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October 11, 2015

Todd Gordon

Joey Logano

Roger Penske


THE MODERATOR: We're going to hear from a couple of our key players, obviously, in today's win. Big win today for the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford, wins the first race in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Joey Logano punches his ticket to the Eliminator Round now in the Chase, and we're joined up front by car owner Roger Penske as well as crew chief Todd Gordon. Big win here today for Team Penske, obviously, and Roger, I'll start with you. You've got Joey now moving on to the next round and just really, really a dominant performance out here this afternoon. Talk about how you thought the 22 car performed.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I guess everybody saw what I did today. He was dominant. I think the pit crew executed. It's one thing when you lead here for 20 or 30 laps, to come in the pits and be able to come back and lead as many laps as we did, it was a credit to his driving and of course the car that Todd put under him. I think our Ford has come a long way with the more power force than we came into the Chase, so I think that's been a big help to us. For Joey, he came on our team, he's done nothing but‑‑ he's gone straight up from the standpoint of performance and what he's added, so to me it was a real team effort, and certainly I think at his age and how he handles himself and the way he drove today, you know, when you can beat the 4 car any day, any time, that's a big deal for us, and I think that it was good that we could be on at least be on a level playing field with him today.
And then unfortunately I guess some of the key guys that we would have expected to be up in the front had some problems, so you never know how they would have run if they didn't have the problem. I think we'll take it. I think it's better when you can go on to the next bracket. I guess that's the real end game here is to move on in this Chase.
THE MODERATOR: Todd, talk about some of the things that you guys did to make the car better during the course of the race weekend. Obviously last night's race got rained out, so we're running in the day. How big a change did you guys have to make with that?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, it's a‑‑ we looked at the weather coming in the weekend and actually Friday practice we had a daytime practice, first practice on Friday, and then an evening practice second one. We made the effort to make a longer run on tires on both practices to see where the balance would go both ways, and pretty happy with our car in both conditions.
Felt pretty optimistic about what we had in the sunshine today, just knowing what we had for a read in the first practice and how little we changed from then to where we were for the race last night. I love it when we get these tracks that get a little more sunshine and a little more hotter and slicker. That's when this guy to my left really shines his talent. Just a phenomenal weekend. I think everybody on this Shell‑Pennzoil team did a great job in preparing, was pretty cool that we came here pretty much how we raced.
A couple tweaks that we wondered about, but had good balance because it worked in both the sun and night.
THE MODERATOR: Here's our race winner, Joey Logano. This is Joey's fourth win in 2015, your first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Sprint Cup Series, and your previous best was third. This is your 12th career win, but more importantly, Joey, you advance now to the next round. Certainly you still have Kansas and Talladega on the schedule, but you're in that next round. Coming so close last year, you're continuing that growth and maturation as a driver. Just talk about the big win today because you were dominant.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, any time you have a race car that fast you just hope that something doesn't go wrong. But everyone did a great job. Todd made great calls. Pit crew was on top of it today. They've really been‑‑ most of this year have been incredible, so it's special to have a perfect day in racing. You don't have that very often. Usually at some point in a 500‑mile race you have to overcome something, but today everything went as planned.
Obviously getting this win at Charlotte means a lot. You know, I think it's on everyone's bucket list to win here mainly because everyone's race team is here. This is home turf for everyone. You want to win in front of your race team that doesn't typically get to come to the racetrack and get to celebrate with guys that you don't typically get to have in victory lane when we travel far away from here, so that's special.
But obviously we can all talk about Talladega and how special it is to get through to the next round, because the pressure that a lot of these drivers are going to have on them, and we had on us when this race started to get through to the next round is big, and to be able to have that pressure off of us and to be able to relax and enjoy this next round, and don't get me wrong, there's still two trophies to win, but to have that pressure off and be able to have our batteries charged up and ready to attack when we get to the next round, that's going to pay big dividends.

Q. Joey, maybe as important as the fact you won today is the fact that you pretty much whipped the No.4 car. He's sort of been the target in a way much of the year. Does this kind of make you the target now for everybody else?
JOEY LOGANO: I think there's a lot of fast race cars out there right now. Last week, obviously, the 4 was dominant. This week we had a really fast car. Next week, who knows? You can't rely on anything. As Roger says, one of the quotes I always remember is, don't trip on your press clippings. I usually hear that after every time we win. That just means don't rely on the speed you got today because tomorrow, you know, it won't be there. You've got to be able to keep moving forward and working on becoming a better race car driver, and in my case a better race team, faster race cars. Everyone does a great job at Team Penske at not settling just for first. We want to win a championship at the end of the year, and there's still a long ways to go, and we're not where we need to be yet by no means, but there's going to be a lot of development still. Cars are still going to be changing and cars are going to be fast one week and not the next week. Like I said, you've got to be able to focus in and know what each track is calling for and try to put together the fastest piece we can.

Q. Joey, you won the first round, the first race of the second round last year. Is there any lessons that you learned that now you can take forward and things you'll do differently moving forward, or is it just feet to the pedal, and is it just go out and win? Is that the recipe for success from here on out? Are there things you learned repeating this from last year?
JOEY LOGANO: More race wins. That's all we need to do. Win more races. You know, last year we did an incredible job getting ourselves to Homestead. I felt like we had a great Chase. We executed perfectly. We did everything we had to do to get to Homestead.
I feel like the lessons we learned were in Homestead, so we've got to get back to that race, get back in the same position we were last year, and I feel like we'll be in a lot better shape because we all lived it once and know what we've got to do.

Q. Todd, we obviously were planning on having a night race, but we knew at a decent hour yesterday that it was going to be a day race. Did NASCAR work with you to be able to make changes to your car in order to have it ready for a day race before you had to go to tech this morning or was it a matter of you just had to have it ready to roll?
TODD GORDON: We finished tech before‑‑ we finished tech yesterday afternoon before they called the race, so the cars all rolled through tech as we were racing last night. Really the weather didn't make the big swing‑‑ it looked, actually, as we were preparing ourselves to go to tech that the weather was going to clear out about 6:00, and then it seemed like about 5:00 or 4:00 it looked like it started to loop back and the forecast went to midnight. So when we left the garage we were planning on racing last night. I thought it would be rain delayed. I thought to a few people in the media that I thought we'd start at 9:00 or 9:30 and go last night. And we talked about the differences between our setups of what we ran in the day practice and night practice. It was small, it was there, but it was small, but what NASCAR did, they impounded the cars after‑‑ they didn't call the race last night until every car was through tech and back in the garage, they were impounded. Only thing that they let us work on was grille tape this morning just because it was going to be warmer, allow you to adjust your grille tape and warm the motor up. But that was the extent of the changes they allowed us. Really you were stuck with the setup chassis wise that you had for last night. Fortunately we had a pretty balanced race car and it took the same thing in the day and the night.

Q. Joey, I know you said this takes the pressure off now going to Kansas and to Talladega, but with the way this race panned out, the way you were finally able to break through, your best finish here was all the way back in your Joe Gibbs days. What is it about this combination now with you, with Todd, everybody at Penske, that's made it click because you've had your three best finishes here since moving over to that 22 car.
JOEY LOGANO: You know, when you get the right people around you, the word team kind of gets a whole new definition sometimes. It becomes a family, and I look at how tight all of Team Penske is but in particular the 22 team, how tight we are as a group. There's not one person that says this is my job and I won't do nothing else. Everyone is always picking up the slack where they need to. There's no one that's too big for themselves and wants to be Hollywood out there. Everyone is a bunch of racers. I'm proud to be a part of that group. It's an honor to be a part of that group, and honestly driving for Roger, can you find someone better to race for? I don't think so.
You know, when you get everything clicking just right, you know, and what I think it's all about is people. Roger talks about it all the time, but there's a lot of people that can buy a lot of those tools if they go out there and go fast, but you've got to have the right people to run those tools. Roger and all of Team Penske have done a great job selecting some very special hard‑working people to put together a great race team, and I think that's why we see the results.

Q. Todd, I was listening to you guys' communication a little bit on the radio today, and it just seemed so fluid. You guys never lost your cool even through all the green‑flag pit cycles we had. How crucial is that for you guys in this Chase and keeping everybody together, keeping the team rallied, keeping the driver calm just to be able to have these kind of performances?
TODD GORDON: Well, that's one of the things here ‑‑ to build off of Joey's comments, but this whole team is together and on the same page and supportive, whether it be Tab or Joey or the mechanics or the engineers and even Roger. He leads by example, and there's never‑‑ turmoil and chaos never brings anything good.
You know, it's always focusing forward, and what we can do next. I thought we executed a good race plan, and there's no‑‑ there were no issues, even when we green‑flag pitted it. We came back out on the‑‑ I think there was only one time we went a lap down and we knew how close we were and what we had to get. You focus on what's ahead of you, not what's behind you when you come into those situations, and everybody here does a great job of that.

Q. Roger, you signed this young man just before 2013 started. You guys, this is your third year together now. He went to the Final Four last year. He's working on trying to go back there again this year, but I heard a lot of people in the garage area say not too long before the start of that 2013 season that they weren't sure how it was going to turn out. What did you see in Joey, and what did you see that he was capable of that drew you to bring him to this team and now seeing all the success you've had the last couple years, it seems like it's a decision that really paid off.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think as we look at drivers, you know, whether it's on the IndyCar side or on the NASCAR side, we look at drivers that know how to win. There was no question in equal equipment, Joey ran wheel to wheel with Kyle Busch many times, so that validated that piece.
And after sitting with Joey and talking with him about technically how does he look at the car, how does he connect with the engineering folks, obviously we understood that he was a student of the sport, and he was committed. He was young, he was committed, and quite honestly, Brad played a big part in that because he and I talked about who would be the right person. Brad had come on our team and looked around the room to see kind of how we operated, and he said Joey would be the right guy.
I think it was support from Brad knowing that Joey was already a winner. This is not anything that should be new to anyone because he's driven against the best and won early on in his career, even though there were certain times that people maybe had statements about his ability or what he did. But to me, it was an easy decision, and he came on the team, and we didn't have a one, two, three, four driver. We had one, one, and that's how we try to run the team. And I think that the transparency between Paul Wolfe and Todd, both of these crew chiefs came out of a winning capability in seasons in the XFINITY, I guess we'll call it today, but in the series, the latter series in the past, and to bring them up and then have them grow with the driver, it makes a whole difference, and I think you're seeing that today, the execution and then the success and certainly what we've been able to do.
But I had no question about it, and I wasn't lucky; he was available. In fact, it was interesting, I called Joe Gibbs and said, look, I've got a full‑time ride for Joey, and I think they were trying to put something together at that point, and Joey knows that, and I said, look, I'll wait. I actually waited a week before we even put it together because I wanted to be open and honest with Joe. But at that point we moved ahead, and obviously we got one of the very best guys in this business today.

Q. Following on what Mike was asking about the 4 team, Joey, before you came in here Roger was saying that was a big deal to beat the 4. In all four of your victories this year, Daytona, Watkins Glen, Bristol, here, he's been the guy that you've pretty much beaten. Is there any sort of mental edge to that or does that give you any sense of confidence because that is the defending series champion and they have been pretty much the class of the series the last year and a half.
JOEY LOGANO: There's 42 other cars we've got to beat, too. He has been the one that has finished second. I think it's just a coincidence. Obviously they're a great race team, but you know, a team like that has a week like they did last week, you know, you've got to be able to pick up your game and be able to‑‑ hopefully be able to beat them and show that we're here to‑‑ it's not going to be an easy ride for someone, and I think our team showed that today, that we can go out there and compete with the best. I knew that coming into tonight, or today, and knowing really every week that I know my team has got what it takes to go out there and beat them.
But obviously, like I said, they have a lot of speed in their cars on a consistent basis. We do, as well, and in this Chase, winning these races in the Chase is such a big deal. It's nice to have race wins, but when you're able to get Chase wins and rack those up, it seems to be a little harder to get them in the Chase time because everyone picks it up a little bit. It shows that our team picked up what we needed to.

Q. Todd, does this change any sort of decision of what car you'll bring to Kansas next week?
TODD GORDON: That's a funny question because‑‑ no, it doesn't is the short answer to that. At Team Penske they do such a phenomenal job of building race cars that I don't have favorites. They're just car numbers and there's a sequence of how we bring race cars to the racetrack, and that's the car‑‑ I got asked the same question yesterday, but if it was really good today would you try to turn it around and bring it someplace else. There's such consistency in our manufacturing process that this car probably won't be seen for the rest of the Chase. We'll continue down the path that we've got because we know we're building better race cars every day, and rather than try to recycle something and run equal to it, we're going to try to build something better.

Q. Joey, this race was a little bit of guys just kind of avoiding trouble and some of the guys talked about hitting oil on the track. I'm curious if you kind of stayed away from certain areas when you heard about those complaints or if you had no issues at all.
JOEY LOGANO: I was pretty much like a catfish today; I was just pretty much on the bottom. All of you guys are welcome to use that one. (Laughter.)
You know, that was‑‑ I didn't ever move up much and feel any oil on the racetrack at any point. I was warned. My spotter did a great job warning me that people were talking about it, so when someone comes over the radio and says, hey, they're talking about oil in the middle of the racetrack, then you probably shouldn't run in the middle of the racetrack, especially in the position that we were in. I never got around any of it and never felt much of it.

Q. Roger, obviously you guys know what they're doing and don't need a whole lot of direction, but you've been through a lot of these championship runs and a lot of different types of motorsports. What's going to be your role over these closing weeks, advice? Do you just carry the big wallet around and fund things? How are you going to fit in?
ROGER PENSKE: I'm not sure I've got a big enough wallet to fund this thing, let's put it this way.
Seriously, I'm a support tool. I communicate with the guys at the shop every day to see if there's any issues that we need to‑‑ if there's a tie on something I try to give my input. Many times I'm not the one that makes the decision. But it's just‑‑ as I think Joey said, and when we build a car, nobody knows whose car that's going to be until we put the paint on it. I think there's a process. I think Travis and Mike Nelson have really put this together with a whole team of people back at the shop. We need to be better each week, so we have things, the engineering team have things to make the cars better, and I think when you go back to Dover, much different strategy last week. We didn't have to win like the 4 did. We just had to have a solid finish, and after the 2 got the penalty the week before, I mean, he was in a different spot.
You didn't really see everything we had last week. There was no reason to come there with anything that might not be reliable.
Then you move on now and we can use the next two races and I would push our guys to see what we could run to give us maybe an edge as we get into the last few races.

Q. I'm assuming you didn't do anything to damage your car when you did your burnout out there?
JOEY LOGANO: My philosophy with burnouts is it's not cool until something breaks. I just like burning the rear tires off. It's a lot of fun. I really think about a lot of times coming back down pit road and seeing if they can put rears on it like a modified and go back out and burn them down again. It's a lot of fun. No, I think she looks good, doesn't she? Looks the way a race‑winning car should look.

Q. You guys kind of talked about this a little bit earlier, but we tend to jump on‑‑ Joey was dominant today, they're the guys to beat. Kevin was dominant last week, they're the guys to beat, and it changes from week to week. How do you guys look at it? When you look out there, what does it take for you guys to go, okay, that's a team we need to‑‑ they're going to be fast?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, it doesn't really matter looking at other people. You've got to look at yourself. Todd and I talked about going into Dover, and the 4 situation, and we talked about it and said, doesn't really matter. Doesn't change what we have to do. We still have to go out there and we have to win races. Whether he was in the Chase or not, it's not going to make a difference. We've still got to do what we know how to do and what we have to do and control our own destiny and focus on what makes our race cars faster. We just stay focused on doing what we know how to do. Don't go and reinvent the wheel and stay focused. There's going to be cars that are dominant each week, and we've just got to be that car more times than not.

Q. Do you guys learn anything this time of year‑‑
TODD GORDON: We learn every week. It's a never ending process. If you ever quit learning you're going to start slowing down, to the point it's‑‑ every practice run you make is trying to find something new, and we'll be on new tomorrow. It's back to development for Kansas and try to find stuff there.
Obviously pressure is off so you can be more aggressive on it, but it's‑‑ you're still‑‑ every week you try to learn, and to Joey's point, we focus on what makes our race car faster and our balance better, and if we focus on that all the time, we're going to be successful. If we focus on what other people are doing, we're not working on our race car, we're worried about what theirs does.

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