Joey Logano looking to keep streak of different winners going at Texas

Joey Logano has made it to the final round of qualifying every week since the new format was adopted.

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT 811 BEING ON YOUR CAR THIS WEEKEND? “Shell has been a big supporter of 811 here the last few years and they’re on our decklid here. April is International Safe Digging Month and basically what 811 does is you call before a project at your house, whether it’s a small one like putting in a mailbox or putting a fence in or putting a new pool in, you call and they come out and make all the underground utility lines and make sure you’re not the guy that’s putting all the power out on the street for everybody. It’s the right thing to do for sure. You never know what’s under there just a couple feet, so they come out and mark it before you start your project.”

Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

WHAT ABOUT YOUR FLY AWAY TO PHOENIX SWEEPSTAKES? “That’s coming together at Phoenix in the fall race and they’re gonna have a little sweepstakes and one fan is gonna come out to Phoenix and get to watch the race out there and get a little VIP trip. That’s starting here fairly shortly and I’m excited about it.”

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE BRAD AND KURT SITUATION? “At least it’s not me this time (laughing). It happens. I know it. Like I say all the time, we race against each other every week and eventually we’re gonna run into each other and eventually we’re gonna get aggravated with each other and it’s just how you reason with it and how you get over it. Everyone has their own way of doing it and has different ways of doing it, but those guys are two championship race car drivers. They’ll figure out how to get over it and move on here fairly shortly, but that’s part of our sport and it’s cool. It brings a lot of excitement to what’s going on here. I know Eddie Gossage likes it. I was waiting for the boxing gloves and the Kurt vs. Brad thing here, but that didn’t happen this week. But it’s part of our sport and I think it’s part of any sport. Those rivalries are there and it’s real.”

THOUGHTS ON NASCAR POSSIBLY REDUCING ENGINE HORSEPOWER NEXT YEAR? “I’m all for more power. I think that’s like any guy, right? They just want more power, so anytime you hear someone talk about taking away power you’re not excited about it. I think something that’s cool about Sprint Cup racing is we’ve got 850-900 horsepower in these things. That’s pretty badass, so I obviously want to make sure we have that, but, either way, we’ve just got to make sure we put on a great race for the fans, whether we have three horsepower or 900 horsepower – make sure it’s a great race. If that’s the direction we have to go to put on a better race, then so be it. At the same time, I’m not sure if that will be the answer or not, but we have to look at every option we have and figure out what we’ve got to do to make it the best.”

DID YOUR TEAM LOOK AT ANY TIRE ISSUES FROM CALIFORNIA AND DO YOU HAVE ANY WORRIES ABOUT THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, we’re concerned this weekend for sure for when we get out there. This new package, with the added downforce and added load on these cars – we’re going faster – it puts a little more strain on these tires and this is one of those race tracks that if you run on that white line you’re catching some of that apron and we really think that’s what was blowing the tires out. You have a lot of camber and then when you put it down on the apron it’s basically like adding more and it blows out the shoulder of the tire there. With that the added left-rear camber also, they start doing that on low air-pressures for awhile it starts to break away the tread from the sidewall there. Yeah, it’s a concern this weekend for sure. We’re definitely concerned about it. I wouldn’t say that it was all the teams at California because, I mean, I think every team had it. I think there were five of them at one point there, so I’m sure Goodyear goes back and looks back at it and figures out what the answer is to make sure we don’t have that again, but obviously this is the first faster race track we’ve gone to since then and you’re gonna have a concern. It would be kind of dumb if you didn’t have a concern coming into this.”

WILL YOU DIAL BACK THE AGGRESSIVENESS OF THE SETUP? “We’ll see how this practice goes here in a few hours and see what it looks like. There are different ways we can dial it back, whether it’s behind the wheel or in the garage here when we’re setting them up.”

WERE YOU AGGRESSIVE OR ON THE EDGE AT CALIFORNIA WITH RECOMMENDED AIR-PRESSURES? “Yeah. I think it was field-wide. I think everybody was being pretty aggressive there. We were where we wanted to be because the advantage on the long haul was there, so we’re gonna be aggressive there. In the race, I think everyone came up a little bit, everyone was trying to tune things down and our car, unfortunately, broke a gear but we didn’t have an issue in the race, whereas in practice we couldn’t run a 15-lap run. In the race we ran some 30-lap runs or a 25-lap run and we didn’t have any issues that really frightened us. We thought maybe someone would have an issue before us, but when you blow out two tires in practice and your teammate blows out three, you look at what you’re doing first as a team and then try to fix it and hopefully that’s enough for the race.”

DO YOU WANT TEAMS TO BE ABLE TO DECIDE WHICH WAY TO GO AND HAVE THAT FREEDOM? “I don’t really want to blow out tires because it hurts, so I’d rather have something that’s a little tougher tire that can handle that stuff, but it’s such a hard thing. I got to go through Goodyear’s factory over the off-season and see how they build these things and what goes into it and how they engineer them, and to build a tire for what we’re doing is very, very, very hard. Here we are as drivers, we want more grip, we want a softer tire, we want a tire that wears out, and then we’re putting so much load on them with these heavy cars it’s almost impossible to do both, so it’s very, very difficult to make that happen. They’re always constantly adjusting on their blends and constructions and what they’re doing with their tires, so it’s not from a lack of effort on their part. They’re trying really hard. They’ve got a lot of really smart people over there, but our cars ask a lot out of a tire. I’ve got the most faith in those guys that anyone can have and that’s why I try to help them as much as I can is to give them the best insight of what we’re fighting. I know as Team Penske, we give them all the information we possibly can to help them make decisions when they’re back at their shop.”

IS THERE ANY CONCERN THAT IN TOUGHENING UP THE RIGHT SIDE TIRES THAT AN ISSUE MIGHT MIGRATE TO THE LEFT SIDE TIRES? “I don’t think it would change with the left sides seeing, I don’t believe. It’s probably a better question for them. They have a lot more data than we get as teams, so I don’t think so. I don’t think that drives the issue. I think the issue comes from running on the apron or having a lot of camber at low air-pressures. I think that’s where they have the separation issue. I don’t believe the right side tire is gonna change what we’ve got on the left side for that particular issue. There might be a different issue I don’t know about that may pop up or may not, but I think for that particular issue the right side tire shouldn’t have anything to do with that.”

IS IT GOOD FOR THE SPORT TO HAVE SIX DIFFERENT WINNERS THE FIRST SIX RACES, AND WHAT IF THAT CONTINUES? “It should be good for the sport. You’ve got a lot of winners, so that means there’s not one guy dominating. I think it’s good for the sport to have multiple winners. I really want to be on the list right now. I feel like our Shell/Pennzoil Ford has been really fast at every race track. California, I felt like we had a winning car, we did at Bristol also – we had a couple failures there – and Martinsville last weekend is a track that’s been one of my tougher race tracks in the past and we had a second-to-fifth place car all day long. I’m proud of the speed we’ve got. The win is right around the corner. In all honesty, I feel very confident about this race track. This kind of plays into our hand as a team. We’ve always been good at the faster, bumpy, wore-out race tracks and that’s exactly what this is so I can’t wait for practice to get this weekend started.”

ANY THOUGHTS ON PREPARING FOR SONOMA? “Yeah, we do some road course testing coming up here fairly shortly and try to get that going. I enjoy getting to go out and run road courses, especially Sonoma. That’s such a tough race track because you’re trying to bolt down 850-900 horsepower with these narrow tires, and then you’re trying to get them to stop and turn all at the same time. The cars are incapable of doing everything you want them to as a driver, so as a driver you have to start crutching it and start figuring out what’s most important and what you’re willing to give up to gain what you feel like you need to race well. We’ll start testing here shortly and make sure we get some good packages for when we get there because this new rules package without the ride heights is gonna change that quite a bit. Like you saw last week at Martinsville, I think that was probably the place that this rule change stood out the most as far as the ride height stuff, so I think you’ll see the same thing when we go to Sonoma and Watkins Glen.”

ARE YOU GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR? “I just know racing. I don’t really care about any other sport too much. I’m here to race and win a race. Whatever they want to do shooting hoops they can keep on going with that. They don’t need me there.”

SO YOU’RE NOT GOING? “No. I’m focused in on trying to win a race. I feel like if I leave the race track I get distracted and if I don’t run well, that’s gonna be the reason why so I’m not gonna give myself an opportunity to have an excuse.”

DO YOU KNOW IF THE BACKUP CAR YOU PULLED OUT AT CALIFORNIA WAS YOUR PRIMARY CAR FOR HERE? “It was my primary car.”

SO WHAT ARE YOU RACING THIS WEEKEND? “I don’t know (laughing). I tell you what, that car we pulled out in California we started the race and if they didn’t tell me they had switched cars I would have never known. It drove exactly like my primary car did. Everything inside was exactly the same and, really, I don’t keep up with what car numbers we’re at because they’re all the same. Team Penske does such a great job of making these cars. When they find a new spec they build them all the same and from the inside-out they all feel the same. I don’t really put much insight into what car I want to race or having a favorite car because they’re just numbers and they’re all the same. I know if we raced that car at California, it was fine but we can’t turn it over that quick to come back here, so it’s a different car than what was planned to come here, I know that, but which one it is I don’t know.”

IS THIS PHILOSOPHY OF NOT WANTING TO LEAVE THE TRACK SOMETHING YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE OR JUST WHEN YOU CAME OVER TO PENSKE? “I’ve probably taken that to the extreme over the last two years. If you’re looking to be the best, you’ve got to work harder than everybody. You’ve got to figure out how to be better. I’m in the garage until it closes all the time just to be with the guys. If something comes up, I can help them with some answers or help them with some setup stuff. The more I can learn about the race car and what direction they’re going with changes and why they’re doing it, the better information I can feed back to them and whether it’s the right or wrong answer for our car. The more involved I am, the better I feel about it and it limits that opportunity to have an excuse at the end of the race for me. I know if I’ve tried my best and tried my hardest, I’m not gonna be mad all the next week if we don’t run well and I think it gives you the opportunity to run better. I’ve made the commitment to go out here and win championships and that’s what I’ve got to do.”

SO YOU DID THAT ONCE YOU STARTED AT PENSKE? “Yeah, I’d say for sure I’ve definitely stepped up my game. I’m being more prepared getting to the race track and working harder once I’m here.”

Ford Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Interviews
Tags ford racing, interview, joey logano, texas