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October 5, 2014

Todd Gordon

Joey Logano

Roger Penske


KRISTI KING:  We are joined by our race winner, Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell Pennzoil Ford.  This victory here at Kansas today was his eighth victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, fifth victory in 2014 and first victory here at Kansas Speedway.  Joey, you got a win in each round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.  Your Chase is going pretty well.  Talk a little bit about your chances going for the championship this year.
JOEY LOGANO:  Feel good about it.  Obviously everyone at Team Penske and this 22 team in particular has been amazing.  We've been working really hard, and Todd and I have been working together as best we can, and I think we've been doing a great job in practice and in understanding what we're going to need in the race and making good adjustments overnight to fire off good when the race starts.
Beginning of the race we were okay.  We weren't great by no means.  The car was a little loose, and he tightened it up.  I don't think he made many changes after that, at least‑‑ I don't know, he doesn't tell me, he just does it.  I let him do his thing and I do my thing.  Once that top lane kind of rubbered in the car came to life and we tuned the car to the top after that and was able to plug along pretty good up there.
This is nice to get this win and get us through to the next round and not have to worry about Talladega coming up.  This was important.  We came into here thinking we need a solid finish.  We can't win the championship today but we can definitely lose it.  So we had to get two solid finishes with Kansas and Charlotte before Talladega, and this is as solid as it gets.  We're excited about our shot to win this championship this year.  We've just got to keep doing what we've been doing.
KRISTI KING:  Also joining us crew chief Todd Gordon, obviously in a very good position with a win in this round but also sitting atop the points standings by six points over Kyle Busch.  Talk about your strategy today and where you feel right now.
TODD GORDON:  Today was a big stress relief, I'll tell you.  When you look at this segment of the Chase with Talladega as the last one, it's a big wild card.  I felt like this was a place that we could capitalize.  We've run well here.  I ran well here in the spring, led 63 laps I think it was, second most to Kevin, and we came back prepared to try to take advantage of that.  I think everybody on the Shell‑Pennzoil team has done an awesome job of preparing good race cars and Joey communicates great about what he needs to get be successful.  And once he started running the top, he gave us an idea on what we needed, we adjusted to it and small adjustments past that.
KRISTI KING:  Also joining us, team owner Roger Penske.  Roger Penske has won four of the last five races, obviously a great day for Joey, obviously some challenges with Brad, but overall Penske Racing has certainly dominated a lot of these Chase races.  Talk about your team overall in the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year.
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, first of all, congratulations to Joey and today, I think when you look at today, the car qualified well.  The 4 was the one we thought we had to beat.  I think we were able to stay with him early on and able to adjust the line and Joey picked up some speed.  But I think the calls that Todd made early on, taking four tires, made a big difference.  Our pit crew which we've worked on so hard over the last two or three months, picked it up.  We had some 11‑second stops, were able to do four tires when the other guys did two, I think that made a huge difference.  Overall he drove a flawless race, good job in the pits.  The Ford motor was never stronger, so the Pennzoil Ford Fusion was unbelievable.
I think Brad's situation, unfortunately, this is a new tire, we really didn't have a chance to test here, and maybe we were overstressing it, and he lost one and so did Earnhardt.  But he'll be back.  This thing isn't easy.  As Joey said, if you can get a win here in the second round, the Contender Round, it makes a huge difference.  It's a team effort.  All our guys back at the shop, the guys building the bodies, the engine guys, I can't thank the guys enough for what they've done.  To see Joey come on our team and win the number of races he has, he's a young guy, he has a huge career to us.  We've been able to talk him into staying with us for a long‑‑ signed up a little bit longer, so that was another win for us.  I guess that might be the momentum we needed.  He had enough confidence in us to sign up for some more time with Penske Racing.
We're excited, and I just want to congratulate the guys for a super job.

Q.  Joey, I don't think you had finished better than 15th here until last fall, and now you've had three top fours.  Is that just part of your career arc and the way you've been coming on, or have you guys figured something out here?
JOEY LOGANO:  It's funny, we were watching TV after practice and they were showing the stats on TV, and they said my average finish was like 21st.  I said, man, the last two times here we finished fourth.  It must have been really bad before.  Ever since we got here with Team Penske, we've been able to‑‑ I think Todd and I work really well together in understanding what I need.  Each racetrack is different on what I need, but we were able to build a notebook the first half of the season last year and now we're working off of that.  We know exactly what it takes, and sometimes we're not fast in practice for that reason, but we're able to capitalize when the race starts.
You know, it is funny because I guess I wasn't very good here before, but now it's my favorite track, so it's going good.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Roger, I guess it was just a little over two years ago when you guys announced that Joey was joining you.  When you look back at what he accomplished in his first season last year and what Joey and Todd are now at this point this year, can you just talk about Joey's development a little bit as a driver and the 22 team in general?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, the first word I'd use is amazing.  I think that the team here, and when Joey came on board, we had to decide who would be the crew chief.  Todd had such a great record with us on the Nationwide like we did with Paul and Brad, he was the right guy.  I think they have come together‑‑ to me Joey was a great driver.  I have to thank J.D. and Joe for giving him the time, kind of getting it ready for us.  Probably have to send him a check.  But kind of got him ready, and he jumped on the team, but I'd have to say that Brad was one of the key people that said, hey, this is a guy we've got to have, and he talked to Joey.  It takes team effort on a lot of these things.  I think Joey has matured.  He's certainly a team player.  He's got a great sponsor in Shell‑Pennzoil and they love him.  I think what we have to do is Todd and the rest of us give him the car.  You can see today that he can run up front with the best, and to me with the two people we have, I wouldn't trade 'em.

Q.  What do you tell the 2 team and Brad and kind of what are your feelings after seeing them have such a strong start to the Chase and now kind of have a little bit of a hole to dig out of?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, Brad came to the winner's circle.  That's the kind of guy he is, just one of those things, when you see the 48 and the 88 and the 2 going to the garage area, this is a tough sport.  To me he's only 12 points out of eighth I think it is, and he's got two more races.  We've got good cars, we've tested at Charlotte.  We've got to focus on Charlotte.  These races, when they're over, they're over, and I think at this point for us to do what we can, obviously we'll do whatever we can to help him.  The whole team will.  But the thing we can't do is make a big right or left turn here.  We've got to take on the same track we're on.

Q.  Roger, do you get any sense that the success of the IndyCar team kind of pushes the NASCAR team and vice versa, and have you given any thought to what it would be to be the first owner that could possibly pull off the IndyCar and Cup championship in the same year?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, I think what we've done, I've got to give the credit to Tim Cindric for pulling the two series together, both the IndyCar team and the NASCAR team together under one roof.  I think that's paid well for us because we have fabricators, we have engineering people, we get to trade information.  It's not exactly the same.  I think you see how the 42 is running.  I'm sure there's some insight there from Ganassi's team.  It's amazing here we're racing him today, and we raced him four or five weeks ago in the last race.
Look, from an overall standpoint, I'm focusing race to race, and we've got some things, we've got the owner's championship in Nationwide, we have got this obviously, but they're ours to lose.  I think we've got to focus on where we are and that's getting the 2 in and getting to the next round with both cars.  It would be exciting, but certainly it's not in my eyesight right now for sure.

Q.  Todd, we've seen a lot of right‑front flats today, 2 car obviously had a problem.  Would you say that that's a tire issue, a geometry issue, a pavement issue?  And were you running nearly the same as the 2 car on your front setup?
TODD GORDON:  I would say with the package that we've got right now, we've got so much downforce, and this place being recently repaved, I think, what, mid‑season 2012, you come here and speeds are incredible and loads on tires are phenomenal.  It's such a tough box to be in, and there's‑‑ it's the risk and reward that we play as crew chiefs because you can play it safe, but the speed‑‑ the performance of the tire is near failure.  That's just the nature of the beast.  I think as you look at it, we all had a chance to tune our race cars on days that were quite a bit cooler than what the race was today and grooves that weren't where the race was today.  I think you saw the racetrack move itself up the racetrack today, but I don't know if that's affected some different teams.
It's a tough situation to be in because we play that balance, and that's ultimately our call as crew chiefs and the engineers and stuff as to how aggressive we want to be as where we can be.  Was I concerned?  I was a little concerned, obviously, when you see issues.  The piece that we look to, as Joey talked about, is our notebooks, and we have notebooks of where we've been and how we've been, and we pay particular attention to pieces of tire durability, as well.  I felt good about where we were as far as the risk and reward of that balance coming forward.  As to where the 2 and we were, we know what our offsets are.  We race pretty similarly.  We communicate a lot, and we knew where we were.  I can't speak for how their failure happened and what happened.  Come race time I'm focused on the 22 car.  I look for Paul and Brad to bounce back next week and have a strong showing at Charlotte where they won last year in the Chase.

Q.  You kind of touched upon this, talking about bringing the teams together, the IndyCar teams and the NASCAR teams and Tim Cindric, but while you were competitive in years past, now your two‑car team the last three years has been championship contending.  Is there any other factors that allows your two‑car team to take on these three‑ and four‑car teams?
ROGER PENSKE:  I just think it's the human capital.  It's the people that we've been able to attract as we got some speed and we got some success.  We also started what you would say is the farm team with the Nationwide and we're able to bring people, the key people on the team are folks who have come up through the organization, and I think that's been key.  Where we can, we bring someone in who might have expertise we don't have on the team.  It's a pretty solid foundation.  I would say it starts with what we did with the Nationwide where we had the success.  You see Wolfe, you see Brad, you see Todd and you see obviously Joey, and I think that's been a big factor.

Q.  Joey, at any time during those closing laps, did you feel like everybody in front of me has had a problem, I'm going to have a problem?  And Roger, is there anyone else in your career that you can look at and say, you know what, when I had those two drivers, I had something as good as Keselowski and Joey Logano are showing to be?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, we've had a lot of great drivers.  Probably when I had Mears and Unser at the same time, I'd say those were pretty special guys.  That just comes off the top of my head.
I just think that we're in a position today because we focused on two cars, and we can get things done faster.  Our guys back at the shop, we're building new cars every week.  We see stuff on the other cars, we're trying to be consistent in the quality, and I'll tell you, the engine guys have really stepped up, too, because Hendrick has got such great power, and that's made a difference.  This is a track that showed how good the Ford engine was today, too.  We've got great drivers, great, great chiefs, so I think we've got to be careful not to trip over our press clippings here today and get on to the next race.
JOEY LOGANO:  Yeah, when I see other Chase guys having troubles, that's when you say, holy cow, this is really about a solid finish here today you know how the race goes second, third, fourth, fifth‑place finish would be great.  It sets you up pretty good for getting to the next round.  But you dangle a checkered flag in front of me, I'm going to go.  We were able to have a fast enough car that I knew we could do it.  I wasn't going to put my car in a bad spot but I was going to be aggressive about it and try to put other people in a bad spot to make those passes.  We were able to do that today.
So you think about it, you see other cars that are having trouble, guys you know you are going to be racing for this championship with and it goes through your mind, but at the same time you've got to keep doing what we've been doing all year, and that's been trying to win the race and not points racing, so we'll keep trying to do that.

Q.  I have a question for both Joey and Todd.  You've raced under a couple different Chase formats now.  Are you fond of this Chase format?  And do you think going for the win more than consistency, does it put more stress personally on you as a driver and you as a crew chief?  Is it more stressful, or like with today's success, you're able to relax a little bit more for the next round?
JOEY LOGANO:  It's definitely not less stress, I can promise you that.  I think it just depends what shoes you're in.  You look at the first three races, four races, we have an average finish of 2.5.  At that point you don't ever want to see points washed away.  You want to run that all the way to the end.  But the fact is it's not like that this year.  We need to be able to get wins like this to keep this going on to the next round.  It's going to get washed away.  It's like that for anybody.  But if I was in a different position and you just make it in, say you're eighth and you just make it in, you're going to want the points washed out and have a shot at it.  So it just all depends on where we're at.  We obviously don't want the points washed out, but it is what it is.  Some day we might want it the other way around.  But either way we've just got to keep focused in on what we're doing.  To win this championship you still have to be consistent, and fortunately enough this 22 team has been consistently fast and running up front, and that's what we've got to do throughout all of Team Penske.
TODD GORDON:  There is, there's a lot of stress to it.  I think it's‑‑ obviously you can make arguments for any situation we're in.  I think there's a lot of opportunity in this format, and it rivals what other sports have got, where an underdog team or somebody‑‑ you looked at the 47 and 43 and they had a shot of getting it because they did it, and it's no different than a wild card making it in the football playoffs or whatever else.
I think it forces performance, and that's the piece.  It rewards wins and performance, and to the point that Joey talked about, there's always if you look at it, you're going to wish that the guys that have really good success will want the old system back.  But we're at this point now where we get to be one of the eight when we get to Martinsville.
In that sense, the wild card at Talladega is‑‑ from a crew chief standpoint, the wild card at Talladega is something that's on your radar from the start of the Chase in the old format.  We get to go and play a little different there and work forward and know that come Martinsville we're in that segment and we've got to perform.  We've just got to continue to‑‑ Joey mocks me on this, but we've got to continue to do what we do, and that's the thing that we talked about.
JOEY LOGANO:  Not that you guys have heard it.
TODD GORDON:  We can't change up how we approach races.  We've been successful all season, and we've all talked about it on the team, that we just continue to do what we do and see where it falls out.  But I think it's exciting because wins are rewarded and stellar performance is rewarded.

Q.  Todd, with this being your fifth win of 2014 and sixth as a crew chief, just kind of want to ask you what your overall perspective on the season and kind of where this win ranks for you as a crew chief in your career?
TODD GORDON:  Huge.  When you have a win‑‑ we've had some phenomenal wins this year.  I think when you look through it, I can tell you that every race we've won has had some special features to it.  You know, you go backwards, this one is huge because it puts you through to the next round.  Loudon was huge because that's a place we purely struggled in 2013.  We went there and tested twice because‑‑ we went to Loudon last year in the Chase and we said if we can come out of here with a 15th‑place finish we'll be all right, and we won there this year.  You can go back through them and say every one is special.  But I flew home from this racetrack when my youngest daughter was here, and I missed her birth because I was here at the racetrack, so the racetrack kind of owed me a little bit of something, and I got it back.
JOEY LOGANO:  It owed your wife something.
TODD GORDON:  She's a tough girl.  But my wife talked about it actually coming here this weekend that she hates Kansas because it's a moment in her life, but I think she'll change that tune now.

Q.  What is your daughter's name?
TODD GORDON:  Ashlyn.  She turns 10 here this week.

Q.  Roger, you kind of touched on this already, but you just recently announced that you're going to add a fourth IndyCar driver for next year.  Would you consider expanding your Cup operation, or is two the right number for you guys?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, you know, obviously we've got a little different program in IndyCar where the cars are pretty much the same, and we don't have to have the development that you have here.  I think from a budget perspective, what we've decided to do is do a technical agreement with the 21 car for next year and put Ryan Blaney in there, and if we could produce a young man there that could join us at some point, that would be an option, but at this point our plan in 2015 is to continue the two‑car team.

Q.  Joey, I wanted to ask, you've got eight wins now, five this season.  Where does this win rank for you, especially considering some of the struggles you'd had here before?
JOEY LOGANO:  You know, I would agree with Todd.  It's big because it gets us to the next round.  That's big.  A few weeks ago Loudon was probably the biggest win of my career because it's a home racetrack for me.  I've sucked there forever, so I found somewhere I was good at, gave me a car I was able to drive and I had some speed in, and that was very rewarding because we worked so, so hard.  Like Todd said, we had two tests there, and we still weren't very good, and we watched a lot of film, doing a lot of things, talked about it a lot, what do we need, how do we go fast here, and being able to conquer that racetrack was probably the biggest win for me.  But I think of other wins that were big.  I think a few years back when we won at Pocono, that was a career moment for me because I was kind of out.  I didn't know where I was going to be, so that was kind of a big career moment for me to win that race and keep my career going, and then who would think, win five races in one year.  Like that is so cool that we were able to do that.  It's a dream come true.  It's a dream season so far.  We've just got to keep finishing it off.  My career has been a little bit of a roller coaster, but we're riding the upswing right now and having a lot of fun with it.

Q.  Joey and Todd, if you experiment with anything at Charlotte, is it more applicable to Texas or Homestead?
JOEY LOGANO:  Charlotte is a beast of its own I feel like.  It's funny because you can look at Texas and Charlotte and say, wow, they're like the same racetrack.  Really Homestead and Texas are closer than Charlotte is to Texas or Homestead.  You know, we were able to test there because we knew it was going to be a very important race for us in this round to be able to get through to the next one, so we spent some time there and tried to understand what we need to make our race car go fast there.  I feel like we were able to take some good things out of it, but it's definitely a beast of its own for sure.  What do they call it, the beast of the southeast don't they call it, or something like that?

Q.  It's got a few mottos.
JOEY LOGANO:  Whatever, it's a tough track to get your car to handle right.  You look at Turn 1, the way the cars land into that corner and the way the sun always beats on Turn 3 and how big the transitions are from day to night and having all that stuff and having a little bit bigger of a notebook from going testing there at that racetrack there, that's tough, is good to have for sure, and I felt like it was maybe one of our weaker racetracks earlier in the year.  We need to test there to get better.

Q.  Joey, does Will winning on the IndyCar side put any more pressure on you to win the championship?
JOEY LOGANO:  Just want to win.  Yeah, we want to‑‑ obviously the IndyCar side, they did their job already, and they're done.  They've done a great job.  Now it's our job.  We have two more championships to win.  Not just the Sprint Cup championship but we want to win that owner's championship.  We've got to keep plugging away with that.  I've got a couple more races in that right now, as far as the plan, and‑‑ Todd is laughing at me.  I just want to race.  I like racing.
But it would be a dream come true to win a championship in this series, but to get Roger two in a year and hopefully three in a year would be awesome for me only being here a couple years, that would be kind of a dream come true to give Roger something that he hasn't done before, and that would be pretty neat to do.
KRISTI KING:  Gentlemen, congratulations on making it to the Eliminator Round.  Good luck next week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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