NASCAR Media Conference
March 6, 2012
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference. Today we are joined by Joey Logano, driver of the No.20 Home Depot Toyota. After a strong start to the season with crew chief Jason Ratcliff, Joey is now currently eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. Logano is the youngest driver to win a Sprint Cup Series race and will hope to score a second win as he heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
We'll now go to the media for questions.
Q. Wanted to ask you about stuff away from the racetrack in Vegas. Fun plans or change on your radar now that you're of age?
JOEY LOGANO: Not many changes actually. Guys went out to dinner last night, Italian dinner. That's always good.
Actually at the racetrack right now. The guys are working on the car. Going over some things with the new crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, and the boys. Working hard at it right now. I can walk through the casino and the guys don't throw me out, so that's a good thing (laughter).
Q. I wanted to ask you about your involvement with the U.S. sled hockey team, how that came about, designing the sleds, what it's meant to you.
JOEY LOGANO: It's a really cool project. That came about, shoot, about two, three years ago now. My father owns an ice rink in Indian Shores, North Carolina, Extreme Ice Center. They came down there to practice one time. We looked at their sleds. They weren't really nice. They were heavy, clunky. You look at them and you think of it as a racecar, lighter, faster, you know, trying to make it easier to maneuver. Kind of like the U.S. bobsled deal, you're only as good as your equipment.
So we were able to build them some sleds. They went to Vancouver, they won the Olympics out there, so that was really cool to see that. They destroyed them, too. They only got one goal scored against them. They did an awesome job. Really cool to see that happen.
Q. There's a hockey background in the family then?
JOEY LOGANO: My sister is a figure skater. She's done that her whole life. I used to try to play hockey, but I wasn't very good. That's why I drive racecars now (laughter).
Q. Joey, what do you attribute your fast start to this season over the last couple?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I think the big thing is attitude. I feel like my whole team has the attitude right now to go out there and win races, make the Chase, make this happen right now.
Everybody has picked up their game a lot. I'm excited about that. And it comes along with a lot of new things. Obviously with a new crew chief with Jason, ended up bringing some new life. Changes things up a lot. It's kind of like a restart button.
We have a new sponsor, Dollar General. They're making their first Cup start here in Vegas. That's a big deal, brings new life into the team. Anytime you can bring a new sponsor in, that gives everyone a sense of confidence that we can make this happen.
We started off the season pretty good. A couple top‑10 finishes. I feel like we're a little bit better than where we finished at Phoenix last weekend, but we came out of there with something solid. If we keep doing that, we'll be right where we need to be.
Q. Is Dollar General a primary or secondary sponsor?
JOEY LOGANO: They'll be the primary sponsor for 12 races and Home Depot will do the rest.
Q. Joey, you said in the pre‑season with the crew chief change, this would allow this to be more your team in a way. I want to ask you, even though it's so early, what things are you doing or how are you leading? What are you trying to do more of with maybe this being a little bit more of your team now?
JOEY LOGANO: It's hard to put it in words. But you can just kind of feel the difference. My attitude's different. I feel like I walk around with a lot more confidence in myself. That carries through the whole team.
As soon as the driver is real confident... It goes vice versa, too. When someone loses confidence, it's contagious.
Keeping that upbeat mood going is going to be huge. Jason is the same way. He's a 'glass is half full' guy. I think that's very important. It's good to have. Got a new spotter this year, too. He's very positive, keeping our heads in the game during the game throughout what happens.
Now, granted, we're only two races into this deal. But we need to stay focused and keep our eye on the prize like we've been doing.
Q. How have you learned to handle success and disappointment? Obviously I think back to the end of 2010 with the great success at the end of the Chase, all the expectations for last season, how things weren't able to work out that well. How do you handle success and disappointment? How does that shape what you think right now with the way you've been able to start this season?
JOEY LOGANO: You just have to learn how to do it. It's easy to accept success. Obviously that's easy. But trying to accept it and learn and stay confident in yourself when things aren't going well, that's very, very, very hard. It's something I didn't know how to do. It was something I wasn't used to. How do you pull out of this hole?
At least in the beginning of the season, our cars were fast. We got to the point where we weren't even fast. It was really tough.
I went to a sports psychologist. I talked to him a lot. I still talk to him a lot. I saw more gains in that than anything really. That was huge.
Q. Since you mentioned that, is that something you passed along to Denny or talked about? I know he talked about that kind of helped him through that year. Or is that something that Joe suggested to you in the past?
JOEY LOGANO: Joe suggested it to me. I'm like, Shoot, yeah. I drove up to his house, spent a day and a half with him just talking, going through the things that were going on in my life, whether it's on the personal side or racing side. It gives you some answers, some tools to be able to deal with certain situations, how to talk to people in a positive way, in a motivating way to keep everyone going.
All that stuff there is very important. It's people skills really, leadership skills. That part was really important for me. I know Denny went to the same guy. All that stuff is very important in our sport.
Q. Was that last year when you started talking with Bob Rotella then?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah.
Q. Obviously the start of this season is a great way to start. As you've talked about in the past, you know there are certain pressures and things that you have to perform. How do you feel this helps you better handle what has happened and what could happen good or bad the coming weeks?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, like I say, he gives you the tools to be able to do that. Luckily right now I haven't used the tools because we had a couple solid runs.
But like I said earlier, it's hard. It's just little things here and there. You have to show up at the racetrack with the right mindset, knowing you can go out there to win the race, not going out there to finish in the top 10. When you start showing up and your goal is to finish in the top 10, the best you're ever going to finish is 10th. You need to focus in on winning this whole gig and shoot for a winner.
Q. Joey, you've experienced a progressive rise in this sport at an early age. Can you describe this latest step into the Chase compared to all the little or big steps along the way.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, my career obviously went really, really quick. As I was growing up, got started into a lot of high‑pressure situations, make‑it‑or‑break‑it things, here is your big shot, make the best of it type thing. That's been like that my whole career. It's really the only way I know it.
Obviously this year is a really big year for me, too. It's just been part of my career, like I said. It's been fun. I've enjoyed it. The learning curves have been steep. I've been challenged more than I thought I was going to be challenged. But I have fun with it.
Q. What has been the most difficult for you? Can you define that? With all the stuff you've done, is it tough to define that?
JOEY LOGANO: Every day brings a new challenge. Obviously last year, like I say, was my biggest challenge, the stuff we just talked about a minute ago. That stuff was really tough for me to get ahold of and tough for me to understand.
I came into this gig thinking, I'm going to drive a racecar, the only thing I've done my whole life. When you have to lead a team, especially at a young age, all the guys working on the car are older than you, it's really hard to earn that respect. Especially when times are not as good, like last year, earning the guys' respect is very hard. You need to be able to do that one way or another.
Learning how to be a leader was something I didn't know I was going to have to learn but was a huge deal and hard.
Q. Joey, I have a question about the Nationwide race. I notice you're not running the race this week. How does running the Nationwide race help you in the Sprint Cup Series? Do you plan on not running many Nationwide races this season?
JOEY LOGANO: I want to run as many Nationwide races as I possibly can. I got 19 right now, 19 races. I could get up to 25. It's all sponsorship related. If we get more sponsors, I'm going to race more.
Mark Martin is in the Nationwide car this weekend. So he's going to be running that.
I think it's helpful. I think it's helpful to run them. If you're on the same tire, same racetrack, it's more laps. Plus it's a lot of fun. Shoot, you get to race. I'll race anywhere at any time, so I have fun with that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joey, for all of your time today. We appreciate it.
JOEY LOGANO: Thank you. Appreciate it.
THE MODERATOR: A special thank you to all the media for joining us. Thank you for your coverage and interest in NASCAR.
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