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November 13, 2016

Joey Logano

Avondale, Arizona

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske, who not only won today's Can‑Am 500, but he punched his ticket to Miami in the Championship Four. How sweet is that feeling?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't think I can put it into words. I'm still excited about it. I'm still yelling and screaming down in victory lane. This isn't just a race. This is a championship. We raced today like it was Homestead because we had to, and what an amazing feeling to be able to succeed under that amount of pressure and to have a race team that is truly better under pressure. I couldn't be more proud of that, and to have the opportunity to have the pressure on us.
Think about that. There's not many race teams who have the opportunity to feel that weight on their shoulders, and that's special to have that and to be able to execute under that. A lot of people crack in those situations, and this team doesn't.
You think about this race and the way it was turning out there, the first part of it, I was like, we're doing really good. We're in good shape here, and then next thing I know, all the cars that weren't super fast in the beginning have passed me. I'm like, oh, shoot, we're out, and it was going to be so close there at the end racing Kevin with two to go to try to get ourselves through, and next thing you know the caution comes out and the whole game changes and next thing you know we find ourselves as the leader and we win the race. That's NASCAR racing at its finest. You never know what's going to happen. It's so exciting. You've always got to head your keep in it because it's unbelievable. It's crazy.

Q. What was going through your mind as you kept going back one spot after the next? I think it was about lap 305, Kevin has got to your inside, and it's like getting really dicey there and Kyle is ahead of you and you've got to know where the points are. What are you thinking?
JOEY LOGANO: Oh, no. You know, it was just really push as hard as I possibly can. That's where I was. I was trying so hard not to make a mistake. The intensity level is so high. Our car, we didn't get faster the last run and other cars did, and we may have actually gotten a little bit slower. At that point, it's just, you've got to hold them off, and there's so much going through your mind on where everybody is at and what the situations are. Okay, am I racing this guy, and is he fast enough to go past the guy that I need to. The 88 is coming, and I'm thinking, oh, man, he can go past the 18, do I need to let him go to make sure that happens, is the 4 fast enough to pass the 18 up there and do I just hold him off, and I was in that position. And it's not a fun position to be in, I can promise you that. I went to the spot and said, I've got to take matters into my own hands and not expect somebody to go up there and make a pass. I can't affect that.
It was push as hard you can and go and hold off the 4, which was awesome how clean Kevin raced me. That was a lot of fun with that much on the line that we can race like that. That's special. Kevin and I have, I guess, been through our stuff, but it's cool to see how we race each other now, and it goes back and forth every single weekend. It's not a surprise, but it is cool to see that.
Man, we're going to Miami now. How about that? I'm still stoked.

Q. Talk to me about that second‑to‑last restart when Alex and Matt got together. What was going through your mind when they just started spinning going into 1?
JOEY LOGANO: I kind of seen it coming. The 88 or‑‑ who was in front of me, the 20 there, we had a decent restart, and so did the 88, but he spun his tires a little bit, and I saw Kyle getting a run on him, and I was like, oh, boy, and I knew Kyle was going to go three wide. He had to. He's racing for a championship. That's the desperation that sets in.
I saw him go for the block, and then I saw how hard he drove in, and I said, this ain't going to work, so I started checking up really early because I seen it coming, and I just made sure, I was like, man, I just got to make sure I get underneath it because they're going to come washing up the racetrack pretty quick here, and I was able to get up underneath him and be able to clear him and ultimately take the lead in that moment.

Q. You guys were so good last year throughout the whole season and then didn't, obviously, end the way you wanted it to. This year you guys were competitive, but you didn't put up the stats like you did last year. Now all of a sudden you guys, you looked like you did last year again. What's been the difference in recent weeks that's enabled you guys to do that?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, this sport just goes through cycles. You know, there's times that you're really fast, and there's times that you just don't have it, and other cars get faster, and it goes through these cycles. Well, we're peaking at the right time, which is a good sign. We've had some speed the last three races.
You know, Texas being one of our best races of the year and going to a racetrack that's very similar to that makes me excited that we know what it takes to go down there to make it happen this week, to go fast at least, and I feel like as a race team, this team knows what to do to win a championship.
We've been through it once before. We've been able to take a lot, and I've been saying this throughout the whole Chase, that I hope that we're in that same situation again because I know how to handle it. Today we were in that situation, and we won the race. Talladega, we were in that situation, and we won the race. I can't wait to put my team in that situation again.

Q. I was actually going to ask you about the wedding ring. How does this keep happening, and is it time to‑‑
JOEY LOGANO: Hey, this has almost lasted two years. This one has lasted pretty long. It's a survivor today.
I don't know, I know I had it before I got out of the car, and I don't know, after that, I was so excited, my hands were wet, and it just kind of slipped, I guess. I don't know. I was actually sitting down doing an interview with Claire, and I sat down, and I usually play with my ring a lot, and I looked and I said, oh, no, my ring is gone. Not again. And it's that same feeling when I lost it the first time. I was like, oh, no, my ring is gone. But at least we found it this time. That's really cool. That's good. Good thing she doesn't lose her ring. My ring don't cost that much.

Q. Coming down to the end of the race, Kevin Harvick was breathing down your neck. You guys have had a history in the past. Did you have a feeling in the back of your mind that "Harvicking" was going to come into play?
JOEY LOGANO: Uh‑uh. No, as I talked about earlier that we raced each other so clean, and I thought it was so cool how we were able to do that. It's been like that all year. It's really been like that for years at this point. We've raced each other with a lot of respect back and forth.
Not a surprise, but really cool to be able to race like that with so much on the line.

Q. Does winning today give you the upper hand going into Homestead next weekend with all that momentum, all that excitement?
JOEY LOGANO: We've got momentum. There's a lot of excitement. It gives you that feeling, I remember when we got through a couple years ago to Miami, and I remember standing out here, and I think we finished third or fourth that day, and I was like, you know, I wasn't as excited. I was immediately nervous right after the race here.
This is not that feeling. This is that feeling that, hey, we've got confidence. I know we can do it. It wasn't the, I don't feel like it's a long shot like it was last time. It was my first time there, I'm racing for a championship, oh, my God, what's going to happen. This time I feel like we've been here before. We've been in these situations.

Q. Will you sleep, relax, go to the beach early? What will you do to prepare yourself for Sunday?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I know they have a heck of a media tour, so being home is probably not going to be part of it by the time I get home tonight. I'll get some sleep and some rest for sure, but I make sure we enjoy this moment, and I've got to be able to still have a life outside of this. It's an amazing opportunity, yes, but you can also stress yourself out and be whipped before the race starts.
My wife Brittany helps me a lot with that. She's more happy go lucky than I am, so we have some fun together, and we'll be able to enjoy this week.

Q. Talking about that experience from a couple years ago, what did you learn in going through this, the championship week, the championship weekend? Looking back, what can you do better than what you did two years ago and learn from?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I don't think it's just me. I think the whole race team. You know, I remember last time I was calling Todd, what else can we do, is there anything else, and you get so‑‑ I guess you're looking at every little detail, as you should, but you've also got to be able to turn it off, and that's where I didn't do that before. We didn't do a bad job last time we were down there. We had a fast car and it wasn't awful. We were doing what we had to do.
But I think it's approaching it like it's a normal weekend, know what I mean? We race to win every week; why should we race differently for a championship, right? We're racing to win that race, and that's ultimately going to have a championship attached to that. We've just got to do the same thing we did this weekend. We've got momentum. We've won multiple races. We've got on rolls before where you've got that momentum and that confidence and it just keeps stacking up like it did last year, and we're in good position to do that again.

Q. Were people telling you two years ago to just treat it like every week, but were you thinking, no, you can't?
JOEY LOGANO: I heard that, and I said, yeah, okay. Yeah, sometimes you've just got to live through things once. And then after the race, everyone told me, you've got to lose one to win one, and I thought that was the biggest crock of crap I've ever heard in my life, but you know what, it's not the fact that you have to lose one to win one, it's the fact that maybe it really helped me to just live through it once, and since then, we've been in those situations. We raced today for a championship. We raced in Talladega for a championship. We've done this before.
After Homestead was the first time we ever had to do that. You think about the way that Chase went, you know, we've won races in each round, where we never really had our back against the wall or anything. These last few years we've been in the position that we've had our back up against the wall and had to win, and we've been able to do that this year a couple times, so it's really cool.

Q. Someone asked your crew chief earlier how he thought this team was compared to a couple years ago, and I just wondered what your take is. He seemed to think that you're a much different, better team than you were a couple years ago.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, we are. We have experience now. We've been together for four years or so. We've gone through hard situations together as a team, and not much has changed. And our pit crew has been really on it the last few weeks, and that's a lot of fun to be able to come down pit road and have that confidence that you're going to gain spots. That's pretty fun to be a part of it, as well.
Our team does a good job of keeping their head straight, and that comes a lot from Todd. Todd is really good at that. The intensity picks up and usually I can get a little bit more emotional inside the car, not that I feel like I'm one of the most emotional guys, but I think obviously through situations my intensity picks up when it comes to Chase time because I want to find that next level, and I feel like our whole team wants to find that next level, but we're able to find that mode inside you to find that level, but also be able to execute and not overdo it.
A lot of times you can search so hard to try to get into that beast mode or whatever you want to call it, and you can overdo it. Our team is able to I feel like reach that ultimate peace of mind that you need to be able to go out there and execute at a high intensity level, and they were able to do that, which is really cool.

Q. Joey, Team Penske won a championship a couple years ago with Brad when you guys were driving Dodges or when those guys were driving Dodges. But Ford hasn't had a championship since 2004; is that something you guys talk about or think about?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, we want to win it for everybody, not just for Ford. We want to win it for Roger and his 50th anniversary. The IndyCar guys already did it, and it would be really cool if we can do it. The XFINITY car has got a shot. This car has got a shot. We can have an amazing 50th anniversary of Team Penske if we have a good Miami next week, which how cool would that be. Winning anything for the Captain is special, especially when you see today Edsel is here and Pericak and all the Ford execs and how excited they are to make sure they have a car in the Ford Championship Weekend next week. That's important to have a Ford in that, and the guys need to be able to come through and give them that opportunity, and it may be even more special to be hoisting that trophy up. It's hard to keep your mind from wandering a little bit even as I'm sitting up here and wondering what that moment can be like, but we've got to stay focused on the prize right now.

Q. Have you and your crew chief already picked the car that you want for Homestead, and how comfortable do you feel with what you may have picked?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know. In all honesty, it doesn't matter to me. In all honesty, Todd probably doesn't know where that car has raced before. It's just the way these Team Penske cars are built. They're all the same. They're all the same. There's not a special car for Miami. There's not a special car for today or three weeks ago. We bring the best we can possibly build. We're going to have that. But I don't know the history of the car or anything like that. They all start the same. Brad may have raced it or Blaney may have raced it at some point for all I know.
I don't get in the middle of that conversation. That doesn't help my team any bit at all really because that doesn't‑‑ if I'm thinking about that, I'm going to not be as good of a race car driver, thinking about bringing the best car to the racetrack and it should be this one or that one. That's Travis and Todd and Mike and Tim, everyone coming together and making those decisions. I've just got to drive the piece they give me.

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