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February 11, 2018

Austin Dillon

Joey Logano

Dayton Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: Joey, go ahead and tell us how your day went.
JOEY LOGANO: My day was second. What a decent race for us. It was good just to get out there, see what the cars are going to handle like. These rules package, with the ride heights changing and bigger spoiler and the way the cars draft and handle, this was the most important clash to ever be a part of. I think every driver can probably say that comfortably.
You know, and it was fun. We had a car that was up there all day. We were able to lead some laps. We were able to stay in the top three, stayed where we needed to be, able to make the moves when we needed to. Proud of that. Proud of working with a new spotter with T.J. out there and learned a lot there. New pit stops with one less guy and the new guns and all that stuff. Everything went smooth, and that's kind of what this race was about is just to see how all that stuff goes, and then we're just wired to win, so I don't even have to say that. But it was great to see the Team Penske cars one, two, three up there. It was kind of fun to watch that. I don't have much patience, so that tested my patience. I don't know about you guys, but for the last 20 laps I was in there going crazy waiting for someone to make a move. I was ready to go, and eventually Blaney was able to make the move on the white flag lap, which it may not have been the wrong move, it just didn't work out great there, and then being second down the backstretch and seeing the 41 come with a big run, I thought, this is my shot, just got to get in front of the 41, and he was kind of forced to have to push me because he was three wide, and then that just wadded them up, and that was the end of my push and the end of my race, and I got the second.
Overall, like I said, an uneventful day in that everything went pretty smooth, so that's good.
THE MODERATOR: We'll welcome our fourth place finisher, Austin Dillon, driver of the No.3. How did your day go?
AUSTIN DILLON: Well, it was fun at the beginning. We had track position. We had a fast car, got some pushes from the 22 and the 2 and got to dice it up there. It's probably the fastest we've been at a speedway in about two years, to be able to compete with those guys. We lost track position. My car didn't drive as good. So we'll make a couple adjustments going into the 500, but proud of our day.
We made a move there at the end from pretty far back and got up through there quite a ways. I was trying to get somebody to go with me, but I think everybody was scared of the Penske train up there that was running. Those top three were pretty hard to get out of the way.
We just have to figure out ways to work together with some of the other Camaros. The ZL1s are fast. I think Chase and I both had really fast cars, and I liked working with him, so hopefully we can work good in the race.

Q. Joey, you kind of alluded to this, and either of you can answer, but if you want to talk about how much of an advantage maybe it is this year with some new things going on, whether it be the pit crew or the cars, to have this race before you get to the Duels?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, larger than ever to be in it. It's important to be in this race. The problem is all the top dogs are in the race, so you don't really get an advantage on the guys that are typically up front, right, because you've got all the playoff guys in there.
But it's still important for us as a team to go through a race and see how everything goes.
But yeah, it's more important than ever. We learned more than we ever thought we would in practice yesterday, and then obviously going through a race, like I said, to do the pit stops, and for us, like I said, with a new spotter was key to be able to be out there today.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, I think like Joey said, it's a huge advantage to work with the pit crew. I know my guys already said they're going to go back to the shop and try and make the car pit easier for the guys. We lost a little bit of track position, but I also slid long. It's really key to get in your box properly with the way the pit stops are now. I went a little long, and that hurt my guys getting to my car.
It's big to be able to go out there and run a full race and see how the cars draft. I didn't draft any in practice really yesterday, so I was proud of how my car drove, just got to make a few minor things, and we'll be fine for the 500, I think.
JOEY LOGANO: You looked loose.
AUSTIN DILLON: I was pretty loose.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I saw that a few times.
AUSTIN DILLON: But your cars could push. You and the 2 were the only ones that could like really push people around, so you make people loose.
JOEY LOGANO: I've heard that before.
AUSTIN DILLON: I'm trying. If I could make you loose, I would try.

Q. This was a learning experience for everyone, not a lot of drafting practice yesterday. So what did both of you guys learn as far as when to make the move when you're getting to the end of the race for the 500? How can you get that push together to kind of send your way to the front and win the race?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, I didn't learn anything I'm going to tell you, that's for sure. I learned a lot out there. Like I said, I just know the last 20 laps or so, I'm not a very patient person. So you know you're up there, and the risk versus reward, right, you can try to make a move and maybe get up there, but the chances are you don't get there enough and you go all the way to the tail of the field. I watched a few cars do that. It forced me to stay patient.
It's come down to that in the 500. It came down to the same thing. It's single file for the first 15 cars or so, and you're like, all right, when are we going to go, when are we going to go, and eventually the run happens, but it's the waiting game, and you don't want to be the last one to the party because then you don't win, but you don't want to be the first one just in case it doesn't work. As you get closer to the end of the race, everyone is forced to do something, because you're saying, there's only a lap to go, how much can I lose. Everyone just kind of changing their attitude every lap that goes by.
AUSTIN DILLON: It's a high‑speed game of chess, and it's like‑‑ I was in the back. I had to make a move. And when I did, if I would have been the second car to go with them, I would have been in the wreck. I got lucky and was the first car on the bottom and missed the wreck. I think you start to start that train kind of when a run does go, but I had to because I was in the back. Where he is, you've got to be patient because you'll just keep getting shuffled if you go too early, like he's saying.

Q. Joey, contrast, if you will‑‑ this is for both of you, really. Contrast, if you will, the comparison of the handling difficulty this year versus what it was a year ago.
JOEY LOGANO: You know, honestly, if you asked me this yesterday, I'd say it was way different and way worse. But we were able to make a lot of adjustments to our car where I didn't really think it was much different. The draft was a lot different with the bigger spoilers and the lower ride heights. That changes the pack quite a bit. But I thought the handling was fairly similar. The track bar adjuster is in there to kind of fix a lot of balance issues, to a certain extent at least. Not as much as I thought it was going to be when I went to sleep last night.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, I went to sleep nervous, too. I don't know what it is, your stomach turns over the first time you come here every time, especially with what we had going on, it definitely felt different in practice yesterday speed‑wise. Yeah, it was good to get out there and race. Nerves have calmed down now and I kind of know what I can go to work on going into the 500. Yeah, I need to tighten up.

Q. For either one of you, can you kind of describe what it felt like having the ride height change in these cars, especially coming out of the turns, because we saw a lot of people spinning off of Turn 4 last year, and did you feel a little more stability this season?
JOEY LOGANO: Did you feel more stable, sir?
AUSTIN DILLON: No. I mean, on the bottom‑‑ my car was just better than what we've been in the past, so that was nice as far as speed goes. I feel about the same as far as handling has been in the past. But on the top, I was actually driving worse than I was on the bottom, which is a good thing, because in the race if you can hold the bottom lane to the long run, it's good. I kind of struggled on the top, which was weird. What do you think?
JOEY LOGANO: I think, like I said, I thought it was pretty similar. I didn't think it was better or worse. Like I said, just the runs‑‑
AUSTIN DILLON: The runs are big.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, they're pretty big and they stall out pretty big, too. The game may be a little bit quicker, I guess, if I was to find one thing that was the biggest difference, I guess.

Q. Austin, I understand your crew chief Justin Alexander is out sick today‑‑

Q. How did you regroup, and have you talked to him to see how he's doing?
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, poor guy, he's had the flu twice this year. I asked on Twitter earlier this year about the flu shot. Remember, that was kind of why. He got sick and was out for eight days earlier this year, and then he got it again. Just want him to get better, truthfully, but the guys stepped up. My two engineers are great. They're experienced and do a good job. They're very professional, and we got a good group at RCR, like I said at the beginning of the year. I felt like we've gotten a little bit leaner, but we've also gotten better and smarter and stronger. I'm proud of my guys. They stepped up right in there.

Q. Joey, did you see the wreck happening behind you on the last lap, and were you glad that they at least let you race until the finish?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I saw the crash in my mirror, obviously. In all honesty, that was the end of my race anyway. Once they started crashing, that was my push. The 41 was going to be my push, and once they started wadding them up, he was so far back, and the run never came. I mean, they might as well have thrown the caution at that point because it wouldn't have made a difference as far as for the win. But that's NASCAR's judgment, and I'm not going to comment on that. I guess, you know, from what I've seen in the past, if‑‑ they need to get safety vehicles out there as quickly as they can, and if there's a car that's wadded up really bad, which I haven't seen the crash and what it's like and I assume everyone is okay, I hope so, at least, but I didn't‑‑ I can't see that part of it to make the call on whether they should throw a caution or not. That's up to them.

Q. Joey, you're talking about you feel like the game is quicker. Can you please further define that and what that means you have to do to react and what you might have to do Thursday, Sunday, or whatever?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I just think the runs happen quicker. It's kind of like in the XFINITY race. In the XFINITY races the cars get these huge runs, and they're hard to stop. This is maybe not quite to that extent, but the runs you can build are way bigger than they used to be, but that bubble, that imaginary bubble in between the cars that we always talk about seems to be‑‑ stop us just as hard. So we get a bigger run, but it kind of stops us just as much. Some of the‑‑ that's probably the biggest thing. Some stability things on the straightaways, but that was pretty much the biggest difference that we seen today.

Q. Austin, Kevin Harvick was out on pit road saying he was kind of surprised there was so much single‑file racing. I think you tried to make some moves at times. How challenging was it out there with these conditions, and were you surprised at how much single file racing there was at times?
AUSTIN DILLON: I mean, no. It's still part of Daytona. If there's a group of cars that are fast and get up top, they lead the race for a long period of time, and you‑‑ everybody wants to win. I mean, it's hard to group up with non‑teammates and sometimes even teammates to make them go with you at the right period of time. So everybody is kind of playing the wait game. They get shuffled around, and I was lucky enough to be able to have a car that could stay with the draft. I think Harvick tried, and he lost the draft, and so did the 31, lost the draft. I went one time, and he acted like he was going to go with me, and then he kind of got back in top to get me behind him.
But it's tough when you're out there in the tail, like Joey said, need to make your move a little earlier to get a couple more cars behind you, and it gets a little better, but even the guys that were running fifth to ninth, they're all the guys that wrecked right there at the end. It's just crazy how it all works out. You never know.

Q. From a race fan standpoint, is this what they should expect to see on Thursday? Or will teams make major changes?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it'll be fairly similar. I mean, a lot of times when you look at just the aggressiveness of drivers, they might be a little bit more conservative in the Duels, but I don't think that's the case as much anymore; there's 10 points on the line, so there's something there. There's something to race for, no doubt.
It'll be kind of interesting to see that, but it seems like lately these days, you get that waiting game at the end. Everyone is playing around in the beginning of the race, racing pretty aggressively, seeing what they can do, and then they get some decent track position, and they go, okay, hold, and they wait until the end and then make the big moves and everything kind of plays out.
It's just kind of‑‑ I don't know, every race kind of evolves differently, but that's the way at least the last two or three races have evolved here on superspeedways.
AUSTIN DILLON: You know, when there's more cars out there, guys ‑‑ certain guys race harder and get in there and mix it up. The beginning of that race was two wide quite a bit. The first 25 I thought it was pretty good racing, and we never really got single file around the top. We kind of swapped lanes at the front for a while. But with 40 cars out there, it'll be more of that, and then I think handling is going to be a key factor on those long runs during the 500. Guys are going to get loose, like you saw the 42 and other cars get loose and they shuffle the field, and then there will be pack breakups and stuff. It'll be a 500. It'll be interesting.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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