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October 28, 2018

Todd Gordon

Roger Penske

Ridgeway, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our winning team team owner Roger Penske, and race winning crew chief Todd Gordon, of the No.22 Pennzoil Ford.
We will take questions for Roger or Todd.

Q. Roger, Martin Truex Jr. called it a cheap shot and a cheap win. Did you see it that way?
ROGER PENSKE: I certainly didn't. He's a racer and should know better than to say that. That's as clean a shot as you can have in a race like this. I didn't hear Kyle Busch or the 42 have any kind of conversation after that race.
To me, I'm really looking forward. We want to go to Miami. Joey ran a great race. As far as I'm concerned, that's just a comment that I don't think we deserve. We'll race him day after day.
Stirring some controversy that he's trying to spread. From my perspective, Joey drove a great race. The team won on pit road. You can see that, how many times he got out front. Leading the number of laps shows the job that Todd and the team did. That's my position.

Q. Obviously in other auto sport genres, we hear of team orders. Brad battling with Joey, were you nervous with those guys being so close?
ROGER PENSKE: Not at all. Brad knew what had to happen here today. I told them to use their heads. That's all I said. He knew exactly what was going on.
Obviously we could go back to the first question. Brad could have blocked the 78. You saw he didn't make it too hard for him to go by, so let's get on with it.

Q. Roger, it seems like everyone has a fix in NASCAR these days, the new rules package next year, the roval, but a lot of people seemed into what they saw tonight. Is this the direction NASCAR should consider, short tracks?
ROGER PENSKE: I think to build a track today and find the land somewhere in the country, to add another consolation probably would be very tough. I think NASCAR is going to try with the rules to tighten it up as much as they can.
These tracks like Bristol, certainly Martinsville, are special places. You can see the kind of racing we have here. Joey has had some good luck here and bad luck also, as most of you know.

Q. Roger, considering Joey Logano has been to the final four, this is his third time in five years since it was introduced, what is it going to take for him finally to break through?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think it will be interesting to see who are the other three competitors. It's going to be very interesting. But it's going to be tough, there's no question. The pressure's on the next two races for the next three.
What we're going to do is do our homework, try to go there with the best car. Certainly I think Joey and Todd, if you look at the momentum over the last eight or nine weeks, I think we're certainly in the right position. Our goal obviously is to come out with a trophy at the end.

Q. Roger, you came out very strongly in the first question. You've been in racing long enough, you know things like this are going to happen. Why do you react so strongly? Why does it bother you so much?
ROGER PENSKE: I think Joey drove a great race. He didn't knock him off the racetrack. It was side‑by‑side racing at the end. You could see that. Nobody lifted.
To me, I want to make sure people know my position. I thought it was fair, I thought it was square, and Joey deserved the win.

Q. Todd, obviously being the first one in, we've seen once before somebody won Martinsville, won Miami. Does this allow you to change your preparation, put more emphasis on Miami? Is there anything more you can do the next two weeks?
TODD GORDON: I think it does actually. It allows you to just not be so focused on Texas, what we've got to do at Texas to win. In our situation, you look at here and Texas both being great racetracks for us, Phoenix probably has been a struggle for us the last year or so.
It allows us to kind of turn one eye towards Homestead, work on the preparation for what we have to have there, knowing we're in a position that we can be at least broadly looking forward to that, not super focused on what happens this weekend, upcoming weekend, with Texas.
I still feel like we had a great test at Texas. I think we had speed there. I think we've had good runs there. I think we can do that again. It definitely does allow us to look a little bit down the horizon to Homestead and do what we need to do to be good there.

Q. Your take on Bob's question, about the end of the race, how you saw it unfold?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I mean, I think Martinsville is a historic racetrack, short track racing where we all came from. I think the job that Goodyear has done with the tire they brought here the last two years has led to side‑by‑side racing. We had great competition.
It's rubbing, it's racing. When you put a prize that's a guaranteed ticket to the championship four on this race, you're going to have that kind of racing. I think that's just kind of what the atmosphere creates.
To Roger's point, we came off of turn four side‑by‑side. It's not like somebody ended up out on the wall and spun out. There's a huge prize there. You have to race hard for it.

Q. In a year where really the win column has been dominated by Stewart‑Haas, the 18 and the 78, does this kind of win make a statement for this team, we're not going away?
ROGER PENSKE: I think it's been certainly a good year for us. Winning the Brickyard, the Southern 500. We had five wins, plus a couple of wins at Daytona before the 500.
I wouldn't say it's been a bad year for us. To us, it's been a spectacular year. This obviously kind of caps the first part of the season. Then we go into the last race for the championship.

Q. Last time Joey Logano won the first race in the Playoffs, he won the second and third rounds. Do you think there's anything to gain other than the momentum?
TODD GORDON: I think momentum is a huge thing in professional sports. This is one of them. I think when you look at it, when you're successful, it builds success. There is moment to gain.
When you look forward, I think Texas is going to be a great racetrack for us, something that when we did that, swept the round with Talladega, Charlotte and Kansas, we were in a position once we made the first win that we could then just race a little bit more free. You're not focused on what if, you're just focused on trying to race and win.
I think that can happen in the same situation here. We can go to Texas and be very competitive. That builds the momentum going to Homestead.

Q. Todd, you had a new jackman today. Obviously you were fast off pit road today. It's easy to assume just one change changes that. What led to the greater success on pit road?
TODD GORDON: I'd say that the biggest part that made a difference there is it's the leadership that this guy sitting to my left brings to this program. It's Team Penske first. It's not the 22 or the 2 or the 12. I've learned some lessons with that, and continue to learn. It's Team Penske.
When we got to a position where we had one car left that had an opportunity to race to Homestead, everybody at the shop and the athletic department came forward and said, How do we make our best pit crew? It's a testament to how closely our teams work together. When you make a change like that, personalities sometimes don't touch and click, chemistry isn't built right off, you don't have all the potential you had.
Our groups worked together, they practiced together, they focused together. Kudos to Jeremy and Ryan Blaney for making the sacrifice to put this kind of best foot forward we could. Definitely put us in a position. We got off pit road first from third, from farther back.
Phenomenal effort on pit road. I think it's a testament to Team Penske, the message that Roger sends to all of us.

Q. Todd, as we're looking at the layout of the races throughout the Playoffs, with the addition to a roval, Talladega being a critical point, Martinsville, does it feel like there's a wild card in each of these various segments, or is this just what you do week in, week out?
TODD GORDON: I definitely feel the addition for the roval brought a wild card to the first round. None of us knew what to expect. There was a lot of anxiety about it, a lot of gray hair that was gained.
Talladega has always been that way. It's another place that if you execute, you can kind of get your way through. I don't see this round as having a wild card. I think when you look at this round, it's got three definite genres of racetracks.
You have this place, historic, traditional short track racetrack, half mile, you're not worried about whether the splitter is a millimeter high off the racetrack or not, you're worried about making your car turn and drive. Then Texas, high speed intermediate, then Phoenix, in between short track, a high‑speed short track.
We have three unique racetracks in this round that bring different strengths to different teams and the opportunity to capitalize on where your strengths are.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on officially checking the box to Homestead.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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