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July 19, 2020

Joey Logano

Fort Worth, Texas

THE MODERATOR: We've now been joined by Joey Logano, who finished third in today's NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
We'll roll straight into questions for Joey.

Q. We caught a little bit of what you were saying to Tyler there. Did you say you couldn't believe they were able to stay out there after he didn't take tires?
JOEY LOGANO: Could not believe it. Could not believe it. I was pretty certain when I was fourth, a little bit newer tires, a lot newer tires, 50 laps on their tires, I thought, Man, they're sitting ducks, I got 'em.
We were just on the splitter too hard for the first 15 laps. That's the tough part about Texas. One and two, splitter down, three and four you're all over the splitter, trying to get off it with the banking and added load. That was a big challenge for us today. We were able to kind of get through it the best we could. Not good enough.
Proud of what our Shell‑Pennzoil team did today, scoring stage points in the second stage, second place, having a shot. These 550 races have been super hard for us lately, we've been a little bit off. Glad to have a solid run. Ran in up front all day. Hindsight is 20/20 what we would have done different to try to win it.
Man, congratulations to them. They deserve it. They made the right call and executed the restarts great. We couldn't do anything with them.

Q. When tires don't even wear, as a competitor, how do you view that situation?
JOEY LOGANO: Tire is way too good. This is the same tire at Kentucky. The tire wears, it wears, it wears down to the cords. It does not slow down. Noticed that, made the calls to do that. You've seen other people do that throughout the day at times, too.
Ultimately they made the right call because they realized that. The tire, it never slows down. Heat may affect it here and there, balance can make you slow down a little bit, but for the most part once you get clean air you can run the same speeds as you do early in the run. Actually faster, because I was stuck on the splitter for 15 laps, about 20 laps my car would finally get going.

Q. You mentioned how the 550 package has been tough. Your second top five since the resumption of the season. Where would you assess you're at right now?
JOEY LOGANO: That was progress today. I would say we were a little bit of a lost puppy before the last couple races. But I thought Kentucky we showed speed. Once again today we showed speed. Very similar racetracks, setups. We showed we had cars capable of winning with race scenarios happening and could run in the top two or three.
That's progress to me, that we ran well. Our pit stops have been great. Really it's just been the speed that we've been lacking. We've made a good step to where we're in contention to win again, like we were earlier in the year.
If you asked me that two weeks ago, I wouldn't know how to answer it because I wouldn't know where to start. Now I think we're finding some answers and clues that starting getting back to what we're used to seeing out of the 22.

Q. How has this hiatus been challenging for you?
JOEY LOGANO: You broke up.

Q. How valuable is getting that top three result, especially since it's the best run you've had since before the pandemic?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, it's super important. Our sport goes in cycles. It goes up, down. You go up, you go down. When you're down, you got to fight harder than ever trying to figure out where is it.
The first place you look is always inward before anywhere else. Then you try to find your weaknesses, start working on them, whether that's myself or within the team, all the way through.
I feel like we identified weaknesses, and we've been working on them to get them better. Like I said, the progress that we've made, it feels really good. Like I say, we're not there. I don't feel like we're all the way back. We weren't the fastest car. The 12 was the fastest today. But we're in the ballpark now. Before we were running down a lap, 20th or so.
We're closer. We can pass cars. The front end works now. We're starting to see some reward for that.

Q. There was so much talk about the heat during the race today. How brutal was that? How do you prepare with hydration and training for that going into the season?
JOEY LOGANO: It was hot? I didn't notice (laughter). I was fine.
Obviously it was a little toasty in there. Yeah, we hydrate as best as possible before the race. We train for it as much as possible, whether it's strength conditioning, heat conditioning as well. A lot of time at the gym. That stuff pays off on days like today.
Obviously hydration is key. But also the way you train I think is the big deal. I feel fresh, feel good. That's a good sign. Heart rate was going at the end because I was trying to get everything I could get out of it. You can see the trophy sitting in front of you.
I was fine. I was good to go.

Q. You referenced how each season has its own set of cycles. From your perspective, with this unusual season, teams being able only to be at shops at certain times, crew chiefs not always in the shop, how are the cycles different this year? Is it taking longer to climb back or is it happening quicker because nobody can sustain dominance?
JOEY LOGANO: It's harder to recover. When I said lost puppy, that's what we are, that's what we were. You don't have a chance to fix anything, right? You get done with the race, this, this, and this we need to make better on the racecar at least. We'll try this, this and this next week, but it's a different track. We'll go and race, have no practice. Who knows if we're going to make it better or worse, right? How do you find direction out of that?
That's where practice was so important. You could go out there, make a run, make one change, go back out and say, Was that better or worse? Now we're done with the race, we have things we want to fix. Let's go to a track that's nowhere near the same as we just went to and make some changes to our car and tell me if it's better or not (laughter).
You can't. You can't. You only can tell just by overall finish compared to the field. That's kind of what we worked on. Seems like there was some progress made.

Q. Is Kansas just another example come Thursday night of let's try something, we have no idea what's going to happen?
JOEY LOGANO: It's like that for everybody, right? The car builds you bring from Texas to Kansas are so different all the way through. You don't do anything the same. The driving style, the setups, the body, everything that you look at, you say what do we want to bring, it's different than what you had here at Texas when it's hot out here.
Like I said, a little bit of practice would be nice. It is the same for everybody. Everybody has the same opportunity. You can't get mad at it. It is what it is. It's proven to put on good races. The races have been exciting, crazy things happening at the end of the races. Sometimes teams are hitting it, others are missing it by a mile. We've been on both sides of it.
Like I said, it's working. The teams that aren't really fast like they're used to have a harder time recovering, for sure.

Q. After listening to you on the radio, Brad on the radio, it just really sounds like the first half of the race is a glorified practice session where you're trying to get your car dialed in so you can do battle. About what point during the course of the race are you actually feeling comfortable with what you have to work with?
JOEY LOGANO: You saw what track position meant today. If you can hit it right off the bat, make small changes, it's a huge advantage. So hard to pass these days. Especially when there's no falloff in the tires, the opportunity to pass is tough.
When your car's not good, you have to come in and put four tires. If your car is decent, put two on, stay out, do fuel only, different strategies to get up toward the front. You have to get the right balance to get your car close enough unless you're going to get eaten up on these restarts.
It's tough. Like I said, it's the world we live in right now. It's tough for everybody, not just for racecar drivers. It's tough for everybody in their jobs. It's a new normal.
As long as we're positive and upbeat, realize there's an opportunity to make us better in the competition, we'll keep working on it that way with that attitude.

Q. With what you are learning, do you do your team meetings, your teammates, by Zoom? What is the normal week looking like for you guys to prepare for a race, the kind of Monday meeting after? Are you on Zoom again discussing what you learned throughout the course of the race?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, we're able to do a lot over video chats of whatever sort. There's so many different ones now. I got all the apps now on my computer, so I'm good to go depending on what is chosen for that day or interviews (laughter).
It's surprisingly okay. I'm usually the person that wants to be in the garage from open to close. I want to be at the shop. I want to go through everything in person, really talk it out, because I feel like face‑to‑face is the best way to communicate and work things out together.
That is still the best, don't get me wrong. I still want to get back to that. But the technology that we have today, with being able to see each other. An Italian person like me, you have to use your hands to talk a little bit. The video chat really helps in that department.

Q. Regarding the heat, now you come to Kansas, pretty hot in July, too, four nights later. What is the mentality for everyone having these races so bunched up in the heat of summer?
JOEY LOGANO: It will be hot. It will be cooler than today with the sun being down. I joked about it not being hot. Obviously it's hot. Your body loses so much hydration throughout. Between now and Kansas you're just focused so much, getting electrolytes back in you, hydrating, eating correctly. It means so much.
You can imagine you're strapped into one of these things for three and a half hours in a sauna. You're not just sitting there, it's sauna temperatures but you're working. There's danger that keeps that intensity up and focus. This isn't an easy thing to do.
You can't be out of shape and expect to be successful, especially at the end of these races. You can make it through the first two‑thirds of the race, but at the end when you have to be the freshest mentally, that's where physically you need to be ready to go.
I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to being able to put the hard work in that I put during the week to use. I like that part of racing. The heat of the summer in Texas during the day, it sounds a little crazy, to be honest with you, when you look at the temperatures, it's close to a hundred degrees, what are we doing. I also kind of like that opportunity to maybe have a leg up.

Q. Having fans at some of these races is starting to become more normal. This is the first event in the state of Texas to have fans since COVID took over. What is it like for you to look up and see fans in the grandstands? What do you think of the policy of welcoming fans?
JOEY LOGANO: I love it. You know what I'm surprised about? They separate everyone quite a bit obviously. The grandstands here at Texas, there's so many of them. I don't know the numbers of how many were here, how many available seats there was. It doesn't look full because they're so spread out. But the amount of noise they can still make is pretty cool.
Bristol is obviously a lot of energy in that little bowl. Even here, as spread out as it is on a mile‑and‑a‑half, you can hear the fans. They're yelling at you before the race, crossing the racetrack. It's neat to see that support, what a true NASCAR fan is.
They come to the racetrack, I don't know if it's the word scare or concern, concern of COVID‑19 is there, but also the heat. It's hot as you know what out here. They're still coming out to watch our race.
It just shows how much people love what NASCAR racing is to them. I thank them for that. Like I always say, you don't have to root for the 22, just root for NASCAR. That means a lot to me. We seen that throughout the last couple weeks, especially here today as hot as it was.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, we appreciate you spending some time with us. We wish you best of luck later this week in Kansas.
JOEY LOGANO: Thanks, guys. See you soon.

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