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October 28, 2018

Joey Logano

Ridgeway, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We are now here with the winner of today's race, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske, that is Joey Logano. The first driver to lock up a spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Open it up with a few comments about running for another championship.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's huge to be in that Championship 4 again. This will be our third time we've been in there. We hope this time is the time that we finally get the big trophy at the end.
Obviously today, an amazing racecar, a car that we were able to drive to the front. But probably even more spectacular was the pit crew. They were on their game today, laying down great stops every time, gaining spots.
When you're out front here at Martinsville, clean air means a lot, a lot of different reasons than a Miami or Phoenix. I think when you're out front, you're able to control your own pace, keep a lot of air to your brakes, keep your car cool. It pays off on the long run.
If you get yourself mired back in the pack, fifth or sixth, you're car is hot, you have to race harder than you want to. Before you know it, you pay the penalty in the long run.
The pit stops were really I think the game changing moment for us today to keep us out front.
Then there at the end, just got tight. We made some adjustments to try to fire off better there. Did not work. But we were able to hold them off, almost hold them off, then be able to make the move at the end to get the win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joey.

Q. I'm sure you've heard it, Martin Truex called it a cheap shot, cheap win. Your reaction? Does it even matter that he's upset with you?
JOEY LOGANO: Of course it matters to me. I think as a racecar driver, you think about a lot of things. My goal was not to wreck him in any way. My goal was to win the race. I don't want to win by dumping somebody. I want to win by making a move.
That was the classic bump‑n‑run. That was the move that our sport and Martinsville in particular was built on. I think I owe it to my race team to do everything I can to win a race, get another shot at winning a championship. That's my job. They did their job today. I had to do my mine.
Like I said, it wasn't a move that I sent him three lanes up the racetrack. I got beneath him, we bumped and banged across the line. That's the way I wanted to do it, to be able to get a win. Like I said, I wasn't going to spin him out, didn't want to crash him, do anything like that.
I know how big of a deal it is to win any race, but when you get to Martinsville, this is probably the second most important race to win all year if you're still in the Playoffs, to get yourself to Miami, now just one more. We have to focus hard on Miami now.

Q. In your situation a few years ago with Matt when you had that race at Kansas, you didn't talk to him. Maybe that was a mistake at that point you talked about. Is there even any reason to want to talk to Martin at this point or some point before Homestead? He's giving the impression that he's got a memory, what's been done to him will be done to you.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, obviously we'll talk someday. When, I don't know yet. Just give me a minute here. I just got here. I can't give you all the answers yet. Give me a chance.
I'm sure we will talk about it. It's probably smart that we all kind of cool off first. But I think in general, you know, this move here is a very different move. I was able to‑‑ like I said, we didn't crash. We've seen that move here how many times? I don't know. But quite a bit over the last, what, 70 years or so here. That's what this racetrack is built on.
I would be expecting the same thing if the roles were reversed. I would be frustrated if I was him also. You're right there at it, I get it. It's racing, it's hard. Not everyone is happy about it. There's going to be people that love it and people that don't. That's up to them to decide.
I know what I had to do to get my team into the Championship 4 and ultimately win the race today.

Q. Martin said he wouldn't have done that move to you. Whether it was a cheap shot or not, when you have the trophy and a championship, are you able as a driver to do something that maybe you're not the most proud of to win a championship? Is that okay?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it is what it is. Every scenario is different, right? Like I said, if I spun him out, I'd feel pretty bad right now. I'd say I didn't mean to do that, that was not the goal. That's a different story. I think I'd be feeling a lot different right now.
The fact that he still finished in the top three, we had a hard race, we raced the heck out of each other. He bumped me a couple times when he was trying to get by me. I get it. Don't blame him. It's racing.
I'm not putting fault on anyone, if anyone would do anything different. Every driver is going to have their opinion. Everyone in this room will have their own opinion. That's okay. It's up to you guys to decide what you want.
The facts are, it's over now. Now it's time to move on.

Q. This is your 20th career win in the Cup Series. When compared against the Daytona 500, which one is bigger, given the Playoff format?
JOEY LOGANO: It's hard to say anything is bigger than a Daytona 500. To me, this is definitely maybe a top three or four win in my career. I guess if you win Miami, that would be bigger than the Daytona 500 at this point, that we have a shot to win a championship there.
Martinsville has always been a special place. It's on the top of my list to get a win. We've been so close so many times, led so many laps, sat up here with a lot of poles but never was able to finish the deal off. Just a great feeling to finally get that done, get that grandfather clock.
Like I said, I'm proud of my race team. I'm proud of the car they brought today, the way the whole team executed to ultimately get here. I think to me that's a big story that I'm going to bring back to our race shop and be proud of that. Big momentum builder.
We'll think about Miami for the next two races. Obviously that's the biggest advantage. We're also not going to lay down the next two races either. There's still two races to win, momentum to keep up, make sure we get ourselves ready.

Q. Before Truex got to you, you had to hold off your teammate who was hounding you. Were you worried that Brad was going to dump you or anything? Is there a code for how to race each other the last 10 laps?
JOEY LOGANO: Obviously he wanted to win. He showed that. I wanted to win. Obviously the win to me meant a lot more. Obviously he wants to prove that he's a championship car, as well, after everything that's happened the last round. I get that.
He was faster than me at the moment, then we were able to fight that battle and stay ahead. At that point I was hoping he would just race the 78 as hard as possible to create some gap, because I saw how fast the 78 was taking off there, running us down.
We did what we could do there to try to fight there. But I get it. He's out here trying to win, too. It's a race. It's not just eight cars going for a win. There's still 40 of them out there.

Q. With this win, you're locked in. How much pressure is that off your shoulders, knowing the next two races you can work on whatever you need to for Homestead?
JOEY LOGANO: I guess it relieves some pressure for the next two weeks. Yes, the pressure is off, at least for those races. But like I said, there's still a trophy there. I want to win it. That doesn't change. I'm pretty sure my whole race team thinks the same way as I do. If there's a trophy, we want to be taking it home at the end of the day.
But the must‑win feeling, that's gone. In a couple weeks, it's back in our mind again when we get to Miami. That's a must‑win race.

Q. You mentioned trophies. You have one of the coolest ones in the sport to your right. How neat is that for you to bring that home? Where will it be? Will it keep little man up?
JOEY LOGANO: We were able to win here a few years back in the truck race, driving Brad's truck. I got a clock. Still at the house. Rings every single night, keeps going. Doesn't wake him up, so that is good.
Obviously it's one of the most iconic trophies in our sport, mainly because it's so unique, been around for so long. Everyone talks about coming here and winning a clock. I don't know how many times I here tick‑tock before the race. Everyone wants that clock and knows what it means to win here at Martinsville, a historic racetrack, been here for so long, so many great races have been on this racetrack, great stories. It's all for this grandfather clock, so it's neat to be able to put that in the truck and bring it home.

Q. Roger was here earlier. Asked if he felt like this was a statement victory. He downplayed it, saying between you and Brad, even Blaney, as an organization it had been a good year for Team Penske as a whole. As a driver, do you feel in terms of the championship this is a statement win for you knowing how good the Stewart‑Haas and JGR cars have been?
JOEY LOGANO: We really picked it up here the last few weeks. Super proud of our race team and race shop to be able to do that. You look at the last 15 races for us, it's been pretty good. We've been consistent. We've been leading laps. We've been scoring stage points, which shows there's speed in the car.
Any time you lead a lot of laps, you know the win's right around the corner. So we're getting back to that championship form. I think today we proved that we're back there.
It's taken a while to kind of recover for us over the last couple years. It's been a lot of struggling, a lot of different things going on. I think we've fought hard, we've stuck together, we've been able to today come out on top.
This will all be, like I said, history here in a couple weeks and won't mean anything if we don't win the championship.

Q. When Denny was in here, he was asked for his perspective of the final couple laps, what he saw. He said that he didn't think you could win once Truex got inside of you, you on the outside, that your only choice was to concede the position. Do you agree or do you think if you stayed side‑by‑side you could have pulled it off?
JOEY LOGANO: I guess we'll never know (smiling).
I know I couldn't stay out there. I was trying to. The way my car was, I had to pretty much park in the center to get it to rotate, then get cars stacked right up on top of me, exit a corner with a car right behind me, no air on the spoiler. It was really hard for me to drive away.
Moving up the racetrack was faster for me. At that point it was kind of move up then just, you know, be able to try to hold and pin cars down on the bottom. That was my only play at the moment.
I was doing all I can just to stay within striking distance. Was definitely on the defense was all I could do to stay there.
Was that the plan the whole time? No, the plan was to stay in the lead the whole time. It was never to give the spot up. That was the last thing on my mind.

Q. Is there anything you can do to get stronger over the next couple weeks to prepare yourself to battle with maybe Harvick, Kyle Busch? How do you approach Homestead?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm sure there will definitely be ways that we can improve. I think right now, let me enjoy the moment for a minute, man. C'mon, this is cool (smiling).
It's definitely a lot of things we're going to be talking about in the next few weeks, how we prepare, so we're as ready as possible.

Q. I guess this is your third time going to Homestead. Finished second once, had the disappointment when the late caution came out, turned into a 'you know what' show. Would you just as soon see these races go clean? Do you like the new style where it kind of goes green till the end?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, today it seemed like there were cautions and they were legit. It was good.
There's my team. They're pretty excited (laughter).
I have no idea what the question was any more.

Q. Seems lately we haven't had cautions.
JOEY LOGANO: Oh, cautions, yeah.

Q. We've seen guys slow, limp their way back. Are you more in favor of letting things play out rather than what we had with the drama, you were in the lead at Homestead, it all kind of went away?
JOEY LOGANO: I think, you know, the races have been legit. I think that's great. That's part of the great thing about stage racing is it puts in a couple cautions to where for NASCAR, they can call a legit race. Whether that's a race that goes long, whether it's a fuel mileage race, or there's naturally a caution, you get the great racing you see at the end.
Either way, the race winner is the race winner these days. They get there for a reason. Whether it's strategy, the long haul, short‑run car. I think that's cool. You don't know what's going to happen. That's how it is.
I think back in the day we used to all kind of expect that late‑race caution either way. Now it seems like the race is going to play out naturally on how it works, and we don't know how that will be.

Q. Felt like this car was probably the best you ever had. Would you agree? Your car at this race in 2015 was also really good.
JOEY LOGANO: Thought the car was pretty good. I like to think the one that didn't end so well, I think that car may have been a tick better. Seemed like I was able to control the pace a little bit better that day.
But this wasn't a bad one. Pretty good car.

Q. After going through last year, being so close in '16, what does it mean to get back?
JOEY LOGANO: It's great. You think about a couple years ago, we finished second in points. We follow that up with missing the Playoffs. Whoever would have thought that? That was something I was taking for granted, making the Playoffs would have been easy. To kind of have that checkup, it happens. I think God does that sometimes to teach you some valuable lessons. I think I learned a lot in those situations, becoming a stronger racecar driver, stronger man since then.
Now we've been able to take that and recover this year and get ourselves to the Championship 4. That's a pretty big deal. So pretty neat that we've been able to kind of bounce back from all that. It says a lot about our race team, you know, our personalities, that persistence that we continue to have.
Definitely is a great day today, like I said, to put ourselves back in that Championship 4. Like I said, all this doesn't mean anything if we don't win the championship, so we have to really focus in.

Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: Last year? I want to be there. I still like driving racecars. I really like driving a racecar for a championship, though, yes.
This always comes back to my mind for whatever reason. I remember the first Chase at the time that I made. Jimmie Johnson said that it's 10 weeks of hell. I told him this year, I said, No, missing the whole thing is 10 weeks of hell. Not being in it is way worse. I don't want to feel that feeling again, not at all. That is not a fun time.
To be able to keep our hopes alive throughout this whole 10 weeks is something that I'm proud of as a driver, and I'm proud of my race team, as well.

Q. A few weeks ago in Charlotte, talked to Roger Penske, talked about you peaking at the right time. For the championship run, you're always bringing your best stuff. Talk about the dynamic of expanding the team with Ryan Blaney. How has that strengthened the team?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, there's definitely some growing pains along with that because any time you add another race team, you think about the personnel, the procedures, how you build a car. You got to build more, right? How you update cars, get them all to the racetrack as quickly as we used to. There's growing pains that come along with that.
I think we worked through that in the first part of the year. Now when you look at the 12 car, it's fast. Arguably maybe the fastest of the three of us sometimes, a lot of times. Definitely a great car for us to lean on, talk about.
Definitely that information that's been shared now really is helpful. I think a lot is because Ryan Blaney has really matured as a racecar driver, has really figured out what he needs to go fast, how to go fast at a lot of different racetracks.
When he was driving the 21, he was a rookie. As expected, it's a one‑way relationship. Here is what we're doing. You take what he said with a grain of salt. But now as he's been so competitive, there's definitely that back and forth. We look at what they're doing a lot.

Q. Martin Truex seemed to suggest that payback might be in the offing. Does that change the way you drive with him on the racetrack, change your strategy when you have him in your rearview mirror?
JOEY LOGANO: Like I said, I didn't crash him. I didn't crash him. We raced hard. I moved him out of the way. Did I move him up four lanes on the racetrack? No, I moved him enough to get my nose under there. That's what happened.
In the heat of the moment we're all going to say things we regret, no matter what. I'm not saying he regrets it. I don't know. I know I said things in the heat of the moment when I wish I didn't a lot of times. Like I said, it's part of racing.
How he wants to handle it from here, that's his decision, how he wants to handle that. Like I said, my focus can't be on that. It has to be on winning a championship. It has to be about Miami right now. There can't be distractions.

Q. The last two races you led over 400 laps, more than you led the rest of the season. Do you feel you have reached championship potential specifically in the last couple weeks?
JOEY LOGANO: I think we're showing it, yeah. I do. And we're there, obviously. We have gotten to that point. If you asked in the beginning of the Playoffs, we were consistent, we were getting a lot of top 10s, but we weren't a threat to win yet. I think over the last few race, maybe five or six races, we've really been able to pick it up and show that we can become a threat.
I think today with the way our pit stops were, and the speed, there were no mistakes made all day long on anyone's part. I think that's when you know you're in championship form.

Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: I think you always want all the cars in there, right? You want as many shots as you can get for Roger Penske, for everyone that works at Team Penske to get a championship. It affects so many people's livelihoods, right? The bonuses that come along with everyone that works at the race shop. There's a lot that goes along with these things that for us at the racetrack we kind of think about winning and the championships. It affects people's lives in a lot of ways. We're a performance‑based company, like a lot of racing companies are. You don't ever want to see that opportunity for them go away. The advantage part is we're building one car instead of trying to build three special cars, in some cases four special cars that are massaged on, trying to get every little bit out of.
That's the advantage, I guess. But I don't think it's the advantage that anyone wanted. I think it's up to us to try to find an advantage a lot of times in a negative situation like that. But we were able to use it to our advantage a little bit I guess here today.

Q. Over the past couple weeks, everybody bought a lottery ticket, thought how cool it would be to win that. Can you let yourself think about how cool it would be to win the championship? Do you let yourself do that?
JOEY LOGANO: Of course I do. I'm human. I don't know if my fantasy land is very close to reality. A lot of times it's a little different (laughter).
The championship is the ultimate goal. That is what I've said since I was six years old and I got in a racecar: I want to win a NASCAR championship. Been close a couple times now. I know how much it hurts to lose. So I can only imagine what winning feels like. Must be the polar opposite. Must feel pretty good. I like to win. That would be pretty cool.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Thank you so much for coming in.

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