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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
May 27, 2008
HERB BRANHAM: Good afternoon. I'd like to welcome everybody to today's NASCAR cam video teleconference. This is in advance of this weekend's NASCAR National Series triple-header at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware, the Monster Mile. Real special guest today. Joining us from the NASCAR research and development center in Concord, North Carolina, is Joey Logano, who makes his long-awaited NASCAR National Series debut Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The race is the Heluva Good 200. Joey is making his debut more or less in mid-season as he just turned 18 years old - that's the age limit - on May 24th. Joey won last year's NASCAR Camping World East Series championship. This weekend he'll be driving the No. 20 GameStop Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Joey, so many people have been waiting on your debut. So many people are excited. How about you personally? What is the excitement and anticipation to finally get out there in National Series competition?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm definitely excited to get out there, been just waiting my whole life to get out to the Nationwide Series. Finally to get to run, it's definitely exciting. With the new sponsors, GameStop on the car, first time they've been on the racecar, so that's really exciting, too. Got an exciting year coming up.
HERB BRANHAM: Had you ever waited for a birthday with more anticipation?
JOEY LOGANO: Not really. I waited till I turned 14 to run ASA, 15 for Pro Cup. Ran the Camping World Series last year. It was like the first time I was able to run for a whole series for points. I kind of had to wait because my birthday is in May, you know, it's in the middle of the season. But, yeah, I've definitely been excited.
Q. There's been a lot of hype and expectations put on you for your debut this weekend. Have you had a chance to talk to any fellow drivers and what they think of you coming up into the series?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, you know, talked to Kyle, Denny, Tony. They're real good guys, help me out as much as they can. I talked to Kyle a little bit last week. Gave me some advice about Dover, about who you can race with, what to do, things to do on the racetrack.
Yeah, they're very helpful
Q. The last couple years the expectations have been getting higher and higher for you, and you haven't even stepped on a Nationwide or Cup track. How do you deal with that heading into your debut?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, yeah, there's a lot of hype. But it's not because I want to put hype on it. It's all you guys putting all the stuff into it. But I'm here to race. You know, all the hype kind of goes out the window as soon as the race goes green.
So, you know, like I was saying, I'm looking forward to getting to Dover. As far as all that stuff, it doesn't really bother me too much.
Q. You're 18 years old. People are forgetting that you're handling yourself like you're a professional. Are you regretting not being able to be a regular 18-year-old, hang out with your friends, or are you still able to do all those things?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm still able to do a lot of that stuff. When I'm home, I'm not sitting down often. I'm either hanging out with my friends or doing whatever. But, you know, I still have that core group of friends that we can do whatever with. We'll go on the lake, we'll go to the go-kart track. We'll do stuff like that. So I still have a kid's life.
Q. The media coverage is on the radio, in print, online. Do you pay attention to that at all? Do you read the stuff? How do you deal with it?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it's cool personally (laughter). You know, as a kid, as any kid, you would think it's cool to be on TV and newspaper and all that stuff.
But I don't really look into it that much. You know, I don't really read many of the articles. I don't know, I don't really let it get to me. I'm here to race. I have know that stuff comes along with it, which is fine.
Q. But does it not get to you at some point, Oh, my God, how am I ever going to do this?
JOEY LOGANO: No, not really. My goal is to go out there and win races. If that's what everyone expects out of me, yeah, so be it. But, you know, I feel like I'm getting in a great car with Dave Rogers and the guys there. I really think we can do real good.
Q. Can you catch us up on what you've been doing this year other than that ARCA race at Rockingham. How much testing have you been able to do? Have you done any Cup testing at all?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I do a ton of Cup testing. I was talking to Wally Brown, a Cup engineer that does all the test stuff. 4100 miles I think testing in the Cup car. Yeah, I got plenty of testing under my belt. Like to get some more racing, though. So I'm getting to that now.
Q. Have you done some Nationwide testing, as well?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, we tested once down at Rockingham a couple weeks ago just to get all the guys together, working together. Me and Dave worked real good together. Me and the whole 20 team worked good together. We kind of got something and made some changes to see what I thought about it so we could kind of put it to work at Dover.
Q. You're getting into some equipment that's been pretty stout so far this year. How much does that really help your confidence level, getting into cars that have already won racing this year?
JOEY LOGANO: It definitely helps a ton. Getting into a winning car is definitely a big deal here. You can ask any driver. A lot of it is driver and a lot of it is the car you get into. I'm definitely getting into one of the greatest cars out there. To get out there knowing you can go out there and run up front, you know, it's not like you're going to go out there and have a best finish of a 20th place because that's all you've got with in the car. I've got a good enough car to run up front, so that's a good deal.
Q. Talking to Bill and Billy Venturini, they said they think you don't know how good you are. How is it possible for you to have done so much at this age and for you not to grasp what you're all about?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't really look at myself that way. You know, I'm here to race, like I said. But I don't look back and say, Wow, I'm good. You know, I do the best as I can and let everything else take care of itself. I'm not going to go out there and brag about myself and say I'm the best thing out there. That stuff's going to speak for itself as far as winning races.
Q. Was there a moment when you started stepping up in competition, especially racing people that were a lot older than you, that there's a win or a moment where you just sort of thought, Yeah, I can do this?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't really think there is one moment. You know, I've raced my whole life. Started when I was six. Always raced against people that were older than me. I don't think there's ever been one moment I said, I can do this. I've wanted to run Cup Series since I was six years old. Like I said, I don't really look at that stuff. You know, if I think I can do it or whatever, I just let it take care of itself.
Q. Going into the next phase of your career, what are the best and worst? What are the main things you're concerned about and what's the thing you're most excited about with moving into the Nationwide Series?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm definitely excited about getting there. You know, all these interviews I've been doing about Dover, Dover, Dover. I'm looking forward to getting to the other races we've got. We have 18 of them scheduled. I'm looking forward to all that.
As far as what -- I would say I'm not worried about, but the thing we've really been talking about is green flag pit stops. Haven't been able to do many of those in the all the series that I ran. When we went down to Rockingham, we were practicing making green flag stops. I feel confident we can do it. We're going to a track that's harder to make a green flag pit stop. You see people are struggling. But I feel we'll be fine there.
Q. You brought up you're looking forward more so to the rest of the schedule, not just Dover this weekend. Looking forward to all that, how do you define success for yourself? At the end of the year, what would be satisfying to you?
JOEY LOGANO: What would be satisfying for me? It would be winning a few races. I think I can. I think the whole team can win some races. So I haven't sat down and said I want to finish here, here, here in every single race.
But, yeah, run up front every week and, you know, finish as good as we can and get some wins under our belt would be our goal right now.
Q. Looking toward what you've driven in the past, with the East Series stuff, is there a lot of difference between the equipment in the East Series and what you're going to be driving in Nationwide?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, they're similar cars. A lot of the Camping World cars were old Nationwide cars. So they're about the same. And now that the horsepower is, you know, smaller in the Nationwide car, they're more equal. I think the biggest difference is going to be radial tires to bias ply tires. I think that's the biggest change between the both of them. Besides that, there's not much difference.
Q. You've acclimated to the tire change just fine? You haven't had any trouble adjusting to that?
JOEY LOGANO: No, no. You know, when I did all the Cup testing, that's on a radial tire. Kind of ran a radial tire in the Hooter's Pro Cup series, stuff like that, so I've had some laps on that.
Q. You spent most of your teenage years competing against adults. Do you know how that has changed you or what you might have been like had you not had this opportunity?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know what I'd be doing if I wasn't doing this. I've raced my whole life. That's what I am. That's what I do. I don't know what else I would be doing. I guess I'd be throwing garbage cans or something.
But, yeah, it's definitely changed my whole life, changed everything. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Q. What have you learned from adults that has surprised you?
JOEY LOGANO: I've learned a lot, you know. I've always spent time with people older than me. You know, when you're racing against people older than you, you always spend time with people that are older than you. Wisdom comes from older people, apparently (laughter).
So, yeah, I've learned a lot. I can't name one thing. But I feel like I've learned so much at a young age, that I'm able to do this stuff now, you know, and put that stuff to use that I've learned.
Q. Was there any thoughts to starting your career at another track? Dover is obviously a huge task to take on for your Nationwide Series race. Any communication between you, your family and the Joe Gibbs Racing family, or was it a question of, When I turn 18, I'm going racing?
JOEY LOGANO: It was pretty much: When I turn 18, we're going racing. We didn't really think much of it. Dover seemed like a good track for me to start at. I raced there before. I ran there last year in the Camping World Series. I feel comfortable going there in a similar car that we ran last year there.
I'm fine going to that place. I know it is a tough place, the Monster Mile. But, you know, that seems like a plenty good enough place for me to start.
Q. Do you hope to make some Cup starts by the end of this year? People are already earmarking you for Cup as early as 2009. What is your own timetable?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, I take things one day at a time. Right now I focus on the next race in front of me. You always have to put a hundred percent into the next race. I don't look that far ahead of me. I'll let that stuff take care of itself. If we go out there and win races, people are going to realize it, and that's when we move up.
Right now I focus on one day at a time. When Joe and J.D. say I'm ready, that's when I'm going to go.
Q. Reading up on you since you're getting ready to make the jump to Nationwide with Joe Gibbs, I know you're still going to run some ARCA races, but has there been any talk maybe trying to qualify for a Cup race for this year for Gibbs?
JOEY LOGANO: No. We haven't really brought it up too much right now. We're focusing on running our Nationwide races right now. We're going to run Talladega, ARCA race. That's what's on the schedule right now. You never know, things could pop up here and there, but that's all we've got right now
Q. With being in the ARCA series, now that you've moved up, is there any advice or anything you can tell other drivers that are trying to get out of ARCA to move up to Nationwide?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, pretty much when people ask me what do you got to do to move up, you got to win races. That's what it comes down to. That's how you get your name out there and you get someone behind you that can bring you to the next series. You've got to get out there and do whatever you can do to run up front and win as many races as you can. It takes a lot of hard work.
Q. You've had a lot of successes already. Where does Dover rank on your list of successes with the showdown, the east championship? Do you see it as another step?
JOEY LOGANO: It's another step. Dover, yeah, it's been a buildup for a long time now. I can't wait to get there. But it's still another race. It's a racecar. It's a racetrack. There's nothing that out of the ordinary.
Q. You're basically the new kid on the block at Joe Gibbs Racing. That team obviously has a lot of colorful personalities. How is your personality and how do you fit in with the rest of them?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm just kind of a happy-go-lucky kid that gets to drive racecars. I'm a very happy person. I got a smile on my face all the time. I'm a very highly competitive person, just like the rest of my teammates there. I think that's how a lot of athletes are. We go there for one reason: that's winning. We're going to do whatever it takes to do that. But at the same time I'm going to have fun with it.
HERB BRANHAM: Thank you, Joey Logano, for joining us today. We appreciate it. Best of luck on this big debut. Everybody has been waiting for it.
JOEY LOGANO: All right. Thank you.
HERB BRANHAM: And thanks to all the media, as always, for participating. We appreciate the coverage.
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