NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Lenox Industrial Tools 301
Topics: Lenox Industrial Tools 301
June 28, 2009
LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE
THE MODERATOR: We are joined in the infield media center by today's winner, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot, Joey Logano. Joey is in the top finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate. He is the first rookie to win in 71 races and the second rookie to win here at New Hampshire. The other one was Ryan Newman in 2002.
Joey, your thoughts on the day.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it was awesome. You know, we pretty much -- we didn't take off as good as we needed to. I think it's just me still lost out there trying to figure out where I needed to be. We overcame a lot.
We had a left rear cut down right before we made that last long green flag run and just trying to overcome that. When that happened, I thought we were done. I was like, the day just went bad, just try to finish it off and get as best finish we can and we made the right move at the end. He went for it and I was just lucky enough to be in the seat.
THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by today's winning crew chief, Greg Zipadelli. Your thoughts from on top of the box today.
GREG ZIPADELLI: It was a crazy day like Joey said, but half of this sport is about putting yourself in position to have a chance to win on Sunday afternoon, and you know, that's what we did today and everything went our way. It's nothing more than that.
We were lucky, but we put ourselves in position because we were behind. Because we did have the problems, it allowed us to pit, top off with fuel and do some of the things that the guys up front that were guarding their track position, which is pretty normal here.
You can almost run this race like a road course, unless you were in the situation that we were in, and we took advantage of it, and last year, we were in the complete opposite. We should have won this race. We dominated most of the second half, and it rained with 30 or so to go and we had to pit for fuel and today we got it back.
It was fun. Just to be able to put ourselves in that position and be here in Louden, victory lane, there's not many better places.
THE MODERATOR: And we are joined by today's winning team owner, Coach Job Gibbs, not only an unusual day but an historic day for the team. Your thoughts on that?
JOE GIBBS: It is for us. I want to say first of all, Home Depot, so happy for them. They are willing to go with a young guy, Joey, backed us all the way, been with us all the way. Really, really proud for those guys.
I feel like the team, you know, we talked some today, Zippy and his team last year, we were going to the racetrack knowing that they were going to be in the Chase, having a chance to win the championship. And this year, their mind-set that's been great. They know that Joey is young, fighting their guts out for every spot they can get. They have been a great support for Joey. I thought they fought it hard all year and it was great to see them have a chance to get this.
So we know today we were fortunate and we know that there will probably be some tough days out there for us, but absolutely thrilled for Joey and his family, and for us, all of us at Joe Gibbs Racing. We figure we can keep this going, ride this thing for about 20 years. (Laughter) But I may not be here for the last ten.
Q. Greg, you just mentioned that you have to put yourself in position, and you did say that the fact that you were so behind, this was the only logical gamble to take. Have you ever in your wildest dreams thought that two lucky dogs, a spin, and I think you had a pass-around --
GREG ZIPADELLI: No. (Laughter).
Q. That's what put you in position to do this. How crazy is that?
GREG ZIPADELLI: It's crazy. Obviously everything the end of the day went our way. You can't control the weather. The only thing we can do is try to play it to our hand.
Q. Can you talk about when y'all were running under that last caution when Jeff was running up there making your restarts, your motor and trying to run you out of gas, were you afraid at any point that he might succeed at that; and for Zippy, how much farther could y'all have gone if they had a red flag with Jeff running up there and making Jeff restart the motor and all?
JOEY LOGANO: He told me I had about five laps on the green left, unless he was lying, but that's just what he told me.
So I was coasting as long as I can, shutting the motor off and Jeff was going to make me fire that thing up and burn as much as fuel as I can, but you just keep set in your mind and that's what you have to do and every once in awhile, get some fuel in the pick up. But besides that, he told me what to do and I just kept doing it.
Q. At one point it look like he darted down below you and you just dove right in front of him. Was he beginning to annoy you?
JOEY LOGANO: No, I just figured he would stay behind me. That's what we were wanting. That's what he was trying to do, as you said he was trying to get me to fire it up and I would just try to keep him back there. I was swerving just to try to get fuel in the pickup.
Q. So y'all have gone quite a few more laps like that?
GREG ZIPADELLI: We probably could have gone 4- to six more laps. We would have had to have make a decision somewhere around 4 to 5, we were close to running out and depending where you are at on the racetrack and the situation we were in, we basically going to stay out until we ran out of field. There weren't many cars, you know what I mean, we were going to end up there, anyway, so we were going to ride it out.
Q. Yesterday you came in a little upset, you led so many laps and Kyle ended up getting the win, and today it's a reverse situation. As a young guy just starting, is it hard to adjust to the quick change of fortunes that can happen in NASCAR racing, and then Greg, could you after Joey answers, just talk about that from a veteran's point of view, your experience of that dealing with drivers?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I figured out that this sport is a roller coaster earlier this season. I go up and down, up and down, up and down. And that is part of this sport. One week you can win and the next week you can be 43rd, and it's just like that. I've figured out in other series that it's tough.
This is obviously the toughest thing that I've ever done in my career but after yesterday, yeah, I was bummed out finished second.
But today, this is cool. This is where I watched my first Cup race and where I ran my first Cup race and where I won my first Cup race, so I could not have picked a better place. This is kind of like a home turf place for me, a lot of family and friends here.
GREG ZIPADELLI: For us it was obviously a huge day as a group. For my guys, to see the smile on their faces in the rain and coming over and high-fiving you. And we brought some new guys on this year that had not been in this situation, you know, it was just awesome to be able to put ourselves in that position.
You know, for this team, it's another win. We have gone since we've been in existence winning every year, and that's one of those little things; but to me, the guys that have been with me, that's something we definitely wanted to accomplish this year, and we were able to do it.
Q. How important was it with your history at this track, what kind of mind-set do you bring to this track compared to other tracks? I know it's still a learning curve but this is your home track and region.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I try to go to every track with the same mind-set, you know, and just go out there, do the best you can, and go for the win. You've got to have that mind-set at least coming into every race.
Obviously, yeah, you want to win at home tracks like this. Zippy definitely wanted to win here. We were talking earlier, he said before this weekend, he goes, "We've ran good here forever, and it's not going to change this weekend." You know, he was right, I guess.
Q. How much does a day like today validate your decision to put Greg, a veteran crew chief, with Joey? And also, what does a day like today say about Greg's ability to make sound calls under immense pressure?
JOE GIBBS: We think the world of grain and what he's done here, if you think about spending all that time with Tony, winning 32 races or whatever it is, and to bounce back this year, and Greg was a big part of the decision. We all did -- everybody on our competition side, on the side of Joe Gibbs Racing, made the decision to give Joey this ride, including Zippy. He was the lead guy.
And did a bunch of tests with Joey and felt like he was ready for this. Now at the time we thought we were going to test a bunch and that got taken away from us, so then you're putting Joey out there with the best in the world, this is the best people in the world doing this, and he's having to compete at places he's never seen really.
I thought last week, and really for about the last seven weeks, we have come back from some real tough things. Last week at Sonoma, to go out in a road race, not being there in a COT car, qualified 12th, battled all day up front; and then getting a late wreck, went all the way to the back and battled all the way back to 19th. That, to me, in sports, means a lot.
Today, a lot of bad things happened, but I think what Zippy has done a great job of is guiding the team. Nobody on that group gets down. I mentioned the fact that they are used to running for a championship. This year they are working with Joey, a real young guy; they have been, I think, just great. I take great pride in that, and that's really been going on for about the last eight races.
Q. Despite a healthy superstition not to accept congratulations before the race is over, I was wondering what it meant to you to have Jeff Gordon come in and give you a little pep talk, as well as congratulations?
JOEY LOGANO: That's pretty neat. Growing up he was one of my favorite race car drivers. So to have him come into your door and congratulate you like that, that was really cool. Reutimann came up to me and says, "I found it's best not to leave your car." He went through the same situation not too long ago. We were laughing about that, so it's cool to see those guys come up to you.
Q. You've only been racing in NASCAR since you're 18th birthday, so you haven't had that much experience yet at this level, but what's your learning curve been like? I mean, how difficult has this whole thing been for you?
JOEY LOGANO: It's tough, believe me, it's real tough. If you think of last year in the Nationwide Series, yeah, I had some good runs. Did I run where I thought I needed to? No. I think it just took time.
Now over there, I think I know what it takes and every here we are working on it and obviously from what we did in the beginning of the season to now, we are running a lot better. If you look at my first race here last year, was completely opposite of this. It's motivating just to keep seeing yourself getting better and working with Zippy and all of the guys and getting that communication going helps us improve a lot, too.
Q. You've talked a lot this year about how the first half of every race, you are pretty much just trying to figure out things, and then eventually it clicks during the second half. Was today up until you took the lead, was it any different? Did you feel as if you were not really in it for the most part for the majority of the race?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I kind of felt the same way. This place is a tough racetrack. It's one of the toughest racetracks I think we go to.
I feel like I found something at the end of the day there, last run, and we picked up three or four tenths of a second. And that's huge. Just put it in your notes. Definitely, it's going to happen like that a lot of places. Even though this is one of the places I have got some laps around, you get in a Cup car, and it's like going to a new track for the first time, because it's so different.
Learning what it takes to make them go fast is another big thing; what do you want in your race car, and then you need to figure out where you need to be. There's a lot of different things going through your mind in rack and there's not enough time and you don't get to test. So it makes it tough, as any rookie, coming into it.
Q. What caused that spin, and what lap was your last stop on, if you remember that?
JOEY LOGANO: I know on the spin, it was on a restart. Newman sent it three-wide on the outside, and then someone else sent it four-wide on the bottom I think, and I just got squeezed. That cut down my left rear tire and just spun out with that. I don't know what lap. Zippy would know that.
GREG ZIPADELLI: Right now, I'm not sure.
Q. The caution --
GREG ZIPADELLI: We pitted when that big wreck on that front stretch was. We were behind so we put on tires and fuel at that time.
Q. If the race had started, what were the things that were going through your mind, the dos and do-nots? What was going through your mind-set?
JOEY LOGANO: If it restarted, we were going to have to pit, obviously to get some fuel and tires on that thing. But we really would not have lost much of where we were before everyone else pitted.
So just would have been, just finish, get as much as you can -- like Joe says here, every spot right now means a lot to us. So just stick your guts out at the end of the race, just try to run some good, clean, consistent laps and get by as many cars as you can.
Q. Could you please expand a little bit on how special this win was, and talk about how many people you had here?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, this is so special. I think your first win no matter where it's at is huge.
Obviously it's not the way you want to win your first race, in the rain, but 20 years down the road when you look in the record books, no one will know the difference. I'll take them any way I can. This is my home track and where I watched my first Cup race. And Zippy, all of the guys, a lot of the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing are from the northeast, so it's cool to get a win here.
Q. Could you just talk about what the car was like after the incident and seeing you drive down pit road on rims, you looked like some car pulled out of a salvage yard. Also, can you talk about what you'll do with the trophy, what might be some of the mementos you'll keep from this day; will you wear that uniform again, things like that?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I'm going to wear this thing every race now. (Laughter).
Yeah, I'll keep as many things as I can. You only get the first win one time. The car itself, you know, after we got that tire cut down, we didn't really damage much. I think we had some brake issues, probably just ripped a brake line, got it a little loose or something like that, and just got a soft pedal and adjusted the car a little bit. Didn't drive much different. I just couldn't drive in the corner as hard, which probably was a good thick.
Q. What was it like being on those rims?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, you bring it in as fast as you can. You're spinning your tires the whole time so you don't know what your pit road speed is because you're spinning past it. So you just get it in there and just try to stay on the lead lap. We couldn't, they were already back around and all that. The guys did a great job trying to get that thing back out there. Only lost one lap, got the lucky dog, and you know, probably if that didn't happen, we probably wouldn't have made this move. We don't really know, I mean, but things worked out perfect that way.
Q. Have you ever won any sort of rain-shortened race before?
JOEY LOGANO: No. This is the first. We had an opportunity to do this at Charlotte earlier this year. But we had a really good car there, too. We didn't really want to chance it, and here, there wasn't that many laps to go. Zip saw the radar and he made the call. I was behind him a 100 percent.
Q. Do you feel you stole this thing or do you feel like it just kind of happened?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, yeah, we got lucky, obviously. The rain came just at the right time. But yeah, it's cool. A win's a win in my book any way you look at it.
Q. Ten years ago, you had your first win with another rookie, Tony Stewart. Just wonder how these two events compared with each other and what did Tony say to you when he came up to you to congratulate you after the race?
GREG ZIPADELLI: He just laughed and said, "This is the win that got away from us last year due to weather, isn't it." That's what happened. It came back to us today, you know what I mean, as a group.
It was great, obviously 11 years ago to win with Tony, our first race, but this is a new era and we are excited to be here and excited to have one victory, and we are going to go look for some more.
Q. How does this compare in the sense of as memorable as the first Nationwide race, as memorable as the first win you ever had; what would you list as your most significant moments in racing, and is this by far the No. 1 now?
JOEY LOGANO: I think every win is a big win to me. It's the mentality I've got. You want to win every race no matter where you're at.
My first Nationwide race win, that was huge, and kind of set off my career and kind of got me to this point to at least get me this ride. So that was obviously a real big win, but your first Cup win, first Nationwide win, they are two real big things. I wouldn't pick which one either way, but you know, I think this one has not hit me yet. I'm sure it will later on this week.
Q. And you said this is your first race you attended -- when was it, do you recall?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm going to say '95 or '96, somewhere around in there.
Q. With the way the season had gone, did you have any thoughts or any expectations of winning a race this year, or were you pretty much resigned to learning?
JOE GIBBS: Do I need to tell the truth on that? (Laughter). He probably did. We were really looking for just constant improvement, and that's really what we've seen. I've mentioned the last seven, eight races we've battled back from some real tough things. We did at Sonoma and we did again today and that's what we have been proud of.
But what you see and what you saw in Joey, he continues to improve. Also, I think we all feel like at the end of the race, he's always better, running much harder, and I think that's going to bode well for us as we go forward and come back to these places a second time.
And so anyway, we are really excited. I don't think you think of a rookie up here lots of times, particularly in Joey's case: So young, no testing, and so I don't think that was our mind-set. You hope; you hope you would win one, but I think we were being a little more realistic than that probably.
I also want to say a big thanks to Toyota, I want to say thanks to them. They have been great and giving us great support at Joe Gibbs Racing.
THE MODERATOR: In NASCAR tradition, with a rookie winning, this is Mike Harris's final post-race news conference as he retires from the Associated Press and has been committed to the sport for a long time, so congratulations. And thank you, gentlemen.
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