JOEY LOGANO, No.20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you confident that you have a chance to win the Daytona 500? "It's going to be a big deal to win a race here. I feel like our team is where it needs to be to be able to do it. Me and Greg (Zipadelli, crew chief) are working good together. The guys at the shop are bringing new pieces to the race track that keep getting better all the time. We showed that at the end of last year. As long as we carry that momentum over, keep the communication going with me and Zip good -- Daytona is always a crap shoot. You never know what can happen here. I think it's even more of a crap shoot now since they repaved it than it used to be. We'll see what happens there and then head to some of the short tracks and mile-and-a-halves and really see."
What was behind the surge you had at the end of last year? "I think it is alot of things. I think the biggest thing is me and Zip (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) started getting along really good and we started really understanding each other and what kind of makes each other go. I think that was kind of the big thing and then once you kind of get that momentum going you get all of that confidence. That's the biggest thing. You start to unload and if you have a bad car to unload, we used to be junk the whole weekend. We were to the point that we can get our car better and even if the race starts and we're not good we're able to get our car better and get a good finish at the end of the day. That's what we've got to do all of the time. We've got to do that all year. That's how you make the Chase. Every one of these guys that make the Chase every year are doing that. I feel good that we were able to do that at the end of the season. We've just got to do that all of the time."
How much different do other driver's race you than when you first got into the series? "It's changing, and I think it changed more towards the end of the season than ever. You've got to be up there running with them every week to get that respect from them. I think if you're up there one out of every three or four weeks they don't really care. You've got to be up there all of the time to get that respect back and forth. It's pretty typical. You race harder for a 20th place finish than you do a fifth place finish because everyone back there is fighting and they're all mad. It's frustrating back there, and plus you've got all of the dirty air and all of that. It's a mess. When can start to get up front you start to get that clean air, there's a lot more give and take up there. That's easier said than done getting there."
Have the incidents that you had with other driver's last year helped you grow? "I think everyone has gone through it. I don't think you can talk to one race car driver in this whole garage that says he's never been in some kind of scuffle with anybody. I think they'd be lying if they said that. That's part of it. Last year I felt like I got pushed around a little bit too much and I started pushing back a little bit, and I think that's what you've got to do to earn that respect. When I first started I was a rookie, I came in and it's hard to push back. Now it's to the point that, okay I've been here long enough. I feel like I'm considered one of the guys -- if you want to say that. There's no reason to take that stuff anymore. You've got to stand up for yourself."
Is that respect something as a young guy you have to take from them or do they gradually give it to you? "I don't think you want to come in here like a bull in the china closet hitting everything. You don't want to do that. You've got to be respectful towards them. They are not going to give you respect until you show them respect. It's not the other way around. It's not like they're going to give you respect before you give them respect. It just doesn't work that way. That takes time to earn that from all of these guys. Those are some of the struggles I think anyone is going to have to go through coming into the series."
Do you feel like you have to make the Chase this year after your finish last season? "I think we are definitely coming in here with a lot of confidence and the feeling that we can do it for sure. We definitely want to do it. Like I said earlier, there's no reason why we can't do it. I feel like I've got the guys behind me, I've got the cars behind me so as long as I don't make any mistakes and as a team we don't make any mistakes we should be able to do it. We've just got to do what we did the last 10-12 races at the end of the year last year. If we do that, it will be easy, but we've got to be able to do that throughout the whole season. That's where we struggled last year. We took off good and then through the summer months we shot ourselves in the foot."
Does the confidence you have built come with any pressure? "I think confidence takes the pressure off of you, actually. I think it's because you know you can do it."
What felt different to you about the last 10 or 12 races of 2010? "Like I said earlier, it's a bunch of little things. It's the communication between all of the guys and the confidence. I was starting to feel like I am on the Nationwide side over there. You know what you want, you know what's going on more, there's not as many questions that you have and you start to figure this whole thing out. That's the big difference. Over there in Nationwide, I know exactly what I want all of the time and for the most part I was a lot different person when I first started over here than I was on the Nationwide side. Now, I'm about the same driver on both sides so I think that's what you've got to have."
How many Nationwide Series races will you run this year? "I think I've got 22 races scheduled right now and I could do up to 27. I've got five races that I've still got to sell."
How long did it take before you felt like the Home Depot sponsorship and colors on the car were yours? "It's funny you bring that up, I was talking about that last night with my buddy (Joey) Civali-- he does all of my stuff. We were sitting there talking about it and probably towards the end of last year. It's cool because you feel like all of the guys are behind you. You feel like it's your team. I went through the same thing on the Nationwide side. You've got the 20 car winning all of the races and then I jumped in there. You've got Denny (Hamlin) driving it, Smoke (Tony Stewart) was driving it -- all of those guys were driving the thing. Now I feel like that's my team over here. I am to that point over here now. I think it took me a year and a half to feel that way before it actually did that."
Which one of your teammates drives most like you? "I think it depends where we are at. We're similar at different places than others. I think of Denny (Hamlin) and he's definitely always got his corners backed up. He's always a little bit slower in the corner. I think I drive a little bit more like Kyle (Busch) than I do like Denny, but some places it's the other way around. That's why I'm always going from one trailer to the next talking to them. Just to see what they're doing. It's something to try or what guys are doing to their cars and stuff like that. I think everyone in this garage has a different driving style one way or another. I feel like I'm probably a little bit closer to Kyle's driving style, but some places it's the other way around."
Is this the first year where you expect to make the Chase? "Yes, for sure. Last year, I didn't feel like we were ready to make the Chase. We weren't -- or I wasn't good enough for it probably. The year started and we were rocking in the beginning and I was like, `Oh yeah, we can do this. I'll be good. We'll make the Chase. We can do it.' And then the summer months came and we shot ourselves in the foot. But, this year I feel like there is no reason why we can't do it. We ended strong last year so that gives a ton of confidence. I always used to listen to everyone saying ending the year strong was a big deal. I never really understood it and I understand it now. It's a big deal."
Did you move out of your parent's house and get your own house? "I'm loving it. It's awesome. You'd be surprised at how much money I spend at The Home Depot. Man, I'm there painting. I was puttying holes the other day. We do it all there. It's been fun, though. I've really enjoyed it. I've got my own house now and just having a good time with it. It's an empty house. I don't have nothing. I moved over there with one pick-up truck full of my clothes. I threw an air mattress on the ground and off I went. But, I've got a bed now so that's good. We're getting there slowly but surely. It's been fun, though. It's a cool adventure. I'm enjoying. We've got all of the TV's working so that was one of the priorities. We've got the TV's going, we just have to sit on the ground to watch the TV's. No, I've got a couch in there now. It's coming along. The simulators are in there -- that was another priority we got done. It's like a little bachelor pad in there. Me and Coleman Pressley live together. The iRacing is basically on until about 1 o'clock in the morning -- every night we're racing on those things."
Where is your house? "It's in Huntersville. Coleman (Pressley) has got one room in there. We're rooming together I guess. It's my house. I don't want to be home alone. I'm the type of guy that's always got to have someone around me. I get bored easily. I've got to have someone to talk to or something to do. It's good and I'm gone the weekends so someone is taking care of the house and stuff like that. It all kind of works out."
Are there a lot of women in and out of the bachelor pad? "No. I've got a girlfriend and he's (Coleman Pressley) got a girlfriend. So there's only one and he's got one, so there's actually only two. It's not the typical bachelor pad because I'm pretty reserved. The good thing is that he is too so it works out alright."
Do you think you can jump out this season and win three or four races? "You never know. I think you've got to go to the race track every weekend thinking you can do it. Thinking you can win. I think we can go out there and win a couple races and see how that goes. You've got to go one week at a time. I can't sit here and say I'm going to win five races this year. You never know. This is hard. It's hard to do. I just think I've got to go out there expecting I can win every week and see what happens."
What was the reason that your team slowed down during the summer months last season? "Probably 60 to 70 percent me. I think a lot of it was just me learning. It takes some time, but I feel like I'm there now. In the summer months a lot of the race tracks that I've struggled at before so that was one problem. Maybe we'd have a bad pit stop that week and pushed you back to the back. Atlanta -- we blew up there. We got in wrecks a lot through the summer. That takes you out of the points battle quicker than you'd ever think. Those are the things that cost us. Those are the things that we're working on."
-source: toyota motorsports