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March 3, 2019

Todd Gordon

Roger Penske

Las Vegas, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Roger Penske and Todd Gordon, congratulations, gentlemen.

Q. For either one of you, as you were watching this unfold, are you learning anything more about the package and how much things like lap traffic are playing into how you guys race each other?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think really, it's about where you are in the stage with your tires and basically if you want to run fast I think on Friday and Saturday, you might have a different car than you do in the race, and I think people are starting to see that.
But clean air is‑‑ every car likes that when they get out front. But I think the key thing today in the package that nobody got out more than three or four seconds. There were some pit stops where people were out there, but to me it shows that you can be the leader but also you can be behind and catch up, but I think that's key for us, and to me it's execution in the pits, and I think our engineering team back in Mooresville has really done a good job from an aero standpoint, and obviously the Roush Yates engines today were there. You could see that when we were dicing with the other guys.
But overall, it's two weeks in a row ‑‑ I'm probably biased right now, I checked the box to say I love the package. Maybe not next week, but so far so good.
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I think it's just a learning process as to what we've got. But what phenomenal racing. Raced the 18 pretty hard, swapped the lead with him, raced the 4 pretty hard, and even our teammate, and just‑‑ kudos to the aero package and where it's gone. I think the racetrack got really wide today, something that's really cool because you see cars going all over the place. It made the end of the race pretty exciting, and how we handled lap traffic, it's still‑‑ it's what you've got to look forward to. Joey did a great job of keeping eyes forward and what lane guys were running and where he could go with it. Something that‑‑ it's part of the racing deal.

Q. Were you having any flashbacks today back to two years ago when you saw Kyle coming?
TODD GORDON: No, no. We've raced our teammate here pretty hard at times, and seems like Brad has beat us about every time. A little satisfaction to get on the other end of that one with our teammate.

Q. Which one was more nervous with the teammates battling out there, Roger‑‑ obviously you have a lot invested in it, and then Todd has got‑‑ he's got to get his guy to Victory Lane. Were you worried about those guys racing hard?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I really don't have any favorites. Only one is going to win coming out of the stable. We've got three great drivers, and we've really told them to take care of each other, at the end of 10 laps the best man wins. To me you don't get on the radio and you want to say watch it, you just hope that they take care of each other, and maybe another lap and it would have been a different outcome. At the end of the day, putting two cars already in the Championship 16 is a big step, and we all know how that helped us going into the Final Four at Homestead last year.
Great team effort by Todd and the way they set the cars up, and I think the strategy we had on both cars paid off, when he came in early in the last time and got tires so he stayed with the guys that were up front.
And then on the long run, Todd, I thought your car was terrific.
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I think the shop did an awesome job of giving us race cars that had long run speed, and that's part of if you look back to Friday we qualified tenth. We didn't have the speed some of those guys did, but I think we had race ability in our race cars, and on the long run we kept that speed with us, and Joey did a great job of it but everybody at Team Penske did a great job of giving us pieces we can work with.

Q. Todd, how are you going to work on qualifying? It really‑‑ some guys looked like they had purpose out there, others did not.
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I mean, we just missed the last‑‑ we missed the call on the last sequence, and that's something you've just got to learn. We went out and we got ahead of most everybody. We were third in line when we left pit road, and you've got to draft. I mean, with qualifying, with these cars, with this place, and this is different than what probably Atlanta was because Atlanta we're still kind of having to lift, but when you put tape on these things and tape them all up, they make a lot of downforce, and you can run flat out around here.
We qualified tenth, but we didn't get as good a lap in the last run as we could. I think we could have qualified fifth or sixth, and honestly, I think to be better than that, we're probably going to sacrifice some race stuff.
We're looking pretty hard at what we have to do to be better on qualifying, but I think a lot of‑‑ we were tenth, and I think a lot of our lack was execution in the final round. It's something that we've all talked about, T.J. and myself and Joey, about how we can do that better going forward, and it'll be a different race next week at Phoenix because we've got downforce and power and you've got a lot of lifting there, so we'll be back to kind of single car rides.

Q. Roger, your cars, the 2 and the 22, they were very evenly matched. Were there moments of, I don't know, just‑‑ those two getting so close together? Was there moments of nervousness for you at any time because they were just like crazy close?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I've seen it all, and over the years with teammates racing each other, but on the one side, you worry a little bit, but on the other side, boy, isn't that great because we're competitive and we're racing for first, our cars. To me, just knowing these are guys that are professional, they've won races, they're teammates, but at the end of the day, the best man wins. I don't want one of them to knock him out, if you follow me, but Brad could have underneath him there maybe and won.
To me, it was just a solid day, and everything went for us. Our main sponsor was here, obviously, and to see Ford again, and the new Mustang, let's give them a lot of credit back at Ford headquarters. The work they've done technically for us in combining the teams with Haas and the rest of the‑‑ certainly the Ford teams has made a big difference. You see them all running better, and I think that's a real credit to the whole organization. We are all working together.

Q. (No microphone.)
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I can't speak for Chevy, obviously. They've got plenty of races to be where they need to be, and they've got some great teams, but I think that we sat there last year and got our cars much better with the Fusion, and I think we carried that over because I think we had a level playing field with the Toyotas and Chevys at the end of the year, and what we've done, we knew we'd have a better car, and I think that's what you're seeing today.

Q. Roger, when Joey came on to Penske and joined Brad, did you have a sit‑down with them and say, okay, here's my expectation, how you guys race and how I expect you to race when you're racing for the win against each other, and did you do that then or have you had to have a little pep talk every once in a while just to make sure everybody is on the same page?
ROGER PENSKE: I think you've really got to put it in perspective because Brad was the one that said, listen, we need another driver, and let's go get Logano. So he saw Logano had the capability, and people really don't realize that Joe didn't have a drive for him in the Cup Series at that point, so we were fortunate to land‑‑ I'm not sure that ‑‑ people talk about him, they released him. That wasn't the case, he just didn't have a full‑time job. He came on really as part of our family really when Joey came on, and I think at that I've never had a conversation with him to say what to do. Sometimes I'll tell you, use your heads. I use that sometimes, use your heads is all I say to them.

Q. Mr.Penske, are you surprised in any way two, three races in to already have two drivers that have qualified for the Playoffs?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, that's what we go racing for, so I am surprised, but I'm not surprised. I think the‑‑ with the time and effort that all the team put together and Todd and certainly when you look at Jeremy and Paul Wolfe, these guys are pros, and every one of our key guys have grown up from the Xfinity Series up into their Cup jobs, and they sit right next to each other at the shop so it's not three different teams, it's one team, and I think that's why you see our cars typically running well. Blaney at the pit stop, he knocked off one of the air things, putting the air in the tires, so he had to come back in and change tires or he could have been up there, too, because he had a good car.

Q. Mr.Gordon, are you going to approach now that you have both of the cars in there, are you going to approach the rest of the season differently? Is there something you're going to look at specifically to work on as you head into the Playoffs?
TODD GORDON: Well, I think the biggest thing with this year with the new aero package and where it moves around, every week is a new learning curve, so I think the win is awesome. I think it's basically guaranteed into the Playoffs, and I don't think that I'll do things differently, the only thing is it allows you to be a little more aggressive. That's how you call a race or some of the things you do. You can be a little bit more aggressive to try to go get wins. Those things you'll still do, but we're still trying to learn what we've got to do to race this package, and where we go, I think we've done a great job like Roger talked about.
I think Ford did a great job with the car. I think our shop has done a great job in giving us pieces that are competitive. We've just got to continue to push forward because everybody is going to learn this package, and we've got to stay ahead of it.

Q. Is that a little scary to the competition if you feel like you've still got to learn and yet you've got two out of three victories?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I think we all‑‑ if you ever quit learning, you'd better quit because you're going to get passed. It's a new package. It's something new that we've all got to kind to grasp around. I think you see comers and goers and we're all trying to sort it out. It's a unique situation because we've got a new package that we don't know what we've really needed out of it, and we're going to the West Coast Swing where you've got to build your cars ahead of time. It's something we've got to continue to learn on, and we'll learn as we get to different racetracks because this is a racetrack that doesn't have a lot of fall off. Atlanta did have a lot, and California is going to be its own creature. Every racetrack we go to has got a new learning curve.

Q. Todd, sort of to follow up on that question, just as a collective weekend including the qualifying process, everything that you guys take away from this weekend, do you think that it will‑‑ you'll see a lot of changes from your‑‑ with your team or maybe just in general as people go to the next race weekend that has the similar aero package?
TODD GORDON: Yeah, I think you'll continue to see teams make changes to what they think, and now we've got two data points and we've got a week before we go to California with the drag duct package.
Yeah, I think you'll see that evolve for everybody. I think even us, it's going to evolve again, and we'll sit down on Monday and have the meetings to talk about where we thought we were good and where we think we can be better, and I would expect every one of our competitors to be doing the same thing. It's how we race. We've got to continue to push to get better because we know all of those guys are, as well.

Q. Roger, last year your team had your 500th win here, so can you talk about how special it is to win again here today?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, the 500 wins certainly goes down in the record book as something that‑‑ it took 50 years to achieve, so I'm not sure if we'll get to a thousand. But anyhow, this was a great win for the team. It shows that we've always had good cars here. Brad winning obviously last year and come back here with this new package, it's amazing. Todd talked about just what we're doing.
We used to get our cars ready a week ahead of time and then put them in a truck and send them out here. I think our cars left the shop, what, 72 hours before we got here because we're still making changes. That's how fast we're learning on this package.
TODD GORDON: Yeah, definitely.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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