February 21, 2021
Daytona, Florida, USA
Daytona Road Course
An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske, our second-place finisher.
We'll get right into questions for you.
Q. Did you just kind of run out of laps with the tire situation you were in?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, just too many laps. I was hoping when the pace car was slowing down, he was trying to clean up the mess off of turn three, he was slowing down. Keep up the speed, click off as many laps as possible.
Honestly, that's what it comes down to, is one lap. Could have made the difference. You hate being that close, but at the same time I look at where we've come from. We had a really solid race. We were two solid stages, second and third in the stages, a second overall. That's a great day any way you look at it.
It's just getting passed coming to the white flag stings a lot. Congratulations to Christopher, obviously, his first win. That one is very special. The way he did it was very impressive. Just stings a little bit for me at the moment if I'm being honest.
They had a great car. They were able to hang with the 9. Seems like the Gibbs cars definitely made a substantial gain on keeping up with the 9. I feel like we've made a gain as well, but we're still a step behind on the long runs. Short run speeds are very competitive, our braking is competitive. We just fall off on tires too hard. Just got to figure that out.
Anyway, identified the issue, now it's time to go to work.
Q. As far as things that sting, as far as your talk with Brad earlier today, did that go well? Do you feel like you're good going forward?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, we're fine. We had a good conversation. Everything I'd hoped it would be, very honest and open. I think today we were around each other a bit and raced each other fine. I think everything's going to be good moving forward. It's a healthy conversation. Probably glad we waited a few days to cool our jets, but ended up being a productive conversation.
Q. Your thoughts on you mentioned getting passed on the white flag. You could be two for two leaving Daytona, and you're not. Your thoughts on at least being competitive and how frustrating it is not to at least walk out with one win?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, any way you look at it, every race we've run so far, we've been in contention to win. I said it to the guys before the race today. Once again, we were in contention to win.
We're doing the right things. Look at the Duel. We almost won. Clash we finished third. Daytona 500 we were leading on the last lap, crash. Then you come here, you're leading with two to go, get passed.
We're there. I think we're doing a good job. When I think of the execution of this race team, we're doing all the right things. We just got to get a little bit faster. That's the biggest thing that I see right now. Not that we're far off, right? We're right there in the hunt. But I'd say we're outperforming the car at this moment. We just got to get our car a little better.
Q. Obviously the race changed big-time when there was a caution for the rain, drizzle. A lot of times this weekend where we saw cautions that might have been local cautions in other road racing series, it's a full course yellow here. So many more road course races this year. Are you comfortable with the way it's being officiated now? Does NASCAR need to look at doing a different style of cautions for these races?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know exactly what you're talking about. Honestly I was fortunate today, didn't get around any crashes to see how bad they were, anything like that.
I will say I was up in the booth yesterday for the Xfinity race with FS1. I didn't see anything that would stand out to me that they need to officiate it differently. There are times that cars spun out, they get going, there wasn't a caution. There are times there's debris on the racetrack, you don't have an option, you have to throw the caution.
I don't see where you can do anything else, right? There's a car in the barrier, what are you going to do? If it's stuck there, not going to throw the (indiscernible) out there when all of us are still wide open. That doesn't work for us in this series. Everyone is so aggressive trying to get what they can. I don't know if local cautions really do anything.
I think they're doing the right thing. I didn't see anything that stood out to me. Like I said, I didn't rewatch the race, put an asterisk next to it, but I didn't see anything at the moment.
Q. What is your assessment of the road course racing from an entertainment perspective, how you feel about having more of them on the schedule? Is this something NASCAR should keep doing?
JOEY LOGANO: We listen to the fans. The fans said they wanted more road course racing, boom, you got it. Hope you like it because we got a lot of it (laughter).
I think honestly it's the right thing for the sport. This Daytona road course actually puts on a pretty good race. Yeah, you look at the strategy that comes into play, last night, tonight, even in the truck race, the strategy really is interesting when you have this much falloff. You have cautions at the end where everyone is so aggressive trying to make up all the time they need to make up when they have tires on, they have cars with old tires in front of them.
It's fun because, not all the time, but more times than not it's not always the fastest car that wins. You're someone like us today, we almost manufactured a victory by doing something different than the fastest cars. We were a fifth-place car. We had a way to try to win and go for it, and we came really close to it. That's from the calls up on top of the box with Paul and the engineers up there.
That's the fun part about it, is that you're never really out of it. You can do a lot of things, recovery. You look at the top 10, those guys weren't up there all day long at all, I promise you that. The end of it kind of became crazy as you would expect.
I think this track is great. I'm interested to see what COTA is going to be like. We know Watkins Glen puts on great races. We've seen Sonoma be great. We've seen the Roval be entertaining all on the last lap.
It's fun. I like it as a driver because I'm not doing the same thing every week. I like that. I think that's a pretty big challenge for me. But I think it's attractive for the best drivers in America to want to race in the NASCAR Cup Series because you have to be good at everything, including dirt racing. I don't know if you're looking at the guy that's great at it yet, but I'm going to try (smiling). I like that. It's very attractive to me.
Q. What can you say about Christopher Bell? To win and have four champions behind him. When you look at the top five, two races into his second season, you know what the equipment is like, sure that's a bonus, but talk about the talent this kid has.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, honestly I don't think I've seen it until tonight. I haven't raced around him much up to this point. A little bit last year every now and again, but not to this level. I was hoping him trying to chase me down, he was going to make a mistake as an inexperienced race car driver. You didn't see it happen. You didn't see it with Ty last night either.
These younger guys coming in, not that Christopher is that young, but he just looks like he's really young. He had a lot of racing experience. He's been in these situations a lot where he's racing for the win, whether in the midgets, whatever dirt cars these guys drive. You've seen him race for wins late in the race. That experience probably helped him a lot tonight.
Yeah, I mean, obviously he's an amazing talent. If you're at this level, everyone is pretty talented at this point. 30th place is really talented, I promise you that. It's all about putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, and today they did.
Adam Stevens, a tremendous crew chief. I worked with him for quite some time over there. I know what he's got for a team around him. He's going to be successful because of it, because of his talent and the talent of the team.
Q. Kurt Busch mentioned had he had time to practice and dial these cars in, that horse has left the building, but how much at a place like this do you miss practice?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, we all miss it, right? I actually like it. I enjoy practice. It's fun to me. We'll have our chance to practice on a road course when we get to COTA. Up to then, the hard part is, it's very clear, every time we come to a road course now, it's been the 9, then one step back is the Gibbs cars, feels like the next step back has been our car with the 22.
It's hard to make up that ground because you can't just throw the kitchen sink at it because you have a bunch of theories that aren't verified, right? On top of that, it's hard to compare one race to the next because the temperature is different, you name it could be different.
It's hard to make up that difference sometimes because of the lack of practice where you can just AB something. More sway bar, less sway bar, what's better? You can just line that up and know.
For us, it's nice we had the Clash last week, we tried some things there. I thought they were better. We tried some more this week. We made some gains again. So as long as we keep being methodical and inching up on it, it's good. If you throw 10 things at it, like I said, it's too many variables.
Q. Was there anything just from a tangible change standpoint that you made after the Clash before this race that you specifically wanted out of your car?
JOEY LOGANO: I can't tell you exactly what it is, but of course we went to work. Paul found something he wanted to try. I was able to look at a lot of data from my teammates, whatever, SMT. Felt like my biggest weakness was the chicane in the Clash. I feel like today we got close. I know that's where I got passed, but he was catching me a second a lap. I don't know if I could have stopped it. I feel like we made some gains in that area.
Driver changed some stuff, crew chief changed some stuff. For that reason we had better results. Like I said, one more step to go to be as good as the Gibbs cars on the long haul. The 9, and even the 5 was really good today, too. There's five or six cars that are a step better. We'll figure it out. We're the best in the business as well, so we're going to figure it out. We're inching up on it as I speak.
THE MODERATOR: Joey, thank you so much for taking some time with us. Congratulations on the good finish. We'll see you at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports