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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: DAYTONA 500


February 22, 2015


Todd Gordon

Joey Logano

Roger Penske


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

JOEY LOGANO:  Has anyone heard who won the Daytona 500 (laughter)?
KERRY THARP:  We have our winning team here.  We're joined by Joey Logano, team owner Roger Penske, and crew chief Todd Gordon.
Congratulations to everyone over at Team Penske.  Your second Daytona 500 victory.  Just a terrific day for your organization, a terrific race for us today.
Joey, how does it feel to win the Daytona 500?
JOEY LOGANO:  About as cool as I thought it would feel.  I think as a kid, any young racer dreams of winning the Daytona 500.  It's the biggest race we have all year.  You're down here for two weeks.  So much buildup coming into this race, with the qualifying, the Duels.
You get out there, the first time you've raced in a couple months.  There's a lot of anxiety, a lot of nerves before the race.
To be able to pull that car into Victory Lane, see my team there, see my family and my friends.  Everyone was here.  It couldn't be any better.  It's an amazing feeling.
I can't really put it into words.  It's something that you can't describe.  I keep reliving over and over again what it was like down the back straightaway when I came off of turn two there, looking in the mirror, saw them crashing.  Okay, you hope there's a caution.  But I think even that, they weren't close enough to be able to make a run.
Man, you have a split second after the caution came out, you think about it, Did we win?  Then straight chaos after that.  An amazing feeling.
Fortunate to get to race for Roger, Shell, Pennzoil.  Todd Gordon over here, he's the freaking man.  I'm just the lucky guy that drives this thing.
KERRY THARP:  Todd Gordon, congratulations to you as well.  Maybe just talk about a couple things that you thought were key in getting this win here this afternoon.
TODD GORDON:  We looked at it.  I thought as you look at the week we had coming into this, it was really cold.  The Unlimited was pretty cold.  The Duels were pretty cold.  The pack stayed tight and together.  We really talked a lot about how we wanted our racecar to be come race time.
I think we made the right calls to have enough stability in the car.  We could maintain our position up front.  Joey did a phenomenal job of finding the right lines.  I think Tab Boyd did a great job from the spotter's stand to get us out front.
I'd say the biggest thing that helped us today beyond having speed and getting up there, we worked really well with the 15 car.  I think those guys did an awesome job helping us today.
KERRY THARP:  Roger, certainly you had many wins in motorsports, many championships.  Your accomplishments are outstanding.  But this has to be a very sweet win for Team Penske and for you personally.
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, to win this race at all is something special.  Obviously the Indy 500 has meant a lot to me.  As we've competed in NASCAR for so many years, come up short here.  Today to see the competition.
Today what I saw was a driver came through a lot with us a couple years ago, when Todd jumped onboard, to see him manage the race, he was never further back I think than 10th.  He managed the race.  When you have Earnhardt, Johnson, Gordon, all the guys behind him, was able to play fair, but yet knew what he had to do, it was amazing.
For me it's a credit to what Todd's done.  The team, we talked about this during the NASCAR week, we talked about continuity.  I think today you saw it.  Same pit crew.  We had the same guys on that car.
Joey, he and Todd have built a bond together, which is important.  They trust each other.  You could see it.  The calls on the racetrack, stay out, two tires, four tires.  That's what you have to have.  It was a perfect day.
I think for the fans, the racing was as good as I've ever seen it.  Other than that mess at the end, it was really clean racing.  Believe me, with three Hendrick cars behind you, your odds aren't very good.  We were able to steal one from them today.
Rick's a great friend of mine.  Obviously the 4 car, he and Joey have had a couple of words, but they worked well together at the end.  He backed out a little and let us come home.
KERRY THARP:  Joey, one thing I wanted to point out.  You are now going to be in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.  Congratulations.
ROGER PENSKE:  We're going to have fun for 25 weeks.
KERRY THARP:  We'll take questions.

Q.  Roger, when Joey became available at the end of '12, why did you like him?  What did you see you thought you could get out of him?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, I knew that he had raced for a great team.  He was very successful in the Nationwide or Busch Series, I forget the name, it changes every year.  Anyhow, he knew how to win races.
He had Kyle and Denny Hamlin there.  He was the young guy in the crowd.  Brad was a big part of this, putting his arm around Joey, saying, Come onto our team and help us build this.
I knew he was going to be a team player.  I think that's what's paid off.  There's great transparency for us.  It's paid off in spades for us.  You saw what he did last year.  This is just the start I think of a career, he's going to be a guy at the top for a long time.

Q.  Joey, it was three years ago that you were losing your job, then you land with Penske.  What was that like for you?  Why did this change to Penske just make you sort of skyrocket into this winning driver?
JOEY LOGANO:  It's a combination of a lot of things.  Sometimes God just throws you situations and you don't know why, but you just got to roll with the punches and it turns out to be the best.
I think it's no secret that I got thrown into the series too young, inexperienced, didn't know what I had to do.  Started working my way up.
Obviously the switch over to Team Penske, the best move of my career.¬† To be here, get teamed up with a great team, it was an opportunity for me to regroup, be who I wanted to be as an adult, not an 18‑year‑old kid anymore, go out there and work hard.
In the gym at Team Penske, it says, Efforts equal results.  It's a simple phrase, but it means so much.  Everyone on our team works so hard.  I said it earlier in Victory Lane, superspeedway racing was not our specialty at all last year.  For me as a driver, I've never really been that good at this big pack drafting.
Over the off‑season, Todd and I sat down a lot, Tab, my spotter, watched a lot of tapes.¬† We watched the second Duel, the Nationwide race.¬† We did everything we possibly could to prepare ourselves for this race.¬† It's so cool to see that phrase come to life:¬† Effort equals results.¬† Got a really cool ring because of it.¬† It's very neat (smiling).

Q.  Joey, you seemed to have a big lead there towards the end, Allgaier has his problems with three to go.  What do you do looking in the mirror?
JOEY LOGANO:  Oh, crap.  That's what I said (laughter).
Really, the caution comes out, you think about strategy, you know we're staying out, want to save some fuel in case of multiple green‑white‑checkereds.
Once you get over the fact that you're about to throw up, you start figuring out how to win the race.
I knew Clint Bowyer behind me was the best pusher I had all day.  He was very aggressive, pushed me hard.  My car was able to handle it at any point throughout the corners and straightaways.  A few times we got crossed up, but it worked.  I knew I wanted Clint behind me.
We were able to execute the plan basically after that.  Stared in the mirror, tried to bring her home.

Q.  You saw Brad have the engine oil pan issue.  Then you had the 21.  I believe you had a conversation over the radio about it.  I think, Todd, you said something about, Say your prayers.
JOEY LOGANO:  I said that.
TODD GORDON:  I said, Nothing we can do about it, just keep digging.
He said, We'll just say a prayer.

Q.  After those two issues, how concerned were you you might develop something?
TODD GORDON:  You worry about the things you can control in this sport.  At that point we have no control over it.
I think Doug Yates and his guys have done an awesome job of trying to bring as much power to the racetrack.  We had had discussions prior to the race about where we could push it, where we couldn't.
Unfortunate with the 2 and the 21.  But we had managed where we needed to be with our motor all day.  You can't worry about things you can't control.  At that point, as Joey said, it's in the racing gods' hands.  Fortunately everything worked out for us.

Q.  Joey, you are so young.  You have so much ahead of you in terms of your future with NASCAR.  With this being Jeff Gordon's last season, if you could project forward, think about your last season, your last race, what would you hope people would say about you?  What would you want your legacy to be?
JOEY LOGANO:  That's a tough question.  I feel like I got over 20 years left in my career.  It's hard to look that far down the path.
But, you know, as a person, I want to be known as more than just a racecar driver.  I want to be known as a great person that's willing to help out and give back when I'm supposed to, you know, when you're supposed to be a good person.  Someone that was fun to be around, enjoyed life, enjoyed the fact that you get to drive a racecar for a job.  That's like the coolest thing ever.  Make sure I enjoy every second of it.  Hopefully as a winner.
So far this has been a great career for me.  You only hope you can do as much as Jeff Gordon.  Look at what he's done in his career.  He's been an amazing ambassador for our sport.  He was my favorite driver when I first started racing when I was six years old.  I rooted for the 24 car because he was the young guy.  Now I'm racing against him.  He's not the young guy anymore, but he's still a lot of fun to race against.
Being able to race against him today for the lead multiple times in the Daytona 500, that's a dream come true for any kid.  I'll always remember that, for sure.

Q.  Roger, Brad has given you a championship, your first in NASCAR.  Joey has given you your second Daytona 500 win.  Drivers who are young enough to be your grandchildren are giving you your best success in NASCAR.  What does that mean to you personally, to have that kind of youth?  How has it rejuvenated you?  You've seemed like a different guy around the track the last few years.
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, the way I answer that is, as we tried to build this team, when we brought the IndyCar team down to Charlotte to be one team, I've talked about it before, to be able to get talent, we knew having an opportunity to get Brad onboard.  He came to see us when he was still with JR Motorsports.  He said, Look, at the end of the year I'd like to talk to you and help you build a team.  He was key with contacting Joey to get him onboard.
You need youth today in your business, you need youth today on the racetrack.  Todd knows that.  People we hire are ones that want to stay with us.  We support them.  We're going to have ups and downs.  He talked about effort equals results.  I think that's what you've seen.
Personally for me, I like seeing these people compete and elevate themselves in the company. ¬†That's what I look for.¬† I've won a lot of races.¬† But I love to compete with Rick, with Childress, Gibbs, Stewart‑Haas, because the camaraderie off the racetrack is amazing.¬† But when you get to the racetrack you got to have your game on.
To me, seeing these young guys step up, a young golfer, like McIlroy, it's the great thing about sports, it brings the best out of people, brings the best out of our team.  To me, that gives me satisfaction.

Q.  Joey, you really didn't answer, but what was going through your mind when you found out about the 21 and the 2?  Certainly you could move around on your own.  When your teammates go down that quickly, it has to give you some pause.
JOEY LOGANO:¬† Well, you know, Roush‑Yates Motors does a great job for us.¬† Yes, it was two motors that fairly quickly gave up.¬† I don't know, but I think it was the same thing.¬† Obviously it raises a little bit of a caution in your mind to say, What's going on?
There's still a lot of Fords out there running at the time.  I just asked Todd, Is there anything I can do to help?  When he said there was nothing I could do, I stopped worrying about it.  I said, There's nothing I can do about it.
All I can do is focus on what we can control, like Todd said, and try to win the race from there.
I'd say one thing.¬† It held together 'cause I was trying to sling it right out the side of that thing, doing burn‑outs and laying it up.¬† But she held out.¬† A lot stronger than you think.¬† A pretty tough motor in that thing.

Q.¬† Roger, you've won 15 Indianapolis 500s, the all‑time winningest team owner there, now you're a two‑time Daytona 500 team winning owner.¬† How do you compare and contrast the two accomplishments?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, these are the two greatest races here in the United States.  Just to say that we competed for as many years as we have, both at Indy and Daytona, is something that I'll never forget.
Today the competition, you know, racing for an OEM here, which is important, and the sponsors, this race has gotten bigger and bigger.  To me, it's pretty special.
Obviously, I'd love to win both these races in the same year.  You set those kind of goals for yourself.
But today the Indy 500 is in May and the Daytona 500 is today.  Overall I think these are two great accomplishments.
I get many of the laurels.  When it really come down to the facts, it's all about the people that have joined the team for so many years that have brought us this success, it's the young drivers we just talked about, it's the young mechanics, people that have come across the country to work on our team, thumbed their way across that worked their way up to be key people.
When you look at auto racing, Knaus, go on down the line, we look at Todd, all these guys came from a different background.  They just didn't walk in at the top of this sport.  You cannot as a driver, you can't as a car owner, and you certainly can't as an engineer or chief mechanic.  You have to build it.
That's what we've been able to do from Nationwide to the Cup side, the Trucks.  Those guys are the future leaders over the wall for us.
It's the people.  Whether it's at Indy or here, I think it takes the same formula.

Q.¬† Joey, how much did that pit stop at Homestead stay with you over the off‑season?¬† How much does this victory erase what happened there and allow you to focus forward?
JOEY LOGANO:  It really didn't stay in my mind that long.  You move on.  It's history.  It's past.  You focus on the future.  If you dwell on the past, you'll never move forward.
You know, obviously you're frustrated at the end of that race.¬† The team stuck together, their attitude was awesome over the off‑season.¬† They worked so hard to become better.¬† We used it as a positive, how to motivate ourselves to be a better team.
This whole Speedweeks, every stop they had was spectacular.  Each one was fast.  We gained spots each time we came down pit road.
I'm confident as a driver I know I have the best team out there.  Whether it's the road crew or the pit crew, I know they're the best team out there.
As long as we stay together as a team, win or lose as a team, that's what makes a strong team, you know, is people that live and die together.  You do it.
It's really cool to see how they reacted over the off‑season, used it as a positive.

Q.  This sort of success has been expected of you for so long, it seems like you should be older.  Does it feel like a long time?  Did that sort of pressure and expectation on a teenager help or hurt you?
JOEY LOGANO:  Did you call me old, too (laughter)?
No, I mean, this is my seventh 500, I guess.  Yeah, I'm 24, which is cool because I've been through a lot in my career already and still have a long ways to go, like we talked about a few minutes ago.
The success that we're starting to see, it's been a lot of fun.  I'm so happy and thankful that I went through the times of trying to figure this out, the tougher times worrying about if you're going to have a job or not.
Worrying about winning a race and having a job are two different things.  When you get to the point of worrying about winning races, that's where you want to be in your career.
Without going through those other points, it would never make me the person I am today on and off the racetrack.  I'm thankful for it, to be here going through all that.

Q.  Roger, when you heard your driver and your crew chief talk about engine, didn't you actually get on the radio and say something?
ROGER PENSKE:  Well, what I did, I realized that there were 13 Fords in the race and two of them had a problem.  Our chances probably were pretty good that we'd be fine.
I said to Joey, Keep focus out the window.  There was nothing else to do.
Todd had said the same thing.  He asked the question, What had happened?  We knew, but there was no reason that that was going to be the text that he needed to start the race.  He needed to focus.
Quite honestly, we've gotten great engines from Roush‑Yates all last year.¬† This is right on the edge.¬† In order to run with these guys, we have to be right on the edge.¬† We obviously were today.
For me, I was just watching the race to see him get to the front and stay there.  The engine was secondary once we got the restart.

Q.  Roger, you've won the Indianapolis 500, you won the Daytona 500.  Seems like the only thing left to do is win the Brickyard 400.  What would that win mean to you?
ROGER PENSKE:  That would be something special.  That's something that has gotten away from us.  We've gotten close a couple times.  I'm going to have a talk with these guys on my right and the ones that aren't here.
Jeff Gordon seems to have the combination there.  Maybe when he retires, we'll have a chance (laughter).
That would be real special.

Q.  Joey, I'm going to call you young here.
JOEY LOGANO:  Thank you.

Q.  There's been a lot of talk about a NASCAR youth movement.  Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott get a lot of that attention.
JOEY LOGANO:  I'm basically the same age as them with seven years of experience.  You see rewards from the hard work you put in earlier.
Yeah, some of the youth movement, I feel like I'm still involved with it.  I hope to kind of feel like the leader of it because I've been here before, I kind of understand how the sport works a little bit, what I need to do.  As a driver, you want to take advantage of that, try to build our sport bigger and better all the time.
How can we reach a younger demographic more?  That's why I liked Jeff Gordon when I was younger, because he was young.  How can we reach more kids, stuff like that.  It's a role I want to take on as a driver because I want NASCAR as a sport to keep growing like it is.
Like I said, it's a role I want to be able to take on because I've been here for a while.

Q.  Joey, you exclaimed on the radio that the Daytona 500 is the Daytona 500.  Had you thought a lot about the historical impact of winning this race, what it would mean to win it?
JOEY LOGANO:  A lot of cool things.  There's a really cool trophy out there that they put everyone's names on it.  A lot of history there.  It's neat to have your name associated with that.
I was in the FOX Hollywood studio over there before they went on air.  They had a picture of our car doing a burnout.  It said, Joey Logano, Daytona 500 champion.  That was neat.  I took a picture of it.  There's a lot of cool things that come along with it, I'm not even sure what they are yet.
I'm sure all week long you see a lot of the old race footage.  They run that special on TV.  You see what it means to be in the Daytona 500.  It's an amazing feeling just to be in the race.
I remember my first race here.  I saw my car, walked out, pit road with my dad, almost fell into tears.
Winning it, you can only imagine.  It's 10 times cooler than that.  It is the biggest race of the year.  You're racing against the best of the best in stockcar racing.  It's really cool to be associated with the names that have won this thing before.

Q.  Joey, I talked to you Friday night and I asked you what the party would be like if you won the Daytona 500.  What's the party going to be like tonight?  Can the FOX crew be invited?
JOEY LOGANO:  I don't know if we should have media there.  Sure, what the heck, c'mon (laughter).
To be honest with you, I don't know how to party.  I'm sure there's somebody on my team that knows how.  It's funny because for a while when I first started racing, I wasn't 21, so milk and cookies was my partying.  Now I'm old enough.  Usually Brittany and I sit down and rewatch the race.
I think all my guys are staying here.  We're going to do something.  I think they're more experienced in the partying side of it.  We'll figure it out as the night goes.

Q.  If you need any help, we're here to help you, we're at the Hilton.
JOEY LOGANO:  Seems like you know how to do it (laughter).

Q.¬† Joey, down the stretch you were really the only Ford in contention.¬† How do you pick people to work with down the stretch?¬† With Denny and Kevin there, people you had run‑ins in the past, did that enter your head?
JOEY LOGANO:  Obviously you think about it.  I want to say it's been long enough that we've moved on and we can race with each other, and we did obviously.
I chose the 15 as a teammate kind of in a way today as someone to work with because for some reason sometimes you get two cars that match up really well.  Sometimes you get two drivers that have the same agenda, have the same level of aggression, being able to force situations.
He matched up with me today.  For some reason, started pushing, I want this guy behind me the rest of the race.  Anytime I can figure out how to get Clint behind me to push me, we were able to pass cars.
We restarted 10th with 20‑ish to go, together we kind of worked our way up there.¬† Three‑wide for the lead for a little bit.¬† He gave me a couple big old shoves to get up into the front of that thing.¬† We saw a lot today that when you get out front, you get clear of the pack, you're able to kind of work each line, do what you can to try to stay up there.
It took a lot.  It took a big run for someone to pass for the lead.  So getting there was very important.  Then beyond that point, like I said, you're in the mirror.  Having the right guy to push you up there was key.

Q.  Could you sum up your range of emotions from being let go by Gibbs to today winning the Daytona 500.
JOEY LOGANO:  Some of the emotions you go through, you start to think, Man, am I going to have a job next year?  That's kind of hard as a racecar driver.  Especially for me, I poured all my eggs in one basket.  This is going to be scary.  You don't know what's going to happen.
That win in Pocono for me was one of the biggest wins in my career because I didn't know what was going to happen next, but just to prove to yourself you can still win one of these things.  That was a special race for me.
Then who would ever guess three years down the road we'd be sitting here saying we're Daytona 500 champions?  That's crazy.  Life is a rollercoaster.  Like I say, you just got to roll with the punches and it all comes out good in the end if you trust in God and be there.

Q.  You mentioned the cool ring that you got.
JOEY LOGANO:  Which one?

Q.  Given your track record with rings, what are you going to do with that one?
JOEY LOGANO:  This one is harder to replace, I think.  Well, I take that back.  I screwed up, didn't I (laughter)?
TODD GORDON:  Insert foot here (smiling).
JOEY LOGANO:  What I meant to say, she's still here with me, it's just a symbol.  She would be impossible to replace.  That's how you redeem yourself (smiling).  I'm going to stop.
I feel like I came out neutral on that one.
But, no, overall, the ring is super cool.  I'll make sure I put it next to the bed when I go to sleep tonight, along with the trophy and Brittany.

Q.¬† With all the talk about handling that's gone on, were you able or any of the other drivers able to make use of the in‑car track bar adjustment during this race or was that not an option?
JOEY LOGANO:  That's not an option on superspeedways.  They take that out of the cars.  So next week will be the first time we get to use that.
We'll see how that goes.  We haven't tested the new package as a team, the 22 team hasn't.  We're not sure what it's going to do yet.
But handling did come into play a lot today.  That was definitely a big story to me.  I was surprised how much we started lifting in the corners.  Kind of felt like the old Daytona, the car is getting tight, you're starting to ask for adjustments, asking for grip in your car.  That's something we haven't said here in Daytona for a little bit.
It's starting to come back to old Daytona, which is cool.¬† I think it still puts on a great race.¬† It's a lot of fun.¬† At the end it's amazing, because you see throughout the race how a lot of cars weren't handling very well.¬† At the end we're three‑wide, still wide open.¬† How did we find this gear to be able to do this?¬† It didn't work early in the race, why would it work at the end?

Q.  The guys who were second, third, fourth didn't think they had much for you, even if the caution did not come out.  Were you fairly certain by the time the caution came out that you would hold them off?
JOEY LOGANO:  I wasn't very certain at all.  I've never won big pack group racing.  Like I said earlier, this isn't my specialty.  You know, never winning one of these before, you're never really sure what's going to happen.
I don't think anyone is certain what's going to happen.  You're probably never certain you're going to win one of these things.
You do what you know how to do, try to make the best of that situation.  It's cool to be able to hold those guys back there.  But it took a lot of teamwork to be able to do it.

Q.  Todd, can you talk about your relationship with Joey and how you've built that relationship, and what winning a Daytona 500 means to you personally.
TODD GORDON:  When Joey came onboard, it's funny, it's been our third year together.  But there were a lot of similarities in how we race, how our personalities were, how we wanted to handle people, how we wanted our race team to be.
This whole Shell‑Pennzoil race team, there's a lot of continuity.¬† They're guys that like to hang out together.¬† There's no separation in our group.¬† I think that comes from Joey and myself and everybody here.¬† It's a group that kind of gets together.
Yeah, I'm a lot older than he is, because I'm an old guy.  But we have some similar thoughts and I think similar focuses.  He's a genuinely good person.  I think everybody kind of migrates towards that.
It's been great.  The relationship is something where we trust each other with everything.  Today was a perfect example of I'm too tight, I call for two tires, there's no hesitation in Joey's mind.  He understood track position was what we had to maintain, keep things where we were fighting for things.  Good belief in each other.  I don't ever question what he does.  I've never heard him question me, so...
JOEY LOGANO:  I don't question you, man.  You're smarter than me.
KERRY THARP:  Joey, Todd and Roger, congratulations on winning the 57th Annual Daytona 500.  Great accomplishment.  Joey, enjoy it.
JOEY LOGANO:  There's one more cool story we overlooked.  Ford won the Rolex 24, the Truck race, the XFINITY race, and the Cup race.  I think that's a pretty big deal for those guys.  You deserve a high five or something.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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