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October 18, 2020

Joey Logano

Kansas City, Kansas

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race winner, Joey Logano. Talk us through your run and how you feel heading into the next two races knowing you're going to the Championship 4.
JOEY LOGANO: I don't need to feel anything, that's the best part about this. Doesn't matter.
Yeah, we want to go out there and keep momentum, don't get me wrong. Every race matters to a certain extent. They don't matter as much as they were going to without this win (smiling).
So proud of this Shell‑Pennzoil team. They never quit today. It was a tough one to start. We kind of fell back I think a couple stage points the first stage, then no stage points the second. Paul had some strategy. Two tires. Hung in there, kept our track position. Crazy good pit stops kept us in position.
A couple decent restarts got us to the lead. Another good pit stop. From there it's just driving out of that mirror almost the whole time there the last 40 laps. It was a long 40 laps, however long that run was.
Just a crazy day. So proud of this team. We may not have had the fastest car, but we had the best team. That showed today as we were able to overcome a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joey.

Q. Can you discuss the skill level it took on the last 40 laps. There's so much about the package on Twitter. People felt like Harvick had the fastest car. You were trying to drive out of your mirror. Seems like this is what is required of the racing. What goes into that?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, there's obviously a lot that goes into that, especially when you're racing the 4, whose car was kind of the complete opposite of ours. He was very fast on the straightaway, where ours is more of a cornering car.
When you have clean air in front of you, like Kevin did as well, being so close to the lead, the advantage probably goes to the trimmed car, which is what the 4 has. At that point you just kind of hope for dirty air and tires to wear out a little bit. That's where our car should start to excel.
So knowing that in your mind, you try to hold him off for as long as you can. If you can hold off 15 laps or so, maybe it would get a little easier. It didn't. He hung on there for a long time, was catching me so fast on the straightaways. It was a matter of picking the right lanes when you get there.
My spotter T.J. did a great job wherever he stands now. I don't know if they put him on top of the roof any more. Wherever he was, he got a good view, gave me a lot of good information. From there, you stay on the mirror. When he goes, you go. Try to throw some dirty air up there, make sure he doesn't get to break the plane, gets to the right or left of you, be able to side draft you from there. That's the biggest thing, trying to hold that position.

Q. I know you've won at Kansas before, but much cooler conditions. How did this race compare to some of the others when you've won before?
JOEY LOGANO: It's pretty damn cool right now, I can tell you that much, in more ways than one (laughter).
Yeah, obviously it was pretty cold outside. When it's hot, you know you're going to have cars that slip and slide more, the groove is going to move around a little bit more. When it's cool, the cars make more power, there's more grip, more downforce, more tape on the car. Creates a cool race.
The great thing about coming here twice is it's not the same conditions both times. One race, pretty hot last time we were here, now it's pretty cold. You don't have the same race twice, which makes it challenging but also a lot of fun.

Q. Now you have the spot locked into the Championship 4, what does this do for this next two weeks? How much weight does this feel to have lifted off your shoulders?
JOEY LOGANO: The weight lifted off your shoulders is only part of it. The ability to start working on your Phoenix car, not worry about your Texas and Martinsville car. We do. I don't want to say that, but you're 100% focused on one more race. We know we can't finish worse than fourth in points, you know what I mean? We know we're in it.
Just got to stay healthy, get there, go for the big trophy when we get out there again and try to win another Phoenix race.

Q. Are there shades of 2018 in this in terms of coming into the championship race, maybe overshadowed by Hamlin and Harvick in the win column, you having an equal shot? Do you carry a chip on your shoulder where you come into the Championship 4?
JOEY LOGANO: I hope so. I hope so. I'm AOK with being the underdog. Kind of been there for most of my career. I've fine with that, doesn't bother me a bit.

Q. This has been an unusual season for driver‑crew chief communication. You've been with Team Penske for a while. Paul Wolfe has been for a while. What have you learned about him in this first season together?
JOEY LOGANO: Quite a bit. It's been an amazing challenge, if I'm being honest with you. The beginning of the year with practice, we were able to get to know each other, get to know what I needed with the car, work on it during practice.
COVID started. Coming back with no practice, we started getting our butts handed to us pretty hard. We were struggling for the first, I don't know, 15 races back. Just really struggling, trying to get a handle on the car, what direction we need to go. It's really hard to fix things when you don't have practice.
We're going to the racetrack for the first time together, honestly it's kind of shooting from the hip from a setup standpoint, just trying to find something that we can hit on that's decent.
Over time I feel like we've made some small gains there, a little gain here, a little one there, start stacking them up. It seemed to make a decent swing at especially the 550 package here to where we can be competitive enough to put ourselves in position to try to win like we did today.
I felt better about our 750 package ever since we started the season. Still feel great about it at this point. Glad we're going to Phoenix.

Q. You're one of two drivers who have won the first race of this round and went on to win the championship. How much does it matter in winning the championship?
JOEY LOGANO: Doesn't hurt. I think it means a lot, if I'm being honest. I think it does. I've lived this story once where you really just kind of‑‑ you're not last minute trying to throw together a championship car for Phoenix because you're trying to build so many other ones. It just gives the team time to really start focusing on a car that can put us in the position to win.
If you only have so much time in the day, you got to prioritize, you're going to prioritize to get yourself in the Championship 4 first. Now that we did that, we're going to have 100% of our time to Phoenix.

Q. Was that fun for you? Is it fun driving out of the mirror?
JOEY LOGANO: No. I mean, it was fun afterwards. It's very intense. It's fun now, don't get me wrong. If I'm being honest, I don't have fun driving a race car, I have fun winning. That's what I enjoy doing. That's what that is at this point. If I want to go fun, I'll go to a go‑kart track and have fun. That's not what this is about. This is about winning, this is a job, putting food on the table for not only my family but countless others that helped this race team.
No, I don't look at it as fun. I look at it as a job to win.

Q. Coming into this round did you feel like you had to win to advance to the Championship 4 because of the points situation with Harvick and Denny?
JOEY LOGANO: Honestly, I really felt like we were racing for two spots. The 4 and the 11 are pretty much a lock. I haven't looked at what this did to everything. Obviously the 4 scored a bunch of points, so he's probably in really good shape at this point as well. I know the 11 had an issue. I don't know what he recovered to.
Yeah, winning helps. I'm not sure that you're going to have to win to get in. All it really takes is one car, like ourselves, that didn't have a whole bunch of Playoff points, to win next week. It's definitely going to be a win to get in if you're not the 4 or 11.

Q. Your teammate Brad Keselowski has had a lot of success with a similar rules package going into play there. Do you feel when you go to Phoenix you're considered one of the favorites if not the favorite?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't deserve anything. I just go out there do my job. It's not about that. Honestly, I don't care. I hate saying it because it kind of comes across like a jerk. I honestly don't look at what anybody says about me or my race team. Only thing that matters is what we think about us and our race team.
I honestly don't really look much at it.

Q. Even numbered years you've made it to it Final 4. Any rhyme or reason for that?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know. I'm glad it's true this year. Hopefully next year we can break that.

Q. Talk about the difference in that you have this massive amount of pressure, Kevin Harvick is chasing you, everything in the balance to make the Final 4, then you win, then you have this huge amount of pressure off. Talk about the wide swing that is in a short period of time.
JOEY LOGANO: It's something else. That pressure is on you. There is moments during the last 40 laps that I got six or seven car lengths on Kevin. Okay, this could be all right. Maybe I can start pulling away. Seems like maybe his car is falling off. Next thing I know he drafts up to me at a quicker pace because he was further back.
Last corner, it's two lapped cars, one goes to the top, one goes to the bottom. Of course, why would it be any other way? You got to split them.
Then you come off of turn four, you see the checkered flag. The emotions, that's what we do this for, is that moment, that feeling. You can't describe it. It means everything to us as racers, all the way through our race team.
Everyone puts so much time into this, all the way through. Roush‑Yates, Penske, obviously the 22 team, Shell, everybody works so hard to put us in position to win. When it comes together like that, and it's that close, it's just an amazing rush that goes through you.
It's different if you're out there and you won by 30 car lengths. It's kind of like a relief feeling. You finally see the checkered flag, a car like Kevin that's breathing down your back, there's no better feeling than that.

Q. You talked about what this means to Phoenix. What does it mean for the next couple of races? How do you approach Texas and Martinsville?
JOEY LOGANO: We approach them to win, just like we always do. Same meetings and prep like we always do. I just assume that we'll probably focus a little bit more on Phoenix at this point.

Q. Early on I noticed how animated T.J. Majors was. I know one of the reasons you hired him in the first place was both of you are so good on restrictor plate tracks. It sounded more like a Daytona, Talladega style of spotting. Is this something the two of you discussed entering this race, if something has changed with what you have asked for him to do over the last few races?
JOEY LOGANO: It's a good observation. It kind of does come down to a bit of speedway racing to a certain extent. Kind of a hybrid of both. In the corners you're trying to find clean air, put dirty air on someone. The straightaways you're trying to break the draft. It's different, for sure.
The spotter role means so much lately. Ever since we've gone to this 550, even before we did this, but once we went to this 550 package, cars are so close to each other, especially when you come to a racetrack here like Kansas, this ends up being maybe the best race of the year for the 550 package. You have to be on the game. You can't be slack or lazy at any point to get through.
Yeah, you rely on every bit of information you can. T.J. and I work at this together a lot. I'd say probably most of the spotters are doing the same thing these days.

Q. What was more important, T.J. or your mirror?
JOEY LOGANO: I'll say T.J. (laughter).

Q. Did you think Kevin was going to be able to get by you or were you pretty confident to keep him there with the air bubble?
JOEY LOGANO: I didn't think about it at that point. I was just trying to do my job at that point. I knew Kevin was fast. Earlier in the race, he just went underneath me and drove right by me. Kind of caught me off guard how fast his car was.
Knowing that I thought I better find a way to keep him back there because he's very, very fast when he gets clean air in that car, to the point like when he was in front of me, I couldn't draft him. I couldn't catch him down the straightaways like he was catching me when I was behind him. I knew the trim level on his car.
At that point I thought I had a better chance after the first 15 laps to holding him off. I thought I might drive away a little bit. I never did. The pressure was on the whole time.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, thank you for taking the time to join us. Congratulations on the win. We'll see you next week at Texas.

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