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May 21, 2016

Walter Czarnecki

Todd Gordon

Joey Logano

Concord, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our Sprint All‑Star Race winning crew chief, Todd Gordon, and Team Penske Vice Chairman, Walt Czarnecki. Congratulations on the win tonight. If you could both tell us a little bit about the race this evening.
TODD GORDON: I thought it was pretty cool. It's a different format with the 50/50/13 and definitely brought some different strategies forward. I thought, a quick synopsis of what we thought, but I thought our long‑run speed was pretty good in the first section. Second section, the cautions almost seemed like it frustrated us, because they didn't let us get to where we were really good, but then the pit crew stepped up and performed in the transition to the 13‑lap final segment and got us a little bit there, and then you give Joey Logano four tires and at least eye shot at where the front row is, and he elevates in that final, and it showed again tonight.
WALTER CZARNECKI: Yeah, this was a special night tonight for sure. First of all, to win this race. I know there's a lot of conversation about the format. I think it's fabulous. But having said that, this Shell‑Pennzoil Ford team has just been so close all season long. Joey has had, what, four or five second places and had a little bad luck so far this season, but has been in the thick of it since Daytona.
To get this breakout moment I think really is significant for the way the team is going to perform for the remainder of the season, particularly beginning next week. But hats off to Todd and to the crew for the strategy and the way they executed. Don't want to forget the teammate, Brad Keselowski. Brad had a great Miller Lite Ford here tonight, so to finish 1‑2 is a special night for Penske and for our partners at Ford. Thank you.

Q. Todd, the 48 said their plan all along was to play for 12th after the second segment. Did you guys give any thought to that, and if you decided against it, why did it not make sense?
TODD GORDON: We did. I mean, obviously this race since the rules came out, there's been a lot of strategy thoughts put into it. We talked about the fact that if there's 20 cars on the lead lap and you bail back to 11th or 12th, starting on the front row with 15‑lap old tires and having four rows of cars that separate you from tires and 13 laps, I think you're probably pretty safe. I really felt like as we looked through it that there might be an accident or there would be cars laps down, and as that number of cars that stayed there diminished‑‑ we love to play offense. Joey is awesome on offense, and if you watch us through the year, at two‑tire racetracks we take four tires a lot of times, just because that lets him be aggressive with it. He's an aggressive driver. I saw an opportunity that you could win the race that way, but the way that suits our style was to race forward, and we kind of‑‑ we worked our way on the 50/50 fence through the week, and by the time we got to today, it was let's get four tires and let's go race forward, and that's what we chased toward today.

Q. Was there any margin for error?
TODD GORDON: For the guy that was staying on tires‑‑ there's a lot of things that play into that, and I got asked that by a couple of MRN guys before the race. I think it's got to be a fluid decision because you don't know how many cautions we're going to have after the 85.
You could pit at 85, put four on and have a caution that eats up eight or nine laps of what's left, and now the guy starting up front has only got five or six laps on his tires, five or six laps, I'll take that versus stickers with two rows. But you don't know what's that going to be, but as the race kind of worked on, you kind of saw that the lap down cars were there, so I felt like‑‑ I felt like if you started fifth or sixth on four versus old tires, you're probably in a good position. You've got to start ninth or tenth, it's probably a harder road to hoe.
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by the winner of this year's Sprint All‑Star Race Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske. Just talk us through your race tonight.
JOEY LOGANO: Awesome race. I thought it went great. What a great car. It says a lot about our race team to unload today with a completely new package, have 10 minutes of practice, and unload and say, car is pretty good. Don't have much to say, just a couple little adjustments. We really only made one change on our car is about the only amount of time we had in practice to make one change. Same for everybody, but overall, I felt like our car was competitive. We started the race and was able to move forward. We got lucky, and not lucky at the time when that caution came out, we lost three or four spots, but we didn't get caught by not pitting when that caution came out and having to pit under green and all that stuff.
You know, I thought our car was fast the whole time. We just didn't really show the speed in our car until the end, and it was definitely a long‑run car, as well, but Todd made some good adjustments to help me fire off a little bit there at the end and have a good restart finally. I had a few bad ones. Having one good one there towards the end helped, and being able to race Larson was a lot of fun. I knew what I was up against after watching the Showdown. I knew we were going to race really hard. It's for a million bucks, and was able to around lap 6, move up the racetrack and find some speed. Obviously Kyle saw that, he moved up and then I knew I was going to have to make the bottom work somehow. Once I had position on him going into the corner, I had to make sure I kept him on the quarterpanel and not to the door. So I knew he was going to drive in to try to suck me around from the outside and I knew I had to drive in to make sure he didn't do that, and just good hard racing there at the end. It was a lot of fun. He's a heck of a racer. He's going to win a lot of races, that's for sure, and it's fun to race against. It's fun to see the youth in this sport. For me, starting eight years ago now, to see guys that are close to my age now and I get to race them for wins is a lot of fun.

Q. Did you think that four tires were going to‑‑ that you were fine, especially with only two guys with old tires up in front of you, and Kyle, what did you think of the format in general? Were you ever confused during the 13 laps?
JOEY LOGANO: There was a point I came over the radio where I said, I don't know what's going on, I don't really want to know what's going on, let me drive the car and you call the race because I was confused. All I know is if there's a car in front of me, I probably should pass him, and that's kind of where my head was. It doesn't have to be as complicated as you think it is. It's complicated for this man, not so much for me. Sometimes the simple life is a little easier inside the race car. I had my hands full with enough things, so I was able to focus in on my job, Todd was able to focus in on his job.
But obviously the whole falling back and trying to position yourself to the front didn't really play because there was only two, three cars that were‑‑ I think a lot of cars got trapped on pit stops when the caution came out and they got trapped down a lap. It didn't really play out like a lot of us thought it would when there's only three cars on old tires in front of you. We got through them in the first corner, and then it was like, all right, it's Larson and I for this thing.
I felt confident that we had a very good shot at racing for the win when we were restarting there at the end.

Q. This is for both you and Todd. After 113 laps, what impact would you say the aero changes had on your car tonight and on the race?
TODD GORDON: I don't know that I would say it's significant. I thought the cars‑‑ Joey can answer for how they drive. From a setup standpoint, I thought it was something we could adapt to in 10 minutes or 20 minutes of practice that we had. But I think we're all fairly smart as to what's going on. It was a good loss. It was kind of an even loss for aerodynamic forces, so you didn't have to make a huge balance shift in the car for it. So it was something I think if guys had decent packages, they at least had a foundation to build off of. I can't speak for how they drive.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I'd say I thought the racing was significantly better than last year. You know, as a racer out there, I remember this race last year, and I'd get trapped because all you can do is run the bottom. That was last year. Run the bottom, run the bottom, and it's really hard to pass someone because you can't get clean air. It was a lot of fun as a driver tonight to be able to move up the racetrack and find speed. That's something here at Charlotte at night is very rare. You don't see that at night here at Charlotte very often, so I think obviously taking the downforce off these cars, being able to move to the right side of a car and being able to continue forward progress was really nice. It was really fun to be a part of that. I thought it promoted a lot of side‑by‑side racing, a lot of passing. It seemed like it took a couple‑‑ it took six, seven laps for the second lane to kind of come in after tires would wear a little bit, but tires would definitely wear out, that's for sure. There was definitely a lot of fall‑off it felt like from inside the car, and that's what we want to see. That's the reason for doing all this is to promote better racing, promote more tire fall‑off. We saw that tonight. We saw a lot of side‑by‑side racing, saw a lot of fall‑off, and the strategy, obviously with so much strategy, a lot of us didn't know what was going on because there was so much strategy going on in this race, but that's what it promoted. It promoted a lot of racing, hard racing, and I thought it was great.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you for your time. Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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