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Joey Logano Coca-Cola 600 Media Availability

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series
Coca-Cola 600 Advance | Friday, May 24, 2024

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Team Penske, is coming off a win in last weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race. He stopped by the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield media center earlier today to talk about National Mobility Awareness Month and this weekend’s race.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse – CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAD DRIVING WITH TORSTEN GROSS AND EXPERIENCING A CAR EQUIPPED FOR DRIVERS WHO CAN ONLY USE THEIR HANDS? “This is a really neat program that Pennzoil is partnering up with Torsten and his foundation and really just giving everyone the ability to drive their vehicle when their mobility isn’t quite the same as everybody here. They have a great way of trying to help everybody get in a vehicle and drive with just your hands and with no feet. It was a neat experience. The hand controls bolt right into a car. We had a stock Dark Horse Mustang right there and they bolted it all in there pretty quickly. The throttle, you turn it. The brakes, you push it in and then you strap your hand in on the other end of the steering wheel and off you go. It’s definitely a really neat experience, challenging to learn how to do it because you’re initial reaction is to hit the brakes with your feet, or the gas, but he tied my feet up to the door so I couldn’t even use my feet. We had a good laugh about that and then we tried driving it around the Roval here. It was cool. I wasn’t very smooth for a while. I eventually got a little bit more of a handle on it, but the point is it’s really neat that he races and that he can compete. Think about it. There aren’t other sports where a paraplegic can compete with somebody who has normally functioning legs and be able to compete together in the same league. He does that weekly, so how neat is that to be able to do that. He was very good at it, much better than me with as smooth as he was, but definitely a really neat experience. That’s something neat Pennzoil has done to really show how their pushing forward in a lot of different areas and just a fun experience, for sure. The long version of the video is really fun. I would say go to You Tube and find it on Pennzoil’s channel. It’s pretty neat.”

DO YOU THINK THIS COULD OPEN UP TO WHERE IT WOULD BE ALLOWED IN NASCAR DOWN THE ROAD? “Honestly, I don’t see a reason why it couldn’t. It’s all about comfort and reps. That’s what I realized as I was driving. I was like, ‘OK, I could see how this is something that can make sense.’ Getting the car set up for that would be the biggest thing. Our cars have pretty stiff steering. You’d need a little bit easier steering rack to be able to steer. You should see how you have to get your arm in there. There are a couple extra braces to be able to steer it, but I think if you get all of that right, I don’t see why you couldn’t. The upper body strength that you need is ridiculous to be able to steer with one hand for a long period of time. You aren’t ever putting your other hand back on the wheel. You can’t. To be able to drive for a long period of time, I think would be hard. I don’t think it’s impossible. I just think it would be really, really hard to do that. I think it definitely can happen, though, if the opportunity arose.”

WHY DID YOU GET YOUR CDL? “So, I grew up around trucks. My father had a trucking company growing up, so I always drove trucks. I still like driving trucks all the time, but I need to do it legally, so I went to school. This morning, we woke up and I drove up to Statesville and took my test up there at the DMV and I passed it, so that’s good. I’m officially a CDL license holder, so I’m sure now that anytime we get in a bind I’m gonna be ready to truck. I want to be the first one in a long time to drive their truck to the racetrack, so that would be kind of cool to do. It was a bit of a process the last few weeks of going to school and learning and driving around on the road. I had a lot of fun. It’s challenging to do it. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. I was nervous. I told the guy doing the test with me I said, ‘Listen, I drive in high-pressure situations every single weekend. You’re making me nervous.’ He’s over there and ‘every time I make a turn you’re writing something down.’ I said, ‘You’re wigging me out.’ We were laughing, but I was able to do it. I made the obstacle course and got it done.”

WOULD YOU RATHER WIN A LOT OF RACES AND NO CHAMPIONSHIP OR A FEW RACES AND MANY CHAMPIONSHIPS? “Championships. In any sport, that’s mainly what you’re measured by. You think of basketball or football, they don’t ask ‘what was your winning percentage or how many wins did you have?’ How many rings do you have? That’s what everybody asks. With that said, race wins are a lot harder than football wins. I don’t want that to come across the wrong way and I’ll explain why. A football game is a 50-50 chance. We’re 1 in 40. You think about that and race wins are gonna be worth more because it’s harder to do. The odds are not in your favor to go out there and win every single week. A good season is six wins, especially these days, so it’s really hard to accomplish a lot of wins. I think you can measure somebody for sure for their success on how many wins they have, for sure, but I think the championship thing has always been a really big deal, I think, in sports in general.”

DO YOU FEEL THE FINE FOR RICKY STENHOUSE JR. WAS APPROPRIATE? “I’m not gonna get in the middle of that one, to be honest with you. I’m glad I’m not in the middle of it. I think, really, what we all want is consistency and knowing what the rule is and what’s OK and what’s not OK. That’s really all you ask for. Whether it’s the car or restarts or altercations apparently, just let me know the rules is what I want to know. What is the price I’m about to pay if I make this decision and is it worth it? That’s really how it’s got to be is just looking for consistency in that to where it’s the same all the time, and I know it’s hard to do. That’s a lot to ask for because every situation could be a little bit different. It’s a judgment call. There’s no black and white. When you look at a post-race altercation at what point is sometimes it’s OK and sometimes it’s not? I don’t know. I’d like to have a little bit more clarity on it to be honest with you, but I don’t know the answers.”

NASCAR PUSHED LAST WEEK’S START ABOUT 15 MINUTES LATER TO ACCOMMODATE KYLE LARSON. IF THEY DO THAT THIS WEEK IS THAT OK? “I think as long as it’s within reason. There’s a lot of different things that go into this and, as a driver who has been in the sport for a long time, I see that there’s more to it than just me driving the race car. When you think about it, the start time for the race has been promoted for a certain time. Pushing it back a little bit, I’m sure, doesn’t really affect much. Pushing it back a lot does affect it a lot. Are we willing to give up ratings to get somebody here that chose not to be here to go race the Indy 500? That’s fine and really cool, don’t get me wrong. It’s really cool, but it was his choice to do that, so I don’t know at what point is out of reason to wait, but I don’t think we should race very, very long by any means because I don’t want it to hurt the rest of our sport for somebody that showed up late for the race. I don’t think I can call in and say, ‘Hey, I’m stuck in traffic because I left my house late. Can you wait for me?’ It’s not gonna happen. I also think this is a different scenario because of the cool factor and how it is good for motorsports all the way through. I just think at some point there’s got to be a point where we’ve got to start the race. I don’t know exactly where that’s at.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE WITH TORSTEN AND HOW HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON DRIVING AND MOBILITY? “Some of the things I learned the most about Torsten by being with him wasn’t even in the car. It was just how he talked out of the car and his attitude on life, his approach on life. After his accident, you really could have gone one or two ways. He could have been in a really bad spot for the rest of his life and instead he just looked at it as an opportunity and, as odd as this sounds, he seemed thankful for his accident because of what came because of that opportunity and what he’s made of it. That was the number one thing I took out of the day. Outside of the car. Outside of all the other stuff attitude is everything in life and to see a situation where I think I would be pretty down for a long, long time and I’m sure he was for a while, but he’s just one of those people that’s gonna make the best of any situation that’s dealt to him and there aren’t many worse from a mobility situation. He’s been able to grow something out of nothing. He didn’t race before. This is all new to him, so to see that, I think that’s the number one thing I took and learned from him.”

HOW EYE-OPENING WAS IT TO REALIZE THIS IS THE ONLY SPORT WHERE SOMEBODY IN A WHEELCHAIR CAN COMPETE AGAINST SOMEBODY WHO IS ABLE-BODIED ON THE SAME LEVEL? “Very eye-opening. To be honest with you, I never thought about it. We’ve done a lot of things at the Paralympics before with the sled hockey stuff years ago. There’s no way that they would be able to compete in the NHL, but with this scenario I do believe with enough practice and God given talent and determination if there is somebody that can get good enough driving just with their hands there’s no reason they can’t compete on Sunday with us.”

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT DRIVING WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO USE YOUR FEET AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO GET USED TO IT? “Honestly, it’s like anything else. The first bit is really easy. To drive down the road, I wouldn’t have a problem at all, just like everybody else can drive down the road here today. But when you try to push a car to its very extreme, that’s where it changes. When I started, of course I’m gonna try to push it. They didn’t want me to. I didn’t listen. I was gonna go. They put me on a racetrack in a Mustang what do you think is gonna happen? Let’s be real here, so I throttled her up and I just wasn’t smooth. Driving a car fast it’s very important – all of your inputs are very slow. You get the car loaded, you get onto the brakes easy, you do all those things and I was just choppy. The hard part is you use throttle, you twist the throttle The brake you push. You can do both at the same time. You don’t want to, but you can be on the gas and hitting the brakes and getting the car all in a bind. I did that a few times until you can kind of figure that out, so you’ve just got to use muscle memory to figure out how to do that. The other thing is just the steering you’ve got one hand on it, so the fine-tuning turning that we do just to find increments I couldn’t do that as quickly. When you see our hands in their they’re moving just a little bit at a time. We feel that we’re moving there. It was kind of like bigger motions when I was doing it, but I think some of that is just muscle memory getting better at it and I was getting tired to be honest with you. I ran a few laps there and my shoulders were tired, just a bunch of muscles I never use, so it was definitely a lot different.”

CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF WORKING WITH THIS PARTNERSHIP FOR A WHILE? “Quite possibly. You never know where life brings you sometimes. Really, all I do is I just go with the flow on a lot of things. You’d be surprised. It’s really cool as a race car driver. There are a lot of things that show up your way and I’ve learned this probably from Kyle Petty more than anybody else. He just doesn’t say no and you’d be surprised the amount of stories and things that you can do in life if you just say yes and go to the event, or when something comes your way and you just give it a shot. There are a lot of really cool things that happen. Nobody does it better than Kyle. That’s why I brought his name up. He’s the one I think of all the time. He’s like that movie Yes, Man. That’s who that guy is. I try to be like that as much as I can, not as much as him, but I try a little bit and so you never know what comes up next and where I end up. If you told me 10 years ago we’d be sitting where we are today, parts of it I would believe and not all of it.”

HOW MUCH OF A KICKSTART CAN THE WIN LAST WEEK BE FOR YOUR SEASON AND WHAT HASN’T GONE RIGHT UP UNTIL THIS POINT? “It was great to go up there and grab a win. I wish it was points, for sure, but a million bucks is still pretty dang good. I don’t think anyone in here would complain about that, so I’m not going to either. It happened to be one of those weekends where everything went perfect. The car was fast. Qualifying was good. We led all of the laps. Everything you can ask for. We haven’t had that this year. We’ve had something happen in almost every race, where things are going well and then, ‘uh’ that happened or we just didn’t go fast. Odds and ends, different things. It’s just been that kind of year for us. There’s a long ways to go. We’re halfway to the playoffs. We have time to make up and get out of the hole that we’re in, but we’re in a hole. There’s no doubt about that, so we’ll keep attacking and getting after it. The good thing is that win does help the momentum of the team. It helps the confidence. We got them all together a couple nights ago at my house and we had a lot of fun and celebrated a win. We came down to the concert last night and we had a little bit of fun down there as well, so there’s a lot of good things that come along with that and a lot of momentum and attitudes that are a lot happier, and I do think that helps performance all the way through. I feel like we kind of needed this good uptick, a lot of good things happening right now in everybody’s life, so that’s a good place to be.”

YOU FLEW IN AN F-16 DURING YOUR MISSION 600 VISIT. HOW DID THAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU VIEW THIS SUNDAY IN THE 600? “I would say I’ve been very fortunate to the point of saying yes to things, to go on some USO Tours in my life and visit other military bases and we do the Mission 600 thing every year and get to go visit a military base and speak to our military. At this point, for me, I understand it – at least as much as a civilian can – to realize that these guys are just real bad asses that are far superior than me, and 99 percent of the world out there. These people, I can’t put it into perspective. I wish everyone got to go and do some of these things because you would appreciate your country even more than you already do. It is absolutely incredible to see the commitment, the discipline that these men and women have to put it all on the line for strangers, and when they go to combat, even if they come back OK, they’ve gone through a lot and their families that are at home for that long period of time, I’m sure there are some military families in this room that understand some of this a lot more than me, but I don’t like leaving my family for two days at a time. I couldn’t imagine months or years at a time. That’s the craziest thing I ever heard. I couldn’t help but think about that when I’m there and speaking to them at the Shaw Air Force Base. That’s their home, so they’re at home at the moment, so I was able to meet some of their families too, and even when I was in the jet itself we were flying around and doing all of these incredible maneuvers and I was thinking, ‘Imagine if someone was trying to shoot me right now.’ That’s a whole different game, or whatever the mission may be and you have to make those really, really hard decisions – hard decisions – not whether we should pit and and put two tires on or stay out. That’s a very small decision in comparison to what these people are doing. That’s why I love this weekend so much. I really do appreciate it and my perspective changed years ago because of these things and I wish that everyone would get to experience that, but I think we do a good job here at Charlotte with the speedway and Coca-Cola together trying to not only honor our military because they deserve it, but help our country understand a little bit more of what they go through and helps reminds us that every Memorial Day Weekend, but we should be reminded every day and I think that’s hard to do sometimes because we’re in our little world. We’re in our little NASCAR world and we think about going in circles every day and we think that’s a big deal, but in the grand scheme of things it’s the smallest thing in the world when you think about what these guys are doing for sure. It’s a really cool weekend that we can do that. Thank you Charlotte Motor Speedway for doing that, and Coca-Cola. It’s a really neat thing to do for sure, and it scared the hell out of me, just so you know.”

WILL YOU BE PAYING ANY ATTENTION TO HOW KYLE LARSON DOES IN THE INDY 500 AS SOMEONE WHO IS REPRESENTING THE NASCAR SIDE OF MOTORSPORTS THERE AS WELL? “Absolutely, yeah. Honestly, I hope he finishes fourth. I really do. I can say that, right? That would be awesome. Obviously, I want a Penske car to win. Those are my guys. This is our team, but I want Kyle Larson to do good, and he already has, let’s be real. No matter what happens in the race, at this point he’s been pretty impressive with what he’s done there. I don’t know if there are many other drivers that can do what he’s doing. He’s just got a ton of natural talent that he can just jump in and do this type of stuff. I think it’s awesome he’s doing it. Don’t get me wrong with what I said earlier. What he’s doing is awesome, really, really cool. It’s great for motorsports in general. I think it’s just as good for NASCAR as it is for IndyCar to have him there, so I think for motorsports it’s great. It’s a huge storyline. People are talking about it. I hope it all works out. I hope the weather and all of it works the way it’s supposed to. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But, at this point, I’d say you’ve got to call it a success.”

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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