Saturday, Jun 10

Transcripts: Walt Czarnecki - Press Conference - Atlanta

THE MODERATOR: We'll start our post-race press conference. We have the executive vice president of Penske Corp and vice chairman of Team Penske Walt Czarnecki.

Walt, it has to feel really good getting back here to Victory Lane, getting Ford to Victory Lane here today. An incredible run by Joey. Walk through this race from your perspective, please.

WALT CZARNECKI: My gosh, I didn't know quite what to expect. After the first stage, Joey and the team performed well in the first stage. He came back and won the second stage. With all the pit stop shuffling at the beginning of the third stage, all of our guys ended up back. Ryan unfortunately had that penalty. Kudos to him for battling his way back.

With 20 to go, 25 to go, I felt this was going to be a tall hill to climb. But we knew we had good cars. I know Joey was talking on the radio about how strong the car was. We just needed to get a break. That happened those last couple laps.

With three to four to go, he was back fourth or fifth. In fact, I was telling Coleman Presley, who is Joey's spotter. I looked up at the white flag lap and I saw the 7 car. Where did he come from? He came out of nowhere. He kind of gave us a little help.

Then Joey made I'll call it the power move to the outside. I didn't know if that was going to be successful. My first reaction was, Is this going to work or is he going to be in the fence? It worked.

That's the short version.

But it was a pretty exciting race. I think the fans got a great show today. I want to thank Marcus Smith and everybody here for putting on a great show at a wonderful racetrack. Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open up the floor for questions.

Q. Walt, with the start of the season, obviously the strength has been with the Chevrolets. How important is this to see the performance out of the Fords and Penske specifically?

WALT CZARNECKI: I think it's clearly very, very important, particularly when the Chevrolets have been running, starting with Daytona.

We had an opportunity at Daytona. Came up a little bit short there. I won't say 'struggled', that's too strong a word, but the Chevrolets clearly have had an advantage.

To come back and perform the way we did, not just Joey, but all the Fords, is a real plus, a real bonus for us. Again, a testimony to the people at Ford we work with, Doug Gates particularly. When I saw him a minute ago, I said, That was a Doug Gates power move that Joey made. Thanks to them.

Short answer to your question, it's very important. It gets us over the hump.

Q. For so many years at Team Penske it was Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski bringing home wins. What was it like watching those two compete for a win?

WALT CZARNECKI: That's a great question because I was thinking about it. I'd be lying to you if I didn't tell you I was thinking about the last lap at Daytona a couple years ago when I saw that.

That was a racing incident. But Brad ran hard. Congratulations to him. The great progress he's made with that team.

It was kind of mixed emotions. I had every confidence in Joey. Brad has to do what he had to do. Ran a great race. But we prevailed in the end.

You're right, it was really kind of a interesting moment for me thinking about both of them.

Q. Watching the race on television, I had the impression that speed-wise Austin and Joey's car were nearly identical. How identical is the setup of both drivers?

WALT CZARNECKI: The setups are pretty close. It's interesting, everybody at our team, there are no secrets. The 12 knows what the 2 is doing. The 2 knows what the 22 is doing. They're reasonably close.

They all start pretty much the same. Then each individual crew chief and driver custom tailors the car, if you will. They're all reasonably close, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Walt, congratulations on today's victory. Good luck next week.

WALT CZARNECKI: Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Thanks.



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