it’s lap time or finishing points position – those type of things. You’ve earned every one of those spots, so although it’s confusing it’s fair.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHT NOW ON MIDWEEK RACES AFTER GOING THROUGH SOME OF THEM THIS YEAR? “I’m still a fan of midweek races. I think it’s actually been great and the midweek race isn’t just the midweek race. There’s a lot of things that go along with it because of the timing of whether you’re racing that weekend. Is it a Sunday coming off another Sunday? Or coming off a Saturday night race that gives you more time to prepare for a Wednesday race. Those kind of things really seem to come into play and that being a one-day show kind of like we have everywhere now. Just going into the future looking at it, if practice is added back to other ones, maybe Wednesday races don’t have practice. Maybe this is what we’ve learned out of this, that we can do things like that and the Wednesday races are no back-up car, no practice, no qualifying and race. That can be how it works and we’ve proven it does work. We’ve done this enough since we’ve gone back in Darlington to prove that we can still put on a pretty good race. It’s really not that much different in a lot of different ways, so this has been really good and just like every other industry right now we’re all learning of ways that we can still do what we do and just doing it differently. We’ve learned a lot from it.”

HOW HAS YOUR TEAM ADJUSTED TO IT? “It’s been hard. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. Probably harder this year than it would have been if we made the whole crew chief swap last year and we had practice and time to build a notebook and the communication was to where it is at this point of the season. I look at the first three races of the season earlier before COVID with practice and being able to tune on our car, Paul and I were able to put a really fast car on the racetrack, and then COVID hit and it’s showing up and racing and it’s like, ‘Okay, well, what do we need?’ And it’s like, ‘Well, I don’t know. I had this last year.’ A lot of times Paul and Todd’s setups aren’t even close, so what I was used to and what he used to put in the car isn’t even in the ballpark, so we’re trying to figure out what is the right direction to go and you only learn when the race starts. I don’t know if you guys know, but when the race starts your hands are pretty much tied. You can do some wedge and trackbar and air, but you’re not making the big changes to the car, so that’s been quite the learning experience. We’ve kind of gone down one road and backed up on another road back up, and I think we’re going down a road now that seems to be making sense in bringing speed back in our car. I feel confident in that, so we’ll keep moving down the road we’re on right now and developing that, but it’s just harder to develop. It’s harder to get clear answers because even when you feel like you’ve learned something from the previous race, you’re going to a different racetrack the next week, so how do you prove a new theory?”

HOW EXCITED ARE YOU FOR A DOUBLEHEADER THIS WEEKEND AND CAN YOU TAKE ANYTHING FROM POCONO? “I don’t know that there’s a whole bunch from Pocono that you take from it, at least from a driver’s perspective. It’s pretty simple. You go up there and you try to win each one of them. That’s the strategy. There may be some drivers that are a little bit more conservative the first one to make sure that you finish in the top 20. We kind of had a double-negative in Pocono, where you had shorter races. We were running good and blow a left-front tire with five to go and you finish 30-something. Well, shoot, now I’ve got to start 30-something the next day with a backup car. That’s a double shot in the foot, so there might be a little bit more to just making sure you have at least a solid day the first one, so you can use your car again, you can tune on it. You’re not scrambling trying to put another car together. You can actually finish the race, take what you’ve learned and apply it to the same car and have a decent starting spot the next time. I think that might be one of the learnings, but some things you just can’t control and ways too that, if the win is sitting in front of you, you’ve got to take it. You’ve got to take that risk and if it hurts both races, I still think it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

BRAD WON LAST WEEK ON YOUR HOME TRACK AND YOU’VE DONE WELL ON HIS. HE WAS JOKING EARLIER THAT MAYBE YOU COULD GIVE HIM ONE THIS WEEKEND. “I can’t give him one because he didn’t give me one last week. That wouldn’t be fair. I’ve got to teach him the rules of how this works. My racetrack was first, but it’s funny, we actually texted back and forth after he won last week and I’m like, ‘Geez, can’t we just switch home tracks?’ Loudon is probably his best racetrack and Michigan by stats is probably my best racetrack, so it’s kind of funny how that has worked out, but the good news is both of us can win races at racetracks. I’ve been able to get a couple wins at Loudon, but I would trade quite a few wins at any other racetracks to win at Loudon. That track just means a lot to me personally and I would love to win there much more frequently, but I do feel a little bit more confident going back there now because our car was really good last week. I’d like to kind of re-run that one, but we’ve got to wait a year to do it, but, yeah, it’s funny how that kind of works out.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CHARACTERISTICS OF MICHIGAN? “It’s kind of been the same at every track we’ve gone to, you just kind of fire off and go down into the corner and you hope she sticks, hope it doesn’t bottom out and you kind of feel it out from there. All these race teams have done a pretty good job to where you don’t see many cars going down in the first corner going, ‘Oh, no,’ and sliding up the racetrack and being a complete disaster. These race teams are all pretty good at this point being able to consistently build the same type of race car to where they’re not searching to get the splitter height right. All the cars are built the same now across the whole field, where everyone knows how to set up their splitter heights. Everyone knows how to get their ride heights right, the overall balance it can go off of maybe some sim stuff. We have a lot of just notes and it’s just where this sport is at as people have evolved and they’ve been able to build consistency. That’s why you don’t see cars that are just out of control out there for the most part, so that gives drivers more confidence to not have to have warm-up laps, if you want to call them that, of just going easy the first couple. Everyone has gone pretty hard. Everyone was nervous about this at Darlington and everyone took a couple of easy laps, but now it’s balls to the wall as soon as we go. We are going and that’s gonna be what it is at Michigan as you barrel off. Turn one is not that bad because you don’t have the speed built up, but turn three is usually where you’re gonna have to figure it all out because you’ve got all the momentum rolling down into there, and I don’t expect anyone to be cautious at that point.”

HOW IS IT FOR YOU KNOWING BRAD’S DEAL IS DONE? “It’s a distraction. Any time you don’t have a deal in place, and that’s one of the main reasons why I signed a deal as long as I did is that I don’t want to be distracted by this over and over again every year or every two years or three years. I want to have some security, know that I’m in a place for a long time, and I can focus in on my race team and not be worried about, ‘Am I racing here next year? Do I need to start searching around? Do I need to start talking to other teams?’ Well, now your effort is from focusing on building a fast race car and getting yourself ready to prepare to race, you’re taking that focus away to go think about and be nervous about what am I doing next year? Where am I going? What’s gonna happen? That’s not good to have. It might drive some people. It might make them better in ways. I don’t know, For me, I know it doesn’t For me, I know that it’s an awful distraction and it gets me way out of the mental mindset that I need to be in to perform, so that’s why I’ve done what I did. I can’t speak on Brad’s behalf, but I’m glad that they got it done. Brad and I have been great teammates over the last seven years and I always say one of the main reasons I drive for Team Penske and Shell is because of Brad. So, I’m glad to see the relationship continue with Roger and Team Penske and Brad and myself. I think it’s gonna be great.”

WHY DO YOU THING PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO PASS CERTAIN DRIVERS DURING A RACE. ISN’T IT CALLED RACING FOR A REASON? DO YOU WANT TO SEE THAT SIDE-BY-SIDE RACING HARD MENTALITY? “Yes. I can’t add more to it than what you just said than yes. I’ve never understood it. There’s a difference between racing hard and trying to maintain, whether you’re trying to stay on the lead lap or trying to hold off a certain position towards the end of a stage. It’s one thing if the guy catches you from a straightaway back. That’s gonna be a little bit different when you’re 100 laps into the race. Alright, well maybe we don’t make that guy’s life awful at that point, and that will come back to you, but there are other cases that it’s a race – like, what do you want? It’s not the highway. We’re not letting people go. It’s not like somebody is coming from behind you in the left lane and you get out of their way for them. No. No. No. I don’t know if you guys ever watched a highway go by, it’s pretty boring. So the racing part is what we all love to do and fans love to watch. Like I said on the radio the other day, fans are gonna have a biased opinion for their favorite driver, so when your favorite driver is being held up by somebody they’re gonna look at it and say, ‘Oh, that’s not okay. It shouldn’t be that way.’ But when you put the shoe on the other foot it’s okay because everyone kind of has a biased opinion, which is fine. I don’t have a problem with that, but it just is what it is. I’m a hard racer. I’m fine with it. I’m fine with people who race me hard. I’m not okay if someone crashes somebody. That’s a different story, but a little bumping and banging, a little racing hard door-to-door, that’s life. It doesn’t mean it puts a smile on your face. You get aggravated a little bit, but I’d be a hypocrite if I complained about it, I know that. So, you race and you accept it.”

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ROAD AMERICA? “I’m super-excited to go to Road America, first off with the Henry Rifles 180. We’re gonna be in the Henry Repeating Arms car, so a lot of pressure there. I’m looking forward to it. I feel like Road America is one of the best racetracks as far as road courses go for putting on action. It’s kind of got a little bit of everything between high-speed, low-speed, tight corners, fast corners, elevation, tire fall off, so it’s a really good racetrack. It’s a beautiful part of the country. It’s like you’re at a state park when you’re there. It’s an awesome facility. I was there last week with the IMSA car, so I got a little bit of practice as far as just seeing the racetrack again and getting back to that mindset of going road racing, so hopefully that will correlate over to this weekend.”

WHAT DID YOU PICK UP FROM THE IMSA RACE THAT YOU CAN CARRY OVER TO THIS WEEK? “The IMSA car and the NASCAR car stuff is quite a bit different as far as how they drive, but I feel like I learned some stuff on the racetrack, just things about how I hit certain curbs or where to hit certain curbs. I tried some different line stuff just to see because sometimes it feels faster in the race car, but you don’t necessarily know, especially at a place where your lap time is over two minutes. It’s hard to say if that really gained you anything. For me, the fortunate thing is in IMSA we have data, so I could go back and I can look to see, ‘Okay, when I tried this in this corner it was a little bit worse or a little bit better.’ So I feel just trying different things on the racetrack, hopefully those will correlate over in the XFINITY stuff, but as far as how the cars drive they’re so different. A perfect example is into turn five. I can go just past the 300 for my braking marker and in the XFINITY stuff we’re before the 500 until you can start braking, so the braking zones are so much different, but hopefully those little tricks I felt like I maybe learned in the IMSA car this past weekend will correlate over to some speed this week. And then also just seeing the racetrack. With no practice and no qualifying everybody is seeing it for the first time, where I ran almost two hours of track time just last weekend, so hopefully that will help.”

THIS SEASON CAME TOGETHER LATE FOR YOU. DID YOU HAVE TO OVERCOME ANYTHING TO GET THIS SUCCESS AND WHAT DOES YOUR FUTURE LOOK LIKE AT THIS STAGE? “Yeah, it definitely came together late. I’m super-fortunate that it all came together because I felt like after last year, really the last half of the year, I felt like we were really good. I felt like we outran the big three a lot. We didn’t necessarily finish the race there. We’d have a lot of weird stuff happen, but from a speed standpoint I felt like we could have run with those guys pretty much week in and week out, so I knew if we had the opportunity again I felt like we could go and win a lot of races and compete for a lot of wins and we’ve been able to do that so far. Truthfully, I would love to move up to the Cup Series next year. I feel like I’ve proved that I can win at this level, and I want to move on to the Cup Series. I’m one of the older guys in the XFINITY Series in general. Not that I feel like my time is running out, but I just feel like it’s almost time to, if I’m gonna make it to the Cup Series, I feel like I need to do it fairly quickly just from an age standpoint, so I can really maximize out my Cup career. But if I move up, I want to do it in something competitive. I want to move up and learn good habits in good race cars. I don’t want to go and run something that’s gonna be a mid-pack car. I want something that’s capable of winning races and a championship right away, just so I can learn good habits right out of the box and just try to learn the best I can. I feel like if you’re in not the best race cars, sometimes you can learn bad habits in those. I think the big thing that’s kind of tricky if you do move up next year is the following year you’re gonna have a brand new race car where everybody is on an equal playing field. There’s a lot of stuff that’s moving and shaking, I feel like, just in the Cup Series in general with a lot of open seats. I feel like there are a lot of dominos yet to fall just to even figure out if there’s a spot available for me, but I would love to move up in the Cup Series as long as it’s something that’s able to go win races right out of the box. I think as a rookie it’s gonna be really hard to win races in general, so you need to have the best equipment possible to try to help that curve. Right now, I’m still trying to focus on the XFINITY Series, but I would definitely love to kind of have a better idea of what I’m doing next year sooner rather than later, just because it gets to the point where it’s so late in the year if something does fall apart, it’s hard to find anything to fall back on.”

ARE YOU HAVING ANY PRELIMINARY DISCUSSIONS YET ON NEXT YEAR? “No, not yet, honestly. All my stuff, like you were saying earlier, normally comes pretty late in the year in general. I think a lot of that is just to try to figure out what’s even available. If I come back to the XFINITY Series, if I’m able to move up to Cup. There are so many variables that have to go one way or the other to even have an opening, so I think just waiting on those. Hopefully, at least when the playoffs start is typically when, I feel like, a lot of those negotiations even start – at least in my past experiences – so I’m just waiting to get to the playoffs and trying to focus on winning this regular season championship first and then try to win as many races as I can. I feel like if I can do all my talking on the racetrack, hopefully that will just accelerate all of those off the track negotiations.”

REGARDLESS OF WHAT SERIES YOU’RE IN NEXT YEAR WILL YOU BE IN A FORD? “Yeah, as far as I know that’s the plan. Whenever I came to Ford that was a five-year deal, so we’re coming up on year five now. Yeah, that’s the plan as far as I know. We want to keep winning races and I want to stay with Ford. They’ve been loyal to me. Without them, I wouldn’t be doing any of this stuff. I for sure want to stay with a Ford and that’s the plan as far as I know.”

ARE YOU ON THE BRONCO LIST? “I haven’t been on the list. I looked up the price and everything and I was gonna try to build one and then I thought better of it. I figured I’d better hold off. You never know if you win a championship what they’ll give you, so that’s my goal. I’m trying to win the championship and maybe they’ll give me a car. I know last year they gave Crafton a Raptor, so if we can win that, hopefully, I don’t even have to pay for anything. That’s kind of what I’m shooting for, but the Bronco looks super-cool. I’m excited to see them in person. I’ve seen a couple pictures online and they look awesome. I know Cindric got one and a couple other people I know have already ordered one, so I’m looking forward to seeing them in person, for sure.”


IS THERE SOME EXCITEMENT ABOUT GOING BACK TO TALLADEGA OR IS THE FEELING THE OPPOSITE? “I think it’s terrifying, truthfully. I feel like there are so many unknown variables when you go to those places. Typically, on a mile-and-a-half or any other racetrack if you have a bad day, you’re still gonna run 20th to 25th area, but you can realistically go to Talladega and not score any stage points whatsoever and run 30th on back. If you do that, that’s a 50 to 60-point swing right away, so that’s the scary thing to me about going to Talladega. In the playoffs there are so many things that can go wrong and, truthfully, in the Truck Series it cost me a championship. We went to Talladega and I got knocked out and then I ended up winning Homestead, so the Talladega thing is definitely scary. Anytime you go to a superspeedway there are just so many things out of your control, and then, like I said, the stage points – at least on a mile-and-a-half if you’re in one of the better cars you’re gonna score stage points, where Talladega you could not score any, so it’s definitely super-intense to go there in the playoffs. I definitely wish we weren’t going there, but, fortunately, we’ve got a pretty good points buffer right now. We need to continue to work on that, but the big thing is you go straight from Talladega and you go to the Roval, where there are just as many things that are out of your control there. So the first round of the playoffs is gonna be super-tricky, especially with the addition of Talladega.”

WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE DOES A ROAD COURSE LIKE ROAD AMERICA POSE FOR YOU WITHOUT ANY PRACTICE? “I think it definitely makes it tough. I think it’s harder on the guys farther back in the pack, guys like Allmendinger who, because of points, has to start back there. At least the guys, for the most part, up front all have experience. There are a couple rookies that have never been to Road America, but they at least have stock car experience. There are some guys that are gonna be starting back there with Allmendinger that haven’t raced a stock car in a while and this may only be their second or third race, so that’s a little bit tougher back there. In our situation, when you draw on the back half of those first 12 guys you’re starting behind a lot of the guys that are the rookies that have never been there and just naturally they’re gonna be three or four seconds off the pace those first couple laps trying to learn the racetrack. So, it’s definitely hard to navigate through those guys, and then also just to know what your car’s got because you can burn your stuff up so fast and tear it up, and with our new pit stop stuff for this week, you do not want to have to come down pit road under a green flag situation, so you don’t want to flat spot the tires, you don’t want to get any damage, you don’t want to pop a tire or whatever, so it’s gonna definitely be a lot more crucial this time around. At Indy we at least had some practice. We still had the random draw, but guys knew the racetrack and knew what their cars were gonna do, where this week and next week we have no idea if our car is gonna be tight, loose, whatever. So it’s definitely gonna be an exciting thing to watch for the fans. I think it will be a little nerve-wracking on our end just knowing that anything can happen those first couple of laps.”

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU WITH THE HIGHS AND LOWS YOU’VE EXPERIENCED? “I think 2020 in general just expect the unexpected. I think for everybody it’s been a crazy year. On our end, truthfully, everybody’s year, I feel like, has been super up-and-down with everything going on in the world with the virus and everything else. It’s been a crazy year to say the least. On our end, it’s definitely been a lot of really low points and high points, and I don’t think you can compare the high points on the racetrack to how low the low points are with the miscarriage stuff, but it certainly helps raise your spirits a little bit. I’m glad that we are able to go back racing and the miscarriage thing, a perfect example, that was the first weekend back into racing and I couldn’t imagine experiencing that and then sitting out another two months from the race car. It just would have been really hard for my mind to be straight, truthfully. So, it’s definitely been a crazy year. Just trying to persevere on and off the racetrack has been the biggest thing because even on the racetrack, a perfect example is Indy. I practically threw the race away with three or four to go and wheel-hopped and let Cindric and Allmendinger get by, and just tried to stay focused and persevere through it and the obviously ended up winning the race. So, just a lot of lessons to be learned on and off the racetrack, for sure.”

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