JOEY LOGANO, No.20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How hectic is a weekend when you are running two races? "There's weekends that I feel like I would rather run one race, but when those weekends come by that I only run one race, then I wish I was running both. When it all comes down to it -- I'm a racer and I want to race. I'm lucky enough that Joe Gibbs Racing has a Nationwide team -- a great Nationwide team. I just have a lot of fun with it and it's a good time. I just like doing it. Do I get a lot out of it by running it and learning much for the Sunday race? No, but it doesn't hurt -- I would say that much."
Are you surprised at how many races Kyle Busch runs each weekend? "He runs the Truck races, which adds a lot to it. I think I'm good with two. I'm alright with that. It comes to a point where you have to prioritize your Cup car. That's your most important thing. You don't want to take anything away from it. Once you get done debriefing with everything you've done with your Cup car, then you can go run your Nationwide car and have fun with that. You just have to know what the right amount is to go do, I think."
How do you not take away from the Cup effort when you are going between series in one weekend? "A lot of times I start Nationwide practice late because I'm talking to Zip (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) and just trying to pour my brains out to him on what I've got with my Home Depot car. And then I will run to the other garage and then I'll start over again. It's hard when you go back and forth to remember what you're car is doing. That's why you have to tell him everything. After two hours in a Nationwide car, you start to forget what happened in the Cup car. To be honest with you, the toughest part is just when you have to go switch back over to Cup qualifying. That's usually how the schedule works, especially last year. You run two hours of Nationwide and then you get back in your Cup car and run the best lap you've ran all day and try to figure out, `What did I do before?' It's a matter of remembering that and kind of making mental notes on the whole gig."
How much did you learn in the final 10 races of last season? "I think the biggest thing is that it was a big confidence builder -- not just for me, but for my whole team. It's huge. I told everyone when we came down here for the test a few weeks ago, just looking at the faces on all my guys -- how excited they were just to be back at the race track, the confidence they brought over -- that's huge. That's telling me already that it's already transferred over to this year. Everyone is pumped up about starting this year just because of the way we ended last year. We just have to be able to do that throughout the season to make the Chase. If we keep running in the top-10 and top- five, eventually that win is going to come and we just have to be consistent and not put ourselves in positions to wreck. That was the thing that happened last year. We had a lot of good runs, we had plenty of top-10s, but we had too many wrecks and too many outside of the top-20 finishes. We have to work on that consistency and we honed in on that toward the end of the year. We did a good job with that so we just have to keep doing that."
How difficult is it for young drivers to get a chance in NASCAR? "I think the sports changed a little bit from when I started. I feel like for me I was one of the last guys to make it without bringing money to a race team. It's really hard to do that and I look at a lot of my friends now, to this day and they're struggling trying to get a ride. Coleman Pressley, he's my roommate, I talk to him every night about it. He's trying to put something together all the time to get in a race car. It's a tough gig. I think NASCAR does a good job with the `Drive for Diversity' program and trying to find diversity drivers to come into NASCAR and I feel like they've done a good job with that. They definitely work really hard at that. I feel like they get opportunities, it's just you have to perform when you get to those opportunities."
Will you be disappointed if you don't make the Chase this year? "Yeah, if you look at the first few races of last year, we were Chase caliber. We were top-10 in points. Then summer came and we just self-destructed. That's the part we have to work on this year. I do feel like it's more realistic this year than it was last year to make the Chase. I feel like we can do that. Like I say, we showed it at the end of last year that we can do this. I think all of us would be disappointed. We just need to be realistic about what we're doing every weekend. It's hard to look at the Chase -- it's so far down the road. I'm a race by race person, I say it all the time and I just want to do the best I can every weekend when I get to the race track -- depending on what cards are dealt to me that week."
Do you wish you could have raced against Dale Earnhardt? "It would be cool. To this day, you look at some of the old race footage and stuff like that -- watching the wrecks. It's just cool, it's (Dale) Earnhardt. He's sitting in there with the open face helmet all sitting low, leaned to the left and all that, it's just cool. I never got to meet him or anything like that, but it would have been cool to say you went out there and raced with him. It is what it is. I wish I could have, but we're still racing, we're still out here at Daytona having fun."
Could you imagine racing with an open face helmet like Dale Earnhardt? "No, I couldn't imagine having one. I've always had a full face helmet, the HANS device -- the whole gig. It's a completely different world. You look at even before him and they had bench seats in the car. It's completely different. It just shows how much this sport has grown and made it a lot safer for us drivers. Everyone says they're nervous for me if I get hurt or something like that. I think it's one of the safest sports out there. I would rather do this than play football against some 300-pound linebacker. Especially me, I would get killed. I feel like it's a safe sport."
What do you remember about the 2001 Daytona 500? "I remember I watched the race, I watched the wreck and didn't really think much of the wreck. It didn't look that severe -- looking at it. After hearing the numbers it was. As a fan and I didn't really know a whole lot about racing then, to be honest with you, I watched the race and I went outside and played basketball. And I came back inside, a couple hours later and Mike Helton was on TV and he was talking. It was unexpected for sure."
Who was the first driver that you race against now that you met when you were younger? "Mark Martin was. I raced against his son when we were eight or nine years old. Then a few years later, Mark made that quote about everything and that was really cool. It's cool to be out there racing against him. Jeff Gordon was one of my other favorite drivers when I was growing up. It's just cool to be out there racing against them. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that was ever going to happen. I was just racing and having fun. It just kind of took off."
Is there a big respect difference in running up front versus mid-pack? "Oh yeah. It doesn't matter who it is, you run up towards the front, everyone runs a little bit cleaner and nicer with each other. Finishing 20th is the hardest you'll work all year. That is the hardest because everyone is racing each other like crazy, no give and take or anything. Up front there's that give and take, everyone's having a good day, some might be happier about something that day until the race comes down to the end and then it's really fun, especially when you're up towards the front and you can see the lead. That's the difference though. When you're 20th, you're fighting all day and when you're up front, the last 100 laps is when you're really digging."
Is it demoralizing to see Jimmie Johnson win five consecutive championships? "It's motivating -- I think. More than anything. Just go out there and dig. It's something where you want to take him off the top. You want to do whatever you can do. I think every driver thinks of it that way too. I think we're all out there -- we want to be the best and we want to beat the best."
Does the new surface at Daytona change the entire race dynamic? "Everybody's race is completely different. This used to be a big time handling race track and you would be out there hanging on for 500 miles basically and these things will go wherever you wanted and it all depended on where the cars were around you and things going on. Now your car is in the race track and it's just like Talladega. It's going to be a big old pack and we're going to be racing the heck out of each other. The interesting part is going to be that we aren't going to have as much room here as we do at Talladega. We're going to be one lane narrower, so I don't know what that's going to bring us, but it is what it is and we'll see what happens. The only thing I'm nervous about is when we get those two-car drafts and they start taking off. Is there going to be room to go when they start taking off in the pack and they get that two car draft - going? There's one lane narrower so where are we going to go and we have to figure that out. Those are going to be the situations that we might get ourselves in that may cause a wreck or maybe we're all going to be smart about it and that not happen. When it comes down to the end of the race for the Daytona 500 or the Bud Shootout, we all want to win and we're all going to do whatever it takes to win a race."
-source: toyota motorsports