Saturday, Sep 30

Ford Performance NASCAR: Logano Wins the Pole for Tomorrow's Cookout Southern 500

Ford Qualifying Results:

1st – Joey Logano

6th – Austin Cindric

9th – Ryan Blaney

10th – Michael McDowell

18th – Kevin Harvick

19th – Chase Briscoe

22nd – Aric Almirola

25th – Brad Keselowski

27th – Chris Buescher

28th – Harrison Burton

30th – Cole Custer

31st – Todd Gilliland

32nd – Cody Ware

33rd – JJ Yeley

35th – BJ McLeod




JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – THOUGHTS ON WINNING THE POLE. “It’s obviously nice to start up front.  We got a taste of what that first pit stall means here at Darlington and it’s nice, for sure.  It’s definitely really close to that pit out line and you don’t have to get all the way back up to speed, so there are definitely spots available in the pit stall.  You can let the pit stall do the work and feel really good about that.  It’s nice to be able to get that, but it’s just a start.  We still have a full 500 miles to go, but, like I said, that first pit stall will pay a dividend throughout the whole race, so we’ll fire off and see what we’ve got tomorrow.  Going off of practice from the spring to the race the first time, the track was much different in the race than it was in the practice.  You’ve got to kind of assume some of it is gonna happen again tomorrow, so we’ll try to adjust on our car a little bit for race trim.  I think we need a little bit there, but I don’t think we’re that far off.  If we get a little bit more turn in our car, we’ll be right there.”


BYRON IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU.  HAS THERE BEEN ANY DISCUSSION WITH HIM AND DOES IT EVEN CROSS YOUR MIND RIGHT NOW?  “I don’t think there really needs to be a discussion.  I thought everything that went down here in the spring was done and over with.  It’s tit-for-tat, one for the other.  I said it before, I’ll say it again – you don’t want to mess with me because I’m not gonna get pushed around.  I’ve done that plenty in my career and it doesn’t work like that for me anymore, so I think it’s for everyone’s best interests that we just focus on racing in the playoffs and trying to win championships.  He’s got a great car.  He’s a good driver.  He’s capable of being up there the whole time too, so I think that it’s best for probably both of us to move forward and go racing.  The score is equal in my mind.”


IS A COCKY, CONFIDENT JOEY LOGANO SOMEBODY TO BE AFRAID OF IN THE REST OF THE FIELD?  “I don’t know if cocky is the right word, but confident is something that I think is so important going into the playoffs when the pressure is on.  I need to feel like I’m the best and I need to have reason to feel that way as well and, like I said, through the last five or six races we have all the reason in the world to be confident right now and to continue what we’re doing.  Like I said, we’ve scored more points than anyone over the last five races by 44 points, so we’re doing it right now.  We just have to continue that.  It’s not just the driver that’s confident, it’s the whole team.  Everyone is firing away right now and doing the right things, so we just have to continue that.”


IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT DRIVERS WANTING TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE REST OF THE FIELD RIGHT OFF THE START IN THE FIRST RACE?  “I do.  You want to win anytime that you can.  This sport is so hard to get wins.  Look at how many winners there were this year.  It’s hard to get one.  It’s hard to stack up five or six of these things.  It’s tough, so anytime you can be up front you want to do it.  Does it send a statement?  Absolutely.  It sends a statement that you’re coming out of the gates swinging, but 10 weeks is also a long time.  A lot of things happen throughout the next 10 weeks, so you just have to be that ultra-level of intensity and performance that you can bring has got to last for 10 weeks.  That’s a long time, but there’s no reason why we can’t do it.  We’ve done it plenty of times before.  That’s what makes this part of the season so great, but to your point about confidence, this is a big boost that kind of keeps you rolling through the 10 weeks.  Once you start getting beat down, then it gets a little tougher and tougher, but right now we’re on that roll and we’re gonna try to continue that.”


YOU WERE ON THE POLE IN MAY.  DO YOU FEEL THE CAR IS JUST AS GOOD?  DOES IT FEEL THE SAME AS MAY OR IS IT MUCH DIFFERENT?  “It feels different for sure.  It’s hard to say why.  I mean, the track temp is quite a bit different, so that’s one piece of it.  The other part is we changed a lot to our car to try to make it better than what we had in the spring.  We weren’t the fastest car in the spring.  The 1 probably was and the 11 was good at times.  The 18 was good at times and we raced consistent throughout the race.  We were good that we could run top three the whole race and the best car kind of switched around at time and we capitalized at the end when it mattered.  Parts of my car feel better.  Parts of my car I feel like we need to work on the balance, so I think we’re in the ballpark.  I said it earlier when I sat down here, the track changed so much in the spring race from practice to the race.  I assume the same thing will happen tomorrow.”

FOUR MONTHS LATER DO YOU KNOW WHAT CHANGES TO MAKE WITH THIS CAR WHEN THE TRACK CHANGES THAN YOU DID IN MAY?  “I’d like to think so.  It’s so hard with this car to turn on.  It’s so finicky.  The field is so close that if you’re a little bit off it shows up a lot, and do you really know what areas to adjust on if you don’t practice it?  When we used to come here we got three practices and you would change something to your car and run another 20-30 laps and get a feel for that change and what it did.  Do you really know what wedge is gonna do?  Do you really know what air-pressure is gonna do?  Yeah, we have some idea from what happened in the spring, but I don’t feel as solid about changes or things yet.  We’re still in the first year with this thing and the lack of practice it’s hard to feel solid about any changes you make right now.”

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