Racing for a championship, it’s bigger than any other race. You have to learn to handle that pressure. The only way you know how to do that is going through it multiple times.
I feel like that gives not just myself but my whole race team a clear advantage going into this race on top of some of the other things we already know.
I feel great about where we’re at. I feel great that we’ve been here so many times and we can focus on doing our jobs.
Q. Having the extra time to prep, did you feel that this week, you have a head start on this?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, it’s really nice because it’s even a bigger advantage than it was when we were racing in Miami because the car has to leave sooner now, right? We had to leave Wednesday noontime to get here on time.
If you imagine, like, you got to be really prepared because if you race Sunday and you finally realize you’re in, then you have Monday, Tuesday. Wednesday you better be done with everything.
In that time, the driver has to go do media, the driver has all these other things they got to do on top of that. There’s not time to prep the correct way, whereas our team, we’ve had a couple weeks to really focus in 100%, at least 95%, on Phoenix.
We had a conversation about Miami. Yeah, sure, sounds good, let’s do it. What about Phoenix? That’s how our conversations were, as they should be. The only one that matters is Sunday.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, I’ve always kind of dug into a lot of details of the race itself. I look into obviously what our car did last time we were here and what other tracks are similar to Phoenix as we’ve evolved so much.
You think about Phoenix one was so long ago, really the beginning of the year, we were learning about our cars. We’ve evolved a lot from there. You throw a couple things out there, even reviewing the race and things like that. You have to take some of it with a grain of salt because it’s so different now. All the racers are smarter out there now. It changes up a lot of things from that standpoint.
Just looking at everything you can, right? Constantly thinking about this. I should think about this, I should think about that. There’s a lot that goes into this for sure.
Q. Someone said Gateway might have been a precursor, as well as you ran there. Do you think there’s anything you learned that might have been beneficial?
JOEY LOGANO: Yes and no. I mean, even that was a while ago. Like I said, this car, we’ve evolved quicker than ever as racers going through just this car.
Yeah, it was good. I can’t say we’re coming back with exactly what that was, right? It’s definitely one of the tracks that we looked at. We looked at that one, looked at Loudon, what Phoenix was, maybe Richmond. There’s a lot of tracks that are similar to Phoenix in certain ways that we just kind of try to figure out what’s best for that, put together a good practice plan.
Q. How have you evolved from (indiscernible)?
JOEY LOGANO: Talking about that earlier (laughter). I’m in a different position than I’ve been here in the past. I like this position a lot more. It’s a lot more comfortable, I can promise you that. Just being here over and over again, right?
I was saying earlier, you just know what’s coming around the corner next. You know how today goes. You know how the week before this is, then the weekend itself, race day. Race day is just chaotic the whole time.
Like I was saying earlier, it’s not just another race. It’s not that. Everyone likes to say that. Everyone comes to championship Media Day, says it’s just another race, just act like it’s another race. That’s a bunch of BS. It’s not just another race. It’s bigger than any race you’ve ever been in, and it changes the way you approach it, for sure.
Q. (Question regarding the Chastain move.)
JOEY LOGANO: Really my stance is the same: it was awesome, right? It was really amazing to see it happen. We saw it work. What happens when it doesn’t work because there’s a good chance it doesn’t at some point? What if that car went up in the air into the catch fence?
The other piece too you have to think about is not only the risk for the driver and the fans but the integrity of the sport. Is that what we want? Yes, it was cool, made top 10 plays, as it should. It was awesome. I’m not taking that away from Ross.
Don’t take this the wrong way, it doesn’t take much talent to do it. It just takes an insane amount of guts to do it because you’re taking a huge risk. Wide open, putting it to the wall, that’s what you did when you were a kid racing a video game and you couldn’t get around Martinsville. That is what you did. He just actually did it in real life, which is amazing.
I don’t think we want to see all the cars going into the wall the final corner of every race on the last lap. I don’t know if that’s what we want.
Q. Larson said it’s a bad look. Why is this frowned upon?
JOEY LOGANO: What I just kind of said. I just said why. It’s risky. It’s not the X Games. This is NASCAR. It’s a different thing than that.
I mean, there’s a place for it. Like I said, it was cool, it was a neat move. We all talked about doing it before he actually did it. He had a good reason for doing it. He’s rewarded for being in the championship. That’s fine, all well and good.
The next time it happens it’s not as cool. The next time, the next time… All of a sudden now a leader has to put himself in the fence to finish first. At that point it doesn’t look really right. In my opinion, it doesn’t look right at that point.
Q. Does it send a bad message to younger racers as well?
JOEY LOGANO: It can happen at your local short track just as easily. It really can happen anywhere. Doesn’t really even matter the car, right? You can do this in a truck, in an Xfinity car, you can do it in a late model.
It’s not tricky to do, like I said, it’s just very risky.
Q. Can you feel for what Ty is going through at all?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I do. I said this when I was on Corey’s podcast, when was it, Wednesday or Tuesday when I was over there. We’ve all done stupid things when we were kids. Every one of us, right? You can go back when you were 15, 18, 20. You probably did something that wasn’t real smart, probably said something you shouldn’t have said. But that was amongst your high school friends or maybe your parents. Then it gets forgotten about, right? You kind of move on. Not many people heard about it. You kind of went on.
For Ty, and for anybody that is in the limelight of trying to do something in a professional level, you have the spotlight on you. It’s there. You have to learn in front of all these people. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to make stupid mistakes, though. I’m still going to make stupid mistakes at some point. After all the ones I’ve already had, I’m still learning. I continue to do that.
But the mistakes that happen in front of everyone, for all you guys to judge it. As much as we say it’s not fair, it’s also just life, and that’s what it is.
I’m sure he’s learned a lot of lessons from this one. I can’t say I agree with much that he did or said, but I also have some sympathy in saying, Man, I’ve been there, I get it. It stinks because it’s there forever.
I think of it now, when my son wants to watch races on YouTube, the next thing up, because he wants to watch dad, dad doing something stupid that’s still living on YouTube. It’s there forever. Imagine when your kid is watching it, there’s a whole different level there for you.
This is life. I can’t get mad at it. You can’t get mad at people making judgments off of that. It’s entertaining. People want to talk about it. There’s nothing bad about that. It’s the life that I chose. It’s the life that Ty is choosing.
There’s plenty of good things going along with it, too. I’m making it sound like this is a bad job. This is a great job. But that is one of the things you have to accept.
Q. Will the garage police itself?
JOEY LOGANO: Typically does. Typically does. On these type of things, typically does. One way or another. Doesn’t mean that Ty is going to get wrecked. I wouldn’t think his life will be very easy amongst some of them.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: About what? I don’t have a problem with Ross. It’s not my deal. Not my deal. I got to focus on our car and that stuff. I don’t know how people are going to react with that deal.
Q. What is Hudson’s favorite dad video?
JOEY LOGANO: The good thing is he likes the car-ography things that we do. As much as he likes racing, which is great, he likes old cars just as much. That might be even better (laughter). So, yeah, he likes watching those things about old cars and stuff.
Truth be told, his favorite show is ‘Pimp My Ride’. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But he loves that show. He’s four and a half (laughter). You have to fast forward some parts every now and again.
Q. Pocono where you had the fire suit comments.
JOEY LOGANO: That’s probably something I shouldn’t have said at one point in my life. But it’s there forever. At least you guys laughed. Everyone got a good giggle out of it.
Q. Describe the chemistry you have with Paul in the past few years between the championships you last won.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I think it’s great. Paul and the whole team is different. It’s not just Todd and Paul. It’s Todd’s team and Paul’s team. They do things completely different. They’re not very alike really in any way. Not in a good or bad way either. They just lead their team in a different way. They make decisions in a different way.
It took me a little bit to just kind of understand where I place, as the leader of the team, how can I help Paul do his job, how can he help me do my job. Then how that is handled all the way through the whole team, right? Where is my strength, where is his strength? But more importantly where is his weakness and my weakness? How can we help each other?
It’s the same as any marriage that you’re part of, right? You have to have two people that are willing to be better all the time. Same with a crew chief and driver, you have to be willing to call each other out when things aren’t right and be willing to change together. That’s what it is.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: Thank you. No one has said that yet to me (laughter).
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: It says a lot. This Next Gen car, I’ve been saying it all year, it washes away a lot of the advantage that the experienced guys have had over the past.
You think of the old car, we knew which way it’s going to go in the race, how restarts go, just managing the race itself, all those things. We’ve had years and years of experience on that.
Now that experience is still rewarded in a lot of things, especially on a weekend like this. There’s still a reward there. But, I mean, at the end of the year I had to unlearn a lot. If you’re going to be a rookie, this is the year to be a rookie because we’re all starting at zero for the most part.
I knew how the sport is run, the ins-and-outs, that type of thing, that experience is still there. But the actual on-track racing was, like, start all over ’cause what happened in the past, the things that I was so certain was going to happen, it went the opposite. Oh, geez.
Now you had to kind of reset your whole notebook and it forces you to go back to work.
Q. Is tomorrow’s practice even more important being an hour?
JOEY LOGANO: It’s 50 minutes. Don’t get much. It used to be even more than that. Used to be a lot more than that. We used to have two days’ worth of practice.
It’s going to be a very intense 50 minutes. You have to have a plan completely worked out and maximize every second out there.
Q. Do you know your runs already?
JOEY LOGANO: We have a plan, yep. I can’t tell you the plan. I’m not going to tell it to you. They might, though.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: This is Jonah Williams. He was a JL Kids Crew member. One of our first ones we had in Charlotte. I had this hat in my closet this morning. I’m going to wear that this weekend. That’s kind of cool.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: I think the relationship changes. You just know, like, you become friends with people ’cause you think they’re good people. Like you want to surround yourself with just good, wholesome people. That’s what I want around me, somebody that’s real.
Yeah, they want to meet me the first time because I’m driving a race car. Yeah, I know that. Once you get to know somebody, you kind of put that part aside, you just start talking about life. They’re good people. I just want to be around that.
It doesn’t really mean anything more than that. It’s just I happened to meet them, formed a relationship, just like you would form any other way. Sometimes you don’t even know how it happens. Naturally you become friends with people.
It’s been like that for me with a couple JL Kids Crew members and their families. Obviously their moms and dads, a little bit more relatable for me at this moment.
Yeah, I mean, just goes along. What I’ve realized is a lot of people that go through a lot with their kids, with issues, most of the time their perspective on life is so different, and they’re such good people. They’re very selfless people.
Yeah, they make me better, make me a better person. I want people around people that make me better. It’s really not about racing or anything like that. It’s just good people.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: Listen, Gavin has been through more than we’ll ever understand. His perspective on life is always fun. I’ve watched him grow up, right? First time I met him, he was young. Now he’s 21, right? He’s the same age now that I was when I met him, right? You kind of put all that together.
It’s been fun to see him grow up. Also him just handling his challenges, it’s enlightening. It’s perspective that’s different. Like I said, I’ll never understand. You think of just his life and the challenges that come his way by being stuck in a chair.
Also, his attitude that goes along with it. That’s what I take from it. He doesn’t want to be treated any different than anybody else. Unfortunately, people do. With us, he doesn’t get treated any different, I promise you that. We give him a hell of a time. He wants that, right?
It’s just like you are with any of your friends, you give each other a hard time, joke with each other. Shoot, he was at my house earlier this year, and we started doing qualifying laps in his chair. We were switching out. He kicked our butt, by the way (laughter). We had a lot of fun.
That stuff, like, it doesn’t have to be weird with somebody that has a disability. It doesn’t mean that they’re different. They just have a different way they have to live.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: My wife helps me a lot with that probably in the earlier stages. I would imagine I wouldn’t want to be treated differently. He has to deal with that his whole life. He probably wants somebody that’s just real with him, right? That’s what I would want.
Think about it, someone is always looking at him or not sure how to act around him. They act awkward, right? Those things, that’s not fair.
Q. (Question regarding the simulator.)
JOEY LOGANO: There’s obviously talks about it. We’ll have to see how this whole thing plays out.
Q. If you could make one change to the Playoff format, what would it be?
JOEY LOGANO: Ooh, man, honestly, it’s pretty good. It’s pretty good, isn’t it? There’s always drama since we’ve been doing it. Eight years since we started this?
JOEY LOGANO: Okay. It’s always had some kind of drama behind it one way or another. I don’t know what I would change to it.
The only thing I would change is I would move the final race from track to track, year to year. I know that’s probably not possible with a lot of deals in place and all.
I think of the Super Bowl, the impact it has when it comes to a new city, how it kind of makes maybe the stadium better but also that city. I think they should bid it out, the highest bidder, we should go to that track.
I’m sure there’s a lot more business behind that that I have no idea how it works. I wouldn’t be against switching it up and trying different tracks all the time, giving fans maybe local that can’t come to a race a chance to see it.
Q. Your former teammate Brad has often said that one championship is great, two really validates a career. I was curious if you agree with that?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, two is twice as good (laughter).
I don’t know. I mean, one definitely is nice. It’s nice to say you have more than none. I don’t know. I’ve never thought of it that deeply if I’m being honest with you. I might be living right at the hood pins at this moment when it comes to looking at legacies, what those things mean and all that.
I’m in the race still, right? I’m still going. I can’t say I can look back at that and say that I’m not solidified as a Cup driver, Hall of Famer, with one championship. I don’t think that’s right to say either. There’s so much more that goes behind it.
Q. Seem weird you’re the oldest of the Championship 4?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, a little bit. A little bit.
Q. Didn’t realize that?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I knew it was.
It’s interesting ’cause, like, I’m not that much older than Ross. Ross is only a year younger than me.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: A few years younger than me, okay.
Your life is different. It’s kind of hard to even compare, right? I’m married with three kids. Your life, you’re in a different spot. I’ve been doing this for 15 years, right? I’ve been here, been doing this. Your perspective is different, just like it is for everybody.
Subtract 10 years off your life, things were a lot different then. You just think differently. Yeah, it’s okay. It’s okay for me, I’m good with it. That’s it.
You get better at juggling a lot of things. Most college kids think they’re tired all the time, until you get a real life, go to work, then you realize what tired really is. It’s like that with kids, too.
Q. (Question about INDYCAR and NASCAR title in the same year.)
JOEY LOGANO: I know that is on the line. There’s really no reason for us to discuss that. The goal is still the same, whether the INDYCAR guys won the championship or not. We need to do our side of the job.
But it would be obviously a little cherry on top of the weekend to be able to say we’ve won both. Probably makes the championship party a little better. Bigger, for sure (laughter).
Q. You said there’s been conversations about whether or not that Hail Mary move could work this weekend at Phoenix. The move has transcended the sport. What has been your takeaway since Sunday looking back at that moment? Is it possible for something like that to work here at Phoenix?
JOEY LOGANO: Anything’s possible. After watching last weekend, anything is possible.
I don’t know if it’s quite the greatest thing for our sport, having that in play. My opinion. We’re all entitled to our opinions on different things.
I do think it was really cool last week. It was an awesome move to see. I don’t know if it’s the best for a few reasons:
One, it’s really, really risky not only for the driver but for the fans. There’s a lot of risk there. I don’t know if we should be willing to take that kind of risk.
Two, I think the integrity of the sport is interesting with this one because, let’s be honest, Ross did it, it’s awesome, right? Took some big guts to do that. That takes a lot. But it’s also the move you make in a video game when you can’t get around the corner fast enough, isn’t it?
What does it look like when there’s 10 of us doing the same thing at the same time? It happens race after race after race… Not that cool any more, is it, when you take it like that?
Yeah, I think it was awesome, made top 10 plays, as it should. All that was really neat. I just don’t think it’s the greatest thing.
Q. Don’t you think it would fail most of the time?
JOEY LOGANO: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Q. People have tried similar things before.
JOEY LOGANO: I haven’t seen it fail yet.
Q. Edwards in Kansas.
JOEY LOGANO: That was a different way of doing it. Now we all know how to do it. Ross just showed us (laughter). Take your hands off the steering wheel, hold it on the wall, pin it. Jesus, take the wheel, Bud. I don’t know.
Q. Any last-minute move that you have maybe thought of in Phoenix?
JOEY LOGANO: I just want to be in the lead. Not worry about it.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: I feel like we’re in a great spot right now. I feel like our team is in a great spot for a lot of reasons. For one, we’re not happy to be here. We’re not just happy to be in the Championship 4. This isn’t enough for us.
I feel like that’s a number one driver of the 22 team, to win this thing. I think with that mentality and the three weeks we’ve had since Vegas, to really focus in here, it’s going to give us a huge advantage to not only have a good practice plan and set our car up, but also execute this race correctly on top of the experience that we got.
I’ve never felt more solid in this position than I do right now. With that said, I’m ready to go racing, ready to get out there. I know that. We feel prepared. We’re ready to go to battle.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports