NASCAR Media Conference
September 5, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Joey, you had a good season. Let's talk about Saturday night. You can get into the Chase Saturday night. What are you looking to do? What is your mindset?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, obviously a lot of scenarios that can play out. You look at all the numbers, where you got to finish, if this happens, that happens. We just have to do what we've been doing. We're coming off six straight top 10s, three straight top 5s.
We had a really good test here. I feel like our car is going to be pretty fast. We finished third here in the spring. Really, I mean, the only thing you can do is go out there and keep doing what you've been doing.
The momentum that this team has got right now, it's hard not to have confidence right now. I feel like if we just do our deal, be smart. Obviously we'll be aware of what's going on out there, what the bubble cars are doing. At the same time we got to run our race and get the best finish out of it we can.
Q. Don't screw it up kind of situation, right? How do you prevent that from happening?
JOEY LOGANO: Obviously you think about that stuff because you're a little nervous about it. Okay, hopefully the motor holds together. Hopefully the tires don't blow out. Hopefully I don't make a mistake. Really, is that going to make my racecar go any faster thinking about that stuff? No.
As a whole team, as a tire carrier, stud that tire perfectly. If you're the crew chief calling the race, that's all you have to think about. If you're the driver, think about making that car go as fast as it possibly can.
When you start thinking about all the things that can go wrong, that's when something is going to go wrong because that's when your mind is not in the right spot. So mentally we have to be tough this weekend.
Q. Do you do more giving than taking, considering you need a 10th or 11th?
JOEY LOGANO: I think I race the same way I've been. We've been fast lately. I really hope I'm passing cars, not giving spots away. There's going to be some hairy moments in the race. It's Richmond. They picked a very exciting racetrack for this to happen at. There's going to be some gouging. That's typical Richmond with somebody at some point.
We're going to want to stay out of the middle of something like that. We just got to, like I said, do our thing.
Q. At the beginning of the year, if anybody just misses the Chase among these two guys, you and Brad, new team, new deal. Now Brad needs the Hail Mary and you're in control of your own destiny, pretty good shape.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, that's this sport. You never know what's going to happen. It's crazy. You look at the Richmond spring race. I was watching the race on the way up here. Only got to 80 laps, but I know what happened (laughter).
But the caution comes out with five to go or whatever. You come in, take four tires. We come out 11th. That wasn't the right call, was it? All of a sudden it goes green and you finish 3rd. Pretty good call.
You never know what's going to happen in these races. If the caution didn't come out, Harvick would have won the race. It all depends on what happens. Whatever the race throws at you, you have to be able to go with it.
I look at the way we've been doing lately, Bristol, raced through a lot of stuff. Garbage on the grill, speeding penalty, right front fender tore up, we finished 5th. That's pretty awesome to me.
You look at a guy that I feel is best in the garage doing that, the 48 car. Every time something goes wrong, he finishes 10th or better. I'm like, What the heck. You got to be able to do that to have a shot at this championship. I feel like this team has that figured out right now. We're doing a good job at it, keeping cool, keep our head in the game, make the most of it.
Q. What did you learn from the 48 team?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, you watch those guys. Brad is another guy that's really good at it. You've seen a few times this year he's been able to do stuff like that. Last week he didn't have the opportunity to do that.
I think it's all up here, man. This sport, like any sport, it's a mental game. It's like golf. You can get in somebody's head and let things get in your head, but you got to be tougher than the other guy. That's how you recover from a bad day.
Q. With what you're on the cusp of accomplishing, what does this mean?
JOEY LOGANO: It's huge. It's huge. You know, especially going through what we've gone through this year with penalties, crazy races, everything that's happened. To be sitting in the seat we're in right now, that's pretty good, considering all the things we've gone through. So I'm proud of that, no matter what happens.
But at the same time it does mean a lot to get in this Chase, not only for me as a driver, but for Penske Racing as a team, for Shell‑Pennzoil as sponsors. If you watch a race on TV, you notice the guys that are not in the race don't get any airtime. It's a big deal for the sponsor.
I think 2010 I would have finished 3rd if I was in the Chase. So this is your opportunity. Okay, now you're in it. Make the most of it. It's one step at a time. We got to get in first.
Q. Have you been able to do any work for the last 10 or are you waiting?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, we definitely look ahead. You schedule these cars out when you're building them, so far out. Yes, there's parts and pieces that you're developing that you try to time out for the Chase. Obviously we accelerated a lot of that stuff because we're as a team not sitting as pretty as we wanted to be, the 2 and the 22.
At the same time, you know, I feel we have some good stuff coming down the pipeline. Everyone is going to pick it up a notch when we get in the Chase. I feel like we picked it up a notch the last few weeks. We have to pick it up another notch to have a shot at it.
Q. Would you be behind the guys who have locked in a week or two weeks ago? Will that make a difference, having to wait to get in?
JOEY LOGANO: They still got to race, too, whether they're locked in or not. Yeah, they're going for wins, probably no pressure on them, they're having a good time, we're obviously stressed about the Chase. That's going to wear on you a little bit. Maybe they're a little fresher.
I look at the way we've been running, we're as fresh as we're going to get. We want to go. We don't want to have a break or a moment to take the pressure off 'cause we've been doing pretty good with all the pressure on us.
Q. You talked about what a big deal it is for the sponsor to make the Chase. What about you, considering the ups and downs of your first couple years, even the beginning of this year for you.
JOEY LOGANO: I'd be pretty stoked. It's going to be a helluva party (laughter). I don't know, milk and cookies or something for me. I don't know how to party. Somebody has to teach me. I don't know how to do that.
No, it's a big deal. I mean, it is a goal of mine, yes. It is a very big goal of mine. You strive for it every year when the season starts. I've come up short every time. This is my big shot so far in my career.
Doing it with Penske Racing, as a new driver over there, it's kind of a cool story.
Q. At the beginning of the year, the way things started, controversy that you had, did you think you could get to this point?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. Yeah. I will say I kind of thought we were close to being out of it after Loudon. We were 10th going into Daytona. Then after two races you're 18th, way out of it, 50‑something points back. Think we're in really big trouble here.
Then we started racking up top 10, top 10, then you get a win. We're back in it, we got a shot. You knock off two more top‑5 finishes, you're sitting 8th all of a sudden. Good thing we didn't give up and quit on this thing.
Just got to keep doing that. We're having fun with that stuff. We're having a good time with it.
Q. 11 weeks you could be champion.
JOEY LOGANO: I can be, yeah.
Q. It's that close. Does it seem like it's that close?
JOEY LOGANO: No, 'cause there's a lot of things that happen. 11 weeks is a long time, for me at least. Some ways you look at it, it's really short. Other ways, the amount of things that can happen between now and then, you can't list 'em on a piece of paper. There's a lot.
Q. 11 weeks ago last year, you wouldn't have picked Brad to have won the championship.
JOEY LOGANO: Go figure.
Q. Could be you this time.
JOEY LOGANO: Could be. I hope so. We're going to try. We think we can do it, that's for sure. You guys can decide what you think.
Q. If you make the Chase, there's going to be all the stories about the story of the year, how you handled it all. Are we going to make more out of it than it was or was it a big test and a big challenge for you?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I guess you can say it's a big test. Yeah, I mean, this sport will challenge you in many different ways. A lot of ways I never thought it would challenge me. But it does. It's made me a better person because of it. Made me a stronger person because of it.
I love it, you know. Yeah, I mean, even if I wasn't a racecar driver, the experience I've gotten out of doing racing stuff, it's huge. I'd be able to take that anywhere and use it to my advantage.
Yeah, to answer your question, there would be I guess a pretty big story to that.
Q. Last week I was talking about Todd on race day morning, he said he likened you moving from Gibbs like a kid moving out of his house going to college, growing as a person. Is that a good analogy?
JOEY LOGANO: He pretty much nailed it. I watched that episode. You don't ask your crew chief questions like that. He's not going to tell you things like that to your face because that's kind of weird.
To hear his interview, words he said, it kind of made sense. Yeah, I mean, you grew up, you moved out, you've gone to a new place. Yes, I picked it up a lot in every area I possibly can. You think you're topped out, you think you're doing everything you can, then all of a sudden you realize, Look at all this stuff you could be doing.
Brad opened my eyes to a lot of things, which he's a great teammate for that. Hopefully I'm opening his eyes to that also. That's what great teammates are for.
Q. How do you think Brad would take it if you didn't get in Saturday night?
JOEY LOGANO: Brad is mentally very tough. I don't think it would affect him. Obviously that would be a big blow for him, yes, but I don't see him curling up into a ball, you're not going to see him the rest of the season. He's going to be out there trying to win races, and probably win a few, because that's how he is, the competitor that he is.
I'd be willing to put money on him that after last week, he's twice as motivated to come into Richmond right now and win this thing and get in the Chase and prove everybody wrong, probably more than most people out there. That's how tough he is. He's cool.
There's other people that would totally blow up in their face, that's the end of them. Oh, man, I don't even want to race anymore, blah, blah, blah. It would be completely different with Brad. He's tough. That's why he's the champion from last year.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|