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February 14, 2019
Daytona Beach, Florida
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of Duel number two, Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske.
We'll open the floor for questions.
Q. You said in your Victory Lane interview, you sat there thinking for 25 or 30 laps where you were going to make your move. Is that what it's going to take to win on Sunday, plan that far in advance, or is the draft going to be crazier than Speedweeks?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know. I don't really know. It could go three, four different ways. The race is going to be a lot different when you have 40 cars out there instead of 20 or so. The sun is going to be out. Track temp is going to be up. A lot warmer than it was here tonight. The cars will be moving around in different ways than they were tonight.
It could go that way. It might change up a little bit. I think at least for tonight I was just‑‑ I had the time riding around up by the wall. Just trying to come up with a Plan A, B and C, when I'm going to make the move. A lot of it kind of depended on what was going on behind me, when those runs were forming. I was trying to keep all that stuff in mind.
When it came down to it, I had the run. I took Option A. It worked out. I didn't think it was going to be enough to get all the way to the lead, but it was.
It was good teamwork behind me with Blaney. He did a great job all the way through the race being able to be my wing man all the way through it. You never know when roles are reversed. It changes back and forth a lot of times.
We happened to be the lead guy and he was able to work with me really well, help me form the run, complete the pass, win the race. That teamwork is what has made us strong at the speedways. We have to continue that selflessness all the way through.
Sometimes you get to be the lead guy, sometimes you're the pusher. Just kind of depends. Mustangs are fast. That showed in this race and in the previous race earlier today. I think it showed in the Clash that Fords are doing good. I'm excited about that piece. Our team is continuing the momentum from the championship. I think that's a really good thing.
I always say it's an important race to win obviously, but it's the heat race. The feature comes Sunday. That's the one that really pays a lot more than this one in a lot of different ways. I look forward to that.
Q. Did you have a lot of confidence in the move? How much risk is there? Any difference between finishing third and 15th in this thing?
JOEY LOGANO: Points, yeah. It does matter. Definitely some risk to take. I was trying to see how big the group was behind me. Watching the 9, he pulled out a lot. The 40 looked like he was trying to build runs. The 1, you knew he was going to go with him. Two Stewart‑Haas cars. They were going to work together. The 11 was the odd man out. You knew he's going to just wait and try to make a move when the time's right.
You are weighing all that as you go. That's where you kind of come up with your plan. Yeah, you think of what is the risk. The earlier you do it, obviously the risk is greater. I was able to wait long enough.
You see a couple of them getting anxious back there, when is it going to be? I knew I wanted to do it into one, so I went for it. You kind of cross your fingers, hope it was good enough to break that plane where the 14 couldn't pull me back in the side draft. I was able to break that plane, come on up.
That was a big moment once I was able to clear him. I didn't want to get that far ahead, but I was. Being two‑wide didn't give Bowyer a good enough run to get back to me.
Q. When Kevin Harvick was in here, we asked him about the potential for multiple big ones like last year. He said part of it was the fact he felt the hair on his arms stand up at the start of this race. Do you have the same kind of feeling? Do you feel that is part of the reason you're willing to do whatever it takes?
JOEY LOGANO: I think when you think of the Daytona 500, The Great American Race, the history behind it, the Speedway, how big it is to win everything here, how big of a deal it is. It's the biggest race of the year.
When I look at it, there's points on the line, yes. This is the race that you may take a larger risk, say, I don't really care about points, I want the Daytona 500 victory. That might mean a little bit more.
I think teams, drivers are willing to take bigger chances in a race like this. It's one of the three crown jewel events of the year, three or four of the year, right? This is the biggest one of them all, so...
There's nothing like winning the 500. It's a big deal. I think that's why you'll see drivers make more aggressive moves, willing to take more risks, willing to bump fenders. Crew chiefs are willing to make more aggressive calls from the pit box. That happens.
You never know what's going to happen in the 500. Cars ran out of gas a couple years ago, wreck on the last lap last year. You never know what's going to happen. That's part of it when you come here.
Q. Is there anything that can be done to get you guys to start trying to pass each other before the white flag?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, it's all driver mentality, right? It's what everyone is thinking. I think what kind of leads the top to be strong is a few different things. There's multiple things that go into it.
I think one of it is the side draft is more effective to the right side of a car. You're able to slow down a car more from being on the right side than you can the left side. A lot of it is because of the shark fins. That's just a theory in my mind. Seems like that is how that works.
Once that is in a driver's head that the bottom is not going to work, you have five guys that think that, when they get to the lead they move to the wall, at that point the wall is going to be the fastest way around. It's the best way to defend the lead. You see those cars go up there.
I personally don't think the bottom is that bad. When you can only get two, three, maybe five cars with you, it's not enough. It's not enough to do it. You have to have six, seven cars that are really committed to each other.
We were able to do that in the Clash. You have to have a fast car, lead car, driver that knows how to work the lanes when you're on the bottom, three or four other cars that are fast down there with you. Not just any car, but the right drivers that get it. If you do that, that bottom lane works. You just got to get to that point.
It's easier said done because everyone is looking at it saying, Man, if I pull out of line, doesn't work, I'm going back to 20th, or in the 500 back to 35th. I'm seventh or eighth right now, I don't want to go back to 30th. You're not willing to take that risk as much. That's kind of what goes through all our minds.
If I do it and it works, great. If it doesn't, I'm way in the back, taking me forever to get back up, I probably won't get back up.
Q. Do you think the package you're coming back with, Talladega in July, Daytona, will affect the pack racing at all?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know. It will change a lot, I can tell you that much. We don't know until we get there, in all honesty. It's a very different drafting package than what we have right now. I really honestly can't tell you how it's going to work.
There's a lot of unknowns. We get to Atlanta, when we hit the West Coast swing, there's so many unknowns on how all this is going to work. We're all going to learn together, figure it out together, as a motorsports group here. When we get there, we'll know.
For now we're working on what we got to try to win the biggest race of the year. We got to try to focus on what we've got right now.
Q. You knew you wanted to make the move in one. Why do you want to make it there as opposed to three or four? When you drop down like that, what does it feel like?
JOEY LOGANO: The feeling is, Oh, God, I hope this works (laughter). I think this is supposed to work, but I'm not really sure.
I did it there because I was third. I needed time, right? I was fourth, but I had to pass three cars. I needed to do it then because I needed one surge, then if I could get side‑by‑side with them, get a car behind me, then that's my second surge to make the pass.
It happened better than I figured out in my mind when I was able to clear them right off the bat. Cool, I'll take that. That worked out a little better than I had it planned in my mind.
I went for it. I didn't think I was going to have enough to win the race, but I thought I might be able to get a couple spots. My risk wasn't going to be that bad because somebody at the last lap had to go with you. That's kind of what my thought process was.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOEY LOGANO: As soon as you get to the lead, it's all about what's going on behind you. It's always that way. It's always what it's about. When there's no one in front of you, you just stare at the mirror. If that car drives into the wall, I'm probably going to drive into the wall with them because that's where I'm looking the whole time.
Q. Does winning a race like tonight bring any greater anticipation for Sunday? Now that you have the win, does that also have any predetermined expectations in your mind about how you should do on Sunday?
JOEY LOGANO: I feel like you need to start every race with the mentality that you're there to win and you can win, whether no one thinks you can or not. We went to Miami last year, we were the underdog compared to what everyone thought. In our minds we were the favorites.
If you don't have that mindset, go home because you're not going to win. That's my attitude, at least. You have to believe in yourself and your race team before anyone else will, before you can win.
Does this change my thought process going into the 500? No, not at all. I have the same confidence in my race team as I did whether we won today or not.
Q. Clint was expecting Hamlin to make the move on him. Were you sitting back there with a smug grin thinking you had something for these guys? Did you feel like you had enough to make the move? Like you were shot out of a cannon.
JOEY LOGANO: Not really. I felt like I needed to be third. I was, Dang it, I need to be one more spot, then I felt like I could make that move and clear him. I thought fourth was just too far back.
They happened to be really tight together coming out of the tri‑oval. They were all bumper to bumper. I had a run, was able to slow down the 10 a little bit, which slowed down their momentum a little bit, kept mine rolling. That's what kind of propelled me. Made it look like I was shot out of a cannon. I'm passing a lot of cars, look at this (laughter).
I thought I was going to get stopped right at the end when the 14 came down to side draft me. I was able to have enough momentum to break that plane and get ahead. That's when I felt like that was the spot. I thought I was going to get pulled back and race down the back straightaway and try to fight to maintain.
Q. Entering this season as the defending champion, do you feel any different coming into Daytona?
JOEY LOGANO: No, not really. I feel maybe a little bit more confidence. We're carrying some momentum with us, just like you would after any win. You keep that ball rolling as good as you can. This helps that. This keeps that momentum going, that confidence in each other.
The goal is the same. It's nice to walk in knowing that you know how to do it because you've proven you know how to do it. You always say you know how to do it, but until you do it, you don't really know. You have that on your side that makes you feel more confident in yourself. I think that's a good piece.
Like I've told everyone, that's all last year, all washed out. We're all back at zero right now. So it was great, we rode the wave, enjoyed it, had a lot of fun. But it's over. We're past champions. We need to try to be the new champion this year.
Q. Were you surprised there were as many competitive Fords?
JOEY LOGANO: There's good numbers when it comes to Fords on superspeedways. There's a lot of good cars, a lot of good drivers, teams that get it. They know how to superspeedway race. They evolve, try new things, get better. Whether it's a team or driver, everyone is growing together right now. I think that's why you see a lot of wins coming from them or leading a lot of laps, being there.
Yeah, I mean, not really surprised, no. You look at the Stewart‑Haas cars, the Penske cars, the Roush cars, front row cars, all pretty good speedway racers all the way through. I think when you get those cars being able to work together, next thing you know you're up front and you can kind of really solidify the track position and control the race. That's the biggest thing you need to do.
Q. When you go from 20 to 40 cars here on Sunday, why does that affect the handling of the drafting so much?
JOEY LOGANO: For one, speed. Two, dirty air. When you're further back in the pack, the worse the car handles. Every car back, there's dirtier and dirtier air. When that happens, cars are closer together. You get to the point you have to lift.
When that happens, you may see packs separate, cars that can handle good, cars that don't handle good. You'll see maybe more on the restarts cars being aggressive, trying to get closer to the front, get a little cleaner air, they're in a better spot when their tires fall off.
Some of that will come into play, some of it because of more cars on the racetrack, mainly because it's going to be hotter on the racetrack. That's going to be the biggest piece, track temp.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the win. Good luck Sunday in the Daytona 500.
JOEY LOGANO: All right, cool. Thanks, guys.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports