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July 2, 2016

Roger Penske

Paul Wolfe

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We are going to continue with our post‑race media availability for today's Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca‑Cola. We are now joined by race‑winning crew chief Paul Wolfe and car owner Roger Penske. Paul, talk about what it's like to get your first win here on the box at Daytona.
PAUL WOLFE: Seemed like it was never going to happen, and you keep getting the questions, how do you guys win at Talladega and not do it at Daytona. I got that question a lot this weekend. It's great.
Had an amazing car, a great effort all around. You know, the thing that's most special to me is we had the complete package. Typically there's always trade‑offs you make, whether you want to go for handling or speed, and we had both tonight, and hats off to all the guys at Roush Yates. I know Doug and those guys have worked really hard to continue to bring more and more, and I think that showed this weekend because all the Fords were strong.
And then on the chassis side and aero side, the guys have been working hard at the shop. To be able to not have to make sacrifices and have both, that's what it takes to put on a dominant performance like we did tonight, and Brad and the spotter obviously is a big part in that, and once you get the lead, kind of maintaining that control of the lanes, it was a lot of fun to watch, and just proud to be part of it.
It's the 100th Cup win for Penske, and it's an honor to work for this guy and a privilege. We try to make the most of every opportunity, and I feel like we were able to do that tonight.
THE MODERATOR: As Paul said, this is the 100th win for Team Penske, and we are joined by Roger Penske here. It's also the 50th anniversary of Team Penske. Why don't you talk about what tonight means to you.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think winning a race on the 4th of July weekend and thinking about all the people that support our country and make our country safe, I just am proud to be an American I guess is the most important thing on the 4th of July weekend.
To win 100 races with the competition that we have in this sport is amazing, and it comes down to the people. I guess Paul and I get to sit up here, but it's all the hundreds of people that work for us every single day that make a difference, and there's no question that Ford has stepped up. You could see with the qualifying, certainly with Greg, and the car was strong. I think it was a complete package tonight.
It couldn't come at a better time. 16 years ago we won our first 100th race in IndyCar, so it took a long time to get here on the NASCAR side. But pretty important night for us.

Q. Paul, Brad is putting together a pretty good worksheet at plate tracks. How have you seen him evolve over the years at these tracks?
PAUL WOLFE: Well, honestly, ever since I started working with him, I always thought it was one of his strengths for sure. Brad is a thinker and he studies and he tries to understand, so I know he's put his time in to try to understand how the draft works and how to be better at it. I think we kind of had success, like I said, early on at Talladega, but it just seemed like we couldn't quite get it together here at Daytona.
You know, and Daytona is a little bit more of a handling track, and I feel like we've been able to have cars fast enough to lead more laps, and I think running mid‑pack to running in the lead and understanding how to manage the lead, and as you see these guys working one lane to the other, to manage that I think you've got to have cars good enough to get up front so you can learn that, and I think that communication between Brad and the spotter, just watching from Talladega in the spring to tonight, we've continued to get better at that, and I feel really good about our performance tonight and as we move forward into Talladega and the Chase.

Q. Roger, you look at Brad's stats since 2009, no driver has won more plate races. In your estimation is he the best right now on these kind of tracks?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, there's a lot of great racers on plates. You never say you're the best. But I think that his consistency‑‑ I think we've made our cars better. He certainly is a big factor in that as he comes into the shop and talks to the aero guys, and there's no question that with the Yates power here in the last couple of years it's given us a real advantage and competitive piece. To me there's a little bit of luck out there to stay out of trouble. But when you can sit up front‑‑ I think in the old days you'd sit back, I'm going to take it easy and then go at the end. We've said this tonight and we've said it in the past with Paul and certainly with Joey and Brad, you've got to race up front all night, and if you don't you're going to get in trouble, and you could see it again tonight.
I think it takes concentration. I don't know how he does it to be honest with you with those restarts and knowing when to pull from one side to the other, and I think Joey Meier, our spotter, should get a big pat on the back for being able to give him the right moves because he's almost in the passenger seat with him at every turn.

Q. Paul, you kind of touched on this, but you guys have led like one lap in the last four or five Daytona races. Have you been that far off? The stats are telling you that you really haven't been very good here.
PAUL WOLFE: Well, I don't think we've been as good as we were tonight for sure. We've had some top‑five runs. We've had some decent cars. But it seems like overall we've just‑‑ we haven't made caught as many breaks here at Daytona as maybe we have at Talladega. But like I said, it's a little bit different style of racetrack, and we've learned a little bit this weekend and tried some different things.
You know, I was a little disappointed and caught off guard a little bit with how our car drove in the 500 earlier this year, and coming back here I was going to make sure that that didn't happen again, and we got a short practice yesterday morning and thought we were pretty good but still weren't sure. But I think as we saw qualifying and saw the speed in our car and then as we got into the race, it showed that we felt like we made some nice gains.

Q. Doug Yates was a guest on our show here yesterday. Big smile, he said, I found some more horsepower for Daytona. How perceivable, how much did you notice the different between now and last February?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I can tell you that we knew he had some power because Brad had won a race‑‑ we went to Talladega and we had some extra power and we saw it, and we got the reliability because once you've been in the Chase you have a chance to‑‑ I wouldn't say gamble but try things you might not if you were trying to get your berth in the Chase.
I think we've been able to develop on the dynamometer, but you just need that opportunity to be able to run at the track, and we had a little issue tonight. Maybe no one realized it, but our temperature got way up. We picked up bunch of trash on the front of the car there, I think, after that first stop, and we almost had to come in.
Things went our way. I think the question about why we haven't been as good here, this is a handling track, and you look at Earnhardt and look at some of these guys who just had it, and I think what we've been is able to get the speed and we've worked hard with our aerodynamics to get a car that will also work in the corners, and we owe a big shout‑out to our aerodynamic guys tonight because that car along with the engine piece, and of course Brad did a super job driving it.

Q. Roger, if you could just speak a little bit about getting that 100th win and what that means, and this was already a big season for your organization as it was, celebrating 50 years. To get that win at another iconic track where you've done so well with that and motorsports in general.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I would just say that the 100th in NASCAR is something special. I think as I said earlier, to do it here on the 4th of July weekend, it's amazing. But it's a byproduct of all the good people we have, and to me we've got to continue to remember that. I just think that Paul and the team, we lose more than we win in this business, and you've got to know how to deal with the downs and take advantage of the ups, and I guess 100 wins puts us in a good position, but you look at the Gibbs and you look at Childress and certainly Hendrick and some of the other teams, these guys have won a lot of races.
I think we've competed in multiple series, and I think we're almost at 450 wins now, and we're I think three or four away from 500 poles. Our goal is 500 and 500. This was the first step to get to 100 in NASCAR.

Q. Roger, obviously racing is not a popularity sport, so if your competitors don't like your drivers or what have you, I'm sure‑‑ you probably don't care, but Joey‑‑ Kurt Busch was frustrated with Joey's move tonight, Tony Gibson was upset about it. Obviously in the last several months there have been some events with Joey where it's been spotlighted with guys who have been upset. Do you worry about I guess more and more guys getting upset with Joey, or do you like that in a sense because it shows that he's in your mind maybe kicking butt or doing things the right way?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, look, I have to look at each situation accordingly, and I would say this, that Joey has taken, I think, some undue criticism from my perspective based on some of the things that have happened. Certainly you can go back, and I could name three or four things that certainly weren't his fault.
But quite honestly, I think he's one of the best drivers on the racetrack out there day in and day out, and sure, people make mistakes. A lot of these drivers can knock somebody off the track, and they say, hey, I'm sorry, you follow me, and they move on. They don't let Logano do that. As far as I'm concerned, I'm behind him 300 percent, and I'll talk to Kurt, he didn't do it on purpose. It could have been a big mess down there tonight, too, and at the end of the day, that's racing as far as I'm concerned.

Q. Brad can be outspoken, and I think that sometimes his competitors maybe mock that a little bit. Does he not get enough credit for being as smart as he is?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think that he's a calculating guy, and you're not with him every day like we are in the shop and what he brings to the race team. He came early on, he said, look, I'm going to help you get a championship team. We did that. He helped to attract Paul Wolfe to the team. Look, this is not a popularity contest, and anybody that thinks it is, you know, we shouldn't be sitting here tonight.
This is racing, and unfortunately some people have different ideas. But look, I've got‑‑ I wouldn't trade these two drivers for anyone. They're young, they're aggressive, they win races. They work well with the sponsors, and they're high‑integrity guys, so move on from there.

Q. Paul, we've listened to Roger talk about this win and how he feels about it and everything. You've kind of touched on it, but in all of the career wins that you've had over your time, what does this win mean to you deep inside?
PAUL WOLFE: Well, I mean, it's obviously a big win and a great win for Team Penske and RP, the boss. But every win is special to me, and I go to the racetrack every weekend trying to do the best I can and putting that effort in. To be honest with you, I got the question a little earlier of, does it mean more because you guys are the team that got the 100th win. Coming into the weekend, I don't even know that that was on my mind. I didn't know until they brought the hats out in victory lane.
To be successful you can't think about those types of things. You just have the mindset of you're going to be the best and do the best you can every weekend, and then this is just icing on top. It's very special. Every win is special to me, and they have different meanings depending on where it is or why. You know, Daytona has been one we've wanted to win, and I think the 500 is definitely on our list of something that Brad and I haven't been able to do yet. Obviously we'll take this one and hopefully it makes us better when we come back in February.

Q. Paul, nobody really looks forward to the Chase race at Talladega, it being located where it is. But does what you guys have done this year at the plate tracks give you sort of a boost of confidence going in there if you really have to make something happen then?
PAUL WOLFE: I think any time you have speed in your race cars, that gives you confidence. I think we've shown that over the last year and a half, two years, that at the plate tracks we have speed in our race cars. That's important. You know, from there, there's a lot of things out of your control, and I try not to let those get to us too much.
I guess to answer your question, yeah, I mean, it gives us‑‑ if we get in that situation, hopefully we have a win, and it's not a concern. But if there's a place we have to go and a must‑win situation, absolutely I feel great about the cars we're putting on the racetrack now at these plate tracks.
THE MODERATOR: Paul and Roger, congratulations on both the win and getting to 100 wins as an organization. Have a great evening.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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