Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Charlotte Media Availability

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – WHEN YOU’RE IN THE BOOTH ARE YOU THINKING AHEAD TO THE FUTURE?  “Yeah.  I mean, I don’t plan on hanging up the helmet anytime soon, and very thankful to Fox to allow us to kind of test the waters on TV and broadcasting and what that’s like – if it’s something any of us really choose to want to do when we do decide to hang up the helmet.  I really enjoy it.  That’s why I signed up for so many of them.  I have a good time up there.  I feel like I learn a little bit.  I feel like people actually see my real personality and not the one that’s on the racetrack, so I think that’s kind of a fun piece and enable to bring different thoughts and why drivers are doing certain things out there.  It’s as fresh of a perspective as you can possibly get, getting drivers that just got off the racetrack and put them in the booth, so I think that part is pretty cool – that Fox does that.  They’ve obviously been doing it for quite a few years now and the driver’s only broadcast is kind of the next level of that, and I joke about it because people love to see us screw up on national television.  I think that’s why the driver’s only thing is so good, but I think the other piece to it that probably doesn’t get talked about as much is understanding TV’s perspective.  We’re all so easy to criticize certain things in our sport, whether it’s media, NASCAR, drivers, teams, whatever it may be – we’re easy to criticize, but we never understand the full story.  So, I think understanding how TV works and how big the team is, how many players are in the game in different positions and for it all to work is incredible.  It’s a huge challenge, but it’s fun to see it all come together and all we see is the final picture most of the time, so it’s cool to see the insides of it.”


SO WHEN YOU’RE WITH YOUR TEAM, YOU’RE FOCUSED ON THAT.  THIS GIVES YOU A BIGGER PICTURE?  “Absolutely, yeah.  That’s what I was trying to say, but you said it so much clearer than me.  That was good.  Maybe you should be up there.”


SOME OF TOMORROW IS ABOUT SAVING THE CAR.  DO YOU FIND YOURSELF ALSO TRYING TO SAVE YOURSELF FOR LATER IN THE RACE PHYSICALLY OR IS THAT NOT AN ISSUE?  “I don’t.  You manage the race knowing that it’s 100 miles longer than normal.  I think it has the possibility of being maybe the longest Coke 600 we’ve ever had, just considering how many more cautions we’ve had recently compared to the last few years, so I could see that changing some and being longer than normal, but, to me, you’ve got to prep for 700 miles and that way you’re still fresh at 600.  You’ve got to think through that and, at this point, I’ve run quite a few of these Coke 600s, so you kind of know what’s coming.  You know it’s long.  You know it is, but it’s also what makes this race so special.  It makes it a crown jewel event because it’s 600 miles.  It’s different.  It stands out.  Everybody wants to say they’ve won it before and hopefully this is the year for us.”


ROGER SAID YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT SHOULD BE COMING ALONG SHORTLY.  IS THERE ANY TREPIDATION AS FAR AS JUST GETTING IT DONE SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT?  “Yeah, I think it’s something I’d like to get done.  The facts are that this is a very complex deal from the Team Penske side and all the things Penske that go along with it.  Indy car as well now.  The racetrack.  All of those are kind of new pieces that weren’t in the last Shell agreement, so as you can imagine it’s very complex and a lot of different moving pieces, so Roger just told me, ‘Hey, I want to get this piece done first and then we’ll come to you.’  So, I’m assuming here sometime shortly that will probably happen.  I mean, there’s a lot of great things along with this deal and a lot of it around the sustainability piece is really cool.  On the back of our rear bumper it says Racing for the Future Now and that kind of touches on three or four different ways, but you think about the renewable fuels they’re gonna be using over at Indy car.  It’s kind of really moving things forward pretty far, especially in the motorsports world, and I’m sure that will probably be moved onto different forms of racing once they see it work.  If something works, usually the other companies will copy along, so we’ll have to wait and see, but I think there’s a lot of great things that Shell is doing, Team Penske is doing, and I hope to be involved.”


YOU WON THE FIRST RACE ON DIRT.  YOU WON AT THE COLISEUM.  WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS AT GATEWAY?  “I think Gateway is gonna be a great race.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, but I’ve been watching the truck races there and it seems like a track where you’ve got turns one and two that are high-banked, really sharp.  If they’re shifting in a truck, they’re definitely going to be shifting in a Cup car now with the five speeds, and then you’ve got the sweeping, long three and four – flat, but I think you’ve got some tire wear there.  You’ve got an older surface.  You’ve got some bumps.  You’ve got some character in it, so I think it’s gonna be a great race.  You look at Nashville last year, it ran nothing like we thought it would.  We thought it was gonna be everybody stuck on the bottom and the race won’t be that good and then we get there and everyone is running way high on the racetrack, so I don’t think it’s easy to predict how the race is gonna be, but, at the same time, I think it’s gonna be good and what we’ve seen in our sport here recently is when we go back to a racetrack or to a new racetrack at any point, it brings so many new fans to them.  Not everyone can travel three hours, six hours, 10 hours to a race.  That’s a big commitment if you think about it, so bringing races to new markets, to fans that don’t typically get to go, ‘Hey, it’s Sunday afternoon, let’s go to watch a race.’  That’s cool, especially for a first-time fan that maybe isn’t as passionate about it quite yet because they haven’t been to one.  It’s huge to grow our sport and so I think NASCAR has recognized that over the last couple of years.  We’ve all seen the success of Road America and Nashville last year and what can be with obviously going to Gateway.”


DO YOU FEEL THE RESIN WILL STILL BE THERE BY TOMORROW NIGHT AND WILL IT LAST 600 MILES?  “I don’t know because I haven’t been out there yet, but I will say – I said it up in the booth and I’ll say it here again – that is the best race we’ve seen at Charlotte in years when it comes to just good racing.  Cars can move around the racetrack.  Cars up against the wall, down on the bottom on the paint.  I don’t think we’ve seen that in a long time and I know he won by 17 seconds, but the racing before that with a green flag cycle mixed into that and with Allgaier and Berry, it was just a fantastic race and it was a long green flag run and they were moving and tires were wearing out.  Whatever they’ve got going on there just don’t change it.  I said that on TV.  Don’t change what we’ve got.  The tire is working.  The car is working.  That was a good race.  I hope it’s like that for us, too.”


DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT ISSUES LIKE LOST TIRES THAT WE’VE SEEN THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR?  AND HAVE YOU BEEN IN CONTACT WITH YOUR PENSKE INDY CAR TEAMMATES TO OFFER THEM ENCOURAGEMENT?  “Obviously, to answer the first part of your question with the tire and what we’ve been experiencing this year with the new car and all of us not understanding where the limits are quite yet.  Yes, it’s a concern.  You’ve got to run 400 laps and anything can happen in that amount of time, so, yeah, we’ll see here in practice will probably be a little bit of a clue on how things are gonna be.  I assume things will be fine.  I hope they are, but we just don’t know yet.  It’s our first time around to all of these racetracks, so hopefully that doesn’t become a story point of this race and, if it does, we’ll have to figure out how to handle it.  As far as the Indy car guys,  I have not yet.  We usually will send some notes to each other the day of the race and things like that as  good luck.  Obviously, it’s a huge race for both of us this weekend with the Coke 600 and also the Indy 500.  Those are two crown jewel events – as big as it gets – so hopefully we can have a whole Team Penske Sunday Memorial Day.”


BLANEY THINKS THERE WILL BE 16 DIFFERENT WINNERS BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS.  DO YOU AGREE?  “I don’t think so.  I don’t know, but I don’t think so.  We’ve had this conversation for years at this point in the season.  There are a lot of different winners and, ‘Oh, there are gonna be more than 16 this year.  Watch this,’ and there never is.  I guess we have reason this year to think that it may happen because of the Next Gen car and that piece is quite a bit different, but I don’t think so.  I might be wrong.  You might be replaying this some day and say, ‘He’s wrong,’ but I don’t think so.”


WILL THE NEW CAR MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ANY PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE?  “I think mentally maybe more.  This car doesn’t accept mistakes very well, where the old car you can overcook the entry a little bit, you slide up and it’s all right.  This thing, you get in there a little too hot and you swap ends pretty quick.  You spin out, so I think you’ve got to keep that in mind.  Physically, probably no more than last year, but mentally I think it could be more challenging.”


YOU WERE OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND SANDY HOOK.  THINKING BACK TO THAT DAY, WHAT DID YOU FEEL THE OTHER DAY WHEN YOU HEARD ABOUT TEXAS?  “I guess my perspective has changed over the years because now I have kids.  When the Sandy Hook shooting happened, I think I might have been married, but we definitely didn’t have kids yet.  That was obviously very close to home for me, so we definitely took that to heart, but I think now being a parent and thinking about your child in that position in a school knowing that that’s going on, and then those poor families that happened to and thinking about how do you even live after that?  I have no idea.  I don’t know how you can possibly do it.  I feel so bad for everyone involved in that.  I feel sad and I feel furious at the same time.  I’m so mad that that even happens in our country.  It shouldn’t.  We have to do something about it.  I don’t know what it is, but I don’t know what goes through someone’s mind to even think about doing something like that, but also how can we let that happen?  We’ve got to do something.  There’s a lot of young minds.  That’s our future in those schools.  I don’t have the words to explain it any differently.”


HAVE YOU HAD THAT MOMENT IN A TEAM MEETING WHERE YOU’VE SAID SOMETHING THAT MAYBE YOU WOULDN’T HAVE PREVIOUSLY – SORT OF A LEADERSHIP MOMENT?  “I’m usually pretty vocal about what’s on my mind typically.  Usually, the one that may over communicate because I’m a believer in that because I know I can’t read anyone’s mind and I assume no one can read my mind, so I think the best thing we can do is talk about it, but I don’t know if there’s a moment where it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m the lead guy here and listen to me.’  I think everyone has to work together and I think from what I can tell Blaney has done a great job at kind of helping me fill in that role after Brad’s departure, and I feel like already Austin has really been able to bring something to the table, too – and we all have to work together at this point.  We have limited practice, limited testing and we all have to be very open with each other to move our team forward at this point because there’s just limited data coming in and if you’re not communicating about what you’re feeling and the changes that we can make and are making before the race or after the race or before we get to the race, if we’re not communicating clearly about that stuff, we’re holding all of us back.  We’re all just being held up.”

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