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April 29, 2018
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with our post race media availability. We are joined by members of the race winning team, which was the No. 22 Shell‑Pennzoil Auto Trader Ford. We're joined by the crew chief Todd Gordon and team owner Roger Penske.
Each of you just please take us through what this race means for you.
TODD GORDON: It's a great momentum builder. I think as the season's gone on, we've worked on trying to make ourselves better. It's very well‑documented. We had a very difficult struggle through the year last year. We ended the year with a little momentum and a direction. I think everybody dug in in the off‑season to figure out where we needed to go.
We've been doing that. Haven't gotten quite to this position. But we came to a racetrack where Joey Logano is one of the best plate racers. Brad is as well. And they work off each other.
It's a great accomplishment to get ourselves Playoff eligible and carry this momentum forward because it's the next step from what we've had with several top‑10 finishes this year.
ROGER PENSKE: Obviously to see Joey in the winner's circle, we had the encumbered finish back in Richard. To get that off his back, after a number of races, see him execute today...
I think it was really a well laid out plan when you think about the way the Fords ran all day. I think we talked about it with the teams. People worked with each other. I think that makes a difference.
We won two stages, which was critical. Then Joey had a strong car. I take my hat off really to Todd to put that car together. You got to look at the Roush‑Yates Ford power, which was unbelievable today. Those cars were up front. They could move from the backtofront.
Then execution in the pits. I'd have to say it was a perfect day, one we needed. We've been hanging around the top five for most of the season, except there at Daytona. It shows we got our big track game together. But we got to do some more work to get where we need to be.
I congratulate the whole team, the sponsors. Certainly want to thank the fans here in Talladega. We've had some good luck down here. I remember racing down here with Rusty and Bobby Allison. A lot of memories here for me.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.
Q. You mentioned Joey and the Richmond race. It's been a long drought for him. That win was kind of messy. Have you had to push him along over these months, encourage him, talk about things, or has it been regular Joey?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think the quality young man that he is, obviously it gnaws on you when you're not in the winner's circle. I don't think we had good enough cars for him last year at some point to help him execute, which didn't help the situation.
Todd and the team, we put our heads down. The new rules have seemed to help the Ford teams. Especially the execution by Stewart‑Haas, the rest of the Ford guys, has been excellent. He stayed on course. He's a committed guy to the team. Long‑term player with us. To me, you go through that in business. You have some bad years.
But I think at the end of the day, he's a superior young man, works well with Brad, helped bring Blaney along, Menard did well. These guys are working together. They all got the same kind of car. It's like a 7‑iron: how are you going to hold it and hit the shot?
That's what they've been doing the last several weeks. Had a third‑place finish a year ago or so. He said in the winner's circle, this certainly got the monkey off his back. The way he was cool and collected, maybe inside he was torn up, but today took care of all that.
Q. Todd, the first stage was pretty hairy as far as cars being a little out of control. Was there anything in practice that indicated it was going to be that way? What were the general changes you had to make to be able to make the cars a little bit more stable?
TODD GORDON: There's a couple things that happen here. Obviously the new ride height package, I don't know if it's as visible to you guys, it totally changed speedway racing for us. We're able to keep the cars lower, get the cars faster. There's a lot more you can play of speed versus handling, where before when we had the package we had last year, where the rear shocks and the rear springs were issued, heights were kind of set, there was less of a box to work within.
With the change we had with speedway racing this year, now teams get to play how much handling, how much speed do I want to trade off.
I think you saw that with a lot of cars. We saw it at Daytona, as well. Everybody came here thinking Talladega has not been a handling race. With this new drop package, where we could go with it, you could get yourself where you couldn't handle.
I think we did a good job as a team at Daytona to understand what we needed to work on and what made a significant difference. We worked through that with practice with a couple drafting runs we had. You can't really tell, you don't see the real picture until you have 40 cars out there. We can try to draft with five or six, but when you stand in line, you have decent air on the car, you don't know how bad the car is going to get.
Having an experienced drafter like Joey, he's aware during practice of what we need to work on. We made some changes coming into the race. I thought we had good stability. I thought we made a good adjustment on the first stop to add some more stability to our car without taking a lot of speed away. From that point, we strategized where we kept our track position with tires and fuel.
Q. Todd, after the big wreck, you were talking on the radio telling Joey that his teammates are gone, yet you talk about how there were a lot of Fords up there. Are you thinking no way are you going to beat the 4, 41 and 10?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I mean, you got to paint the best picture you can, right? That's our job.
You look at it, and I would say outside of the direct teammates, if you look through history here and rewatch the end of races here, Joey and Kevin Harvick find each other. That's been something, even when Kevin was in a Chevrolet, I think they see things a lot the same. They tend to find each other and work together.
To look at it and say you've got four teammates with all the same powerplants that Roush‑Yates provides, it put us in a situation where we try to keep a relationship with those guys and work as one Ford.
I think you do what you can within that. We're going to race 'em at the end, but it's easier to race with Kevin and Kurt than it would be to race with the Hendrick guys for us.
We had good speed. I think all of us had good speed. Kudos to the Roush‑Yates guys. I think with two to go we had the top five spots with Fords. It's a pseudo teammate. It's not what our teammates were. It's a relationship that we continue to try to build because I think together we can all be successful.
Q. Todd, over the off‑season Joey and the team switched over from Tab Boyd to T.J. Majors. This is a very important race with spotters. What has the transition been like so far?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I mean, it's been flawless. To what I would expect. There's always a learning curve. I think T.J. and Joey have done a great job. They get race footage and then they go talk about what the race was.
I guess I would put the spotter and driver combination as a marriage. You can have two wonderful people, and you got to find the perfect fit. Tab did a phenomenal job for us. I think he continues to do a really good job for the 24 car, where he is now.
But the opportunity at speedway races, I think T.J. has done a phenomenal job with Dale Jr. in the past several years. He's seen a lot. We saw the opportunity to bring T.J. onboard and help us grow our speedway program, whether it be how he helps Joey with it and how he sees things happen. There's a lot of communication from speedway side that the spotter can see that we can't. The driver can see the bumper of the car ahead of him. The crew chief can see what happens in the frontstretch. But the spotter sees everything.
I think T.J. has been a great asset, just another place that we could build our notebook a little bit stronger.
Q. Todd, when you approach strategy for these races right now, is it more of a Team Penske strategy or is it more of a Ford strategy? Is it difficult to differentiate between the two these days?
TODD GORDON: When you look at these speedway races, you got to be in a position. You can't do anything on your own. When you look at the draft, I mean, it's seconds that you give up if you're by yourself. Even to the point, you know, four is borderline working. Within Team Penske we can control a lot of things. You have to look at attrition and what happens.
You try to find those guys that have common interests. I would say our relationship with Stewart‑Haas and with Roush Fenway, we have a common goal: we want Ford to be in Victory Lane. We want our own Ford to be in Victory Lane, but we all want Ford to be there.
You look to work with the guys that you know have similar stuff to you and have similar interests. That's a relationship that, as Ford brought Stewart‑Haas into the mix, they continue to push us to make our stuff better. We see that. When Kevin outruns us, there's no excuses. Same motor, same body spec. We have work to do.
It's a great relationship where we can push each other to be better.
Q. Is it safe to say if you hadn't developed those relationships, Joey getting this win today, given the circumstances, would have been very difficult?
TODD GORDON: I think if you look at it, we end up as the only Team Penske car that's not damaged at the end of the race. You have to put yourself in position.
I will say yes, the Ford relationship is good. Some of that goes back to Kevin and Joey actually have a very good relationship. I think they understand each other and they race each other, they get each other. He's been somebody we've worked with when we weren't on the same team from a manufacturer standpoint. That's only gotten stronger since we've become the same manufacturer.
Q. Roger, I wanted your thoughts on a big picture topic. Ford is going to discontinue manufacturing of most of its cars by the end of the decade. I wanted your thoughts on that.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think if you're familiar with the mix of cars and trucks that are being sold, if you go back to really 2017, it was about probably 55% trucks and SUVs, and the sedans were starting to really fall.
I think the strategy that Ford‑‑ probably their margin is better on trucks and SUVs. They have the Lincoln brand which is very strong now with the Navigator. To me, look into 2018, look at the numbers, it's going to be 65% to 75% cars sold in the United States, some 16 and a half million, that's going to be trucks and SUVs.
I think it's focusing the right way. If you look at all the manufacturers, what are all the new models they're bringing out? 90% of them are bringing out trucks. That's a decision made in the boardroom. Overall I think that's a smart move.
Q. How do you think that's going to affect stockcar racing in the United States?
ROGER PENSKE: They're still going to have sedans. Guess what, the Mustang has just been announced to come to race next year. It's the hot car, as you notice. In all of their announcements, Mustang is going to be a pinnacle car for them.
Q. Do you think it's going to change the perception of stockcar racing in the U.S.?
ROGER PENSKE: We have Camaros, Mustangs, Toyotas. It's drivers, teams, sponsors, you guys out there that make the difference. I don't think it's going to be a blip at all.
Q. Todd, we saw Fords in the first stage pit after 12 laps. You did that same strategy in the second stage. How did that caution with the big one on the backstretch change that strategy?
TODD GORDON: You've got to be adaptive when the cautions come out. But we still needed to be on the frontside. I think as we see it, we need to be on the frontside of the pit cycle. When you can separate yourself from the group, you limit your risk from what happens with the pack.
So for us to make the early pit stops in both stages kind of separated our group out of the pack, then you're less vulnerable to it. Unfortunately that one happened after we kind of got back together. It put us in a situation where we could finish the race, but I wanted to stay on sequence with the rest of them because you kind of start to scan what is everybody going to do. Wanted to come to pit road, but not get buried to where we'd be vulnerable if a wreck happened again.
It's an opportunity for you to get yourself to shorten up your fuel cycle, take tires now, you get in your fuel window to finish.
It's not how the strategy was laid out to start with, but these strategies, you can lay out the best strategy to start the race, and it will go haywire in lap three by what happens on the racetrack.
Really only gave us an opportunity to make our last stop quicker, which I think by doing that we had a good fuel stop there under green, and fortunately cycled ourselves to the front.
Q. Roger, are the two best plate racers in the sport under your roof?
ROGER PENSKE: Look, there's been a lot of good plate racers. Certainly when you look at the guys that are out there today, our guys are at the top of the game. I think anybody would say that across the garage area, the drivers and team owners and crew chiefs.
Look, there's always somebody else that might win a race. I certainly feel good about the team we have. We saw Menard today in the right kind of car doing a great job. Blaney has been there. So overall, I think we focus on these races, with the car setups and the way Todd and the aero guys put these things together.
Of course we've had the benefit of some great motors from Ford and Roush‑Yates. When you put all that together, I give our guys an A plus today certainly in the execution.
TODD GORDON: I'd love to add to that. Blaney is getting close to it. He's made leaps and bounds. I wouldn't put anybody that drives a Team Penske racecar out of the mix when it comes to winning here.
Q. Today will maybe help change the narrative, but do you feel you came into today flying under the radar a little bit? A lot of talk has been around the 18 and 4.
ROGER PENSKE: We haven't had a win. We're never satisfied at Team Penske without getting in the winner's circle. I would say the monkey was on our back. Getting through that today, it's not just a win for Joey and Todd, it's a win for the whole team, which is certainly key.
As we look at the different automotive racing series we're in, we've had wins in all of them. This was one that was not on all of us.
Going under the radar screen, I don't know how you go under the radar screen in this sport anywhere. Certainly Stewart‑Haas deserved every bit of the credit they've had up to this point. At Daytona we were strong. 125's, the Clash, things like that. We were out there. It was a matter of executing.
I think today we put ourselves in position, and guess what, we won.
Q. Roger, what did you think of the package today and the racing today? The cars were fairly unstable, which probably resulted in the wreck that cost Brad, but probably also kept drivers from making big moves there at the end of the race.
ROGER PENSKE: I think there's a lot of thought, a lot of intelligence, those guys that are out there on this racetrack. They know you don't race till the end, maybe the end of the stages. I think there's discipline within the teams, even the drivers themselves. Even the younger drivers that haven't driven here, I saw a lot of discipline.
I kind of like it when the cars don't just go out there and stand on the gas and run around all day. It puts the real drivers in the driver's seat, the ones that have experience. I think you saw that today, who was running up front most of the time.
Look, I thought it was a good show. We've had wrecks here before. It's not the first one they've had at Talladega. I'm not sure what caused that. Again, close racing, you're going to have that. To me the outcome, it was a safe race. I think the safety that NASCAR has executed in these cars. I saw the wreck of McMurray the other day. Overall I think we made a big step forward.
Plate racing, people love it. You could see the stands today, number of fans that were here. It was a real credit to the team down here. Also to see the emotion, what's going on in those grandstands. I'm in the back watching that. I'll tell you, it was a good day for us.
Q. Todd, what do you think percentage‑wise that this same package will be coming back here in the fall? If you could be the czar for one day to make changes to improve the car, what would some of those be in your mind?
TODD GORDON: I'm not the czar. I work within the rules that are given to me.
To your question, what's the likelihood of it coming back? I would be surprised if we made major changes from where we are. I think NASCAR does a great job as a sanctioning body of identifying where we need to be. I mean, they made a 64th of an inch plate change coming into the race. They made good decisions on how they could work with the motor manufacturers to make sure everybody was happy with that, could accommodate that. Those are tweaks as to where the speed goes.
But I think we made a safety initiative out of where the package went to. The cars being lower is less likely to get airborne and weigh up. We saw the one car get rolled. It's hard when a car gets T‑boned in the side, gets pushed up in the air, to not be in the air, there's just not that much downforce.
ROGER PENSKE: I just want to add to that.
One of the things we've done as car owners is really sat down with NASCAR. We talk about costs. We can't be building a new car with new technical specs during the season. We can take a spoiler, maybe a little bit of the horsepower out. I would assume if we're going to have a change, they're going to give us lead time to do that. We got to go back, go to the wind tunnel, build cars. We don't need that expense in the middle of the season.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you and congratulations.
ROGER PENSKE: Thank you.
TODD GORDON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Auto Trader Ford.
Joey, your third win here at Talladega. Take us through the final push to the win.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, man, it was crazy. Such a powerful team, powerful car. I was able to get everything working really well today. Feels so good to be back in Victory Lane.
But, you know, I think all the Fords had very fast cars. You saw qualifying, the way the stages worked. Showed we were working together as a team really well. Proud to be a part of that.
There at the end you work together as much as you can. You just want to make sure a Ford wins, and you hope it's you, but you try to do the right thing as well.
I had some Stewart‑Haas cars behind me which aren't necessarily teammates, but with the Ford performance relationship, it's the closest thing that I'm ever going to have to it. I was thankful to have them behind me.
I was wondering what kind of fight they were going to put on there at the end. They got split up and that changed the complexion of the race where it came down to the end, the last few corners. It was all about making the right blocks, keeping them close so I didn't pull away too far, they'd get a big run. Just staring in the mirror pretty much the whole time.
Great job by our team. Our spotter T.J. Majors was a great addition to our race team as far as speedway racing. He's the best as they come. I think Dale Jr. taught him a lot. Thanks to Dale for retiring so I can get him.
It's been a great‑‑ it's been 10 races so far this year. We've been consistent. We've been getting better every week. Last week we were able to win a couple stages, lead some laps. Today lead some laps, get some good stage points, ultimately have the checkered flag in our hand.
Feels really good to pull back into Victory Lane again. It's been so long. It's been way too long. We're not going to wait that long again.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. With the cars being more or less unstable today, were you concerned late in the race you wouldn't be able to make the moves you might have to make?
JOEY LOGANO: The moves you make can't be as aggressive, but it's the same for the guy behind you, right? They can't make as much of an aggressive move as we used to either because they're unstable.
It's a product of what we have as far as the ride height rule going away. Teams are, how can we make the cars as fast as we can make them, which takes downforce away, grip away. You see the cars that are out of control, especially through the straightaway, through the tri‑oval, that's probably where it's the most. Making a big move, sometimes on the exit of corners, that gets bad sometimes, too.
Our car handled all right. Is felt I was able to make some fairly aggressive moves, not as aggressive as I'd like, but I was able to make the right move at the right time and ultimately secure the lead.
After that, you just got to be on your game. I missed a block early in the race with the 11 which lost us the lead one time. I thought, man, that might come back and bite me. We had the right strategy and pit stop that put us back in front of him. He sped, I guess that's what got us in front of him again.
Q. Joey, when you were leading, the very final few laps, are you feeling very confident that you're in front, or I hope they don't get me?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, neither of those thoughts really go through your mind. There's no, oh, my gosh, I'm winning the race, you're confident you're going to hold them all off. You're in the moment, living in that moment, just trying to listen to everything.
It's like an ultra focus you got to have. You're trying to listen to your spotter, every little thing that he says. You're staring in the mirror looking at what the car behind you looks like they're doing and the car behind him looks like they're trying to do, where they're trying to figure these runs coming out.
We really thought the 17 and the 9 is where the runs were going to come from because they kept lagging back, all that. Those are the blocks we were going to have to make to maintain the lead. That's kind of what we thought was going to happen.
Some of that did play out. Unfortunately, Kevin kind of got shuffled out. Kurt made the block. He was able to hold his run off that he got from them. Once we came off turn four, I felt like I had one more block. We were able to get it to the start/finish line. He had one good run through turns three and four, was able to get that block. After that I was pushed out ahead and was able to come across the line.
Q. Were you just that good today or do you think it was this package that didn't allow them to get together, or is restrictor plate racing so unpredictable as far as who works with who that it's still kind of a tossup?
JOEY LOGANO: I think really we did a good job, yes, but so did a lot of other cars today, mainly those Fords. The Stewart‑Haas cars were quick. I really thought those were the cars, no matter where they went, if they got to the outside of me, I was hosed. I knew that. That would have been the end of it for me. I would have gotten passed by pretty much the whole train. I would have lost so much momentum. I knew they were going to work together, as they should. Once they got picked apart, think that was the game changer.
I think Kevin was happy with riding behind me until the last lap probably. I felt like that's where those runs were going to start forming. I think he was waiting for the right moment when the run got behind him, he was going to take the push. Once he got shuffled out, that changed the whole complexion, like I said. I was fully expecting something like that to happen. I was going to make sure the run they got wasn't too big, I was going to try to stay backed up to them. That was kind of my play.
So like I said, I wasn't quite a Lone Ranger out there until the last lap. Before that, I felt like the Fords worked really well together. That's the reason why we were able to have a top three breakaway there for a little bit that we had all those Fords on the bottom. That's a big deal for everyone. That's a big deal for Ford to show the strength that they got, but also the teamwork, it's a big deal for us.
We do a lot of team bonding trips, different things. That stuff starts to show here more and more as we grow closer.
Q. In talking to Todd earlier, he said he didn't allow himself to get caught up in what happened after Richmond last year. What kind of toll did a season like that take on you? How important was it to be able to out fast earlier this year, distance yourself from it?
JOEY LOGANO: When you get news like that, obviously first you're shocked, you're surprised. As a driver, you don't know what's going on. You just drive the car. You're kind of like, What? That stinks. Your initial reaction is, I am going to go out there next week and show them what's up. We came here, crashed. The next couple weeks we crashed, lost all our momentum, just got in a slump. It was surprising to be in that.
Towards the end of last year we started building some speed back, some confidence back where we could run in the top 10, grab a top five every now and then. That was good. But to fire off this season being consistent, all but one race in the top 10, scoring way more stage points, I think more stage points than we scored all last year probably. I don't know that, but it feels like it. It might be true. Then leading laps the last couple weeks, that confidence just keeps building back to where we know we can be, right?
There's a lot to talk about. Obviously a lot of people ask that question millions of times: What happened? It's still the same team. Not much has changed. It's the same core group that's made two amazing fights to almost win a championship. We stuck together for that reason.
Any time you go through times of trial like that, that's very challenging for everyone. If you can get through that together, you're stronger. For that reason I feel like my team's never been stronger. I feel like we still need to make our cars a little bit faster. As a racecar driver, I think I'll say that forever. You're never fast enough, but we're getting closer. Today we proved that.
Q. I asked Todd about switching spotters over the off‑season. Tell us about switching during the off‑season. How important was T.J. at the end of the race?
JOEY LOGANO: T.J., I've talked to him for years and built a relationship with him over the last few years. He's a very loyal person. Very loyal. We tried really hard. But he's very loyal to Dale Jr. That's a great test to his character, who he is. Made me really want him even more on my race team.
When Junior retired, he gave me his word that he'd give me first look at it. We weren't going to give him the option to go somewhere else. I felt like it was a good move for us. When it comes to speedway racing, I don't think there's someone better than that.
It was fun over the off‑season to watch film together. For him to teach me things about the draft, kind of share his notebook with my notebook, teach each other what we're thinking in certain scenarios, what we should do. Then to see all that come to play, you know, over Speedweeks, really obviously here today, to see all that is very exciting in what the future can bring.
When you look at the dominance that Dale Jr. was able to have, I think he taught him a lot. We're getting some of that benefit, too.
Q. With a couple laps to go, you talked about waiting to see what Stenhouse and Chase were going to do. It seemed like the pieces were in place in your favor with two Stewart‑Haas cars behind you, Stenhouse and Chase aren't going to work as well together, that's going to create some friction. Did you feel like everything was in place for you, that people couldn't make as aggressive moves?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah.
Q. Not to take anything away, it got a little wild, it's surprising how maybe 'tame' is not the right word, but how it played out the last couple laps.
JOEY LOGANO: Once they got two‑wide, I felt better with it. Their runs don't usually come as quickly when cars are two‑wide. Especially at the end of the race, everyone is going to be on each other's door, trying to pull each other back. When they started getting two‑wide back there, This is all right, it's not the end of the world. The runs are going to be slower, but it's also harder to block two of them at the same time, right? If they're both coming at you at the same speed, I have to pick one or the or the other. The car is only so wide. I know I can make it so wide.
Like I said, once they got to two‑wide, I felt like maybe I was in a little better shape, maybe just different overall.
Like I said, you just got this ultra focus that you're in that zone. There's so much going on. That feeling when you get across the line, man, there ain't nothing like that. I haven't been that excited probably since the 500. It's been so long, right? You pull into Victory Lane, you see everybody all so excited, you see that little man there, that was so special.
Q. Funny you should bring up the little guy. I talked to Brittany before the race. You're Joey Logano the great racecar driver. Apparently at home you're the great dad. What was it like to have the little guy in Victory Lane? She says you have a cool schedule, you're kind of protective during the week.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I try to take some of the night shifts, some during the day, take a little bit of time, give mama a break. He's not a real easy baby, which means he'll probably be a really good racecar driver because he cries a lot (smiling). He'll fit right in here. He can do whatever he wants. He doesn't have to drive a racecar.
To me, that's the coolest feeling. It was amazing to pull into Victory Lane and celebrate with your guys. When you turned around and saw Hudson and Brittany over there, I may have cried a little bit. It's just cool, you know. It's a different feeling. Everyone always says, You won't understand until you have kids. I always kind of shook my head, Okay. Now having a little guy, seeing him there, he may not remember, but for me, that was very special. For Brittany I hope it was, too. Something we'll cherish forever. We'll have a great family picture in Victory Lane at Talladega. That's pretty cool. Not many people have a family picture like that, so that's pretty cool.
Q. Back to the stage points. Last year you scored 160 all together. This time you're the third driver to hit the 100 mark.
JOEY LOGANO: Really stage points are a direct correlation to speed, right? Sometimes a car doesn't have maybe as much speed. You can squeak out a good finish every now and then, top five, top 10, things happen at the end of the race you can get something. In the mid part of the race, especially at the beginning of the race, a lot of times it's where you qualify for the first stage. The second stage, a lot of times it's how fast you are. You're able to maintain that speed, stay up there, grab those points.
Yeah, our cars are quicker is what it says.
Q. When Todd was talking about your situation at the end of the race, who was around you, he kept mentioning you had people around you that you were very comfortable with, that you and Kevin Harvick have developed a good relationship, tend to find each other in these races. Some people might find that surprising. With no teammates, the race coming to a close, did you feel comfortable with the people you found yourself around towards the end?
JOEY LOGANO: To answer your question, I don't think you ever feel comfortable here. No matter who is behind you, you don't feel comfortable. Your heart rate is digging. At least mine, maybe me because I'm a high strung person, mu heart rate goes as fast here as it does at Bristol, there's so much going on.
To the point what Todd said with Kevin, I look at him as almost a teammate at this point. We race really well together, not only at speedways, but we do seem to find each other a lot here. Mile‑and‑a‑half's, short tracks, we work well together. We race hard, don't get me wrong. But there's times during the race we see the big picture.
Yes, surprising? Probably after the beginning parts of my career. It shows that you're able to move past things. You don't hold grudges forever. You try to figure things out. Over the time racing a lot together, I think we respect each other's talents, the things that he's able to do off the racetrack, I'm able to do off the racetrack as far as trying to help grow our sport. I think we work a lot together there, as well.
Now that he drives a Ford, it makes it even easier for us to have that relationship. So, yeah, it's good to have an ally like Kevin out there. You don't want to have him on your bad side is what I figured out, too (laughter).
Q. What prompted the roof hatch exit?
JOEY LOGANO: Why not? I have a roof hatch. Don't have that every week. I did that before here, the first time we won here. I forget the second time. We're raising the roof, brother (laughter).
Q. Kind of seems like you have flown under the radar a little bit coming into today. You were second in points, you mentioned stage points, running up front. What's gone into the turnaround? How good do you feel about what you have going on this early in the season?
JOEY LOGANO: I feel great about the consistency, especially last two weeks. Last two weeks we've picked it up, Richmond and then here. Obviously two unique racetracks, a lot of different things going on.
Overall just staying consistent, staying a team, staying confident in each other, knowing that Todd is the guy for the job, I'm the guy for the job, our engineers are in the right places, our road crew and our pit crew are all in the right places. Knowing that and being able to focus on what's ahead and work together is a very big piece. When you start pointing fingers at each other, that's when teams start to implode from the inside out.
As a race team, we've been able to stick together through the tough times. Hopefully all that's over, we don't have to wait another year and a race to get back here. Not that I was counting (smiling).
Q. A hypothetical question. Had McMurray not gotten airborne on Friday, the rules package that was in place stayed, how much different would the racing have been out there today?
JOEY LOGANO: Honestly, I don't think much. You're still going pretty fast in the draft. Obviously we'd be going faster without the plate change. We were already on edge. Probably would have crashed more I guess if I had to pick one thing. We came here faster than we've been in a long time because the race teams are getting smarter and they keep trying things, making cars faster, right? You're going to obviously keep going faster. When we come back here in the fall, cars will be going fast again as everyone gets better.
So NASCAR had to do something from a safety standpoint. You can't have cars going up in the air. That's not good. We got to keep them on the ground. From being inside the car, I like to keep them on the ground. It's important. But I think even from a fan standpoint, it's a safety factor to keep cars from going in the catch fences.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, congratulations.
JOEY LOGANO: Thank you, guys. Have a good trip home.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports