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October 18, 2015

Joey Logano


THE MODERATOR: Joining us now here in the press conference room at Kansas Speedway is our race winner, Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske. Another weekend in the Contender Round, another win, another fall Chase race at Kansas Speedway, another win for you. In doing so, you put a lot of pressure on the rest of the guys in the Chase field. Just talk a little bit about your run today, how you were able to get to victory lane and the implications for both your team and the rest of these guys in the Chase heading into Talladega.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, what a fast race car again. Really starting back in 14th wasn't where we wanted to be, but the first run we drove all the way up to second, and I was like, wow, we've got something today. Some of the guys made their cars quite a bit better and they were able to kind of move up through the field with different strategies and stuff like that, and then really the last pit stop, Todd made a great call and made some great changes, and then it's always time to find that next level as a driver and find that next little piece to get a little bit more speed out of your car, and I was able to race hard and get back to the lead and be able to win.

Q. I think there were five laps to go. Can you take me through‑‑ obviously Kenseth kind of racing for his Chase life in some respects? It seemed like you maybe had the faster car on that run, and he's blocking you low, blocking you high. Tell me what you saw and how all that transpired.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's hard racing. With 15 to go I got to the outside of him down the backstretch, and I had to lift not to wreck both of us at that point, and then kind of got put in the same situation down the front stretch, and then we just happened to go in the same corner and we both went for the same piece of real estate. I wanted that middle lane and so did he, and we collided there. So good hard racing, you know. We ran each other hard. He ran me hard, I ran him hard back. That's just the type of driver I am, the type of racer I'm going to be, and it just comes to that point sometimes to‑‑ it's unfortunate that those things happen, you know, and it's just hard to‑‑ it doesn't take anything away from our win today.
I'm proud of what this team has been doing. I'm proud of the way we've been racing week in and week out and executing our weekends with not only a fast race car but doing our jobs during the race to keep us up front. So proud of what we've got.

Q. And also to follow up, you talked Friday about how relaxed you were able to be last week after the win at Charlotte and how much pressure other guys were under. I mean, is that even‑‑ how much of an advantage is it knowing that you're the only guy that's safe and those other 11 guys really are going to be on pins and needles all week, especially because it's Talladega?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, really just we're able to go into that race and be relaxed, and that's something to be‑‑ feel good about because our goal coming into this weekend was to win the race and keep everyone not feeling too comfortable with Talladega, and really the only way you feel comfortable is if you have a win, and for us we were able to get those two and set ourselves up in a good spot for that weekend and then obviously be able to move to the next round.
But really, I look at these last two races, and we can't be too proud of ourselves as far as‑‑ this is two tracks that are very similar, so we had two very fast race cars at very similar racetracks, but if I look at the next round, you've got Martinsville, way different; you've got Texas, it's similar but quite a bit different than what we have here; and obviously Phoenix.
So you've got three different racetracks than what we've been racing, so we can obviously be proud of what we've done, but don't just hang your hat on that. We need to definitely move forward and think about these upcoming races.

Q. Drivers who think they've been wronged have as long a memories as wives who think they've been wronged. Do you have any concerns about how Kenseth will race you the rest of the year?
JOEY LOGANO: No. Not really. I mean, I feel like he raced me the same way, you know? I'd be surprised if he expected something different. We were just‑‑ like I said, we were just racing hard, and he's racing for a win, I'm racing for a win, and there's a lot of aggression there, and that's what our sport is built on. Our sport is built on stuff like that.
Going forward, we're going to race. You know, that's what we do. That's what we do every race, we go out there and race each other. These things always seem to happen every now and again, and you work it out, and you know, eventually it all comes out fine.

Q. So did you intentionally turn him?
JOEY LOGANO: No, no, I think we both went for the same piece of real estate. We both went into that corner hard. I wanted to get position and get to the inside of him, and then he went for the same piece of real estate, as well.
I wanted that second lane to be able to stay on the inside of him. You know, I'm thinking he may get trapped up behind one of those lap cars in front of him because they were running the top before, and they all hopped to the bottom, but you don't know that until you're in the corner, right?

Q. And the fact that it was Kenseth, if he doesn't win, you know that he's going to have a hard time advancing into the next round, he's probably going to have to win Talladega. Is that a factor at all? Are you thinking, man, if I can win this race, I've put one of my main competitors in a huge hole?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, you want to win the race. That's part of the strategy when you go to this round or really any round is to win as often as possible to keep your competitors out. You know, and everyone is fast in the Chase right now, right? Everyone has got a lot of speed in their cars. Everyone is running up front at points during the race. You really just‑‑ really for us it's just about winning trophies. We don't have to think too much deeper than that, it's just we want to go win the race. We look at Talladega next week, and say, hey, we want to win that one, too. How cool would that be? We'll work hard just like we've been, how we worked hard to prepare to make our cars fast there, and we'll push forward.

Q. Joey, have you noticed the racing getting more aggressive, or hard, to use your term, since the Chase races started, or has it been about the same as it has been all season long?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't really notice it much different. You know, obviously there is probably more on the line now than what there is during the regular part of the season, but you know, I don't really think‑‑ it seems like during the Chase it seems like there's controversy at some point for drivers out there. But it's just because there's a lot on the line.
I don't think people are racing harder than what we did before. Maybe in certain circumstances, you know, if you look at‑‑ for some reason I just keep thinking of what the 31 did at Phoenix to get into the next round, and obviously we wouldn't do that if it was just a normal race, right, and why would you do something like that to get one spot at the end of a race. But you would do that to get to the next round and you knew you had to get that spot.
You know, that part of the racing changes for sure, but I think all of us are racers. All of us want to win really bad. We're all very competitive people that want to win trophies, and yeah, I don't think that changes from Daytona to really Homestead.

Q. Joey, two wins in your saddle. Do you go into Talladega next weekend looking to protect Brad, or do you go for three for three?
JOEY LOGANO: We go for three for three. That's our job is to go out there and win. You know, it's also our job to work with our teammate, and when you go to Talladega, it's hard to win by yourself. You need to have your teammate out there and be able to work together.
Just like every other superspeedway that you've seen so far, you'll see the Penske cars work together because that's what we have to do to be up there and try to win that race.
I don't see that being any different than what we typically see, and we're both out there, we want to win, right? Our goal is to go out there and win the race. That's what our jobs are. That's my job as a race car driver, for Roger Penske, is to go out there and win, but I also know it's a goal for Roger to have both his cars racing at Homestead for a championship. We'll work together as we typically do any other speedway race.

Q. From the first time you came into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, have you had to toughen up your skin just to kind of deal with some of the crap that you've taken over the years?
JOEY LOGANO: It's a tough sport, you know? It's like that really in any professional sport. It's tough. It's not supposed to be easy. It wouldn't be that much fun if it was easy. We wouldn't be doing that. That's why it's at the top level of motorsports here in the Sprint Cup level.
I'm proud to be a part of it, proud to be in it, proud to be winning in it, and does it toughen you up? Yeah, it toughens you up. It toughened me up pretty quick in the first two, three years of my career. You don't really have an option sometimes but toughen up.

Q. You said you raced Matt just like he raced you. He said that afterwards maybe not the best strategic decision on your part and he would not have done that. So when you have differing views about I race him just like he raced me and another driver says, well, he raced me like I didn't race him, how do you deal with that as a driver and are you cognizant of that at the track going forward?
JOEY LOGANO: Every situation is different, right? Every situation, you know, is unique in the way you handle it and move forward. You know, the thing is‑‑ the fact of the matter is, we need to go race each other again, right? It's not like the last time we're going to go race each other, and we're always going to have our point of view. I'm going to have my point of view, Matt is going to have his point of view, and that's great. That's good. That's what our sport is built on. You know, our sport is built on hard racing, and sometimes when you're racing hard and you're racing that close, things happen, you know, and obviously right now everyone is in the heat of the moment, so everyone is going to say what's on their mind exactly.
You know, as you cool down, you're able to maybe look at things differently, probably for the both of us. But right now I look at the way we raced and I say, hey, we raced hard, and that's what happened. You know, to me, I felt like I got raced really hard. The right side of my car is skinned up. I didn't just drive it into the fence; you know what I mean? I think it's just those situations that, you know, obviously build and makes you keep racing hard, and it's just life. That's racing. That's what we do every week.

Q. Matt Kenseth said after in an interview on NBC that he was frustrated. You're not worried that like Martinsville or Phoenix that he may take his frustrations out?
JOEY LOGANO: If I were worried about that, I probably would have run about 30th every week, so I'm not going to worry about that. I'm going to drive my race car like I do every other week, and what we're going to do is be very proud of what we did today. I've got a very fast race car, my team did a great job, we're doing what we're supposed to do. I want to focus on that.

Q. Prior to the race, I had asked you has Kansas kind of become one of your favorites, and you kind of smiled and you said, we'll see after today. You won a Chase race here last year, you come in, you repeat this year. Are you feeling comfortable when you come to Kansas that you can get the car dialed in? How are you feeling when you unload? Has it become easier here with your success?
JOEY LOGANO: I wouldn't say easier, but it has been our best racetrack in the last couple years. I think this is our fifth top 5 in a row here, and a couple wins within that. It's been a really good racetrack for our race team. It fits my style. I feel like Todd Gordon and myself kind of realize what we have to do as a team to go fast here, and he knows how to call a race. The guy is a genius, I'm telling you. He's very, very smart. He's fun to work with. He knows what I need. We've got that chemistry, which is so hard to have. But I mean, we have a friendship that goes deeper than what we do on the racetrack.
You know, last night I hung out in his bus for two hours. We really didn't even talk about our race car but for about 30 minutes, and just hung out. There's a lot of value to that, and there's not a lot of race teams that have that. It's something we've got, and I think we use it to our advantage.

Q. I feel like in a different era of the sport there were more unwritten rules or more gentlemanly agreements where maybe in a situation where you're locked in and someone else isn't and they're fighting for their Chase life, maybe a guy in your situation wouldn't race as hard, but now with this Chase format that we do have where it's so cutthroat, do you feel like now because of the format that we have, it's pretty much made you guys completely throw those unwritten rules out the window and it's like, I've got to do whatever I've got to do to win races, win championships?
JOEY LOGANO: We go to win the race.

Q. Do you feel like that was always the case like even 20 years ago?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. Well, I mean, it should be. If it wasn't‑‑ I'm pretty sure you look at some of our legends in our sport, they didn't go out there to run second. You know, they didn't become Hall of Famers by saying, second is good this week, we won last week. Come on.

Q. Just wondering, today may have been the last time that Kansas Speedway will get to see Jeff Gordon. What kind of impact has Jeff Gordon had on you, had on the race circuit, and maybe helping you get where you are today?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, Jeff Gordon has had a huge impact on I think every young racer growing up, as a race car driver and really a lot on people. You see the type of person he is. He's a great person. You see what he does for charity and what he does giving back. There's a great role model right there to start off with. That's something I want to base my life around. You know, and then I see what he's been able to do on the racetrack.
When I first started racing quarter midgets, he was the young guy in the sport, and obviously it was natural and easy to root for the young guy that's out there winning a ton of races. You know, so I had all the Jeff Gordon gear, right? I feel like most kids my age, when I was racing quarter midgets, I think every kid I raced against was a Jeff Gordon fan, and every other one had their car painted like Jeff Gordon. You know, it is a dream come true to be out there racing against him, racing for a championship with him. You know, that's just‑‑ it's incredible to think that. That's the coolest thing about our sport is that these drivers can be in it for so long that you can race against your childhood hero.
When I meet kids right now and they're like, oh, man, it's so cool and I'm going to be racing against you someday, and I think, there's a good chance that happens. I mean, that's crazy. I'm going to be old, but it would be really cool to see that.

Q. We were talking to Brad Friday night after he won the pole, and he said, this track, the pucker factor getting into the corner is at an all‑time high no other track on the schedule that he gets that feeling out of. He said this is number one. Do you feel the same about this track when your corner speeds are so great getting in and the average speed through the corners, is this the number one pucker factor?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, I don't know if we have really a better word to explain that.

Q. That was his word.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, I agree with it. I'm trying to think of more of a politically correct way of saying it, but I can't. Yeah, we're all puckered up. I can say that.
Qualifying here, obviously you're trying to go as fast as you can, you're trying to hold it wide open. Your car is‑‑ to be fast you've got to be loose in qualifying, and there's not much margin, you know, of being able to slide the car when you're going that fast on a hard tire. When you get loose, it's like, you're going to smack the wall pretty hard.
So I think that brings the pucker effect into play, which makes it a lot of fun, and hey, I give him credit. I texted him after qualifying, and I was like, man, I don't know how the heck you did that. It took a lot of guts to be able to do what he did on Friday here.

Q. Joey, especially early in your career, veterans tried to push you around on the track or off the track, and obviously you've had disagreements with drivers in the past. How did that form how you drive and how you are, and had you lifted in this case as you did in the backstretch, what kind of a message does that send to the rest of the garage, the competitors, that, hey, we can muscle Joey Logano in crunch time? How important is the message, everybody is talking about, well, maybe the message that Matt is trying to send in one way, but what kind of a message did you send or what kind of message might have been sent had you backed off in that situation here at the end of the race?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, I mean, there's‑‑ all of us‑‑ all the great racers out there are students of the sport, right, and they rewatch it and they see what strengths and weaknesses of their competitors are. I do that. I realize who I'm racing. Everyone keeps a little notebook on the way people race, whether it's restarts or during the race, and certain trends that they typically do when you're around them. So you know, I think you always kind of take that into consideration a lot of times.
I wasn't trying to send no message either way. I was trying to win the race.

Q. I understand, but had you lifted and finished second, even with what‑‑
JOEY LOGANO: Had I lifted, my‑‑ I raced hard because my team works hard, right, and they expect that out of me. As a racer‑‑ they're all racers, as well, and they expect their driver to go to battle in those situations. That's my job. And if I lifted in that situation, you know, like I did down the backstretch, if I did that twice, I'm not sure my team would be too proud to work for someone like that, you know? I know I wouldn't want to work on someone's car that's going to roll over.

Q. Your crew chief sat in here and he said, he knew almost from the start of the race that when it came down to the end that your determination ability would increase so much that you would win this race.
JOEY LOGANO: (Laughs.)

Q. That what you put out grows with almost every single lap on a run; how accurate is he?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, I think when it comes down to the last run of a race, you always got to try to dig down deep and say, what else do I got left? Where is it? And I have to tell myself a lot of times, hey, you've got to find more, and it's‑‑ you think you're‑‑ a lot of times you think you're at 100 percent, and when it's game time, you find another level. I think that's what great athletes do in situations when it's game time, when it's the end of the race, when it's that make it or break it moment. I love being in those situations. They're fun. It's a lot of fun to be a part of that.
It's what you see the best drivers out here doing. You know, the best drivers, when it's game time, you see the cream rise to the top. It's not easy to do. I can't say I've perfected it or have always been that way, but I'm proud of the progress I've made as a driver to be able to find that extra level when you need it.

Q. This is kind of the first time in this new Chase format that we've seen that type of a wreck kind of for the win. Do you feel like‑‑ did you just kind of change the rules today at all in the sense of, hey, being aggressive is okay or ultra aggressive is okay?
JOEY LOGANO: I didn't change no rules today. NASCAR does the rules. I just drive the race car. NASCAR makes the rules and we play by them. There is no rules when it comes to the way we race each other, and the way we're going to race hard, and I'm going to race the way people race me, and I expect the same back.
You know, I think that's the answer that 90 percent of the drivers would tell you is if they're raced hard, they're going to race hard back. If they're raced nice and easy, they'll probably race nice and easy back. That's just the way‑‑ I think if you want to call it a rule, that's the unwritten rule, if you want to call it that, that's the way we all look at the situations.

Q. Was the way you raced him, was that responsibility you would race in those last, or does it go ‑‑
JOEY LOGANO: No, I thought we went for the same lane on the racetrack. What am I going to do, go in there and take him out? I wanted to run the second lane. So did he. There was only room for one.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, congrats on back‑to‑back victories.

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