Joey Logano comments on Keselowski, Penske Racing and Gen-6 Ford

The 2013 NASCAR Media Day took place Thursday with drivers making the rounds between print, radio, television and other mediums. Numerous Ford drivers were part of the day’s first session. Penske Racing's Joey Logano was one of them.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Fusion

IS BRAD SERIOUS IN THE GARAGE OR DOES HE STILL HAVE THAT ONE-LINER MENTALITY GOING? “I wouldn’t say he is much different than what you see. I think it depends on the situation. I think he can be very serious. Brad has always been Brad. There is nothing really crazy there.”

Joey Logano, Penske Racing Ford
Joey Logano, Penske Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER AS A YOUNG GUY. HOW DID YOU ACCLIMATE TO THAT FIRST CUP SEASON? “The competition level is the big thing. You are racing with 43 guys that can go win a race at any moment. If you put everyone in an equal car then everyone is capable of doing something pretty impressive. You are racing against really good race car drivers which makes it mean a lot when you win a race. It means a ton. There is a lot to it. I think as far as the stuff you have to do off track it just depends on your sponsors. Some are really demanding and you have a lot of things you have to do and some are pretty lenient and you go with the flow. I have been fortunate to have sponsors that want to go do things and want to market the program and do all the things they can do to help promote it. Shell Pennzoil is really into that and I am excited about working with them this year.”

“For me, I like being busy. I get bored very easily. I am not married and don’t have kids so it is okay if I am not home. I am gung ho all the time.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING SO YOUNG IN THIS SPORT? “It forces you to grow up really quick. Quicker than your age really allows you. I was force to grow up really quick when they threw me in the Cup car at 18. Was I mature enough to go drive it at the time? I could drive it but to go win? Probably not. That was something that you have to have some life experience with stuff like that to get you up to that level. I think mine was accelerated a lot by being put in a situation like that. You have to go through some things.”

WHAT KIND OF LIFE EXPERIENCES? “You guys have seen it firsthand I think. How you are going to deal with people and lead a team and how you are going to deal with situations on and off the race track. Handling conflicts and things like that. Just racing too. Racing different situations out there. There are a lot of things going on that you have to go through the experiences. Someone can tell you a million times but until you do it yourself you don’t know.”

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE TOLD YOUR 18-YEAR-OLD SELF THAT YOU KNOW NOW? “Lots of little things, that is for sure. I am not sure. My work mentality has not changed. I am still working as hard as I possibly can. It is just learning things. You are kind of coming in there as a blank slate. How do you learn quicker? Maybe that would be the question I would ask myself. How I could accelerate things quicker than I was doing.”

NOW MATTER HOW PREPARED YOU FELT YOU WERE, DID YOU HAVE THAT DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS MOMENT? “Oh, I have had that moment for sure. I thought I was prepared back then but I wasn’t. Now I really am. I feel it. I think that even in this off season I am getting to a level of trying to know where I need to be before I get down here. As far as my team and what I am doing, I feel that about a week ago when we got done with our Disney test, we got back and debriefed that and I thought it went really well and that things went the way I would expect it to and I thought we were ready for Daytona. We did that with a week to spare, so that is good.”

WHAT IS THE DYNAMIC LIKE WITH ROGER PENSKE. JOE AND JD WERE ONE WAY AT GIBBS, ROGER IS LIKE THE MT. RUSHMORE OF AUTO RACING. DO YOU TUCK YOUR SHIRT IN WHEN HE WALKS IN? “Yeah, you are definitely a lot more buttoned up. I went to the store and bought some black pants and a white shirt. I am all set there. Roger is a racer. He has all this other stuff going on and all these different companies and the guy knows everything that is going on in each company. It is amazing. He knows everybody’s name and is so involved in every little aspect. I have a hard enough time with my life in racing so for him to do all that and make all these companies work is amazing. He is smart enough to put really good people around him to help him do that and you see that he is a racer. Some of the pictures at the shop of him driving his old race cars is cool.”

WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING SATURDAY NIGHT OR WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE? “I want to see a big W. I want to win. I think it is going to be an exciting race any way you look at it. I think it is going to be a lot of unknowns going into the race and that will make it exciting for the fans. There are a lot of unknowns on how the cars will handle. Having this race for us as a team is huge. Knowing that we didn’t get as many drafting runs at the test because of that wreck, we have a new spotter and need to work together out there. It is like preseason football. Saturday is preseason racing to me. We need to learn as much as we can as a team and it will help us when we get to the 500. As far as the racing goes, I would assume you are going to see something fairly similar to what you saw last year but we will have to wait and see. When I was out there before we found things with the side-draft that works differently. You have to fine tune your techniques as a driver to find what you want for the 500.”

THE LAST SEGMENT IS 20-LAPS. HOW WILL THAT AFFECT STRATEGY? “It is typical Daytona. That part never changes. You have to get there somehow which is probably the hardest part. Positioning yourself with 20 or 15 laps to go is the big thing. Figuring where you want to be to not get shuffled out and that with the five to go mark I can make that charge. Where can I position myself to be in there? That is always changing because it depends on what everyone else is doing. Everyone else decides your destiny. You have to be on your game and quick and communicating with your spotter the best you can to be in the right spot at the end of the thing. If you are 15-20th you can pretty much know you will be in a wreck. It gets pretty tricky.”

YOU ARE VERY ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA? WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF IT? “I think it is great to interact with the fans and let them know what you are up to. I like reading to see what everyone else is up to and seeing reactions after the race and what happened. I think it is cool. I think it is a good way to follow things and check things out. I do the Instagram thing, I like that probably more just because I like pictures more than I do reading things.”

YOU RACED RICKY STENHOUSE JR A LOT LAST YEAR. WHAT KIND OF DRIVER IS HE? “Ricky has really good car control and I think we have seen him hone in on that from the first part of his career when he was wide open and tore up a lot of stuff. He must have figured something out or figured out where the limit was and then he found the speed. I think he is a pretty hard racer and you have a little mental notebook of who you are racing against out there. I know he is a good hard racer and we all make mistakes sometimes and that is normal but I think he will do a good job in the Cup series and he will go through the learning curve I went through. The good thing is he has experience behind him. I would say he is ready to move up.”

BONDS WITH A CREW CHIEF SEEMS IMPORTANT. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THAT? “Yeah, but I think like any other relationship you have to work at it. Whether it is a work relationship or if you are dating some girl, you have to work at that stuff. That is just part of life. You have to have someone that understands that and is willing to work on things that maybe seem goofy but will help you in the high pressure situations and trying to win a race and need to make a quick decision. You want to be on the same page without having to say anything. That takes time. It isn’t something that just happens. It takes work. I think we are doing a really good job of being ready and on the same page with each other.”

YOU HAVE HAD QUITE A FEW OVER THE YEARS, HAS THAT HELPED. “I have figured out how to get to know them as quick as I can and how they do things. I have worked with quite a few Nationwide crew chiefs and a couple Cup crew chiefs and learned how to deal with things as quick as you can. Honestly, you can always make that better. There is no limit to that. You can always keep improving the way you do things.”

HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF TANDEM RACING AT DAYTONA? “No, I don’t think so. I think you will see it with two or three laps to go maybe. Similar to what we had last time. The cars are a little more unstable here so it hasn’t made anyone want to push and heat is always a factor when it comes to that stuff. It seems to be always fast for the most part.”

EVEN NOW WITH THE NEW CAR? “Yeah, you can use it to your advantage if you do the right things. I don’t think it will be way faster like everyone was in tandems when the whole pack was in tandems, but I think like last year if you look at the 500 there were cars that would tandem up and go a little faster and work their way up. The second lane could kind of work their way up by doing a tandem. I think that is good for our racing. I think that is good to get movement out there and different things going on. It shuffles things up and makes things a little harrier. It isn’t comfortable to get sliding around in the middle of a pack of 43 cars but it makes it fun and I think it changes things up and changes the dynamic of the race.”

A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU AND THINK OF YOU AS PART OF THE NEXT GENERATION. DO YOU THINK OF YOURSELF AS ALREADY BEING HERE? “Yeah, but I am not everything I want to be yet. I want to win races and championships and until I am there I think I do want to be the next thing.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF WORKING YOUR WAY UP TO CUP AND WHAT THAT WAS LIKE? WHAT CAN YOU TELL YOUNG, UP AND COMING DRIVERS TO EXPECT? “Expect the unexpected. I think that is the big thing. There are a lot of random things that come up and a lot of different things. Each person, as a person, will handle things differently. I don’t know. You can take my experiences and maybe you will be better or worse at it. Maybe it will be something completely different. Everybody is different and handles situations differently. It depends on who you are working with and what you are doing and so many different factors that go into what advice I would give someone. For the most part I would say it is a lot of work and you have to realize that this is what you have wanted to do your whole life. It isn’t fun every day but I am still getting to drive a race car for a living which is cool.”

HOW MUCH EMPHASIS WILL YOU GUYS PLACE ON QUALIFYING SUNDAY? “Quite a bit. We want to help ourselves in case something dump happens in the duel. They have the car in the tunnel working on that and trying to make sure we can qualify up close to the front. I know we made adjustment on the car since the test and we have a different car than that one but we planned on having a different car anyway. I feel like there were some pretty big gains there. I am sure everyone else has pretty big gains to, I just hope ours are more than theirs.”

THE WAY YOU QUALIFY DICTATES TO SOME DEGREE HOW YOU RACE IN THE DUEL. HOW DOES THE NEW FORMAT AFFECT THAT? “Like you said, it puts more emphasis on qualifying. I know that before, qualifying we didn’t really worry about it too much at superspeedways because it didn’t really matter. It does matter now. Especially in my situation of where the 22 car is in points. It matters a little bit. If the perfect storm was to brew, we could be in trouble. We just need to be aware of the situation and what is going on.”

THE FEELING THAT BRAD REALLY WANTED YOU TO COME TO PENSKE, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? “It means a lot. It helps that transition over there a lot. When you have a teammate that wants you there, and it doesn’t hurt that it is the guy that won the championship that wants you there as a teammate, I think that helps a lot. It brings with it a lot of respect of the guys before I even walked into the place. That was a big deal. I feel like it made the transition quicker.”

THIS NEW GENERATION OF DRIVERS THAT ARE RUNNING MARATHONS. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF GUYS DOING THINGS LIKE THAT? “It doesn’t hurt to be in shape. Do you have to be able to run a half marathon before you jump in a race car to consider yourself a really good race car driver? No, probably not. It doesn’t hurt to be in really good shape though and being ready and able to handle situations. If you are physically worn out, you are mentally not there anymore. It works hand in hand.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Eric Gilbert , Joey Logano
Teams Team Penske
Article type Press conference
Tags daytona, ford, logano, nascar-cup, penske