Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Martinsville Media Availability

DO SPONSORS TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHERE YOU ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS AND SLOW DOWN ANY RESPONSIBILITIES YOU MAY HAVE?  “There’s a little bit of added focus on the competition side.  Now, part of being a race car driver is that there are multiple jobs that come along with not just driving the car.  There’s a lot of other things that come along with that and some drivers embrace those areas more than others.  Some of them just want to drive.  Some of them want to do more of the off track stuff.  Some of them want to keep finding more opportunities to keep growing as a leader on their team.  It just kind of depends and that’s fine for everybody.  I feel like I’ve found a pretty good balance of trying to do all three of those things the best I can because I’ve seen drivers make a great career out of winning races.  I’ve seen drivers make a great career out of not winning races, but doing all the other things really, really well.  If you can do them all, boy, you’re really gonna have something, so that’s kind of the way I’ve approached my career, especially over the last 10 years at Team Penske and with Shell and Ford and trying to work those directions, but, to answer your question, in the playoffs, yeah, I may shift my focus a little bit more towards the playoffs themselves.  I was scheduled to go to SEMA next week.  That going into the championship race probably doesn’t add up or make any sense to do considering what’s coming up.  Now, that being said, if we didn’t make the Championship 4 I was 100 percent going to SEMA next week, so it just kind of depends how the season is going.”


SO YOU AREN’T GOING TO SEMA NEXT WEEK?  “For me, yes.  I still think there will be a lot of people out there.  I don’t know how much they’ll miss me.  It seems like there’s a lot of cool things out there still.”


HOW WILD DOES IT MAKE THIS RACE WHEN YOU ARE A GUY WHO HAS TO GET IN ON POINTS?  “Well, it’s tricky and this is what the playoffs are all about.  It gets harder and harder every round to do it.  Think about it.  You had to finish eighth the round before and now you’ve got to finish fourth after three races and it gets harder and harder to do that.  It’s tough.  I’m glad we are locked in.  It’s been a nice couple weeks to be able to focus on Phoenix, not that we’ve been relaxed, but there’s been added focus towards Phoenix already, where no one else has had the privilege to really do that, so we’re using that to our advantage, as we should.  We earned that right, so we’ve really focused on those ones and making sure that we’re ready when we get there while everyone else has got the pressure on them this weekend.  For us, we can go out there and race, have some fun, try to improve on our race team and learn some things for the next time we come to Martinsville and hopefully get a trophy out of it.”

HOW MUCH STRESS IS ON THE CREW CHIEFS NOW?  “It’s a lot of stress.  I’m telling you, the playoffs are the most stressful time of the year, but I always say you want that.  I always say it.  As many times as you feel stress and you feel the pressure, you’d rather have the pressure than not have the pressure.  If you don’t have the pressure, you’re out, you have no chance of winning.  You want to keep that pressure on for 10 weeks.  That’s the goal when you start the playoffs is how do I keep the pressure on for 10 weeks and, thankfully, we’ve been able to keep the pressure on for 10 weeks and hopefully have a championship at the end of it.  It becomes more and more stressful as the playoffs go.  As you get through the first round it’s usually fairly smooth as long as you don’t have any mistakes and then each round just gets more and more intense and harder and tougher for the crew chiefs, tougher for the drivers, tougher for the pit crews.  You’re getting closer to the goal and it gets harder and harder as you go along.”

IS THIS A REGULAR ROUTINE WEEK OR IS IT DIFFERENT LEADING UP TO PHOENIX?  “It’s a little different because I’ve got to go out early for media, so we’ll be leaving town a little bit earlier to go out there, but outside of that, it’s a fairly normal week.  Monday, I don’t think will be much different than our typical Mondays.  Tuesday, we’ll do our Wednesday meetings on Tuesday because I’ve got to leave Wednesday, so we’ll be a little bit quicker on that stuff, but all our Phoenix stuff we’ve already gone through a lot of it.  We’ve done way more for Phoenix than we have for most any other race already and we’re still another week out.  I feel pretty prepared for the weekend already.”


IS THE TRICK AT PHOENIX TO TELL YOURSELF IT’S JUST ANOTHER RACE?  “I think it depends on the person and depends on the team and what kind of people you have on your team.  If you have people that you need to make them feel comfortable, you may minimize the significance of the race.  If you have people that love pressure and love the moment, there’s no need to minimize what’s going on.  You’re there.  It’s a great accomplishment to make it to the Championship 4.  It’s one heck of a bummer not to win if you went this far and not win, so it is what it is.  Like I told the guys, this is just one step closer to the ultimate goal.  That’s all Vegas was.  It was great.  It gets us there and gives us a chance, but that’s all it was.  It is not the goal yet and so I just said that to keep the pressure on my team, keep them looking for more over the next couple weeks and keep that intensity up because it is gonna be on when we get there, so there’s no need to get relaxed now.”


DOES THIS YEAR’S PLAYOFFS FEEL THE SAME AS 2018 BECAUSE YOU ALSO WON THE FIRST RACE IN THE ROUND OF 8 THAT YEAR?  “It does and it’s been good.  If I look at our best chances to win the championship, they’ve come after winning the first race in the Round of 8.  Winning here in 2018, that gave us a great advantage.  We won in Kansas in 2020 and that was a good help, and now once again winning in Vegas.  I think those give us our best chance.  In 2020, I don’t see anything our team did wrong.  In a way, that’s kind of extra motivation to seek revenge after that last run at Phoenix when the tires started shaking and we lost the lead with whatever it was – 40-50 to go – and fall back after cycling on the green flag pit stop to the lead.  Everything is going the way it’s supposed to, ran the 9 down, passed him, the whole nine and then giving it away like that.  That’s hurt for the last couple years for me and I can’t say I’m over it, so this is the moment of revenge on that.”


DON’T YOU WANT REVENGE FOR 2015, TOO?  “I don’t think he’s out there anymore (laughing).  Everyone can look back and say ifs and buts, right, on how many championships you could have won.  I could look back and say we should have four of them right now, but I look at 2015, that was our strongest year as a team with a ton of wins and coming off three in a row and a chance to go the Championship 4, leading the race at Martinsville and get wrecked.  That was a great chance for us to win the championship that year and we missed it.  If I look at even the first one in 2014 with the jack on the pit stop or racing Carl, trying to pass for the lead on the late-race restart.  Looking at all of these you could stack them up and go, ‘Man, I should have four championships by now,’ but you don’t.  It is what it is, so you’ve got to keep looking out the windshield and, like I said, all these things stack up and you’ll find more way to lose them than win them.  The facts are you have a one in four chance to win it when you get there and we’ve won one out of four so far.  This will be our fifth time at is, so I’d say we’re ready to get another one.”

DON’T YOU FEEL OLDER AND WISER NOW?  “Absolutely, 100 percent.  I always tell the guys this too.  I said, ‘Listen, when you get to these moments in the playoffs, at any point, it’s not win or lose, it’s win or learn.’  I think those are the biggest things that we can take as a team is that after all those losses in the playoffs and the Championship 4 or being that close to it, there’s been a lesson in each one of those and as long as you can take the emotion out and eventually find the key learnings to it, is that really a loss?  That’s kind of how I’ve looked at it over the years and it’s helped me become a stronger person on and off the racetrack, a stronger driver, obviously.  I have no regrets.  It’s a bummer still.  Sometimes you just don’t get over it, but you’ve become a stronger person because of it and a stronger leader for my race team after going through it so many times.  There’s not many other drivers that are in the Round of 8 right now that have been to the Championship 4 that many times.  Denny, Chase has been there a couple times, but that’s kind of it.  That experience definitely has a lot of value.”


IS THERE A WAY OF ASSUMING WHAT WE’LL SEE THIS WEEKEND AS FAR AS THE RACING GOES?  “It’s gonna be interesting.  I promise you that and after qualifying you guys will have plenty to talk about depending on who qualifies where and what pit stall selection is pretty important here as well.  It’s a tight battle for all these guys.  It’s a super tight battle for everybody, so when it comes down to the end of the race we’ve seen it so many times, whether it’s for the win or it’s for that one point that they need coming off turn four, we’ve seen some big moments here where desperate people do desperate things and this is a track where the desperate people have an opportunity to do a desperate thing.  I’m glad I’m not a part of that.”


HOW IMPORTANT WOULD IT BE TO GET A TROPHY FOR YOUR SIDE OF THE BUILDING AFTER THE INDY CAR TEAM WON EARLIER THIS YEAR?  “Obviously, we always want to win championships.  I’m happy for them.  There’s not really a rivalry between Indy Car and NASCAR.  We want to see everybody succeed, whether it’s the sports car program or Indy car.  Everybody wants to win together.  We work together in some ways and I’m happy to see their success.  Obviously, we want to have success as well, but having a dual championship season for Team Penske with Indy Car and NASCAR that would be really special and hopefully we’re the ones that deliver that.”


Ford Performance PR