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Ford Performance NASCAR: Joey Logano Phoenix Media Availability

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series
Phoenix Media Availability | Friday, March 12 2021

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang, is sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings and coming off a ninth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was a guest today on a NASCAR-hosted Zoom call and talked about this weekend’s race in Phoenix.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang — DO YOU LIKE HAVING A RACE AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE EARLIER IN THE SEASON AND SHOULD NASCAR CHANGE THE CHAMPIONSHIP TRACK ON A REGULAR BASIS? “I do like racing there. I don’t mind if it’s racing there once or racing there twice in the championship racetrack. Homestead, we only went to once a year and that was fine, and last year we went to Phoenix twice and that went OK too, so I don’t think I have an opinion on that. As far as changing the championship racetrack I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I think it should move every year. I think it should be like the Super Bowl, where it’s something that moves around. The cities should bid on it, just like the Super Bowl. I don’t see why we couldn’t do that. Now, obviously it being late in the year, it probably ties our hands to some of the more northern racetracks that probably can’t do that, unfortunately, but I think it should move around. That’s something the fans would like to see. I think bringing the championship race to them is pretty cool. As we add more and more racetracks to the schedule that are bringing the races to the fans, let’s bring the championship race to the fans, too. If you’re not from Phoenix and you can’t afford to travel all the way out there, it’s kind of cool to be able to do that.”

PHOENIX WAS THE LAST REGULAR RACE YOU HAD LAST YEAR. WHAT IS IT YOU MISS MOST BESIDES FANS AND FAMILY AT THE TRACK? “There’s a lot that I miss. It’s such a loaded question when I get that one. I miss a lot. Obviously, the fans not being at the racetrack, the energy that they bring is second to none, so that quietness is awful. I like hearing the cheering, the booing and everything in between. I like that. I like having our sponsors at the racetrack and people walking through the garage thinking it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen when they see these cars up close. I remember my first time that I went in the garage as a kid and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s Jeff Gordon’s car or Dale Junior’s car. That’s the one I see on TV.’ It’s the coolest thing and I want people to have that same experience that I had, so I want fans back desperately and we’re doing that. Don’t get me wrong, we’re definitely adding as much as we safely can, so I like that we’re pushing the boundaries there. I miss practice. I miss qualifying. I don’t miss it every week, but I miss working on the car and talking to your crew chief and the engineers about how can we be better for the race. The moments when you go out there to qualify and your adrenaline is going so hard that you’re shaking after a lap because you’re pushing so much harder than you feel comfortable. I miss that feeling. Like I said, we don’t need that every week, but I do think — and we’re gonna have some of that this year as we go to new racetracks, but I miss some of that going to work on things.”

WHAT IS YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL HEADING TO PHOENIX THIS WEEKEND? “We’ve been close to a few victories already, so I feel like you look at on the road course, the Daytona 500 we were really close to winning those races. We had a struggle in Miami. We had a mediocre day at Vegas, and I think we’ve learned something at each one of those racetracks so far. I think that we’re gonna be competitive. I’d like to think that. It’s been a great racetrack for us as you just pointed out. The 750 rules package was our strength last year, so I’d like to think that we’re gonna be competitive when we get down there and we’ll see what we’ve got. It’s hard to say exactlly how you’re gonna feel without practice and knowing for sure, but if we go off of the way we’ve run there the last couple of times we should be good.”

WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL CHAMPIONSHIP TRACK BE? “I don’t know if I have that answer for you. I don’t know that I have the ideal. I think the ideal would be it moves around and it’s somewhere different every year. I think that would be something pretty neat.”

CAN YOU GO BACK TO THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THE ATLANTA RACE AND WHERE YOU WERE WHEN YOU FOUND OUT THERE WOULD BE NO ATLANTA RACE? “Absolutely. I remember flying down to Atlanta with Daniel Suarez, that we were gonna do the Coca-Cola family dinner that we have every year, so we flew down there Thursday and was supposed to have dinner Thursday night. Of course, that got cancelled as soon as we landed, and then we went to sleep — my wife is there, Hudson, our oldest, was there and Brittany was pregnant and I remember the next morning everything started happening. That’s when the NBA shut down and it was like, ‘OK, what’s going on here?’ And I remember being on the phone with Travis Geisler and I was talking to him and I asked him, ‘Are you guys coming down?’ He was like, ‘Well, we’re all waiting at the airport trying to figure out what we’re gonna do.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ We might not practice. We might just race, and all the trucks were lined up ready to park and all of a sudden there’s no truck race, it’s just gonna be a Cup race this weekend. OK. And then an hour-and-a-half later it’s, ‘We’re not racing this weekend.’ ‘Wait, what? We’re not racing? We race. That’s what we do.’ It was just a weird feeling. My wife and I were just talking like, ‘What do we do?’ We just went to the beach. I mean, it’s like where do you go? And that obviously started the challenge of how do we get back to the racetrack as soon as possible? How do we keep our industry alive and strong and how do we look at this crisis and make it an opportunity to become stronger and I feel like our industry looked at all those questions very seriously and was able to come out ahead on the whole thing.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE IT’S BEEN A YEAR? “Gosh, it feels like it’s been three years. It feels like it’s been a long time. It’s crazy to think about how long we’ve been living this way. I don’t think anyone would have ever guessed it. I would have never thought this. Even when it started it was like, ‘OK, maybe this is three weeks worth of lockdown and then we’ll be good to go.’ I’m sure we’ll figure out a way past this since then because we never lived through this before and now here we are a year into it and I think we’re obviously closer to the end than the beginning, but, boy oh boy, how much longer can it be? You just want to go live freely. You want to breathe without wearing protection. You want to be able to go to your local restaurant or store or wherever and not be worried about anything. You just live our own life like we used to. It’s crazy to think that, but the things that we took for granted so much is what we miss the most.”

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT PHOENIX THAT FITS YOUR RACING STYLE? “Phoenix is just a fun track. It’s one of those tracks that has a decent amount of speed, but is still considered a short track, and then you have the PJ1 that they put down on the track that is a little bit unpredictable, depending on how it’s laid down and we’ll figure that out as we get there and I’ll see it from the XFINITY booth as I broadcast it for Fox on Saturday, so I’ll get a good idea of what that PJ1 looks like, but that’s definitely an interesting variable to this racetrack and the way they have the start-finish line there off of turn four and you have that d-shaped front straightaway to a really wide, flat turn one just makes restarts chaotic, which I think is exactly what they were going for when they moved the start-finish line and mission accomplished, if you ask me.”

HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE TRACK AT ATLANTA WITH THE WAY TIRES GO AWAY? “Driving down a gravel road. That’s kind of what it feels like. Not that you should be trying to go fast on a gravel road, but it feels a lot like that, that you’re just sliding around. There’s no grip at all. There’s more now than there used to be because we have a bunch of downforce and we don’t have as much horsepower, and it used to be when we had all the big power and the small spoiler it would be hard to get wide-open down that front straightaway, and you’re going 170 miles an hour or so on old tires and lighting them up all the way down the straightaway if you choose to. That’s awesome. It’s just cool, so now the race has changed some. There’s still a ton of tire wear, but the way you run the racetrack has changed a lot. To be successful there you have to look for different things, but it’s a fun racetrack, out of control feeling on old tires where you’re just slipping and sliding. It’s the slide for life all the way around the track. It never grips up. You have a ton of grip for about a lap-and-a-half, and then it’s like a constant cheese grater on your tires from there.”

HOW MUCH CHANGE IS THERE IN THE TRACK AT PHOENIX BETWEEN THE SPRING AND FALL RACE? “I didn’t feel anything much different. Like I said, the biggest thing that probably changes from time to time is how the PJ1 is applied to the racetrack, how thick they lay it down, how it’s worked in, all those things kind of change the way the race goes. It seems like the temperature this time of year and when we go back in the fall is pretty close to the same, so there’s not a whole bunch of changes out there. It’s not like they go through a rough winter or anything like that, where the track develops big huge bumps and things like that because of winter freeze. That doesn’t happen there, so it stays fairly consistent. Maybe a little bit more tire wear over time as the sun bakes on it, but nothing drastic. It’s slowly progressing that way, but nothing quick.”

HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO USE YOUR NOTES FROM LAST YEAR? HAS IT CHANGED ANY WITHOUT PRACTICE? “You really end up setting your car up fairly similar to last year because you might change one or two things here and there, but without practice how confident can you be coming off of something that was pretty decent? If you weren’t very good, then it’s, ‘OK, we might as well try something completely different,’ but if you have a competitive race car where you think you can compete to win, it’s really hard to come off of that and say, ‘We need to change three or four different things and this will make us better.’ Without trying it in practice? I don’t know how confident we’d feel in doing that, so it’s a lot different these days. Where we used to say what won last year won’t win this year, well, that might be the case still, but not as much as it used to be because you can really take yourself out of the running by changing too much.”



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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