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October 23, 2016
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by members of our race‑winning team. The driver was Joey Logano, in the No. 22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford. We're joined by the crew chief Todd Gordon, and Roger Penske.
Why don't you each talk about getting into the Round of 8.
TODD GORDON: Just super proud of everybody on the Shell‑Pennzoil team. Didn't exactly have the racecar that had enough speed to start the race. We kept working on it. Had a little mishap with Jack there that first pit stop. Fortunately got a chance to get back and get it cleared up. Wasn't any damage to the racecar.
Guys did a great job to cycle us out. Got us to lead there later on a pit stop cycle. Joey did a great job driving forward.
Proud of everybody at Team Penske and the racecars they put forward. Obviously Brad had a lot of speed today. We had it there at the end when we needed it. Just proud of everything there.
ROGER PENSKE: I think it was really Ford won today when you think about it, the way the cars ran. It was no question that Roush‑Yates gave us some strong motors. I think we've had great cars. We had them here the last few races.
But to see the way the guys worked together, you saw many laps they ran one, two, three, just grinding down laps. It was kind of our plan. We see Gibbs had a plan in the back. We had a plan in the front. We knew we had to run up front in order to get ourselves in the next round.
It was really tough on Brad. He really had a good car, led 90 laps. Probably as dominating as I've ever seen anyone here. Could just drive right up to the front. I think the thing that these crew chiefs patched together, he was able to come up on Joey and he was able to go when it was time to go. As Todd said, it was certainly a team effort.
The guys back at the shop that put these cars together are amazing. The pit crews didn't make any mistakes, no speeding on pit lane. You can see track position today was at a premium. I think I never saw our guys back probably more than four or five spots from the front. That made a difference when we got to the end.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions for Todd and Roger.
Q. Roger, you're going to have to face in the Chase Gibbs who has four wins, and Stewart‑Haas who has two wins. How does the fact that you have one car in the Chase against four and two complicate things?
ROGER PENSKE: They got more to lose than I do, I guess (laughter). They've got four.
Look, it's going to be tough as we get into the next round. We go to Texas. We certainly have Phoenix and Martinsville, three different tracks.
Look, we feel good about how we run there. You're going to have to execute. To me, everyone that's in this Chase from the standpoint, you know, Truex was a real threat to everyone, and the fact that he's not in, Brad, you take a couple of guys out that can really win.
It's a level playing field. We got some Toyotas, got some Chevys, we got a Ford. We're satisfied where we are. I think we need to get through what happened last year at Martinsville and get some good success there so we can move on hopefully to the next round.
Q. Todd, is it detrimental to you at all that you're the lone Ford in that final eight?
TODD GORDON: I don't think so. I think the great part about Team Penske is we really operate as one team with multiple cars. The effort is no less because it's one and not two.
I think if you looked at last year, once Brad got bumped out last year, they came back and were on a tear.
There's no letdown in Paul, Brad, the whole Miller Lite team. They'll focus forward on making speed, which will challenge us and help us build a better notebook. Actually in ways it's not a negative, and may be a positive. We're that much more open to each other.
It was a tough weekend to come here because we were both out of the top eight. We both needed something to be successful. We kind of knew what it was. We worked together.
But going forward, it's all about just wins and success. The whole team will continue the path that they've been on.
Q. Roger, how did you start today? Did you think no matter what you're only getting one car through? Were you thinking there was a way to get both cars through?
ROGER PENSKE: Obviously, when you looked at the statistics, it was going to be difficult to get two. Something had to happen to Truex, and it happened early. If Brad would have won and Joey would have finished second or third, we would have got both cars in.
But you never know. We just had to race. The one thing that we sat around the table and talked about the race weekend, we said, We got to race every single lap. I think we showed you that's what we did. We didn't hang back. We ran every single lap.
As far as thinking about one car, the good news is you don't have four people that you're trying to work with going into the Chase. We can put all our efforts on one car, Joey. Of course, Brad is one of the biggest supporters on the team for Joey. I think that will pay dividends for us.
Q. How deep did you hold your breath over those final two laps, given that Brad was out and he needed to win badly?
ROGER PENSKE: It's like we do every time we're in the lead with only a few laps to go. Anything can happen. Certainly I didn't like to see Bowman shooting down across the start/finish line there.
Look, Harvick, we owe him a huge thanks for the big shove, and certainly Scott on the restart before because it got us out in front. Once we got out in front, they didn't have any speed to catch us.
I thought it was going to be more of a jumbled up mess than it was. I think it was pretty calm when you think about those two restarts.
TODD GORDON: To build off of that, I'd even go back to the two restarts earlier. Ryan Blaney did a great job of giving us a push and helping us to secure the lead again. He did a great job, it kind of being one Ford, helping the whole cause, understanding what he could do to help.
I think he and Brian Scott did a great job. Kevin worked with us through a long run of keeping guys with discipline that we could get ourselves out there.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on the win and advancing to the Round of 8.
ROGER PENSKE: Thank you.
TODD GORDON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our race winner, Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford.
Joey, your second win and 22nd top‑10 finish. More importantly this win moves you into the Round of 8 for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Talk about that.
JOEY LOGANO: It feels really good. This morning you wake up, you're kind of like, What's going to happen? This is the first time in the Chase format that I've come into Talladega without a win to be locked into the next round. The feeling of the weekend is definitely a lot different when you know you're not locked into the next one.
Felt really good to be able to go out there and, you know, work under the pressure that was on us this week, ultimately to be able to succeed and be able to come home with a victory.
Special win. Winning here at Talladega is always special. It's a lot of fun. You don't even know you got it coming off of turn four. So many things that can happen before the start/finish line.
Great to be able to move on to the next round. That was a great feeling for about, I don't know, 20 minutes. Now we're thinking about Martinsville already and how we're going to get ourselves to Homestead to get a championship.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Joey.
Q. Even though you won all three races in this round last year, in some ways it seems like you're in better position this year because you haven't made anybody mad going into the next round.
JOEY LOGANO: I was wondering where you were going with that, but that's funny (laughter).
Q. Does that put you in better position this year than last year?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I hope so. I guess. You know, I mean, really, in all honesty, you're back to awash when you move on to the next round.
I feel like this team's got a lot of momentum. I think we had a lot of momentum at this point last year. I think we got an equal amount if you look at it.
Charlotte, yeah, we had a tire go out, but we had a fast racecar there. We finished third last weekend and a win this weekend. We're going to a racetrack that we've proven we've had speed there, haven't won there yet, but speed that's capable of winning.
I feel good about our chances. I feel good about where we're at in this thing to be able to move on. Yeah, we got speed, we got momentum, we got confidence, so let's go.
Q. Does it bother you at all that three of the guys who are going to be racing in the Chase just basically cruised in the back of the field all day?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't care what other people do, in all honesty. I got to care about what I did.
They had their strategies to get through. We knew that our strategy was to go out there and lead laps and win. That's how we race. We've said that last year, last couple years, when we come in here with a win, we're going to race the same way because we know that works for us.
You know, but who is to say if we come in here with a 20‑something point cushion how we'd race. I think I'd go out there and try to race for a win, too.
It doesn't bother me. It's strategy, right? Everybody has their own.
But, yeah, I mean, hey, I guess it worked out for them, and ours worked out for us, so everybody's happy.
Q. Were you cognizant of that, knew that Denny might have a hard time making a move to catch you because all his teammates were in the back? Also, Kyle said next year with this being the second race, you won't be able to do that strategy because you'll need to dig for every point.
JOEY LOGANO: That's true. That is true. It's definitely going to change up the way this race plays out. I think that's a good thing. Kind of go into the next race, kind of know what you have to do, kind of makes you feel a little bit better. I think coming in here knowing what you have to do I guess is nerve‑wracking.
Yeah, I mean, for me, I knew my situation. You know, I studied the points. I looked at it, kind of knew who I had to beat, what would happen if a certain driver won, what I had to do.
You know, it seemed like right after the first pit stop, kind of everything changed up. We were coming down pit road, we took the jack with us, I'm like, Oh, boy, this isn't going the way we planned. The next thing you know, the 78 blew up. You're like, That's going to help us some. That was a caution we needed to stay on the lead lap after making an extra pit stop. That kind of I don't want to say worked out but it helped us along and made me feel a little bit better getting to the next round.
There's a lot going through your mind, a lot more than just going out there and thinking about winning. You're thinking about, Where is this guy at? What situation am I in? You try to make your decisions based off of that, which is not the way I'm used to racing but I kind of had to at certain points.
Q. Since you and Brad were in similar positions, slightly different points, how is it going to play out at the end with you running nose‑to‑tail with Blaney coming down? Did you meet beforehand and decide, One of us needs to win more than the other, or at that point you were so close it didn't matter?
JOEY LOGANO: Close. I felt bad for Brad. I think he had the fastest car. If he did get shuffled out, he drove back to the lead. Wow. For a long time, I could drive up to fifth and I'd just get stuck. God, I can't get any further forward.
He had a very good car. Unfortunately got some garbage, which made his motor retire. Yeah, that's a tough one.
But, you know, the case of us racing at the end, we're going to race like we normally do. We're going to help each other as much as we can and we're going to race each other because it's a race. We didn't have to talk much about it because we knew our situations.
Q. Do you recommend dragging a jack for a lap as a good race strategy?
JOEY LOGANO: No (laughter).
Q. How does that happen and how do you overcome it?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know how it happened. I know when you're trying to bust off 10‑and‑a‑half‑second pit stops, you push things as much as you can. Know speedway cars are a little bit different. I don't know if that had something that affects the raised heights when you come to the speedway.
I didn't know it for the longest time. I went out on the racetrack, with the raised heights, you don't realize that the jack is still under there until you get to the corner, the car compresses a little bit.
My crew chief Todd said, Hey, you've got the jack with you. I'm looking around. Look in the mirror. I didn't really see it. Then I looked to the left, I saw the jack post like at my head. Oh, I don't need that. I tried to shake it off. Couldn't do that. Had to come back down pit road.
May be a good thing, may be a blessing we didn't lose it. You run that thing over, could have done a lot of damage to our racecar.
Like I said, got the caution, ultimately it was okay.
Have to buy a new jack next week, but it's nice to know that we had a world record of fastest jack underneath a racecar, so...
But either way I was proud of the way my team recovered. They came back through at the end, had some good pit stops, which ultimately gave us the lead, then be able to hold us off. My team did a good job being able to recover from that little mishap.
Q. Are you any different, either yourself or your approach or your attitude, from this point last year where you were flying through the rounds but didn't probably understand the issue that you had lurking ahead the next week, to now when you had to win today almost or be very good, and everything is not so crystal clear?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, as a person you always grow or you hope to grow every day. You hope to rest your head at bed every night and say, I learned this today, I'm going to be better tomorrow.
I feel like I'm better today than I was yesterday. I feel like I should be. That's the only way you become better and the only way you stay successful because you'll get caught up and passed before you know it.
Yeah, I learned some valuable lessons last year. I learned a whole new level I didn't even know I had. Now I know how to reach that level mentally inside a racecar to make things happen and be a great leader for my team.
There's a lot of things, like, that that I took out of last year that I feel like, you know, I don't think anything is a waste of a season. You always learn something from something.
You know, today, yeah, this weekend I went through a different situation being a do‑or‑die spot, but in all honesty, I thought back to a couple years ago when we were at Homestead. That's a do‑or‑die spot. We were down there racing for a championship. Well, this is just like Homestead a couple of years ago. I learned a lot from that weekend how I would handle it if I got put in that situation again. That was today. It's fun to be able to succeed under that.
Hopefully we can take some of the things that you learn about yourself personally as much as anything and about your race team to be able to move on and go to Homestead.
Q. Last year, eliminate the whole thing with Kenseth, but based on the way you ran in the second round, you almost had a bullseye on your back. Do you think you're much quieter and under the radar right now?
JOEY LOGANO: I think we're a little bit more under the radar than we were last year. We didn't win three races in a row. But I think we had three really good racecars in this round.
Like I said earlier, Charlotte I think we had a car we could have won with. It was really good. Easy to say that when you crash out. I thought it was a car I could have won with, or at least give them a run for it.
Kansas we had a good enough racecar to finish third, and then come here and win.
We got momentum. We have speed. Like I said, we have a lot of confidence for that reason because we know we can do it. We know we can go to these next couple races, they're good racetracks for us, all three of them are. We just got to go out there and fight, do what we know how to do. Don't need to change anything. We just got to keep the intensity up, keep realizing we like the pressure, I think we're better under pressure. That's kind of our motto this year, we can fight under those situations, we know how to do that.
Like I said, I look forward to those moments. I looked forward to this weekend.
Q. I know the optimum scenario would have been for you and Brad to advance to the next round. Given how good you both are, particularly him, do you feel it's an advantage going into the final four races, and any doubt in your mind that team will do whatever they can possibly do to help your cause down the stretch?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I think Team Penske does a good job of being a team. It's in our name. This is a shot for the championship on the 50th anniversary. The IndyCar guys did it, we know that. We got a shot with the XFINITY car and the owners championship, and we still got a shot here in the Cup car. We're going to keep working hard at that.
Yeah, Brad and I have always been great teammates. We work really well together. The two teams work well together. We've shown that at speedways, here at Talladega, before. I think that model will keep being shown throughout the next few races, and trying to push through to get Roger a second championship.
So we'll keep working on that. But he also has a lot to race for still. You know what I mean? He can still finish up there in points throughout the end of the season. He's got a fast racecar.
Knowing Brad, he's still going to want to win. I don't blame him. But I think it also will help us along, just like they were when they were in these rounds.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, congratulations and good luck in the Round of 8.
JOEY LOGANO: Thank you, guys.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports