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May 8, 2022

Joey Logano

Darlington, South Carolina

Press Conference

An Interview with:

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winning driver of today's Goodyear 400, and that is Joey Logano. I know you love talking about it, but what was it like winning in that throwback of yours?

JOEY LOGANO: Thanks. Obviously really, really cool day today to be able to drive that car into Victory Lane. I think about that throwback, back in '95 is where it started for me, in Meriden, Connecticut. If I was a five-year-old self and I told my dad, someday I'm going to put this thing on the pin in Darlington, I'm going to roll up next to you while you're driving an old Mustang and then we're going to go win the race on Mother's Day, you'd never be able to imagine that, right. So God just works in mysterious ways sometimes.

You think of the last week we had, and to be able to come back and redeem ourselves after the last couple weeks says a lot about our race team, says a lot about the ability to recover and staying strong mentally and able to get something here at Darlington.

It's been a close one for me for a long time, so it was nice to get into Victory Lane for sure.

Q. How much of the bump on Byron is normal racing for the lead with two to go, and how much of it was from the contact on the restart and how much was it from the dynamic that you've led 35 laps all year and maybe you don't know when you'll be in that position again?

JOEY LOGANO: I mean, to me I probably would have gone straight to the bump-and-run if it wasn't for how he got the lead. He came off of Turn 2 and drove me right into the wall. At that point, I'm lucky my car isn't broken. I'm a very angry driver, and I think anyone in the field would probably agree, if someone is going to be willing to do that to you, well, the gloves are off at that point. I knew if I got back there what I was going to do and what I had to do.

That was the way he wanted to race, so I said, let's go. If he passed me clean, it wouldn't have looked like that. But that was the situation that was there in front of me, and fortunately I was able to get back there, and he obviously knew it was coming. He checked up into the corner pretty early, so he obviously knew it was coming.

But you know, I did what I had to do. Had to win the race. It was very important to win and get into the playoffs, obviously, and what everything means to winning here. Like I said, all those things go into the equation of making the decision.

Q. (On Byron's side of the story).

JOEY LOGANO: Maybe from his side, but I felt the wall and his car all the same time as I was sandwiched into the fence, so okay. Cool.

Q. Going forward, obviously he was upset, but going forward, how do you process that and race him because you kind of got to expect maybe something will come.

JOEY LOGANO: We're equal. We're equal, man. You put me in the wall first. Like I said, it's game on. At that point in my eyes it's equal. If I punted him out of the way for no reason there to win the race without him doing something to me in the past at any point, which he never has in the past, and it's not like he meant to fence me. I don't think he meant to run me into the wall. The facts are he did.

It's racing, and it kind of took the win out of my eyes or my hands, so at that point, like I said, you're going to have to do what you have to do to get the lead back in the same manner he got it, so that's kind of how that works.

Q. Yesterday you were in here and talked about how you guys were off and slow and things like that, and today you turn around and today you guys are fast. What was all together, because all together was fast all day?

JOEY LOGANO: Beats me. It's crazy to go from where we were last weekend in Dover, where we were just off, right, qualified mid-20s and really run mid-20s and get into wrecks and all that. Then you come back the next weekend, fast off the truck, put it on the pin, lead a bunch of laps, win a stage, third another stage, and it's a big day for us.

I don't know, but it just goes to show kind of what this Next-Gen car is right now where no one really has it quite figured out yet.

Q. You said earlier this season that we're just not fast enough right now. I know it seems kind of silly now after a win, but do you feel like your cars are indeed fast enough to compete? I know today was good, but do you feel more confident now?

JOEY LOGANO: I think it's one step at a time. Let's not -- we're never fast enough, to answer your question. I don't think anybody on the field would ever say I'm fast enough. You always want to be faster. This was a good race for us for sure. Very unique racetrack, though. Darlington is one of a kind.

I don't want to jump to any conclusions too quickly, but we did have a solid car today. At times it was the fastest car, at times it was a third- or fourth-place car, but it was a top-5 car all day long at the minimum.

So execution and staying towards the front and all that was what kind of kept us in the hunt.

Q. You mentioned how being up front and maintaining that track position was so important; obviously you have that first pit stall, and that played out in your advantage two or three times during the race. When you come into a weekend with this new car and knowing how important track position is, is trying to get the pole extra important because of that?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, turns out I think so. Yeah, we were able to use that first pit stall a few times, like you said, where we came out and the camera is right there from front of us at the pit stall here, so it's quite the advantage to have it, and as many pit stops as you're going to have here, it's a pretty big deal.

Yeah, it was a key piece to our victory for sure.

Q. Kind of a similar question to the other questions about kind of the topsy-turvy season you guys have had. Is it too early to even entertain the idea that this is kind of a must-win because you don't know if there could be 17 winners. We're on a pace to get there, but someone could break away, but it's a spec car. Is it a must-win?

JOEY LOGANO: I don't know if it's must-win yet, but it's getting closer to it, like you said, week by week, as you get different winners.

I do think at this point, though, you see a lot of the same characters up front now. Like you kind of could say, okay, here's some of the stronger cars that are consistently running up front, and then you may sprinkle in a couple every now and again that hit on something that weekend.

I think as the season goes along, you're going to see more consistency in certain teams, where they've kind of got a good mile-and-a-half package or a good short-track package or whatever it may be, and there might be a couple that sneak in there, but I think the normal cast of characters will show themselves more and more as the season goes and everything gets refined, I think.

Q. To that point, do you anticipate more than a team or two could break away from the pack, or do you think the kind of parity we've seen is going to continue all the way through the season?

JOEY LOGANO: I think there's a couple teams right now that have an advantage at the moment. How long that lasts and how quickly things change in our sport, it's hard to say how long that lasts, but there's definitely two teams probably that stand out in my mind that are stronger than the rest right now.

Q. Trackhouse and --

JOEY LOGANO: Probably Hendrick.

Q. Joey, with about 10 to go, it looked like you were too far back, but then you came, and was he falling off or had you saved something to run him down?

JOEY LOGANO: No, I was grinding it out the last 20 laps. I just went hard. My car was pretty tight, but you had an angry race car driver in there.

There's something to be said for an angry race car driver, I'm telling you. There's a little bit more speed in the tank when you tick me off a little bit and you're able to go a little bit faster.

The last five or six laps I could see him getting pretty tight and struggling through 3 and 4 in particular but also a little bit in 1 and 2. If I'm going to have a shot at this thing, it was going to be close on the amount of laps and how quickly I can catch him.

Q. Obviously in one sense it hasn't been that long since you won with winning at the Clash, but to get a win and with some of the ups and downs, what does it just mean to win for you right now?

JOEY LOGANO: Obviously it's great to win at any point, but I think, like you said, over the last couple weeks, we've been kind of just not the greatest. Like I said, to recover and kind of go through that bit of a roller coaster ride, which you've got to expect through every season, there's just kind of lulls and then there's good times, and you've got to capitalize when you have a car that can win.

That's what I kind of felt like this morning and said, hey, this is probably the best car I've had all year long; this is the best shot I have to win. You've got to capitalize when you have a car that can do it right now for sure. That opportunity was there to get a win, and you have to grab it any chance you can because you just don't know with this new car.

Like I said earlier, our speed has been a little bit inconsistent from track to track, so you don't know when the next time you're going to have a car this good, so had to make the best of it when we had the chance.

Q. Also you referenced the roller coaster. Obviously the 11 has certainly been on one and probably maybe in one sense more on the down way the way some of the things have gone with them. You raced with him some today up toward the front. What did you see out of that car? Had nothing happened to him, would he have been up there with you or did you feel like you were still a better car than them today?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, there was a group of cars that were all pretty close, right, the 1, the 11, ourselves, the 24, the 18. We were all fast at different points. At some points the 18 looked like he was the fastest; at times the 24 was the fastest; at times the 11 were the fastest; we were the fastest. It kind of depended on the run and how you managed your tires and the adjustments you made to your car, but I thought it was really anybody's race.

The 11 was pretty good, but I'd say before the last green flag pit stop I was trying to pass him, so I was right on him. So I'd say we were maybe a little better on the long hall than him, but he fired off a tick faster than me and got the lead from us.

Yeah, it just kind of depends on how you want to look at it, at what point. I'd say there was probably four or five cars under a blanket today.

Q. Byron called you a moron. Do you care?

JOEY LOGANO: I've been called a lot of things, a lot worse than moron, too. I just witnessed a lot of it when I got out of the car actually. But no, that's fine. Whatever. Call me what you want.

Q. When you were describing it earlier, you said you did what you had to do. Why do you have to do? Is it because you can't afford people to drive you like that again? Is it strictly trophy, or is it playoffs? What makes that move what -- why do you have to do that?

JOEY LOGANO: I mean, like I said before, if you're willing to make the move to get the lead by doing that, right, by running a car into the wall, you have opened up the door for retaliation and to get a victory. When it was only 20 something laps before that, you've got to expect it coming. That's why he went into the corner low and slow, because he knew it was coming.

Yeah, I mean, is it what you have to do? Yeah, you have to do that in that situation. You know you're not going to get pushed around. I'm not going to get bullied; I'll tell you that much. That's how the sport works. Our sport has worked like this for years.

Like I said, if that wasn't how it happened, if that's not how he took the lead, I'm not making that move. I'm going to try to race cleaner and make the pass a different way, but at that point I knew there was one way to guarantee a victory, so I was taking that maneuver at that point.

Q. There were as many DNFs today in this race as there were at Talladega. I'm curious where you think that comes from? Why? Was it just Darlington? Was it this race in particular?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I think these cars -- we talk about this a little bit, but the cars on the slick surface like Darlington, Fontana like we saw, and the bumps that go along with that, too, the cars become very snappy and hard to control. When they get sideways, they just spin out. The old car used to have a big sail on the side, that big door, and when it got loose, it wanted to be up there and you were able to kind of catch it and work it and all that stuff.

Now, this car, once it starts getting sideways, the diffuser shuts off, all these things just go the wrong way, and it wants to spin out even quicker. So there's a point where everything is really good, and then if you go past it, it's a light switch and all hell breaks loose.

When you take a track that has less grip and the car naturally wants to yaw out more, it puts you on that edge more, and then when you add the bumps to it, as low as we're trying to run the cars and cars hitting the wear blocks off of 2 or whatever setup they have, it just becomes very unpredictable when you hit a bump and then it gets sideways quick and it's gone.

It's tricky right now as the teams try to understand how to you make speed in the car with also having the drivability and raceability in the car. It's a pretty big challenge right now for us to figure out, and I think that's why you see so many crashes, especially at tracks like this.

Q. With the car last year, we saw a lot of people able to make speed on a low line or down near the apron, and it seemed like today you might be able to do that for a couple laps but that was about it. Was it just a matter of the aero on this car, and like you said, wanting to yaw out so much you had to go to the top line, or was it just a matter of there was just not enough grip down on the bottom line?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I can't say I know the answer to that, but it did not seem like the bottom was as much in play as it has been. I don't know why. I don't know why. It seemed like as the track cooled off and the sun was going down, the pull-down lane started working where you could enter up by the wall and then at the center two-thirds you could kind of crank it down a little bit and straighten out your exit and make a run that way. Seemed like that came in as the sun went down, but it wasn't like you could just wrap the bottom like you've Kevin do here for years or other cars, right, they can do that.

I don't know why. I don't have the answer to that one.

THE MODERATOR: Joey, congratulations on the big win and good luck in Kansas next week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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