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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 30, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with our NASCAR teleconference today in advance of Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. This Easter weekend race is the traditional kickoff to the NASCAR Nationwide standalone season. But to help celebrate the track's 10-year anniversary fans will get a NASCAR doubleheader. NASCAR Camping World trucks will race on Friday night while the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be on Saturday afternoon.
In addition to the race being the first standalone for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, it's also the first of four Dash 4 Cash races for a $25,000 bonus on the line to the eligible race winner, which is a full-time, part-time or limited-season series only regular for full-time double duty driver as we do come to Nashville. Since we have two races this weekend, we've got two sets of drivers to talk about the upcoming weekend.
First up will be the NASCAR Nationwide Series side, Joey Logano, followed by Trevor Bayne.
Right now we've got up first Joey Logano, who is the defending race winner at Nashville. He'll be driving the No. 20 GameStop Toyota. He's been stellar at Nashville in a brief two-race career there in the Nationwide Series, has one pole along with his win last year.
Joey, thanks for joining us today and congratulations on that second-place finish yesterday in the Cup race at Martinsville.
JOEY LOGANO: Thank you. I was pretty pumped about yesterday. That was an awesome run for us with the Home Depot Toyota. I can't wait for Nashville. It's one of my favorite racetracks. It's one of those places that I did a lot of testing for the Cup guys, Nashville and Kentucky.
I think part of the laps and experience I have there helps me a lot. I think Joe Gibbs Racing has awesome cars there. It's cool that's the place I got my first pole and led a lot of laps there, got that win there last year. Hopefully we can do a repeat on them.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about your Nationwide season a little bit to date. Three top-six starts already, plus a pole you got at Auto Club Speedway. You have an average finish so far of 8.7. That's a finish of fifth also at Auto Club. One thing here, you won't be eligible for that Dash 4 Cash bonus since you haven't competed in all of the Nationwide races leading up to Nashville. You missed one. That sure didn't stop you from playing spoiler last year, did it?
JOEY LOGANO: No, not at all. I'm going there to win for sure. I feel like this year, with the GameStop Toyota, we've been fast. We definitely I had a chance to win at California. I've had good racecars. Had some unfortunate things happen towards the end of these races lately. Hopefully we can finish one of these deals off. I'm sure the 18 is going to be good and we're going to have a good racecar, be one of the usual guys up there battling for the win.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Joey Logano.
Q. Joey, they were mentioning on the broadcast because your car looked so clean at a track like Martinsville, you're still early in your career there, comparing you to Mark Martin in terms of your methodical approach to racing. Now that you've been at these tracks a couple times now, would you agree with that analogy?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I feel like I want to be a clean racer. I want people to race me the same way I race them at the same time. I think there's times you need to push back and there's times you need to be smart and finish these things.
Last week at Martinsville, we did have a clean-looking car at the race. The front bumper was used up though. Everyone saw at the end of the race, everyone was beating and banging. Yeah, it was pretty crazy. We were right up in there.
I feel like there's a time to go and there's a time not to. When you think about a 500-lap race at Martinsville, you don't want to use your car up too early. These days you knock a fender in, that can ruin your whole day. It's going to screw up your aero package and you're going to get tight, or you have a chance of blowing out a tire.
You have to be smart, but at the same time you can't get pushed around out there.
Q. You have had some run-ins, Greg Biffle comes to mind. What do you need to do to gain the respect of those guys?
JOEY LOGANO: I've been trying to figure that out, to be honest with you (laughter). I don't have the correct answer. I've asked a lot of people what their opinions were. Everyone has a different one.
You know, I think that's something when things happen, you just remember it. I've always been a firm believer of race people the way they race you. If someone races you hard, you just race 'em hard. Do the same thing they did to you. I think you earn that respect back.
Q. Can you talk about what makes Nashville so good for you. You ran well here. What is it about the track?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, I think like I said earlier, having a lot of laps run. It's one of those tracks I got to test at a lot, have a lot of laps, able to figure out a lot of things about it. It's one of those places that just clicks for me.
I like it. It's fun. It puts on good racing. It's a two-groove racetrack. You can run three-wide around it, but I think you can run a lane up and run fast here.
I look at that, we kind of do the same thing at Kentucky. It's another place we run really good at. It's similar to that. It's a two-groove racetrack like that. So I feel like it's just one of those places that just clicks for me.
Q. Having the truck race the night before, will that help the Nationwide race? More rubber on the track. How might that affect the racing on Saturday?
JOEY LOGANO: It definitely will. I think it's going to be a good thing. When we go to these concrete racetracks, the first two runs there in practice wear out the tires pretty quick because the tracks are rough. Having the trucks there, they're going to rubber up a lot of it. Hope it rubbers up some higher grooves with more racetrack out there to race with.
Q. Does that make that track a little bit of an unknown going into Saturday since you never had a doubleheader weekend? Could it make it different than what we've seen in past years?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it might a little bit. I don't think it's going to be a big change. Like you say, it's going to be nice, it's going to rubber it up. As long as it don't rain and wash it all away. I think it will be easier for us in the Nationwide side, being able to move around earlier in the race, not being worried in the beginning of practice of wearing out our tires in the first run out there. I think between both of that, it's going to be a plus for us on the Nationwide side.
Q. Allow me to jump ahead on the schedule. You have already confirmed your return to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal in late August. You have to look forward to going back to that very unique track. The Canadian Grand Prix is back in operation this year.
JOEY LOGANO: I'm pretty pumped to go out there. I had a lot of fun. I got up there two years ago and ran the first race up there. Probably should have finished third till I wrecked under caution coming to the checkered flag. That was a frustrating thing. None of us could see.
It's funny, I don't think they've had a race up there without being in the rain in a while. So it will be cool to see what happens. Either way, it's a fun racetrack. Like you said, it's cool to be able to go to a track that those guys race at. I think any more laps I can get on road courses to help me out is going to help me on the Sprint Cup Series side, too. It's a plus for me both ways.
Q. Joey, I've interviewed you in Pro Cup when you were 16, a while ago. You've had to grow up with camera lenses aimed at you. What did you like best about growing up that way and what did you like least about growing up that way?
JOEY LOGANO: I guess I don't really know a different way of it. To me, that's just the way it was. You know, I was fine being in the spotlight and all that. Like you said, I was 16 or 15 running Pro Cup cars. Everyone was always, Hey, this young kid, this and that, put the spotlight on you.
You know, you look at that two different ways. It puts more pressure on you as a kid. I've grown to get used to that because it's only gotten more and more as it kept going. On the other hand, I think it's a really good thing, having that spotlight on you. It brings Joe Gibbs Racing, brings Home Depot, those big names in to help you.
I think it's a real big deal to have. It's one of those things I was fortunate enough to have the spotlight on me.
Q. You're really considered a veteran. But when do you think people will start calling you veteran Joey Logano?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm sure it's going to be a while. I'm still 19. I don't think I'm going to reach veteran status for a long time (laughter).
Q. Joey, there's been so much talk about how much better you've been running at the tracks than last year. Of course, I agree you had to learn each track. But really don't you also have to be able to be aware of how each NASCAR driver handles the same track you're running on?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. I mean, everyone is improving for sure. Every time you get to a racetrack, I'm sure that every driver has improved from the last time they've been there. Every team is trying to improve, trying new things, trying to make their programs better.
A part of it is you're trying to keep up with them and you're trying to catch up that little bit that you're behind. Between both of that, it's a steep hill to climb for sure. I feel like we've done a good job this year progressing and figuring it out.
Martinsville for me is one of my tougher racetracks. Went there to practice again. I think, man, remember the car did this last time. I think I need to not work on that. I think I need to do certain things around the racetrack to help certain parts. But I wasn't still a hundred percent sure which part of the turn I really wanted to work on.
You know, I leaned on Denny a lot this weekend. You know, sitting in the team meeting, usually we've been able to go back and forth trying to help each other. But it was kind of back to last year for me there, just becoming a sponge, listening to everything he said, because obviously he's won a lot of races there.
I feel like I was able to take his information, try to figure out what part of the turn I wanted to work on to help me and Zippy make our racecar the best racecar we can. There's places I know what I want in the racecar, there's places I was struggling with.
It was cool I went to Martinsville. That was one of the places I was going to struggle with. Coming out of there with a second-place finish, I've got to be happy about that.
Q. What about Michigan International Speedway? Do you like the bigger tracks?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, to be honest with you, the bigger tracks is where we've run better, which is kind of surprising. California we ran good this year. We ran good out there in Michigan last year in the Cup Car. I think our Speedway stuff has been good. I don't know why. I can't give you an honest answer why we've been running better at those type of tracks. I'm not going to complain about it.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, we appreciate your time joining us today. Thanks for your patience as well as your time. Best of luck to you this Saturday at Nashville going for your second win in a row there. We'll let you go, turn it over to another young driver in our series, Trevor Bayne.
JOEY LOGANO: Thanks for having me.
THE MODERATOR: Trevor, you with us?
TREVOR BAYNE: Yes, ma'am.
THE MODERATOR: That's great. We're now making the switch from Joey Logano over to another young driver, Trevor Bayne. He drives the No. 99 Diamond Waltrip Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Trevor is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and will be running in his second straight race in his home state. Two weeks ago the NASCAR Nationwide Series ran at Bristol Motor Speedway.
We appreciate your time today. Doesn't it seem like a long time since we've had consistent races due to our three open weeks in March, but back at it this weekend in Nashville. And you're racing at another track that you call a home venue. You started on the outside pole for your Nashville track debut last June, and you do, unlike Joey, happen to be one of the drivers who is eligible for that $25,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. Can you talk a little bit about those elements, racing at home, your season to date, and what it would mean to win that bonus at home if that fell your way.
TREVOR BAYNE: Man, I got nothing left to say after that intro there (laughter).
I'm excited about going to Tennessee again, going home for Easter weekend. We had a great car at Bristol last time we were in Tennessee. I think we're going to be the same in Nashville.
I think these guys stepped up the program since our debut last year. We had a solid run even then. It's going to be awesome to see what we can do this weekend with all the progression we've done this season, getting better and better.
Like you said, we're about to get on a streak of continuous races. I'm looking forward to that. I think the most Nationwide races I've run in a row so far was probably three or four without having an off weekend. See what we can do after we've run five or six races in a row is going to be great.
I think our season is going really well so far. We had a couple mishaps there with Daytona and Bristol, but as far as the team and the chemistry and everything that's going on at Diamond Waltrip Racing, it's all uphill.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks for that opening information there. We'll take questions for Trevor Bayne.
Q. Trevor, we sat down last year at Phoenix and later that day you made the announcement you were going to Diamond Waltrip. Is it meeting your expectations being with that organization? What are some of the goals for later in the season with more of a consistent schedule?
TREVOR BAYNE: They've actually exceeded my expectations to be honest with you. When we announced we were going there, I had confidence, but I wasn't sure what we were going to be able to achieve and be able to do. I knew what my goal was and what their goals were. They matched up.
We had to take a leap of faith. We've both proven that we can do it now. We had fast cars. We had a sixth-place finish at Vegas. I think we keep looking to step it up every weekend. I think if we can come out of here with a top five, it will be our best career finish. We've got to look to get better and better every weekend. Diamond Waltrip is a great place to be, running a full season.
Still actively searching for sponsorship. Just because we don't have a white car like some of those Roush cars, doesn't mean we're not looking. Everything seems to be strong there with the team aspect, with the crew chief, race day engineer, everything they've done has really been a plus.
Q. NASCAR is a very unusual sport in that the sport's top stars go down a level quite often in the Nationwide Series and run. Do you ever find yourself behind some of those Cup veterans, make a few laps behind them, see how they drive the cars as well?
TREVOR BAYNE: Yeah, I mean I think you have to. You have to be a sponge. I think I heard Joey say that a minute ago in his teleconference. You definitely have to do that. I enjoy racing with those Cup guys because I think it makes me better as a driver overall. We may not win as many Nationwide races now, but I think in the future for the big goal, the Cup Series, it's going to make us better.
I really enjoy racing with them. We've been able to mix it up with them some this year. That's been exciting and cool for the fans that like seeing young drivers come up and being able to compete. I remember in Vegas, this sticks out in my head, we were three-wide with Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick. That's something I've been looking forward to do one day and now we're doing it so it's been pretty cool.
Q. Trevor, can you talk about what the adjustment has been like going to the Nationwide Series? What has been the biggest obstacles and also talk about returning to Nashville and what that track means to you.
TREVOR BAYNE: Well, I think the biggest adjustment has been the tracks, not so much the cars, because we ran the Camping World East Series and the Hooter's Pro Cup which were around 630 horsepower, they were big, heave cars, above three thousand pounds. They're really close to what these Nationwide cars are.
But going to these mile-and-a-half tracks, even places like Nashville, have been big adjustments, just getting used to the arc the corner. I remember last year, I was following Mike Bliss into the corner the first time at Nashville. Man, I thought he was going to mow the wall over getting into the corner because he was so wide getting in. I was like, There's no way he's going to turn. Then he just arced in and kept digging.
That was a big learning curve there. But other than that, it's been a pretty smooth transition. I think the competition is a little bit tougher than I expected. I expected to hop right in and win my first race out. But you get a reality check when you step up to these levels. It's been exciting having something to work towards, try to improve yourself in every aspect.
Now looking at Nashville, I'm excited to go back there. This was the first race that I ran with Michael Waltrip Racing last year. Now we're going back with pretty much the same team, just a little different name, adding Gary Bechtel with Diamond Waltrip Racing. I'm really pumped up to go back there.
Q. When you're a young driver, before you get into the Nationwide Series, you're winning a lot of races. Then you get to the Nationwide Series and the wins don't come right away. How tough is that when you're used to winning at all levels?
TREVOR BAYNE: It makes it tough, man. We want to win them all. Man, what can I do to get better? You just got to keep digging, keep your head up. The way I always see it is you got to go into the next race acting like you won the race before.
When we left Daytona, we couldn't think, Hey, we got wrecked on lap six. We had to go to California thinking, We just won this race and we're the best out there. That's the way you have to look at it all the time.
Then the sport, you just have to always know that you need to be better, too. It's a changing sport. You're only as good as what you do today. You got to stay on top of your game pretty good to be able to stay up there.
Q. What do you take from your last trip here at Nashville? Was it all kind of a blur since that was your first race?
TREVOR BAYNE: Well, I remember qualifying there. It was pretty cool because, you know, I made the lap and the car felt good. But I didn't expect to be outside pole. We had been like 13th to 15th in practice all day, taking our time getting up to speed. Then we roll out and qualify awesome, until we got in a late-day accident.
I think it's just patience, working with the car, not getting ahead of yourself. A lot of times you go to these tracks and chase the tracks all day long when you need to take your time, let the car kind of come to you.
I didn't really even think about that till you asked the question. Sitting here thinking about practice, we really didn't change a whole lot last year. I would just work on my line and move around, get used to that arc into turn three and driving it in harder.
I remember playing a little bit of sim racing before that. I would underdrive the corner a lot when I got there just from racing on sim racing. I had to get used to driving it a little bit harder.
I think it's gonna be cool the season going back to these tracks that I raced last year for a second time. Last year when I would go to these races, it was the first time I ever laid my eyes on them, it was a big learning curve. This year I think it's going to be an easier transition because I've been there before.
Q. A lot of family coming in for the race?
TREVOR BAYNE: We got the crew coming in, brother. It's going to be good. It's pretty much everybody in the family will be there. Pretty awesome to race around the hometown.
Q. Trevor, I'm going to ask you the same question I asked Joey. I interviewed both of you when you were 15 racing in Pro Cup. You've had to grow up with camera lenses aimed at you. What did you like best about growing up that way and what do you like least about growing up that way?
TREVOR BAYNE: With those camera lenses comes the racetrack time that you get. That's the reason we've got them around us. I would say that's the best thing, is the actual reason that they're there.
But at first, you know, you kind of get weirded out by them. When the camera is around, I don't know, you walk funny or something every time you're on camera. You got to get used to them and get immune to those cameras being around.
I'm not big-time yet by any means, but you get used to the cameras being around the garage and just learn to act like yourself. That's the most important thing. We see a lot of cookie cutter kind of guys. I probably was that guy when I first got up on camera. Now I just try to be more myself and just be natural. That's the way you should be.
Q. As far as experience goes, you've got a lot of it obviously. You've raced against adults as a young person, too. When do you think somebody will turn to you to you and say, Here is a veteran?
TREVOR BAYNE: We kind of saw that in the Hooter's Pro Cup after my third season, I'd have people actually coming up to me and talking to me about it. You know you've been around the series for a little while when you're standing at drive intros and you've talked to almost every driver. It's starting to get that way for me in Nationwide even.
When I first started driver intros, I'd kind of stand behind the stage by myself and maybe talked to a couple people I might have raced with before. But now it's getting to the point where I'm starting to know everybody. It's going to be cool when I know all those people and I can talk to them about different things, about the cars.
I always see Harvick. You'll see Harvick, Carl, all those guys. I don't know about Harvick and Carl together anymore, but you'll see those guys hanging out behind the stage in their little groups. When you can bounce around and mingle with those groups, you know you've been around the sport and done something. We're looking forward to that.
Q. Trevor, you mentioned you're doing the driver intros, drivers are huddled around each other. What are you talking about? Is it all about racing or is it other stuff?
TREVOR BAYNE: Most of the time it's not actually, man. It's the cute girl sitting on row ten or something (laughter). It's really random stuff. You know, actually Ricky Stenhouse and I have been hanging out. We went out to Wyoming and rode snowmobiles last weekend. That's actually what the racecar drivers are talking about behind stage until the cameras show up. We have fun with it, you know. Racing can get to be a job in a sense, so you have to mix it up every now and then. It's a fun job for sure. But we're pretty diverse.
A lot of racecar drivers talk about hunting. I guess you could have guessed that. But they talk about the big deers they just killed last week. I know Truex and Junior and those guys are always talking about it. Hopefully I'll get one soon so I can go up there and brag with them (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Sounded like you had a nice open week, Trevor, but also sounds like you're ready to go back to racing like a good deal of drivers in our Nationwide Series are. We'll let you get back to hitting Nashville, your home track, and think about Saturday. Thanks for your patience today and joining us.
TREVOR BAYNE: Thank you. Really appreciate it today.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you all for your participation.
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