Kentucky Speedway Nationwide Series Advance Transcript June 4, 2009 An inteview with Joey Logano Moderator: On behalf of NASCAR, Kentucky Speedway and Joe Gibbs Racing, we welcome you to today's NASCAR Cam teleconference call, featuring the...
Kentucky Speedway Nationwide Series Advance Transcript
June 4, 2009
An inteview with
Moderator: On behalf of NASCAR, Kentucky Speedway and Joe Gibbs Racing, we welcome you to today's NASCAR Cam teleconference call, featuring the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing Joey Logano.
Today's call is in advance of next week's Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Now, I'd like to turn the call over to Tim Bray, director of communications at Kentucky Speedway. Tim, the floor is yours.
Tim Bray: Thank you very much, and thanks for joining us this afternoon as we prepare for the Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz, the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway next week. We appreciate Joey coordinating his schedule prior to leaving for Pocono to participate today. Joey will become the fourth series driver to defend at Kentucky. Kentucky Speedway has not witnessed a repeat NASCAR Nationwide Series race winner through all eight events that have been held here.
A year ago, Joey earned his first series victory at Kentucky. He did it from the pole position and led 76 of the 200 race laps, including the final 54. Joey and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to win at Kentucky Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series from the pole position.
We'll open the floor in a moment, but Joey, I'll begin the conversation by asking how does your win at Kentucky a year ago ignite the competitive fire that I know you have to allow you to start your NASCAR career on such a great note.
Joey Logano: That win at Kentucky was one of the biggest things, if not the biggest thing, that's happened in my career, to keep it going. That's kind of what got me into the Cup ride that I'm in now. It was our third race in a Nationwide car with GameStop on the hood so that was pretty cool that everyone was there. My whole family was there so that was neat. It's a great place to win at.
That was one of the racetracks that we were able to test at when we were able to with the Cup car so I had a lot of laps around there. That played into my favor a lot so between all that, I think it's a great place to get your first win and hopefully get back there and get another one.
Q: Thinking back to last year, expectations were already off the charts for you coming into Kentucky. Do you think those expectations changed by winning that race? And did you get a sense that perhaps it earned you some measure of respect in the garage from your competitors?
Joey Logano: From the win the first time there?
Joey Logano: Yeah, I definitely think it did. Like I said, it was our third race out there. At Dover, we finished sixth so we were showing we were there. At that time of the was running really good, no matter who was in the race car. We got our first pole in Nashville a week before and another pole and won the race a week after that. So we came out strong, that's for sure. That was a big deal. It definitely does help earn a lot of respect in the pits, and it just keeps building up from there. It's good to set a first impression. You know, first impressions mean everything in life in general so to have a good start like that was a pretty big deal.
Q: Speaking of expectations, how do you feel about the nickname "Sliced Bread," and had you ever heard that saying before that sort of got applied to you?
Joey Logano: (laughing) A little bit, not that much. That was pretty much just a joke between me and my buddies, pretty much. Randy LaJoie got up on ESPN, and they talked during the races. He would bring it up, and bam, everyone knows. Your inside joke, everyone knows about. The expectations with it? Yeah, it comes with it. What the heck. It's something else to live up to. I've got a lot more pressure than just that with me so it doesn't really bother me that much.
Q: You probably raced older drivers for that win in Kentucky as you have along your career. Were there points in your career, including at Kentucky, when you were watching a veteran driver whose moves on the track gave you like an eye-opening lesson when something clicked? Can you identify those?
Joey Logano: There's been a lot. Since I started racing, I've been racing against people a lot older than me. I've raced against people that were better than me. That's what really helped me progress through all the ranks as quick as I did. There's a lot of times when I was behind someone and learning something real quick.
One thing that probably stands out in my mind the most is in Iowa in the Camping World East Series race in '07. I was starting behind (Kevin) Harvick, and he beat me through (Turns) 1 and 2 on every restart. I thought, "Man, how does he do it?" I finally did it, got it right and won the race by doing it. But scenarios like that come up in a lot of different races. You get behind someone or see where they're beating you and try to figure it out. That's the cool thing about the sport that you can figure things out during the race. The races are long enough that you can figure a lot of things out. It's pretty neat doing that.
Q: Along those same lines, do you collect any advice along the way that kind of clicked for you, too? Like with the Harvick thing?
Joey Logano: There's a lot of little things when it comes to that stuff. A lot of these things you've just got to figure out on your own. You can pick everyone's brain as much as you can. Yeah, it helps for sure. But at the same time, you've still got to figure it out yourself. You've got to put it all to use. You can get in your mind and know what you've got to do; you've just got to do it after that.
I talk to as many different people as I can, trying to figure these places out. At Pocono, I'm going to be picking everybody's brain, trying to figure that place out. It's going to be a lot different than we've ever been so we'll try to figure that one out. I'll do the same things I usually do though. I usually pick everyone's brain and then make as many laps as I can and try to do it. I've got the ARCA race coming up this weekend, tooll get as many laps as I can.
Q: The last time I chatted with you, you were really a great teammate, talking about staying after the truck race to talk to Kyle Busch. We know there were tire issues and what-not. Can you talk us through how that came down at the end, after the truck race?
Joey Logano: I actually talked to him before the truck race started after I got done talking with you. I actually went over to his truck trailer. I went and talked to him, and that's when I finally found out he had a right front (tire) down. That made me feel a little bit better but still bummed out we didn't win the race. I went through an emotional rollercoaster after that race. I was about to win the thing and then bummed out, thinking you wrecked your teammate. And then after that, you're like, "Oh well, I'm OK." A lot of different things happened there.
After I talked to him, I understand where he was coming from, and it is what it is. Wins are hard to come by these days. It's tough to give one away like that, but there will be others that come by.
Q: Can you also talk about the logistics of racing multiple series in a weekend and what's the hardest part for you?
Joey Logano: There's a lot of different things. The hardest thing is the difference between the race cars. The Nationwide car to the Cup car is night and day. I can't even compare them to anything. They're so different. So that's probably the biggest thing. And you're running back and forth. If you don't run the Nationwide race, you just run the Cup race, yeah, you can do a couple little things that can help you on the Cup side. But there's things on the Nationwide side that can help you to that you can transfer over. It's kind of a toss-up on which way is the right way to go.
You've either got to give up one or the other. I think I've got a great plan going right now with the GameStop Toyota and running the Home Depot Toyota, trying to put them both together and learn as much as I can. I think at certain racetracks, that helps a lot. Other racetracks, it's tougher than others. Like I said, the toughest thing is the cars are so different. If it was a few years back when the cars were more alike, it would be a no-brainer. It would be a lot easier, but it kind of is what it is. I think it's the right thing to do for right now. And I'm enjoying it. I want to race all the time. You know that.
Q: Will the experience you're getting at Kentucky with last year and from this year, will that translate if that track gets a Cup date in the future?
Joey Logano: Oh yeah. No doubt in my mind. Definitely. Laps help in any race car you're in. I think laps are a big deal. If Kentucky ever did get a Cup race, I feel like I'd be more on an even playing field because all of those guys have pretty much tested there or raced there at one point so at least you're not behind the 8-ball like I am at most places we go to. Yeah, I think if it did get a Cup race, it would help.
Q: Along those experience lines, some drivers have put their helmet on a lot more often than you have. When drivers put their helmets on, do their personalities change?
Joey Logano: Oh yeah, there's no doubt in my mind. Everyone is a lot different in the race car than they are out of the race car. As you go through a race, everyone's attitude changes pretty much and it affects the way you drive. Of course, I think it's (the same) with any sport. I'm always happy and smiling, kind of a happy-go-lucky kid. But when I get my helmet on, I'm there for one reason -- to win. Yeah, you have two personalities, for sure.
Q: How long did that first win at Kentucky last for you? Was that like a fleeting thing, or has it really meant something for you?
Joey Logano: It was a big win, for sure. But for me, I want to win every one. As soon as that's over, next weekend, we go and try again. That's part of the sport. You can't just keep being all excited about your win. You've got to keep on going, keep digging and try to get more. One win is not enough. I don't think it is for anyone. Everyone wants to win a lot. We're all out there with the same common goal.
Q: You mentioned that your family was there last year when you won at Kentucky. Who all was there, and how did you guys celebrate?
Joey Logano: My mother, my father, my sister were there. It was a family affair so that was really cool. As far as what we did to celebrate, it wasn't much. At the time, what was I? 18? So what am I supposed to do? I had some milk and cookies and went away. (laughing) No, I really didn't do much of anything. I'm not a partier or anything. I just take my trophy and go to sleep.
Q: Sounds like an exciting life.
Joey Logano: Well, it is what it is. I think it works good enough for me. Great racing keeps me happy, keeps me going so I don't really need to do anything else.
Q: You were asked about a Cup date at Kentucky. You obviously have raced on a lot of tracks. Is it a Cup-level track in your mind?
Joey Logano: Kentucky? Yeah, I think it's a great racetrack. I think if they get a Cup race there, it would be awesome. It's the type of racetrack more that I kind of like. You mostly run at the bottom. You can move two lanes up or so and run up there so that's pretty cool. At some of these tracks now where you can run all the way to the wall, it kind of makes it hard to pass cars, which puts on great shows for the fans, too. There's pros and cons about everything. But I think Kentucky's a good racetrack. It's similar to other places we go to, but it's real wide. Plenty of racing room. You've still got a lot of speed there so it's cool.
Tim Bray: Update us on the Nationwide Series this year. Obviously you've got one win. Give us a thumbnail of how the car is running for you and an update in present tense.
Joey Logano: Our GameStop Toyota is running really good this year. Everywhere we go, I feel like we're a top-five car, always running good in practice. This week, obviously we got the pole by almost three-tenths of a second so it goes to show Dave Rogers and the whole gang are still on their "A" game, doing great. And I feel like me as a driver compared to last year, I feel like I'm a lot better so everything is kind of adding up. Everything is getting better. I think the 20 car is third in owner points right now so they've got a good shot at winning the owner championship. I've got to do my part, and everyone else is going to do their part. Hopefully, we'll come out with the trophy.
Tim Bray: How do you balance the two series? Is it like 60-40 or 50-50 in your mind? Going back the question on running multiple series and in this case, two different cities.
Joey Logano: This will be tough when we go to Kentucky and then back to Michigan. Obviously, your priority is going to have to be in Michigan, but you're going to go back and forth. We were actually just talking about that before we came on here. How we were going to run practice and come back and get there for qualifying and the race. It's possible. It's just going to be tight, the way we work the planes back and forth. I'll let those guys take care of it.
Hopefully we can do the best we can to get there and practice and see if we can get the GameStop Toyota running good and get two wins there.
Tim Bray: Do you also feel that the fact that the racetrack is a very racy place that you can run a lot of different lines that will help you in that transition coming from Michigan to Kentucky that particular weekend?
Joey Logano: Yeah, like I said, Kentucky is a two-groove racetrack. That's kind of the way I look at it. And I think that's perfect. I remember last year when I was running behind Kyle and you get an aero-push with these race cars these days. So you've got to move around and try to get some clean air, and I ended up moving a lane up. I was able to keep working on my run and get closer and closer. Finally, I was able to pass him. That was a cool thing about the racetrack. You can move up, and you can still be fast. You're not stuck in one lane or anything like that. There aren't cars running all the way to the top and all the way to the bottom. There are two, good, solid racing lanes, and it works good. You can run three-wide around that place if you want to. It's probably not the smartest thing to do, but you can do it.