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October 18, 2015

Todd Gordon

Roger Penske


THE MODERATOR: Let's hear from our winning car owner and our winning crew chief for the second consecutive week as they nail down race No.2 in the Contender Round, and that's the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske. We're joined by car owner and race team owner Roger Penske and crew chief Todd Gordon, as Joey Logano wins the second consecutive race in the Contender Round, his 13th win overall, his fifth win in 2015.
I'm going to start with you, Todd. Certainly building upon the momentum of last week, you win here at Kansas. I've always been of the opinion that sports is all about momentum, and certainly you all have it right now.
TODD GORDON: Yeah, this section of‑‑ obviously Kansas is a place that we've run really well and knew that we needed to pull out a win here in the first two to make Talladega what it was, and fortunate enough to get it last week at Charlotte but knew that we could come here and run strong. Just a phenomenal effort by everybody; pit crew did a good job. Joey drove his butt off today. Good hard racing out there.
THE MODERATOR: Roger, certainly these don't get old at all as Joey Logano continues to establish himself as somebody that these other drivers are going to have to beat to get the Sprint Cup trophy this year, so just talk about that and just about this driver that has just come on now and has really just established himself likely right now as the person to beat.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think we're very fortunate to have Joey on our team. He came on here a few years ago and has really been up ever since. There's no question that he and Brad, I've said it before, have made quite a bond together, and the two crew chiefs with Paul and Todd, they worked together in the Nationwide, XFINITY, and then of course have come together here.
The speed we have, we've got great cars, and it's really when you think back to the guys at the shop that are building these cars every day and certainly the way the pit crews have operated, you see we've made a big step on pit crews thanks to Todd and Paul, and I think Joey has stepped up his game tremendously. He's got confidence, he's a great driver, and I think that we've seen that. He's won on the road course. He's won on the big tracks, and there's no question that we're very fortunate to have him as one of our drivers.
I think that he's going to be in the sport a long time and win a lot of races.

Q. Roger, you were a racer yourself. Ordinarily a leader chooses the line, but when a leader blocks, I was wondering what your take on that incident was.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I was up on the outside, so I saw a couple times Joey got squeezed off of 2 and I think over in 3, and as they went down into 1, Joey had a fender up inside‑‑ he was on the outside of the 20, and he got in the wall. I don't know if you saw that or not, and then he turned down, Joey did, to take the lower lane, and there was another car up there, I think a slower car, and then Kenseth came down. Unfortunately they got together. I don't like to see that any more than anybody else does. It's one of those racing accidents that's real tough when it's in this kind of a situation. But there was no question that Kenseth was doing everything he could to keep Joey from going by.

Q. Actually I was going to ask the same thing, but I wondered if I could get Todd's reaction to that as far as what did you see that was taking place?
TODD GORDON: I saw two guys racing their butts off. You know, Joey had a couple runs at Matt and Matt blocked both of them and unfortunately got us in the wall into Turn 1 and there's more contact that prevails beyond the contact to the wall. That's just hard racing, two guys that want to win, and both have‑‑ you know, they're both‑‑ Joey has talked about it, they're both very competitive race car drivers and they do a lot of similar things, and neither one of them was going to give there, and obviously it came out the way it did.

Q. Todd, I don't think anybody has ever been in this position before, two wins in a round. How much pressure do you feel you're able to put on the rest of the Chase field essentially locking everybody else out?
TODD GORDON: We talked about it at the team meeting ahead of time and we've talked about it all week because the opportunity after you win Charlotte is that winners go on, and if you can go ahead and lock everybody else out, it puts everybody else that's a Chase contender on edge going to Talladega. It's a great advantage. We'll take what we can, and it's‑‑ I haven't had a Chase race at Talladega needing to perform there with a win here last year, and this team has done a great job of making sure that everybody else has to.

Q. Has this new tweak on the playoff format, has this altered the rules of give and take of how drivers interact with each other in these sort of late‑race circumstances when there's eliminations and now Matt Kenseth a big win leader in the series this year is really in trouble to advance to that next round?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, you know, I think the Chase format was designed to create tension, to create competition, and certainly pressure on the teams and the from the standpoint of the way they drive on the racetrack. You just have to watch the restarts and see that it's elbows in and elbows out the window there every time, and I think this situation here at the end, as I said earlier, it's unfortunate, you don't like to see that. But if you go back and you look at it frame by frame, I don't think you can say that Joey just ran into him on purpose. I think there was movement on the 20 car coming down on him, and certainly when we got into the wall, we didn't run into the wall in Turn 2 just because we wanted to.
For me, it's unfortunate for Matt and Joe Gibbs, but I think the format is terrific. I mean, we're stepping up. Our guys are bringing better cars. We've worked on these cars for months to have them available for this time of the year, and I think that we're starting to show that speed here as we get into the Chase.

Q. Did you alter the approach towards the tail end of the race because you seemed to be really quick for the short period and then Kenseth would get in front of you, but there at the end, you seemed to be quicker all along the way.
TODD GORDON: We build our race cars to do that. You have to look at the end of the race and checkered flag and race your race backwards. I think we understand how we need to make our cars to be successful on that last stint and how our cars need to be for the whole race.
Honestly, we didn't have the speed the 48 or 20 had in the middle of the race. Had a tire come apart, actually, and fell back a little ways.
But definitely had a strategy for how we wanted to end the race, and when the caution comes, and we're able to play that strategy and definitely find speed in our race car.

Q. Roger, not only was this a race for the win, but Kenseth being so far down in points, it virtually puts him in a must‑win situation at Talladega. How much do you feel like their racing was for winning one race and how much do you feel it was knowing that if you can beat Matt that his chances of moving on are much, much slimmer?
ROGER PENSKE: I don't think that at any time we were calculating where Kenseth was going to be, either out front or behind. The checkered flag hadn't fallen and we were still racing. You could see the last pit stop we had an excellent pit stop, came out right out front, and to me Joey had more in the car. I think you'll see that when it's time to go. You saw it yesterday; we were back in 14th and it was time to go in the XFINITY and he finished third.
To me, as I said before, that's the game we're in. Last year Brad had to go to Talladega and win that race to go to the next round, so that's going to be the case next week, for a number of drivers.

Q. Todd, it seems like you found your niche at Kansas. Were you able to roll off the trailer and kind of open up last year's book, repeat back‑to‑back years here at Kansas in this race? Were you able to just roll off and kind of know where to pick up, or did you have to kind of find your speed today?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I don't think‑‑ the thing is if you ever tried to take a setup you had from the spring to the fall you're going to slow down. You look at it, I think we were looking at it and pole speed was up a tremendous amount. Everybody makes their race cars better.
But I think the thing that you look at is we understand what we have to feel in our race car. Joey does a phenomenal job of it, of what we need to feel in a race car in practice to be successful come race time because you really don't ever get to race the line‑‑ the track widens up come race time, and there are some things that happen with the track, and once you know what that offset is and what you're looking for in practice to be successful, you look for those things. We felt really good about our car yesterday. We had speed but we had the balance that we needed to have to have a good race, and it played out again.

Q. Roger and Todd, afterward on television, Joey had said to NBC that he'd responded, he felt he was raced aggressively and he responded by racing aggressively, and obviously moving forward, as it gets closer to the Cup championship, there was going to be more aggressive racing. As members of his race team, how do you prepare him for racing that's obviously going to get more aggressive?
ROGER PENSKE: I think that he's got to race the guys around him. We don't race the car. We prepare the car and bring it to the track. Each one of these drivers know what the circumstances are, and with that, they're going to make the moves that are necessary to try to get ahead, and you can see it on restarts today, and to me that's what's going to be the pattern as we go for the next four or five races.

Q. Roger, you kind of touched upon this. What, if any, concerns do you have going forward for the No.2 team, especially in light of the performance of the 22 this segment?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think that we have good transparency between the two teams, there's no question about it, and I think as you saw Brad got better there at the end, made a big move, and I think that was because we're sharing data up and down the pit road during the race, and I think that Paul and Todd will get together with Travis and Mike this week and they'll look at what are the things that worked and what didn't. They'll use that in their playbook as we go forward.

Q. Todd, we heard a lot of chatter that on some of the restarts Kenseth was kind of brake‑checking guys and short‑stopping the field. Can you speak about that at all? Is that accurate?
TODD GORDON: There's data out there to take a look at it. I'm sure that TV and NASCAR have that. I can't speak for it. They do look like they roll up pretty slow, slowly to the restart zone, but I can't speak for ‑‑ I have no information that tells me anything differently. I know when we rolled to the restart zone, we rolled up at pace car speed and had a good restart, and Joey was successful with it.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations to the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford, Team Penske, Roger Penske, Todd Gordon on his second straight win here today, and we'll see you at Talladega.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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