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March 3, 2019

Joey Logano

Las Vegas, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the race winner of the 22nd annual PENNZOIL 400 presented by Jiffy Lube, and that's the driver of the No.22 PENNZOIL Ford for Team Penske, Joey Logano.

Q. Just want to get your thoughts on tying Terry Labonte in the all‑time wins list. Is that something you look at or just get your thoughts on tying the two‑time champion there.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's an amazing accomplishment. Texas Terry, man, that was‑‑ I remember growing up, and I had a Terry Labonte tie cast, but remember they made the bigger ones? I had one, and I thought that was really cool. I was always about the Frosted Flakes, man, so that was really neat to think that I'm even on the same stage that he raced at at one point. I didn't get to race against him a whole bunch, but it is an amazing accomplishment, something that I look at actually quite frequently to see where you stack up between all these great racers.
It is something I pay attention to. It's an honor to be tied with him now, and yeah, try to get another one, keep going. The good thing is I've got quite a few more races left in me, so hopefully we can keep grabbing them and keep moving up there. I'm not sure I'll get to the top, but if I can keep trying to chip away at it and keep moving up, that's pretty cool.

Q. After the race you were deciding on where to do your burn‑out. I heard them say, welcome to the Playoffs, but you were debating on whether or not to tear up the landscaping out there with the PENNZOIL logo.
JOEY LOGANO: Oh, there was no debate, I was going to tear up the landscaping here. The talk was last night we had a big PENNZOIL dinner, and the talk was I was going to do some donuts in the grass at the end of the race. At the end of the race, not during the race. So to be able to do that was super cool. Great photo op, but I'm all about the big smokey burn‑out, so I said, well, I've got to do the big smokey burn‑out first, and I also didn't want to go through the grass and have the splitter dig in and completely destroy everything and go flipping‑‑ I thought ‑‑ I just saw it going wrong in my mind. I said, I've got to do a cool burnout, which I thought was super cool, I don't know if you guys saw it, but I got dizzy, and that was neat, and then I made a couple donuts in the grass. That was cool.
You know, I got to go drifting with Vaughn for a while the last‑‑ well, I thought it was the last few years here, but just over time with that Cup car that we've made as a drift car, so I'm getting good at it, getting good at the burnouts, so I've got to show my skills off a little bit when we win.

Q. Talk about the end of the race with you and Brad. At one point you jumped out, looked like you had things well in hand, and then all of a sudden he crawled back into the picture and almost was able to do the slide job there at the end.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, that was more intense than I wanted it to be. Just‑‑ you know, there's been plenty of times here where we've led a lot of laps, and by the stats this is probably our best racetrack or close to it, and we've never won. That's the most important stat to have. Usually something happens the last run and Brad gets a little better, and for some reason his last pit stop they make a good change and he becomes the fastest car and he wins, and he's done that here plenty of times.
I looked in the mirror, like oh, my gosh, this is happening again, I can't believe it. He was able to get by me, and I was like, I hope this doesn't happen, I can keep trying to get in front of him again, and was able to get a run on a lap car and be able to work down into the corner and be able to clear him.
But I burned my tires off so bad trying to get back in front of him that I was just working so hard inside the car trying to maintain the gap. I was in good shape and then I caught a lap car and he went up into the top lane, which is where I was running, and I followed him right in there, like oh, no, and I just lost a ton of time and then brought Brad close enough to where he can catch a draft off of me to close up the rest of the gap, and I thought, man, good thing this thing is 400 miles. I just told the PENNZOIL people, let's not make this race any longer, that was just the right length. 405 would have been a little bit too long. It is cool, though, I remember sitting up here on this stage when they announced PENNZOIL was going to be the sponsor for this race and how important it was for me to win this thing. So it's cool to be able to deliver for them.

Q. Joey, how surprised are you that Mustang came along so quickly and was able to have so much success with three races and your team has got two victories, and Camaro had so much struggle? Do you think that has a lot to do with the work that was done on the aero package, or what do you attribute that to?
JOEY LOGANO: Teamwork, probably the quick answer, the way the four teams really worked together, the way the Ford engineers were able to communicate and be able to build what we think is the best. You know, the timing of it was great. When you think the other manufacturers, they made their changes during just a normal‑‑ into next season where there wasn't many rules changes, but we made it when there was a big rules change coming, and I'd like to say some of that was maybe a little bit of luck, but maybe not. But everyone is going through a learning curve right now, so if there's a time to do it, now is the time because we had to redo everything we had anyway.
That seems to, I guess, be paying dividends for us now.

Q. How much did lap traffic play into this package and how you were trying to keep clean air and keep everybody behind you? And were you having any flashbacks with Kyle from two years ago as he was coming in the rear view mirror, especially in the early going?
JOEY LOGANO: No, I just think about what's going on the windshield a lot of times. That's what's most important to me. But there towards the end, the way this drafting package or whatever you want to call it, this rules, it's intense. You can't get away. You're constantly looking around. Mentally I'm exhausted right now, there's just so much going on in the race, and you're trying to draft down the straightaways and get in the right gap and you're trying to keep cars from being able to draft to you. You're working lap traffic as best as possible. You're getting into corners and you're working different lanes. It's just‑‑ there's so much strategy that goes into driving these race cars now that I thought it was entertaining as can be. I don't really know what to say if you don't like that. That was‑‑ it's not very often where you're going to have a green flag run that long and have a finish that close between three cars. That's something, I'll tell you what.
I'd say it's a big thumbs‑up for the sport. I'm proud to be a part of that, and something that‑‑ it'll be interesting as the year goes and as these teams keep evolving and changing their setups and things like that, but so far, Atlanta was a good race, this was a great race. You know, it proves that we don't have to have big crashes to have a good race. I think that was something that was pretty cool to see today.

Q. You obviously were in clean air at the end, but you were also in the middle of the pack throughout the race. How big of a difference is it between having clean air and being in the dirty air? How does your car handle differently, and is the difference really that pronounced where you can't just get around somebody easily?
JOEY LOGANO: Everybody is‑‑ it's easy in traffic. When you're in the lead, you're able to be pretty much wide open, especially the first few laps you're definitely able to be wide open, and that's why you saw on the restarts cars aren't able to drive away from each other because the leader doesn't really have an advantage. The second‑place car can be wide open behind him, plus he has a draft to keep him close. So you can't get away until 15, 20 laps when you start to lift, and that's when it seems like you're able to maybe start to gap a little bit, which didn't happen there at the end, but that's why those restarts were so intense where you had so many cars in line, and you're like, what lane do I go to, and you're just trying to strategically put yourself in the right spot to play offense but also know to try to not lose a spot. That was the tough part. You're relying on the information your spotter gives you, you're relying on the information that, you know, just the information that you know about your car and maximizing that.

Q. Was there a clear advantage being out front versus kind of being in the middle of the pack?
JOEY LOGANO: No, no clear advantage. Maybe the other way around. So that was‑‑ that's cool. You know, that's good. The way racing has been there for a while, the leader would check out after three laps here. The leader would be‑‑ he'd have a huge advantage, and now it's‑‑ for what it is right now, things will change when we get back here and as we go through the season, but for now, the races have been great. The leaders can't get away. You know, and old tires, moving around the racetrack, able to run the wall like that in 3 and 4, super cool.

Q. Did you feel this was more of a mental race versus a physical race maybe comparing to last year's‑‑
JOEY LOGANO: It got physical a couple times. I will say that. But at least it was on the racetrack and not on pit road afterwards. Been there. (Laughter.) That's funny.
Anyways, yeah, it is a mental race for sure because you're‑‑ a lot of times the decision of where you go in the corner depends on who's around you and where the car in front of you went or the car behind you went. You're constantly looking around just knowing your surroundings. It's important.

Q. You're great at plate races so it seemed like a lot of drafting was manipulated throughout the race?
JOEY LOGANO: Yep. Yeah, it was. It was. There was a lot of different things going on.

Q. I was wondering what your complete, honest opinion of the package was, the new package for this race.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I just told you I think it was great. I thought the racing was awesome. I don't really know what else to give you if you didn't like it. The racing is close, you're side by side. There's aggressive blocks and big moves and bumping and banging. That's NASCAR, baby. I don't really know what else to tell you.

Q. When Kurt was out front and you're running behind Harvick, Kurt was in a different situation because his tires weren't as fresh as yours or Kevin's, and what was going on there because to me that looked a lot like what was going on in the Xfinity race with Kyle and Reddick and Bell, and we saw some really close racing, and I'll ask my second question when you finish.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, there's‑‑ like I said, there's a lot going on there. You know, the cars are definitely‑‑ when you're by yourself, they're pretty simple, and when you get in traffic, there's a lot of things going on, and Kurt was able to have a good strategy move where they pitted late in the end of the second stage and stayed out, and I was surprised he stayed up there as long as he did.

Q. Top 5 out of it, so do you think that's something we'll see with this package if say the track is smooth like this and not as abrasive like a California or an Atlanta?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, so it may be different when we go to other racetracks, but here, I thought that was an awesome move by the race team to be able to do that. I thought we were going to eat them up a little quicker than what we did, but that clean air, the cars handle so much better that tires don't really do much for you. You're going slower because you don't get a draft, and you have way more grip. So tires really didn't mean much if you have the lead.
Now, you put that car on old tires and you place them tenth, he's going to get eaten up. That was the game. But they did that to get the lead. Great strategy move that really gained them a lot of spots and a great finish.

Q. From our perspective, from observations, the first stage wasn't all that great, but by the final stage you guys were all kind of figuring it out and getting it together. You really found it exciting, the people who were here watching it found it exciting. How do we translate that to the fans sitting at home who are on Twitter complaining right now?
JOEY LOGANO: Who's complaining? Okay, here's the thing: People love to complain. You want to get me going? Here we go. People love to talk about negative stories, and I don't know why. I don't understand it. There's a lot of positive going on in our world, and I'm not just talking about NASCAR racing. But there is plenty of good things that happen, and every time we turn on the news I am sick of seeing negative stories because there's all these good stories that get overshadowed by someone writing a negative story or someone getting on Twitter and being all big and bad and writing something that makes them feel better because they want something different. Sometimes I don't think those people know what they want. That's my opinion.
You know, I think when I look at where we are as a sport, there's a lot of great things coming down the pipeline for us. There's a lot of great decisions that are being made. There's a lot of collaboration of race teams and drivers and sponsors and racetracks. Everyone is working together. TV partners, media, all you guys, we're all working together, and there's a lot of good things happening because we're all working together, and I think the fans are going to benefit from that.
You know, I don't know what else to tell you, man. When you have cars racing side by side to the start‑finish line after‑‑ how many laps was that last run? A long run, 100 laps‑ish?

Q. 100.
JOEY LOGANO: 100 laps, yeah. What else do you want? I don't know. They're just trolls on Twitter, man. That's what they are.

Q. One of our high‑powered partners does data, and we also work with William Hill, who does data, and I want to get your opinion from a driver's perspective. We had the over‑under listed for cautions at 6?. Our data partner thought it would be a lot less. We also have information that if NASCAR were to do this, they would increase their bottom line by 10 percent, including their ratings in the fall when you're up against the all‑important NFL. Your opinion: What if NASCAR were to go to four stages? Would it be more entertaining, and what's your opinion from a driver's perspective?
JOEY LOGANO: Boy, that's some serious stats there. That's pretty good. I would have thought there would have been more wrecks today. I would have said that there would have definitely been more crashes as the cars were closer and all that, and you know, somehow there wasn't. Drivers are really good. I think that's one part of it. These drivers in these stock cars, they're the best in the country, man, so there's not many mistakes, not many crashes. They're able to control the cars at least.
So I guess that's one piece of that. If they added another stage, I don't know. I mean, we do that at the Coke 600, right, we have another stage in that because we have an extra 100 miles and the race is really long, so it makes sense when you have 600 miles, but I don't think the racing gets better with another stage. You know, the strategy of the race is kind of cool because you have these stages that are starting in the beginning and you're racing to those stages, and that's one thing, and then it's like, okay, we're done with the second stage, you take a deep breath and say, okay, now it's not about stage racing, it's about winning the race, and your strategy changes once again on how you get yourself there.
Those cautions are cool, though, because you see like Kurt, they knew the caution was coming, and that's why they pulled the strategy that they did, which ultimately gave them a good finish.
I don't think another stage really changes that very much.

Q. Well, you addressed strategy, but you liked what you said about positive entertaining and exciting. As a driver, would you find it personally exciting do you think?
JOEY LOGANO: If there was another stage?

Q. Yeah.
JOEY LOGANO: I find everything exciting. I'm a pumped‑up person, man. I don't know what to tell you.
I don't think we need to. I really don't. I think‑‑ I love that we introduced stage racing. I think it's great. I think the two stages is right. I think it breaks up the race. It gives it natural TV breaks and ability‑‑ time for people to‑‑ they know the caution is coming out, they can go and get a hamburger or whatever they want, get an ice‑cold Coca‑Cola maybe, and so that's good. That part is good. And there's points scored during an event, which we didn't have before, and no other sport was like that so now we have points scored during an event. That's cool. But I don't really think we need another one. I think it's exciting the way it is.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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