Joey Logano Starts On Pole For Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Race

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Today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session was cancelled due to weather, meaning Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang will start on the pole for tomorrow night’s scheduled Coke Zero Sugar 400.  Logano addressed the media about starting up front.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE QUALIFIED AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON STARTING FIRST?  “I think anytime you can be first it’s a good position.  That’s where I want to be all the time.  The beginning or the end I want to be first all the time.  Where we would have qualified?  I don’t really care.  We’re first (laughing).  I don’t know, I don’t care.  I know I’m probably the one that is not complaining about it though.  We never made a qualifying run to really know where our single-car speed was gonna be, not that we were banking on rain or anything like that, it just played out that way.  We’ll take it.  I’ve never had a superspeedway pole before and I don’t know if this actually counts as one or not, but I’m starting first and I’m counting it and that’s all that matters.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS BEING THE LAST JULY 4TH RACE AT DAYTONA?  IS THAT A BIG DEAL?  “I think traditions are important and as a sport we stay true to a lot of traditions, but I also think if you don’t change tradition, you’ll always be where you’re at.  You can never move forward.  When I think about where this race is gonna be placed next year, the final race before the Playoffs, here we go.  Think about it.  If you come into this race and you think you’re 30 points to the good, and you think you’re gonna be alright to getting into the Playoffs, I wouldn’t think that’s a safe place to be at all.  You definitely want to be ahead of that because you never know who is gonna win this thing.  There’s a good chance the fastest car and the best teams usually win, but there’s also a good chance that they all crash and someone that doesn’t typically win wins this race.  We’ve seen that plenty of times, too.  So I don’t think there’s a safe place, unless you are a for sure lock going into it.  I think that piece of it, even though it’s not on the Fourth of July and we’re all so used to it being on this weekend, this race being here, but I think where it’s gonna be placed is just gonna add drama and I don’t see where that’s a bad thing in sports at all.”

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF BRAD’S MOVE ON THE TRACK YESTERDAY AND HAVE YOU EVER TALKED TO HIM ABOUT THE WAY SOME DRIVERS BLOCK?  “I guess he sent the message.  That’s what he said afterwards, I guess, on TV and I’d say message delivered to the field.  He had the opportunity to send a message and he did.  The rest of it, I guess you’ll have to ask him.  It’s not my place to talk about our conversations publicly.  Obviously, he was frustrated about the way he’s been raced.  That’s what he said to everyone on national television, so I guess he felt like that was his opportunity to send the message.”

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN FRUSTRATED BY THAT WITH TWO KINDS OF BLOCKING?  “There is definitely different kinds and if you’re going to, I think there is a lot of blocking that’s accepted, especially in today’s world of racing, especially in stock car racing and even this year maybe more than ever with the 550 rules, where places like Chicago or Kansas or Charlotte it’s more something we’re all getting used to and it’s kind of part of it, but there is that other level where the guy that’s getting blocked has to give unless you both crash, and at that point, if you’re willing to make that move, you have to be willing to take the punches with it.  You have to be willing to take the hit you’re gonna be receiving in the back bumper or you’re crossed up or you have to be willing to say, ‘we’re gonna crash.’  It’s a risky move.  Those risks will be taken any time, whether it’s early in the race, definitely at the end of the race where those blocks will happen.  I’m not saying that I won’t.  I will to.  It’s part of it.  We’re all gonna do it because it’s just the way we race these days and you just have to be ready for the repercussions of that action one way or the other.”


HOW DO YOU JUDGE THE RISK VS. REWARD WHEN YOU MAKE A MOVE LIKE THAT?  “You try to weigh it as much as you can in the two-tenths of a second you have, but the risk is weighed in your preparation and how confident you feel and where the other car is, how confident you feel in your spotter and what you feel like you have to be doing at that moment in the draft.  Is it one of those moments where you can say, ‘OK, it’s 50 laps into the race.’  You want to make the block, but maybe it’s a little too close to cut early in the race.  If it’s the end of the race and you’re willing to go for it, then you’re gonna do it, but you have that made up in your mind before the moment happens, I believe at least, or at least you should.  Also, there are good blockers and bad blockers on the race track, too.  It’s not just something that you just do.  There are some that are just better at it, where their blocks are more precise or quicker to where it never gets to the point where the car is gonna get to your back bumper, and you’re never gonna get to that point before it happens.  Those are the guys that are good at it, and there are some that are a little bit lazier to make the block and they’re a little slower to it and they see it later or whatever it is, those are the ones that get pushed around and get wrecked.”

HOW DO YOU APPROACH THIS RACE VERSUS IN FEBRUARY WHEN YOU HAVE LESS TRACK TIME?  “When I look at speedway racing, I guess I’ve got to go back maybe three years ago when the Gibbs cars worked together for maybe the first time that we had seen four cars be that selfless.  I think it was in the Daytona 500 and I think that was the evolution of speedway racing right there because we all realized at that point if we want to knock them out, we want to beat them, we have to join forces and we’ve seen Ford do a good job at that in the past, and then we go to Talladega and I feel like we’ve seen the next level that we saw the Chevys do.  Now it’s forced the garage again to somehow come up with an alliance to beat them.  That’s what we have to do, so it’s just evolving.  Superspeedway racing is in general and it always has and it’s something where you can take any kind of rules package and all these different things and it doesn’t really matter, it’s about what the mentality is on the race track.  There’s nothing that makes these cars run single-file up against the wall with one rules package more than the other.  It’s just what the drivers’ attitude is and what they think is gonna happen.  If you get in your mind that the top is gonna work and you have six or seven cars that think the top is the only way it works, well, guess what?  Once there are six or seven up top, then you have to go up there, everyone has to even if you don’t believe in it you have to go up there because it’s the only way you’re gonna race.  That doesn’t matter what the rules package is.  It’s the same thing with this.  Now it seems like you’re gonna have to somehow work as a team to be able to win this thing, or even to be in the top 10.  That’s just kind of how this race is gonna play out.”

IS THE NEW KENTUCKY CONFIGURATION MORE OR LESS IN YOUR WHEELHOUSE AND WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THERE?  “I guess it’s been, I guess I haven’t been as successful at that race track since they redid it.  I guess my Xfinity stats early in my career were really good there.  We’ve run well there since they reconfigured it, we just haven’t won yet.  Any reasoning?  It’s just completely a different race track.  It doesn’t even look the same from what it used to be, and once again it’s gonna be quite the different race track when you come there with this rules package.  That’s where it’s really gonna affect us a lot on how we race each other.  One and two obviously is gonna be pretty easy wide-open, but three and four is not going to be and when you have cars that we have right now that when you get in dirty air and that flat entry to turn three, I’d expect the track to widen out a little bit to where we’ll all be looking for air.”

DOES IT MATTER WHO IT IS WHO IS PUTTING ON THE BLOCK, WHETHER YOU LIFT OR PUNT?  “Yes.  Yes, it does.”

DO YOU HAVE MORE THROTTLE RESPONSE WITH THE TAPERED SPACER NOW?  CAN YOU CONTROL YOUR OWN DESTINY A BIT BETTER NOW?  “I don’t think you can control it anymore than we used to.  I think you’re in quite a bit of control of your own destiny here anyway, but maybe the recovery factor is a little better.  If something was to happen, you have more horsepower to get back up to speed quicker, but once you’re up to speed they run pretty much the same.  You have so much more aero drag than what we used to that kind of levels you back out to where it is.  Even though you feel like you have more horsepower, there are times that maybe when someone is pushing you or something like that it’s easier to spin the tires because you have more horsepower, someone is bumping you down the straightaway and stuff you have more horsepower, you just have so much more drag that just kind of brings you back.”


BUT WHEN YOU PUNCH THE THROTTLE DOES IT SHOVE YOU BACK IN THE SEAT A LITTLE BIT?  “A little bit, like restarts and things like that, a little bit there, yeah.”

WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR GOING OUT THERE TOMORROW.  DO YOU TRY TO HELP RYAN SINCE YOU AND BRAD HAVE A WIN?  IS IT AN ALL-FORD MENTALITY OR TEAM PENSKE?  “I guess you’ll have to wait and see.  That’s why you watch the race.  I think what you’re gonna see, I don’t think it’s gonna be a secret to anyone, you’re gonna see manufacturers working together just because of what we saw in Talladega.  It forces everyone’s hands to where you have to do that to have a chance.  You hope that you’re the guy in the lead of it, but you might not be and you have to be OK with it.”

WILL YOU PUSH RYAN IF YOU CAN?  “I want to push anything with a Blue Oval on it.”

THOUGHTS AGAIN ON THIS RACE MOVING TO THE END OF THE REGULAR SEASON.  “I think in general that making this a cutoff race before the Playoffs is a good move.  I think that keeps something real exciting and adds a lot of drama to our sport to where you’re never out of this thing.  Sometimes if you weren’t really in contention for that bubble spot by points by the time you got to the final race of the cutoffs, you kind of thought, ‘I’m kind of out of it.  I might not win at that type of race track.’  But here anybody can win, and so I think by NASCAR moving this race to that moment is gonna be something that adds more drama and more possibilities of things that can happen, so cool.  I think that’s kind of what the schedule does in general, a lot of the moves they did over the off season they announced at least is going to really just add more stuff for you guys to talk about and more for us to worry about.  That’s kind of what it does.”

Campbell Marketing & Communications for Ford Performance

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