Joey Logano gunning for second win of 2014

Joey Logano is ready to tackle 'The Lady in Black' after taking the win at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion – HOW DO YOU BUILD UPON THE WIN LAST WEEK COMING TO DARLINGTON AND HOW THAT HELPS YOU THIS WEEKEND? “When you get that win, especially with both Team Penske cars getting wins early in the year you are able to switch your focus to Chase stuff, whether that is tests or new specs coming down the line. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t trying to not win this weekend and I feel like we will have another good piece here at Darlington and the car will have good speed. It is cool to see your name on the car with the winner sticker next to it. That is a good sign. It is nice to have both our cars in and we can focus in this weekend and kind of have that distraction of needing to win and all the pressure that comes with that relieved a little bit.”

WITH THE SUCCESS YOU HAVE ENJOYED THIS SEASON, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE LIVING UP TO THE “SLICED BREAD” EXPECTATIONS NOW. CAN YOU JUST SETTLE IN AND RACE? “I guess that is up to you guys and what you want to write. To me I feel like it is. I feel like it has taken me quite a number of years to figure out what I need to do in this sport and how to race against these guys and what I need in the race car here to run well. Did I start too soon? Yeah, no doubt I did. But it is an experience that I value a lot right now because I am 22 years old with six years of experience behind me and there is nobody else out here who has that. I am thankful for that opportunity and the tough times I went through to figure it out. We have had a lot of fast cars lately and led laps in about every race. We have that win and we have a lot of top-five’s and are sitting fourth in points. Things are going good right now. All the hard work is paying off.”

CAN YOU BE A LITTLE MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT HOW HAVING BOTH CARS IN THE CHASE IMPACTS THINGS? “I think really it comes down to the test stuff. We will focus our tests to races in the Chase. That makes sense. Really, when you are at the race track here, we are always trying different things and always trying to see what that next little piece is. With this new rules package with the ride height rule there is some low hanging fruit still to grab. We need to figure out what works best with these cars and we will be trying different things like we already do, so that doesn’t change. Really, like I said, at the shop it is about making sure we get our specs right and get some nice new cars ready and get our guns loaded for when the Chase starts.”

YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT HOW AT PENSKE YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET A FEEL OUT ON THE TRACK LIKE YOU USED TO HAVE RUNNING THE NATIONWIDE CARS AT GIBBS. CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THEY ADVANTAGE OF THAT IS FOR YOU? IS IT FEELING LIKE YOU CAN COMPETE MORE AT PLACES YOU DON’T USUALLY COMPETE? BEING COMFORTABLE? STARTING OFF A WEEKEND ON A POSITIVE NOTE WITHOUT HAVING TO DIG OUT OF A HOLE? “Yeah, all of the above. It is really confidence - that is what it comes down to. I was able to drive those Nationwide cars with a ton of confidence because I was able to go out there and win. If you look at our stats this year we have run really well and that brings a lot of confidence. That is what momentum is, it is the same thing. We are able to use that to our advantage and that goes throughout the whole team, not just the driver. The team is in great spirits and they have been working really hard over the past few weeks testing a lot and it makes it all worth it when you win a race. When you win it is like it makes all the work worth it. Winning races is really hard and you need to make sure you enjoy them when you get them. To answer your question it is momentum, confidence and I feel like that is what I am the way I am and I feel like the whole team is that way also.”

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – HOW DO YOU FEEL COMING HERE? “I feel good. This track for me has been a hit or miss place. I came here my rookie year and led a lot of laps and finished sixth and it was kind of a surprising day for me because I didn’t think I would run well here and this place doesn’t really cater to rookies very often. At that point it was my best race in a Sprint Cup car. Ever since then I have been kind of hit or miss. I would have a good race, then a bad race and back and forth. I think we learned a lot from last year when we ran here and I feel both our cars missed it last time we were here and we learned from that. We have a different package and different stuff and hopefully we are better this time.”

THERE ARE A LOT OF YOUNG DRIVERS IN THE SERIES NOW, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? “I think the most comparable one is Chase Elliott, to what I was able to do when I was 18. He won at 18 and I was about 18 and he came in very fresh and he has his Dad who has been in the Cup Series a long time so he understands what he is getting himself into better than I did. It is hard when you are that young to have patience. You want to move up as quick as you can. You want to get there. I think everyone has seen what I have gone through a little bit but like I said it is worth it. It is a lot of hard work and tough but worth it at the end. I think he is the most comparable. You look at Kyle Larson, he has been racing longer and comes into the series and runs better right off the bat with his experience and knows what he needs to do with the race car a little bit. There is some talent coming for sure, those two in particular are going to be strong and here for years. As far as advice, I don’t wanna give them too much because I don’t want to get beat. They are definitely a couple of good young guys that are going to be here awhile and will be racing for wins. I am looking forward to it.”

DOES IT MEAN SOMETHING THAT YOU STILL ARE THE YOUNGEST WINNER? “It was close but I am glad I still have that. It is a good record to have. He came close but it is cool to still have it.”

HOW BIG HAS IT BEEN TO COME OUT THIS YEAR AND KEEP PACE WITH WHAT YOU DID LAST YEAR? “Yeah, this off season all the magazine come out and project where you are going to finish and they had us in 15th and I was like, ‘Why?’ I was reading NASCAR Illustrated and wondered what the heck that was all about. I have set my goal as proving them wrong and so far so good. It is important to come out here and run strong because we ended the year with momentum and we know we need to keep that going. With all the rules changes and everything changing this year it was going to be a challenge but also an opportunity to capitalize on that and I feel Team Penske has done a great job with that, qualifying, aero, ride heights, we have been able to capitalize on all of that. We have been able to take that momentum through the off-season and keep it there.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE AN OFF WEEKEND AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS? “It is nice to have because we have been running hard and this week being very short with racing Monday and then everyone knows what happens after you win with obligations and interviews. We have been wide open for awhile. Tuesday night I am having a little party for the guys to celebrate our win because we didn’t get to do that yet. Hopefully it is two wins by then that we get to celebrate. From there I guess I was talking to my fiancée about going to Charleston for a couple days and enjoy the off week and then get back to work.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – RICHMOND IS COMING UP. HOW PREPARED ARE YOU FOR THAT? “It hasn’t been the best race track for me. It is a tough place and we went to Memphis recently which I feel is a very similar track to Richmond and we were able to test some new things out. This ride height rule, it is not a small deal. It is a really big deal how different it is and I feel like it is even bigger difference on the short tracks than it is on speedways like this. To go there and kind of get a feel for what we need, I have been there three times already this year trying to figure out what it is going to take to run well when we get to Richmond.”

Ford Racing Media

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joey Logano , Kyle Larson , Chase Elliott
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske
Article type Press conference
Tags darlington, joey logano, nascar, team penske