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August 9, 2015

Walter Czarnecki

Todd Gordon

Joey Logano


THE MODERATOR: We're going to continue to roll into our post‑race press conferences here in today's Cheez‑It 355 at the Glen. We have now been joined by our race winning crew chief Todd Gordon and Walter Czarnecki, the Vice Chairman of Team Penske. Todd, you were in here yesterday with Joey's XFINITY Series win. Did you expect to be here today?
TODD GORDON: I thought we had a shot at it but I don't know if I expected it. We've continued to evolve this program in road course racing in general. I think we put a concerted effort in Sonoma this year and saw the rewards of it, and we dug pretty hard at trying to make sure we had long‑run speed, and it showed off today. I think we had enough speed to push the 4 into getting out of their fuel strategy.
THE MODERATOR: Walt, for you, this is the first win for Team Penske here at Watkins Glen. Just talk about Joey being able to come away with the win here today over the 4 car.
WALT CZARNECKI: Thank you. It means an awful lot to Team Penske. As you've heard, this is Team Penske's first Cup win at the Glen. I believe this is our winningest track in the whole history of the company, going back to the Trans‑Am and the Can‑Am, the Nationwide and the XFINITY and the rest, a great run yesterday. So this is particularly meaningful for us to win here today in this race, and on a personal‑‑ from a personal perspective, I also want to send my personal condolences because I had a close relationship with Michael Argetsinger. His father Cameron and I met back in the Trans‑Am days, who built this racetrack and made it what it is, and Michael and I developed a friendship over the last 20 years, and as some of you know, Michael passed away here about a month ago. It means a great deal for me personally that we were able to win this race here at the Glen. For Joey to do it, you know, it's Team Penske. Joey has done a great job, but Todd and the whole Shell‑Pennzoil crew, I knew from the beginning, I just felt comfortable and confident all day long that we had a real opportunity to win here today.
THE MODERATOR: Todd, Joey and the team were able to lock themselves into the Chase early this year at Daytona, but coming to have this second win at this point in the season, talk about how that momentum can help you guys going into the Chase here in a couple weeks?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, definitely felt we executed well at Daytona to get that first win. I thought as an organization we've executed well. We had a little speed to find in our race cars, and through the first third of the season. Through the last probably six weeks we've found some more speed and we've figured out where we're lacking a little, and we've had more speed.
But we've had a lot of bridesmaids' dresses here the last month with both Joey and Brad finishing second at several places. Good to get back to victory lane and build the momentum going forward into the Chase because we've only got a few races left.

Q. Todd, you were in here yesterday, you talked about growing up in this area. Where does today's win compare to all the ones in your career as a crew chief? I know this is your third win here.
TODD GORDON: Yeah, this one is pretty special. For the Glen wins, this is the top of it. Obviously in '11 it was pretty big for me to win back home. That was the first win here in the Nationwide Series then. But to come here and execute on a Cup level is awesome because it's back home. You know, this is New York State, and this is two‑and‑a‑half hours from where I grew up. I came and watched races here before I moved South to go racing, and I love road course racing, not just because of here, but I think it's a different venue for us. It's a different mindset to what you've got to do with the race car, and it brings out good execution and great race car drivers, and I think we had that today.

Q. Do you remember the first time you came to Watkins Glen?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I do. I don't remember the year, but it was for a then Busch Series race. Came up here in early '90s and just‑‑ it was just awesome. Just to be part of the venue and spent a little bit of time down here. Grandparents had a place up on Keuka Lake, so not too far from here, and the area is just fabulous. It's a great racing venue and pretty proud of what the racetrack has been able to do with the grandstands and everybody here. It's been a great venue.

Q. Todd, if this is a Chase race, how different does everybody playing the strategy, and we've had fuel‑mileage races the last few weeks. Do you have any clue what your fuel mileage will be next week with the new package at Michigan?
TODD GORDON: That's a really good question. I think we'll have to see how that comes out next week at Michigan with the high‑drag package. I think it'll be interesting to see how that works out at Michigan. I know we ran it at Indy, but Indy is more of a one groove racetrack. We'll see what happens and how the groove moves around next week.
It's a wild card, but that's cool because it allows the race teams to kind of react to it, and it gives you opportunity‑‑ whenever there's a change, there's an opportunity to have more success and to beat people in that transition to change. Looking forward to seeing what we do next weekend there.
As to this Watkins Glen being a Chase race, you know, the fuel‑mileage strategy would be more stressful. I think you'd see a few guys, depending on what segment it's in and where it is, I think you'd see a little more conservativeness, but it may not be a ton of it. If it fell in the first segment, I think you'd see a lot of risk on, especially from guys that have nothing to lose. You know, the back half of the Chase Grid would definitely be risk on to try to find that win and get themselves through, so see where it all falls out, if it ever happens.

Q. Following up on that, I don't know if you were aware, but Adam Stevens was having Kyle Busch save fuel in case of a green‑white‑checkered finish. I take it that scenario never mattered to you because you're in the Chase?
TODD GORDON: Well, we're in different positions. Obviously Adam was Joey's engineer back when, so there's a good relationship there. Adam and I talked this week about last week. I told him, I said, why did you run me out of gas. If he just didn't push so hard, the two of us could have finished one‑two.
Last week I think was a hit to them, and their need is they've got multiple wins. They've been on fire, and their need is to be in the top 30. When you talk about risk on of winning races and how you run your fuel strategy, theirs was to finish the race, and they ended up finishing second today, and I haven't looked at the sheet, but I would assume that that put them locked in the top 30 at this point. Everybody has their own goals, so theirs is we execute, we put ourselves in the top 30, we're in the Chase, and I think he did that correctly.
I knew that they were in that boat, so we're in a different boat, and we could push the piece‑‑ I never told Joey to save fuel because if we save fuel, then the 4, the 20 and the 42 ahead of us could be more aggressive on saving fuel, and if they did, the 4 would have made it. We were full on. I listened to Rodney. Rodney was telling him when the 22 got to him, he had to push. We had to get there as quick as we could to make them use up all we could, and fortunately we were a third of a lap short.

Q. Would the 18 have been in your boat‑‑
TODD GORDON: I think it would have been an interesting race if the 18 is guaranteed in and in the top 10 in points. I think it would have been an interesting race. We had strengths and weaknesses today and I think people had different ones, but it would be a great race, and that's how situations fall out, but as it was, I think there's a lot of strategy tied up and there was a lot of suspense because I was scratching my head wondering how the 4 car got that far to be honest with you. They made it, almost, and finished third today. But we did what we had to execution‑wise to get back to them to push them to make sure that they couldn't save as much fuel as they needed to.
THE MODERATOR: We've now been joined by our race winner, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford, Joey Logano. This is your second victory of the season. It's also the first time that we've ever had a driver sweep the NASCAR XFINITY Series race and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at Watkins Glen. Talk a little bit about the end of the race knowing the 4 car could potentially run out of fuel but really what it means to be able to visit victory lane back‑to‑back two days in a row.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's remarkable. I've never swept the weekend before. I've come close a couple times but never actually done it. I didn't think a road course would be the time that we were able to sweep the weekend. But what a special race car I had yesterday, such a fast race car, and we were able to drive up through the field and just have a really good car.
And today Todd made some great adjustments overnight after we talked about the XFINITY race and got my Shell‑Pennzoil Ford even better, which was great. We kind of worked our way up through the field slowly and methodically throughout the race and we kind of kept recycling as the pit sequence kept changing, eventually found ourselves the lead car on that pit sequence, so Todd did a great job calling this race, obviously, and makes up a lot for last week. Not that he called a bad race last week‑‑ I'm not saying that, Todd. I love you. But I'm saying it's nice that it played out this time. Sometimes it doesn't work out the way you want it to, and that's why we don't really talk about it much during the race. He does his thing and I do my thing, and we have 100 percent faith in each other no matter what the decision is and what I do on the racetrack or what he does on pit road, our team just executed perfectly today. We may not have had the fastest race car. We had a very good race car that was capable of running in the top three I felt like, but the execution of the day is what won us this race, and I feel like that's the strong suit of this 22 team right now.

Q. Joey, on the restart, about halfway through, it looked like you took a real hard hit from McMurray, which basically knocked him out of the race. Was that a cause for concern at all?
JOEY LOGANO: To be honest with you, I didn't even really look at the back of the car after the race, but you know, I don't even know how it happened, what happened in front of me. I know the 6 checked up. I think the car in front of him checked up, and I was right on the 6, so I didn't have much further to go before I hit him, which saved my nose, and then I got wailed in the back.
It's just hard to‑‑ you can't see nothing. You're going uphill. All you see is spoiler, so you're driving blind. Every driver is. Things happen that quick, it's bam, boom, done. It happens that quick.
It's tough, but it didn't really affect my car any. My car drove fine afterwards obviously, and I was able to keep driving through the field and keep working our plan.

Q. Joey, last week you fell short there at Pocono, and this week with fuel mileage, how much do you talk with Todd about fuel mileage and focusing on that each and every week?
JOEY LOGANO: We talk about it. I don't know if we talk about it a whole bunch. We were joking on that red flag, and I said, hey‑‑ because I get confused on what he's thinking because I don't really know and I'm just driving the car around in circles and he's calling the race. I asked, I said, hey, do you want to tell me the game plan or just want me to drive and I'll figure it out later on, and he gave me the yeah. That means everything without saying anything, I know that. The cool thing about the chemistry that Todd and I have and really this whole 22 team has is we can communicate without even saying anything. We know each other very well, and that just comes from spending a lot of time together and building those relationships up. I'm saying it's not just between the driver and the crew chief, but it's the whole team. They're a real family. They hang out together away from the racetrack, and I think that shows every week. They have a lot of fun together. It's not very often you have a team that has a lot of fun that's also very successful and understands how to work hard. That's what we've got with this 22 team and really all of Team Penske, the way we all work together and build fast race cars, it's very fun to be a part of.

Q. You talked about running the XFINITY Series race to get more track time. Did you think you'd get a road course victory with the additional track time you've gotten with other races like at Sonoma and also here at Watkins Glen?
JOEY LOGANO: I keep trying. Eventually you hope you break through. I said in here yesterday, I remember the first time I came here and I was so frustrated because I didn't know how to go fast. A lot of times you can point out an area that you're slow and know what you need to go faster, and I was lost. It just takes a long time to figure out these racetracks and figure out what you need in your car and be able to communicate that. We put a lot of work into road courses, and in particular Watkins Glen, on trying to build a fast race car and understanding what we've got to do. You know, hard work equals results. We say that all the time at Team Penske. It's a quote that's up in the gym that we read every time we go in there. It really does. It's something to live by.

Q. You just touched on it; you said the first time you came down here you were really frustrated just because you had a lot of learning to do. All these years later to be able to sweep the weekend, how gratifying is that?
JOEY LOGANO: Very. You know, not just for being able to sweep the weekend, but really from finishing second a lot lately, and now to see the checkered flag without a car in front of me for once, so it felt really, really good. Team Penske, the last four races in a row one of our cars finished second. Brad finished second a couple times and so did we. It feels good to break through and not be the bridesmaid anymore, and actually get to have the checkered flag and have some fun. I think that was a little extra emotion at the end of the race. Good thing this is a long track because I was going crazy inside the car for about a lap afterwards. Pretty cool.

Q. Joey, is winning a fuel‑mileage race‑‑ I guess compare the feeling of winning a fuel‑mileage race versus losing one and just how‑‑
JOEY LOGANO: Losing sucks a lot more than winning. (Laughing).

Q. If you knew you were going to win a fuel‑mileage race 50 percent of the time, would it be fun to do, with all the stress and trying to manage it? Or is it frustrating even when you're winning it?
JOEY LOGANO: 50 percent? I'd take winning 50 percent of the time any time. That would be a hell of a record to be able to do that.
You know, to win a fuel‑mileage race, most of the time you have to have a fast car, as well. Most of the time. You know, you have to be running up in the top 5. I think Matt was running fifth last week or something like that, maybe even closer to the front when he won. That's not because‑‑ he had a fast race car. He didn't really luck into it. It's not like he was running 20th and he won the race. He had a fast car and he won the race. Today we had a top‑three car, we executed the plan and we won the race.
You know coming down to these things at the end of the race, you need a caution or you want it to go green, and whatever ending you're on, you've just got to work the plan, and if it doesn't work out, oh, well, we swung the bat. That's really the position that we're in right now with where we are in points and with a win. We've got to swing the bat; what do we got to lose? If we don't make it and we finish 30th, oh well, we tried to win the race, and we're fortunate to be able to race that way right now for the next couple weeks, and today is fun to be on the know you have enough gas and be aggressive instead of it being how much can you save and do you think you saved enough. I'm not really good when I'm on that end.
I really have one speed, and it's just go, and Todd knows that, and it's hard for me to check up. It's really hard for me to check up. When you hear that we're right on it with gas, you just say, well, I'm going to drive this thing hard, and that's kind of where I excel.

Q. Joey or Todd or both, another year working together. You guys get the win today at Watkins Glen. Only a few weeks away from the Chase. Do you guys feel that you're in an even better place as a team than you were last year heading into the Chase with a couple of wins now and a sweep at a road course?
TODD GORDON: I would say if you look at our statistics, it would say yes. We've got more top 5s, top 10s, more poles, same number of wins we had at this point last year. The team as a group as Joey talked about, I think team chemistry and continuity is at a level that we've not been at. We continue to grow that, and we're knocking on the door. We're building momentum at the right time. We've been top 5 contenders every week lately here the last month. We've found some speed in the race cars at the shop. I think as the aero packages have moved, we've been able to react to those very successfully. I think that's a testament to everybody at Team Penske back at the shop that they give us the information that we need to work forward.
I think we're in the right position. Obviously continuing to find speed, and continuing to need to find a little more speed. Everybody always needs that.
To where we're at, yeah, I think every year that we stay together, it's great, because everybody knows what everybody else is thinking. To Joey's point, he drives the race car, I call the race, and we don't argue about that. It's very clear as to what each of us need to do, and the team does a phenomenal job of everybody executing, whether that's pit crew, whether that's engineers, whether that's mechanics in the garage. I've got the greatest support team behind us, and I look forward to what we can do.

Q. Todd and Joey, you've already been to Michigan once. You guys finished fifth. You talked about the work that Penske has done in regards to the new aero packages. For each of you, how do you‑‑ how is your approach different going into next weekend? Has it changed or is it such a big variable that you really don't know until you get there?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, obviously there's a lot of unknowns, but we just ran a race a few weeks ago in Indy with it. I think when there's a rules change, it's a lot of work on the teams, for sure, but I also think it's not a bad thing for Team Penske. I think we were able to put together a package pretty quick a lot of times when there's a rules change and we were able to take advantage of the opportunity that's lying there for us.
You know, that's just because of hard work and the tools we've got and the way we know how to use them. I'm proud of that.
You know, if there is a race, we're going to go there to win. It's a unique package, obviously, but we've got to do what we can to try to rack up some more wins. That's what it's all about.
TODD GORDON: Just to what happens next week, I think to second his thought, it's an opportunity. We'll see where it takes us and where it goes. But we've had a lot of speed at Michigan. That's our first win as a duo. So we've been good there. We've been competitive for wins. I think actually the spring race was probably one of our weakest, and we understand why. Looking forward to where the new aero package takes us going back there because I think it plays into our hand. I think we understand a little bit about it. But I think it plays into some of the things that we like in our race cars, Joey and myself, just the Shell‑Pennzoil team. I'm excited to get back there and see what happens because we didn't run too bad at Indy with it, we just didn't quite get there.

Q. Joey, it's the first sweep here at Watkins Glen International. Your first career sweep. Is it safe to say that you have a new favorite track?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm sitting here thinking, as soon as we figured out how to win here, they're going to tear the racetrack apart.
TODD GORDON: That figures. You get to dig it up, too.
JOEY LOGANO: At least that's cool. I left some cool marks on it. Hopefully I can take that chunk of the racetrack where I did some donuts on it, but you know, I've always enjoyed coming to road courses but I was never very successful at them before. It kind of worked out well today.
You know, I like all the racetracks. I'm not prejudiced. I like them all. They're all fun in their own way, in different ways, and I just think it's cool that we get to do something different every week. We're going from a road course to a two‑mile racetrack. It's pretty cool that we have a sport that we can race different racetracks and different disciplines. It takes something different as a driver and as a team, and something I think I'm very proud of is that this team has won at short tracks like Bristol and mile‑and‑a‑halfs like Texas and superspeedways earlier this year in Daytona, and now a road course. That's a well‑rounded team, and I'm proud to be a part of that because not only as a driver does it take a lot of different things, but as a team it takes a completely different attitude every time you go to a different racetrack like that. It just goes to show what Team Penske is capable of doing.

Q. Just talk a little bit about how you felt last here before. What clicked this weekend, and to get two victories did you make the adjustments to get into victory lane twice?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, I mean, it's not like it was one thing, and boom, all of a sudden we figured it out. I felt like every time I've come here as a driver I've gotten a little bit faster, we've gotten a little bit more competitive. Last few times we've had close to a top‑5 car and we'd run in the top 10. We were borderline there. This week I feel like we made some changes to our cars to really understand what we needed in certain sections of the racetrack and saw speed because of that. You know, is there still areas that I look at where we can improve our race car? Oh, yeah. We can definitely make our race car a lot better, and as a driver, can I look at areas where I can become better? Yeah, for sure. We were a very good car today, and if we had clean air we probably would have stayed up there if we got the lead. But we can always be faster. You know, you never just sit still and say, we're good enough, we figured out how to win and that's it. There's always areas to improve on and get better at.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, Todd and Walt, congratulations on today's victory, and thank you for coming and visiting with us.

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