2010 NASCAR Preseason Thunder Daytona Fan Fest: Friday news conference
January 15, 2010
An Interview with Travis Kvapil and Joey Logano
DENISE MALOOF: Our last duo of the evening, best for last? We've had the same conversation with everyone. Any thoughts about an off-season, anything interesting you want to share with us? Were you on a snowmobile, Travis?
TRAVIS KVAPIL: Yeah, I was on a snowmobile, about wore my arm out trying to pull start it. Finally got it going in Wisconsin and spent a lot of time in the snow and riding four-wheelers and pulling sleds with my kids on them behind the four-wheeler and had a lot of fun. It was nice and relaxing and just had a good time.
DENISE MALOOF: Joey, can you top that?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I didn't really do much until last week over the off-season, just kind of stayed home. Kept going to the shop, trying to get out what we can do to make our race team better.
But actually got to go to Vermont. I used to live up in Connecticut, so we used to go to Vermont like every weekend in the wintertime, go snowmobiling. Got to go to the same house that we used to a long time ago and everything was still the same. I actually found some old trophies of mine. I found my first ever helmet down there, so that was something really neat, and got to go snowmobiling and didn't kill myself, so that was good. Then got to go to Lake Placid and do the Jeff Bodine Bob Sled Challenge again and had a ton of fun with that. I was able to win that thing finally. Finally figured it out the second part of the day and was able to win that. Got to do some fun winter sports there and back to business now.
DENISE MALOOF: Speaking of back to business, Travis, new team, new start. Very interesting start of the year.
TRAVIS KVAPIL: Yeah, I'm really excited about it. Spent 90 percent of the last year kind of watching from the sidelines. So excited to have an opportunity in a time where sponsors seem to be still kind of waiting by the wayside and teams are still kind of shrinking, excited to have this opportunity with Front Row Motorsports. They're kind of ramping up and moving forward. We're excited to have Ford and their manufacturer support behind us, the Roush-Yates engines. It's a great opportunity and just really exciting and looking forward to making the most of it.
DENISE MALOOF: Joey, you're the reining Raybestos Rookie of the Year for the series. Sophomore season predictions?
JOEY LOGANO: Hopefully, we keep improving. That's our No. 1 priority right now. Second half of the season we really picked it up a lot. We've got a lot to go obviously. But as long as we keep working hard and keep going, I think we're going to keep getting better. I think this year if we can make the Chase, that would be really cool.
You know, went to the shop the other day, and we were talking a lot about what we've got to do to make it, and it's going to be tough obviously. And you look at some of the drivers this year that didn't make it that are drivers that probably should have made it. It's going to be tough, and it's going to be a lot of work, and we're willing to do whatever it takes.
Q. Joey, as far as this point in your career, what do you want to accomplish more than anything else?
JOEY LOGANO: Win the next race, the Daytona 500. I think that would be awesome. That's one of the biggest races -- the biggest race I think we have for the whole year, and I think that would be something real cool. I've got a list a mile long. I'm a day-by-day person, I'm a race-by-race person and always want to win the next race, and that's always the next biggest thing for me. But you know, obviously some day to win at Indy would be really cool. It's the same, the championship, the stuff like that. That's always a dream that you keep working for and to get there, and that's what keeps me working really hard is the want to have it, wanting to go for it all the time. I think that's something that really helps.
Q. For both Travis and Joey, can you talk a little bit about just what it takes to persevere through having a job, not having a job, getting another job, the ups and downs of that? And then Joey, as Rookie of the Year, what would be the best advice you could give to rookies coming up?
TRAVIS KVAPIL: For me it was just -- I had to really persevere and stay focused on my goal in trying to figure out the things I needed to do to stay in front of the owners, in front of the sponsors, in front of team managers and that sort of thing. Even though I only ran five, seven races last year, I probably went to 25 races and spent a lot of time in the garage area just not giving up.
The Sprint Cup Series is where I want to race, and just try to look at all the opportunities with the goal in mind to get back to full-time Cup racing. I feel like I'm capable of competing at this level, and that's where I want to be. So I was just focused on figuring out how to find my way there.
JOEY LOGANO: Was the question advice to rookies? For me it's always been race people the way you want to be raced. That was something that takes time, because they're going to race you hard until you earn their respect. That's a real big deal to me. That and making sure you have fun. I'm a firm believer of having fun a lot. I mean, there's always times to be serious, and obviously on the racetrack is one of them. But you know, I think you've got to have fun with this. Everyone tells me life is short, so I guess I should have fun at it.
You know, this is a dream come true. There is a million and one people that would love to be in my shoes right now, and to not enjoy it would be the wrong thing to do. So this is definitely an opportunity of a lifetime.
Q. I've got one for each. Joey, what would you say is the one biggest thing you learned on the racetrack in '09 that's going to help you the most going into '10?
JOEY LOGANO: Oh, man. Travis knows, every time you go to a racetrack, there's a million little things that you find, whether it's a bump, whether it's finding a little grip here -- man, I wish I worked on my race car in this area. That's part of being a rookie, trying to figure that stuff out. You talk to a lot of these guys, they're learning. Guys have won championships that you think have got it figured out.
You never stop learning in this sport, period. You know, I think that's something you've really got to work hard at and try to find every little bit. When you're racing against the best race car drivers in the world, you've got to work really hard to find every little bit you can find to make yourself better.
So for me, it's hard to say just one thing. You know, the hardest thing, I'll tell you that, is just getting used to the new Cup car. That's been the hardest thing for me at certain racetracks. I still have a long ways to go. At certain racetracks you write down a list of certain places I need to work on, and there's always room for improvement, but the car was probably the hardest thing to figure out.
Q. Travis, could you talk about the emotion of getting with a team, going to run full-time, a team on the upswing, and you feel like you'll bring some veteran insight to what's a relatively new operation even though they've been around for a number of years?
TRAVIS KVAPIL: Yeah, I really hope so. That's my plan is to just give all the input I can off of my experiences in the past. My teammate Kevin Conway is going to be a rookie, just do everything I can to try to help him. There's definitely going to be bumps in the road, and if I can just kind of ease him through that -- when we get to some places for the first time, show him the things you definitely don't want to do or things to look for, but more than anything, when we're trying to build a team, really from the ground up, it's -- I'm in the office with the general manager daily talking about the personnel that maybe we should hire, the people we need to look at. It's kind of neat being part of such a small thing that is growing, to have that much input. And it's really cool for me that we are going to be hooked back up with Ford and have the Ford Motorsports, Ford Racing behind us. Great relationship in the past, over the past few seasons. So excited about all that.
I know it's going to be a challenge. I know we're going to struggle. But I really feel confident in the base that we're building that we'll get better and progress and really build this team into something that can be really competitive.
DENISE MALOOF: Travis, I'm told you have to leave right now to catch your ride home. Thank you for being patient and waiting. You'll be back soon. Thank you.
Q. Joey, as far as you mentioned doing the bob sled thing, you get a lot of adventure out of driving a race car. Does that adventure and thrill, is it less for you than it is for say normal folks like us?
JOEY LOGANO: We probably get used to it. I like seeing people get on like a Richard Petty Ride and Drive, or something like that. They get out of there, holy cow, we were going fast. You think about it, yeah, you were going fast, but we were going 40 miles an hour quicker with 42 other people running around. It's a totally different deal. But that's something we're used to.
But when I try something new again, it's like, wow, I got to -- over the off-season, I got to fly with the Thunderbirds out in Vegas. I think those guys are crazy. I think that was one of the coolest things I've ever got to do, and that was -- it was unreal. I had that same feeling that that was nuts. The bob sled thing, what we did, I'm kind of relating it to a Richard Petty Ride and Drive. We were going about 70 down the hill. Granted, there is risk involved, 11 guys did roll over and slide down on their lid, but they're going 90, 95 miles an hour. They're going a lot faster than that. I couldn't imagine going much faster than what we were doing. That's kind of the same feeling, but it's like anything, the more you do it, the more you get used to it and the more you just get comfortable with it.
DENISE MALOOF: Joey, thank you for hanging around and being patient and visiting with us. We'll see you soon, too.
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