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September 6, 2020

Joey Logano

Darlington, South Carolina

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for taking the time to join us. We're now joined by our third‑place finisher, Joey Logano, driver of the No.2 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford. It's been a while since we had you in one of these Zoom rooms. How does it feel to get back up there and get a third‑place finish?
JOEY LOGANO: Thanks for that. You know, I think it feels all right. You know, I think overall when the playoffs start you've got to find that next gear, and the team did that today. We got thrown a lot of curve balls throughout the event, and we were able to overcome a lot of them. Getting a flat right front tire with one to go in the second stage, hitting the wall because of that, needing to fix it, and then of course next restart everything is bottlenecked and I get hit from behind and in the front and become the meat in the sandwich and the left rear gets torn off, and everyone did a good job fixing it.
Every player on the team did their job today and was able to recover for something great. You know, that's what it's about. It's about a team effort. It's about everyone with cool heads when adversity hits, and that's pretty much what happened. We got thrown a lot of things at us and fixed the car good. Strategy worked out well for us and got us some track position back, and then the last pit stop the pit crew picked up four spots and put me in position to do the right thing on the choose rule, get another one there, and then you're close. You want a caution.
It's the Southern 500; you want to win this one so bad. I've finished in the top 5 in this race quite a bit but never won it. We'll have to wait until next year.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Joey, you were able to come back but it was kind of a rough day for Penske with Blaney's penalty and he didn't have a great finish and Keselowski didn't have a great day, either. What do you think will be the mood in your meeting on Tuesday or Monday or whenever you have it?
JOEY LOGANO: I feel like our team is a little bit tougher than just getting down after one race. I think Bristol is a good racetrack for Brad, so probably a little confusion there.
But at the same time, shoot, you put that car third, it's going to run third. It's just so hard to pass right now, and you've just got to have that track position. That's the hardest thing to get. So if you can get that and maintain, you get a solid finish. Just getting there was hard. The guys once they got up there, they were up there. That's what made me so proud of my team today is that we were able to recover from a lot of adversity and being, whatever we were, 25th or so at the end of the second stage with a lot of damage and being able to get all the way back up to third.

Q. Joey, is it rewarding to have fought back the way you guys did when it seemed like for so much of this race it was kind of a disaster all the way around for Team Penske?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's nice to fight all the way through it. You know, it's the Southern 500. It's 500 miles. It's the longest race of the year. It sure feels like it. I know the Coke 600 is longer, but boy, oh, boy, this race feels longer to me. So anything can happen.
You have plenty of time to come back from anything that you fight, so as long as your car is in decent shape, you don't know what's going to happen. It's definitely a race that you've just got to keep your head calm, and there's plenty of opportunity to get mad and frustrated because it was hard to pass, and then you get damage on the car, it's easy to just go the wrong way and just blow up and get mad, and that's not going to do it. Cool heads prevail when it comes to a racetrack like this where it's just race the racetrack and do your race.
That's pretty much all you can do here is just race your race and not really worry about what other cars are doing and what you're doing and keep your car in the best shape as possible, which like I say, I didn't do that today, but we recovered.

Q. Joey, you mentioned the damage that you had on that restart. Did you feel like you had the car that was going to be still able to get back into the top 5 that you could still compete, and how big is it to start the playoffs with this finish with back‑to‑back short tracks on the horizon?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I look forward to the short tracks. This was the race in this three races in the beginning that I was probably the most concerned about. I look forward to Richmond, I look forward to Bristol. Our 750 stuff has seemed to be our strongest right now. But Paul and the boys have done a good job getting better from when we were here months ago to being pretty solid today. You know, we didn't really show it much, even in the first couple stages, but we weren't that bad, we just had to get up there, and we knew that, so it was just small adjustments throughout the night until we had to fix things.
Like I said, it's nice to come out of the playoffs strong for sure, and having the Bobby Allison paint scheme, that might be the coolest part of the night for me and driving that thing and what the Allison brothers to me means to my career and how much they've helped me get to this stage, it was an honor to drive that car.

Q. When you did get that rear‑end damage there in that pile‑up off the restart, how relieved were you when that caution flag flew so you and your team could get a chance to really work on it because if you had to pit under green it looked like the left side rear tire was going to be a little bit of a pain to get off.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, you had to take your lumps, so it was nice that the caution came out because we were going to have to fix it, and it's better‑‑ we weren't that slow with the damage to be honest with you, which was okay, but it was going to be hard to change the tires and things like that. You had to take your lumps and fix it correctly to have an 11‑second pit stop there in the last one. We took our lumps. It's never good when you pull into the pit stall and you shut the motor off so it doesn't get hot, and I did that twice tonight, so that's never a good sign. But like I said, top 3 after that is great.
The race just kind of played out at the end where we wanted it to. Maybe not at the end of the second stage but at the end of the race when that other caution came out which cycled us to 10th and then we had a good pit stop that cycled us to sixth, and then was able to get a couple on the restarts and maybe a couple lucky ones with the leaders hitting the wall.

Q. Joey, you talked a lot about how it was kind of a total team effort tonight for you to get back into the top 3 for that result. Is that something that kind of builds your confidence for the rest of the playoffs, knowing that in a time like this that your guys gathered themselves up together and were still able to come up with a good finish?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, that gives us all confidence, and I appreciate our team. This is our slogan for the playoffs. It says "believe." That's what we're as a team getting behind. I believe we all believed tonight that we were going to get something through, and that's why we were able to stay calm. Proud of the team on this one. Like I said, every player was used a lot tonight to make this happen. Proud of that.

Q. Joey, I know you talked a little bit earlier just about how you were more concerned about this race because of the short tracks coming up, but obviously Richmond is a place where nobody has run this year, and what kind of a challenge‑‑ obviously you guys have gone through it with no practice at these tracks, but now you're going to have a playoff track, a short track with no practice and just go next week. What kind of a challenge is that going to be next week?
JOEY LOGANO: It might be a better thing for me. I usually tune the car out at Richmond and we go all the way back to what we unloaded with after two practices. It might be the one race that is going to be okay for me without practice, just because it's so hard to practice there with the tire wear that you're always second‑guessing, was it the change, was it just older tires, was the track rubbering up. So hard to practice at Richmond.
That one is not bothering me a bit.

Q. Do you walk out of here feeling relief? I think it's 27 points up, and I know points can change dramatically even in one race. Is there relief or is there a different feeling or is it just move on to the next? How do you feel after a night like tonight and the 27 points that you have on the cutoff line?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, the same as we did going into it. And the same if we didn't have a good night tonight. You've just got to move on, you've got to learn and then do your job the next week. That's what it's about. It's about just staying cool and going through it. We've all done this before. We know how to do it, and it's just another race. Nothing changes.
The goal all year long, that's why we raced aggressive all year long, was to win. When the playoffs start, the goal stays the same.

Q. Joey, wondering was there anyone tonight that surprised you among the playoff drivers, good or bad, in terms of their performance?
JOEY LOGANO: I just was watching a replay over here. Sorry, I was distracted, and saw the two leaders get into each other. They hit the wall really hard. I did not know that.
But you start the Southern 500 knowing that of 16 cars in the playoffs, a couple of them at least are going to have a bad night, and if you just survive you're going to get through it because it's such a long race and it's such a demanding racetrack. Someone is going to hit the wall, someone is going to have something happen, someone is going to have flat tires. There's so many pit stops. There's going to be a loose wheel. There's just too many opportunities for mistakes and there's too many cars, right; there's 16 of them. And pressure is on, right. When the playoffs start the pressure picks up and some get better and some crack, and that's just kind of what pressure does to everybody and how you handle it.
You know, the mentally strong ones will prevail most of the time, so it's just what the playoffs are about. That's why it's the best part of the year.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, thank you so much again for taking the time to join us. Congratulations on the finish and we will see you at Richmond.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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