NASCAR Media Conference
October 22, 2013
JENNIE LONG: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference with Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Penske Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Joey is 12th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with one win and a career‑best 10 top‑5 finishes. 2013 has been your best season since entering the Sprint Cup Series full‑time in 2009. What do you attribute this year's success to, and what are your thoughts heading into the final four races of the season?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, I look at a lot of different things and the reasons why we've run better this year. Obviously switching to Roger Penske Racing over there has definitely been an advantage for me, being able to work for a guy like Roger that forces you to be better. And obviously having a teammate like Brad has been great, being teamed up with Todd Gordon and the 22 bunch, they're definitely a very good race team, and been able to kind of use that to my advantage.
Obviously like we've talked about throughout the season, it's kind of like having a fresh start and a restart also has helped. I look at a lot of different things in the reasons why we've run better this year. We're still not where we want to be. Like you said, we're 12th in points. We're not happy about that. We want to show reasons why we're in the Chase, and I feel like we've definitely had some fast race cars. Obviously that's why we're here, but at the same time we haven't shown the finishes that we deserve since we got in the Chase. We've had a few top‑5 finishes since we got in it, but that's not enough to move us up to where we want to be.
Right now like you said, we're sitting 12th. Finishing fourth or fifth is still an achievable goal, and that's where we feel like we've set our goals to get up there and do that, and we have four races, and Martinsville should be a good one for us. We were able to test there a couple weeks ago and been able to learn some things, some things to do and some things not to do which are equally valuable, and we'll go out there and try to attack and get a solid finish out of there, try to get a win and get a big grandfather clock and gain some points and put ourselves up there.
Q. A couple things: To what extent has this season kind of been bittersweet from your standpoint, and as a follow‑up to that, do you feel like your team might have peaked a little bit early and has sort of come back down in the Chase?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know what part is bittersweet, but at the same time I don't feel like we've peaked too early, either. Yes, we had a lot of really good finishes leading into the Chase and that's why we got into the Chase, but I also feel like we still had a lot of good speed. We haven't fallen on our faces, we just haven't had the best finishes that we need. Charlotte was a little bit of a disappointment for us. It was a place that we really thought we'd run well at, and we just didn't take off in the beginning of the race as fast as we needed to, and I wasn't able to recover in time and didn't have the cautions fall the right way to be able to recover that time we lost early in the race.
That part is frustrating, but I look at speed and where we were at the end of it, and I thought we were a 6th to 10th place car. We just couldn't recover from that.
No, I don't see anything bittersweet about this year. I thought it's been a decent year.
Q. The probation against your team going into the Chase, what, if any, impact has that had from your perspective?
JOEY LOGANO: Obviously it changes a little bit of what we do, obviously. We're very cautious about what we bring to the racetrack, as we should. I feel like we learned a lesson from that whole thing, and we've moved on from there.
Q. I wonder if I could go back to the spring race in Texas if you don't mind. Your car got hung up in inspection leading up to the race that night. What was that like for you waiting, waiting, waiting to get the car, and since then has your team approached inspections any differently since that night?
JOEY LOGANO: I feel like you just asked the same question as the last guy. Like I said, obviously it changes the way we approach a little bit, and we have to be cautious, and like I said, we learned something from that day.
As far as waiting for your car to get on the grid, yeah, it's not ideal and what you want as a race car driver, but we recovered that day and finished fifth, so I thought we recovered pretty good from that. We expect to go back to Texas with a car that's even faster and not have any issues, and we have a shot at winning down there.
Q. Do you think the experience of being in the Chase will help you the next time you get in the Chase? And do you think that it's helped some of the others with a lot of experience being in the Chase already?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, yeah, I think it does. You know, definitely able to learn a lot this year. Like I said, even though we're kind of out of it right now as far as the championship, we're not out of getting a top 5 finishing position in the points right now.
But as far as my first Chase, Todd's first Chase, the first Chase the 22 car has been in in quite a few years, so it is kind of a learning deal for all of us, but at the same time we're able to not just say it's all learning. We're still trying to make the most of it, even all the way down to the last race. No matter where we're at we're going to try to give 100 percent and get the most out of it. That's what I expect from my guys and that's what they've been doing for me. I love that out of them.
I have learned a lot throughout this Chase already, and for one, I know it's really hard to make up points when you have a bad race because these guys that are‑‑ the guys are running for the championship that are first, second, third, fourth right now, they don't have any bad races. They've been really ripping it through this whole Chase here. It's hard to make up on those guys when you have an engine failure or you have a bad race. It's hard to recover.
Those little mistakes and where we need to fine‑tune is where we need to be better to be that championship‑winning team, but we're not far from it right now.
Q. Do you feel that some of the others who are real experienced, do you think that's helping them a lot right now?
JOEY LOGANO: It doesn't hurt. I know experience doesn't hurt. Having been in the Sprint Cup Series and gaining experience, I've definitely been able to use it to my advantage. So being a rookie in the Chase I realize has some disadvantages, but at the same time I'm able to use the experience I've had racing in the Sprint Cup Series the last five years to my advantage as best I know how to.
I think the more years you race, the better you're going to get. That's for sure. So yeah, I mean, the guys that have been in it more than once or three or four times or ten times, whatever it is, I think that's definitely an advantage to be in it and kind of learn how things go.
Q. How important is better consistency to strengthening your team's foundation to where you honestly expect top‑5 finishes in nearly every race?
JOEY LOGANO: We do expect top‑5 finishes every race, but you're right, we haven't been as consistent as we need to be, and that's why we're not contending to where we want to be right now. You know, we've had runs that we've had that consistency where we can go six or seven races with straight top‑10 finishes or top‑5 finishes, but then we have the next race is a total blow‑up, we either crash or blow up or do something like that. We've got to be able to find a way to eliminate those mistakes that we have, whether it's obviously guys working on the car or guys building the car, whether it's the driver, the way I communicate with Todd, whatever it is. We've just got to try to find a way to eliminate all the mistakes we possibly can, and that feels like what the next step is for this 22 team right now.
Like I said earlier, we've had speed in the race cars, we just make mistakes here and there, and that's the difference from being 12th to being top three right now.
Q. You started racing when you were six years old over in Connecticut, and then the family moved over to Georgia. Did that move help your racing career since NASCAR racing started down South? In other words, did that help you to learn more about racing?
JOEY LOGANO: Yes and no. It did help because in Connecticut there's a rule‑‑ I say rule, there's a law, that you can't race anything over a certain amount of horsepower until you're 16 years old. But it's some low number, whether it's like 10 or 15 horsepower or something like that, so you're basically stuck to Quarter Midgets and go‑karts until you get to a certain age. It kind of worked out that we moved down South and I was able to race Bandoleros and Legends cars and late models and stuff at a very young age. I feel like that part was kind of an advantage for me because I was able to jump in bigger cars at a very young age and kind of accel my learning curve a little bit. So I thought that part was definitely good.
Is it the fact that racing started down there and that's what made it better? No, I don't think so, because I think there's a lot of really deep racing heritage roots that are up north, in the Northeast there, and I think you see that every time we go to Loudon. That place packs out. Even you go to Dover and Watkins Glen, there's a lot of race fans up there and there's a lot of racetracks up there. So racing has always been fairly strong up there in the Northeast. I do feel like there's a lot of racing roots tied up there.
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