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February 19, 2017

Joey Logano

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We will now continue on with our Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series media availability with today's winner of the 39th annual Advance Auto Parts Clash, and that is Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford. This is his first win in this exhibition event, and he also in this race has four top‑5 finishes and six top 10s. This is the third Advance Auto Parts Clash victory for Team Penske. Other winners include Kurt Busch in 2011 and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace in 1998. Joey is no stranger to Daytona's victory lane himself, winning the 2015 Daytona 500. Wow, what‑‑
JOEY LOGANO: That sounds good.
THE MODERATOR: Pretty impressive what you've accomplished so far. Tell us how you accomplished that feat today.
JOEY LOGANO: You know, today was‑‑ you definitely had to change your strategy up as the race went. Normally the Clash, we start this race, and we want to go out there and win, but it's also a nice advantage to be out there as a race team to knock the rust off. Five laps into the race, I made three mistakes already. Definitely it was a little rusty from the last time I went superspeedway racing, and to have myself, my spotter, we were able to kind of clean up our mistakes for later on in the race, which was good.
Our pit crew had some really good pit stops, so we got some good reps in for them, as well, and then also I think this race being in the daytime is a huge advantage for everyone that was in it, with the 500 being in the day, as well. You know, this track definitely changes a lot when the sun comes out, and the draft really works completely different.
To be able to get a good read on how that's going to be for next Sunday is going to be nice.
But really towards the end of the race, you know, the caution came out there with 11, 12 to go, something like that, and the Gibbs cars were down there on the bottom, and they were so committed to each other, do such a good job at being able to stick together, and basically be selfless. They're able to just say, hey, as long as one of us wins. That's what they say. Or it looks like that's what they say at least; they don't try to pass each other, they don't try to make the block to do anything. They just stay committed.
The only way we were going to beat them was to do the same and be better at it than they were. So Brad, myself and Kevin, we were able to kind of talk a little bit over the caution through our spotters and said, hey, we're going to be committed to each other and we're just going to figure it out as we go. Once we got in line, we were able to start kind of‑‑ I call it leapfrogging. We kind of grabbed one at a time, one at a time, and Brad was doing a good job of getting a run, getting outside of them, pulling back, and I was able to follow Brad through, Kevin was following me, and then there at the end, I kind of got shuffled out, got stuck in the middle, lost some spots, and was able to eventually get a good enough run to break free again, get back to Brad's bumper, give him the run into Turn 1, but that was either going to win the race or they were going to crash. And the good thing is he had the run, he had to make the move. Denny had to make the block, but I was able to see that the block was coming way too late and it wasn't going to work, so I immediately went to the top because I saw that they were going to crash, and we were basically in the right place at the right time and were able to drive our Shell‑Pennzoil Ford into victory lane at the Clash, so it was a pretty fun, eventful race. Fun to be able to change our strategy up and figure out a way to win throughout the race.

Q. Talking to Brad, it seemed that you guys during the course of the race were less concerned that you weren't performing well, so to speak, and more concerned about trying to get together. It makes me think that you felt pretty strongly that once you had that opportunity, you guys could make your way to the front.
JOEY LOGANO: Oh, we would hope so. Usually once we get to the point in the race that Brad and I are able to work together, a lot of times we're able to start picking our way through the field and be able to get ourselves in position to win. And I think that on top of having a few more Fords out there to help us, they were very fast. Kevin's car was good, and he had four tires on and was able to handle really well and be able to make the moves, push me when I needed to, for the three of us to work together.
You know, that was what we had to do. One car alone was not going to win this race, didn't have a shot, just because the Gibbs cars and the Toyotas were just way too committed to each other. That is going to take a lot more than one guy to beat them.

Q. You mentioned the middle lane. It looked like a time or two that the middle lane actually would move forward. Was that not the case? I know normally you get there, you're going to the back because the outside and inside are just going to freight train by those guys, but was it working a little bit today at all?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, the middle usually is not even a bad spot. It just depends how you get to the middle. If you get put in the middle, it's usually not a good sign. If you're the one going to the middle, you can usually make some time up. You know, as long as the cars are in the right spot and you're not getting pulled back from both sides. That's when you see that kind of get really bad is when there's no one behind you and you have a car on your quarterpanel on each side. That's when you go backwards really quick.
I kind of got saved. I got shuffled through the middle, which isn't a good thing at all, but the 24 was there to save me and kind of push me back up. So that's what saved us.

Q. There was a lift in Jeff Gordon's voice early in the race when he saw you working with Kevin. Considering you're going to probably be working with him a little more on plate tracks, I was just wondering, what's your reaction?
JOEY LOGANO: What are you trying to say?

Q. Well, let's say‑‑

Q. Pocono, some other racetracks in the past?
JOEY LOGANO: Kevin and I, actually we are friends now. We get along good actually. Believe it or not, I know that's probably surprising to everyone in here, but there has been multiple times throughout speedway racing that we've ended up working together. I even called him last year going to‑‑ after we left here trying to figure out a way to‑‑ after we left the 500 going to Talladega how we can beat the Gibbs cars, and I wanted to work with him. Before there was not many Fords out there so I was trying to make as many friends as I can, and we were able to work really well together last year in speedway races.
Yeah, I mean, obviously we've had our differences because we both are hard racers. That's what it's going to be. We both want to win really bad, and we both do what we've got to do to win. Obviously we're not going to see eye to eye on some things in the past. But that's in the past, and I respect him as a race car driver. I believe he respects me as a race car driver. We have the same goals, and we really kind of go through things the same way.
So I think with all that being said, we're able to work really well together at the same time because we're both going to be aggressive to get to the front, and we both understand we've got to do what we've got to do to win. I think that's a good driver to work with on a speedway, and we've‑‑ it's not the first time we've worked together. That's what I'm saying is obviously that alliance has become stronger with us having the same manufacturer now, but you know, it wasn't a surprise to me at all. It was kind of the plan from the get‑go.

Q. To kind of follow up on that, did you ever think there was going to be a time in your career, given that moment, that the two of you would look back and laugh at a place like Pocono where it was just kind of one of those drama‑filled type of situations?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. I mean, you're supposed to forgive and forget, right? Isn't that what the Lord tells us to do? That's not easy to do, but that's how it's supposed to be. But hey, you know, we've moved on. You know, that was, shoot, 2009?
THE MODERATOR: Many moons have passed.
JOEY LOGANO: Holy‑moley, we're talking about 2009? We're here in 2017 and we're talking about 2009. Let's move on a little bit. I mean, geez‑oh‑Pete, guys. Geez, we're in the future now.

Q. Joey, I was just wondering as far as your craft for restrictor plate racing, how much has Brad Keselowski influenced you to become a better plate racer?
JOEY LOGANO: Quite a bit. I watch Brad a lot and what he does. I think he's a really, really good speedway racer. I put him up thereas ‑‑ I think there's five or six drivers that come to my mind, maybe seven, that are exceptional at speedway racing, and Brad is up there almost at the top of the sheet, maybe the top of sheet for me to watch and to see the way he makes these moves. They do a good job, him and Joey Meier, his spotter, they do a good job of giving the information and he's able to process it very quick and make methodical moves, kind of the way you think Brad would. When you talk to Brad, you would think, hey, he's probably really good at speedway racing. He has everything‑‑ he thinks about a lot of things, he's a thinker, and he's able to make decisions and commit to it.
You know, it's funny, you can talk to certain drivers and tell when they're going to be good at speedway racing, and he's definitely one of them.
Yeah, I watch a lot of films, watch him on the racetrack a lot and see what he does and I try to apply it. It's nice to have a teammate that's really good at this type of stuff and that you can work together and build off of each other. Hopefully he's able to see some things in myself that's good as we can help each other as a team and make Team Penske win more races.

Q. Joey, last year we saw the obvious dominance of the Gibbs cars with Denny winning and then you guys have obviously taken care of business, as well, on the superspeedways since then. Is today perhaps a precursor of what we expect to see for the coming week?
JOEY LOGANO: I hope so. It's a good start, that's for sure. But we've seen how speedway races are; things can change so much. Like I said, the complexion of this race changed so much just through the last 10 laps of the race. There's no telling what's going to happen in a 500‑mile race when you have 40 cars out there instead of, what did we have, 17, 18, and really at the end we had even less than that. You know, so the pack is going to be a lot different. The draft will change up a lot. When the pack is small like that, sometimes the runs become a lot bigger and drivers are more aggressive out there because there's not as much to lose. You don't fall back to 40th, you only fall back to 15th, so drivers are willing to make the move, so the whole draft is a lot different than what it'll be next Sunday and even the Duels in itself. It's a matter of just kind of learning as you go and applying that as the race goes to get the best finish you can.

Q. Joey, I know a couple years ago, the off‑season before the 500, you, your spotter and your crew chief kind of sat down and went over tape of plate racing, and you said that kind of was the turning point. Are you still doing that, and if you are, what are you looking for?
JOEY LOGANO: If it worked, we shouldn't stop, so yeah, we keep doing that. We talk, we communicate. We build those relationships up. It's important. You know, so we constantly‑‑ as a driver, I look for different things than what Todd looks for as a crew chief. We're looking at things differently. So it's more helpful for me to watch things with my spotter because he's looking for the same things I'm looking for. We keep talking about things and watching things and going back to each other and this and that. Yeah, we do that, yeah.

Q. The Toyotas having the new nose, did you notice‑‑ was there any difference to their strength today in the pack versus a year ago?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, they're not slow, I know that. Those cars are really good, probably better‑‑ the thing that stuck out to me is they can get to the back bumper of another car better than anybody. I don't know if that has something to do with the shape of their nose or not. It could be. You would think so. There could be a million other reasons why, and I'm sure there's a bunch of little reasons that make them really fast.
But yeah, they're not any worse, I can tell you that.

Q. A lot of wrecks here last year. Today obviously we had a couple. Restrained is typically not in the dictionary for you guys, but next week are you going to have to race a little smarter, be a little more careful with the way things are progressing?
JOEY LOGANO: Maybe for some. I'm not wired that way, man. I don't know how to not go as hard as I can. I've got one gear, and Todd laughs at me and makes fun of me all the time for it, but that's it. If I'm in practice I'm wide open and I want to get to the front. If I'm five laps into the race, I want to be in the front of the pack. That's where I believe that as a race team we're best is if we stay aggressive. I think as soon as you get relaxed you get yourself in a bad spot, and before you know it you're in a crash or whatever. I'd rather be the aggressor than someone pushing me around. I want to be the person that pushes other people around.

Q. Does the momentum of this victory combined with the fact that you've been fast in practice, are you confident you're going to be back in here in a couple hours?
JOEY LOGANO: Man, I don't know. I hope so. I've never, as a race car driver, never been close to a pole at a superspeedway, and yesterday in practice, it feels like, man, we're closer than ever. It was kind of new territory for me. I don't know how many people really showed everything they've got in practice yesterday. You know, it could be quite a bit of sandbagging going on. We'll see. I don't know. I hope this is the closest we've ever been, so we're proud of that already. It's a matter of just everyone is going to pick up quite a bit from practice and a matter of hopefully we pick up as much, and depending on how much everyone was laying back or not.

Q. Joey, today saw Jimmie Johnson spin in Turn 4 on his own. I know you were ahead of that, so I don't know how much you've been able to see or study that. But I wanted to ask you about that because last year in the 500, you were behind Dale Jr. when he spun out in 4 on his own. You were in front of Chase Elliott when he spun out on his own in Turn 4 last year in that race. When you see something like this with Jimmie today, and I don't know if you studied it enough, but do you get a sense of this is more than a coincidence, this is an issue? What kind of an awareness do you have to have as a fellow competitor that this is going on? Does one plus one plus one equal three in this case?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, I don't drive their car, so I can't tell you for sure. I know all of us start slipping and sliding after a few laps out there when it's hot out. You know, if it was last night, we probably wouldn't be talking about any of that. The pack could be tighter and handling wouldn't be an issue.
But it gets to the point that handling is a pretty big deal here. Tires start to mean something, especially if you're further back in the pack. When you've up front, not a whole bunch, but when you get back in that dirty air, tires seem to help a little bit.
You know, it's no surprise. When you look at the Daytona 500 last year, it was the first time since they repaved this place that we were lifting getting into the corner and sliding up the racetrack and doing all this crazy stuff, and I thought that was really cool.
You know, I don't drive their race cars, so I don't know. There's always a balance of drivability and speed and trying to make straight line speed going down‑‑ there's a balance to that. I don't know where they're at and what's going on. You know, I'd say their cars have speed, and they don't seem‑‑ they don't look like they handle too bad, but they just might be snappy or something. I don't know, I don't drive their car.

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