NASCAR Media Conference
June 5, 2012
THE MODERATOR: Joey Logano's eighth place finish at Dover International Speedway Sunday was his fourth Top‑10 of the season and second Top‑10 in the last three races, placing him 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings. He has also won three of the last four NASCAR Nationwide Series races, including Saturday's event at Dover. Logano has one Top‑5 and two Top 10's at Pocono Raceway.
Joey, you're coming off your second Top‑10 in the last three races. Can you talk about your relationship with Jason Ratcliff and how the team seems to really be gelling lately.
JOEY LOGANO: We are definitely making a lot of gains, Darlington for us was a really good race. We felt like we could have finished even better than where we finished there, so we were excited about that.
We went to Charlotte and struggled a little bit but we were able to go back and really learn about where we screwed up really, and really talk about it and really diagnose where we went wrong and be able to forward that into next weekend.
We were able to do that good at Dover which is always a great racetrack for me and we were able to capitalize on that with an eighth place finish, which is another place that I thought, you know, we had a top five there at the end of the race. We lost a lot of track position at the end of the race with a caution, and we had a problem with the ACU (ph). I feel like we were even better than that.
We just have to look at the positives that come out of every weekend and learn from our mistakes which we have been doing and that's how you get better.
THE MODERATOR: As you know, NASCAR and Twitter are launching the first‑of‑its‑kind digital partnership in Pocono. What are you going to do differently or do more of to give fans more of an inside look into what goes on during a race weekend?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it's really cool what we are trying to do, giving the fans more inside access to what's going on behind the scenes in a NASCAR race and to see more of the Tweets from the drivers and media members, crew guys, whoever involved with racing, I think that's really cool for the fans to be able to see that, because most of the time, we have something interesting to say.
So, it's cool. For me, I'll just be trying to Tweet as much as I possibly can, and keeping people updated and sending pictures out and stuff like that. I have fun doing that.
Q. Joey, what are some of the things drivers worry about going into a race with new pavement?
JOEY LOGANO: There's a lot of things we are worried about. I think a lot of us learned a lot of things when we went to Phoenix with new asphalt there, and seeing how long it took for it to rubber in.
I was fortunate enough to get to do the tire test in Pocono, and it rubbered in really a lot quicker. It was only seven or eight cars there, so it rubbered in pretty good. I felt like by the end of the two‑day test this we were starting to be able to kind of move the groove up a little bit. I think when you get 43 cars out there, I think you'll really be able to see the track widen out a little bit.
It actually came to us pretty quick. I was surprised, I thoughtit was really icy out there and no rubber. But I Goodyear is going to bring a good tire, will have a lot of grip and the track will widen out.
I think once the track widens out, the race will get better and all that. I think the track is going to be a lot different from practice to the race. I think a lot of things are going to change for us between that time. But everyone is going to have plenty of practice out there with the couple of test days that we've got. So we'll have plenty of time out there to really tune our cars and try to make it as best we can.
Q. How much did the Nationwide Series win on Saturday help contribute to the good finish on Sunday?
JOEY LOGANO: I think any time you can run a Nationwide race and you run well there, it transfers over for a couple of reasons. For one, it's confidence. It gives yourself as a driver a lot of confidence, which goes through the whole team.
And I think you're able to learn from things. You know, when you're on the same tire, cars are pretty similar, especially on a smaller racetrack, the cars are more similar. So you can kind of learn some things throughout the day that you can carry over into your Cup program.
Plus it's a lot of fun to run Nationwide races. I have a lot of fun doing it. You're always really busy, running from practice to practice and a lot of cars and all that, and it can get confusing.
So you just have to make sure you take your time and focus in on each car. I just think it's a game to be able to do it, and Dover for me has been one of my better racetracks in the past, too, so I felt like either way we were going to have some good runs.
Q. Working on a story about racing teams and I know that you had done a lot of developmental work with Venturini Motorsports. I wanted to find out what kind of role did Venturini play in your development as a driver, specifically on the ARCA circuit?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I only ran three ARCA races, no, four ARCA races. I ran a couple, Daytona, Talladega, we finished second at both of those and then we won Rockingham and Pocono. Rockingham was one that I was able to run before I turned 18.so it was before I made my Nationwide debut in Dover.
So I wanted to race, so I just needed to race something to kind of keep myself in the groove, because I had to wait until May to jump into something. I was able to run that race. It was a lot of fun. They gave me a race car that was one of the most dominating races I've ever been a part of, so that was a lot of fun.
And then Pocono, we went there just to gain experience at that racetrack. Pocono is so different of a racetrack compared to everywhere else; the more laps you can get there, the better. There's no Nationwide race at Pocono. To be able to get in an ARCA car and make laps really helped my Home Depot car out a lot; and just to be quicker, adjusting to the racetrack and giving your team better information right off the bat. So those are the things that really gained a lot there.
The Super Speedways, they draft so differently. There is still some things you can learn but they draft so differently than the cars you race today, they are a lot different. So just gets you the feel of being out there in the pack and trying different things.
Q. As far as the Nationwide, talking about that, obviously with your multiple pins, you're a good person to ask; what's the biggest difference between the competition levels and something that you could tell a fan that would really show a fan what the difference is between Nationwide and stepping up to competition level at Cup?
JOEY LOGANO: I think there's a lot of difference between Nationwide and Cup. Obviously the cars themselves are different. They are more similar now than they were before, but they are pretty similar now. But still a lot less horsepower in the Nationwide car, races are a lot shorter and your field is not as strong as a Sprint Cup car.
The quality of drivers is still very good and still very hard to win over there, but you have a lot more of them on the Sprint Cup side and the teams are very, very competitive over there.
So everyone puts their 110 percent effort into the Sprint Cup Series, but on the Nationwide side, it's still tough. Last year, at JGR, our Nationwide cars weren't as strong as they were in the past. I only won one race last year and I had a new crew chief last year over there, so we were really able to work into a lot of different things and so it doesn't come easy over there either. We were able to learn about our cars and make our cars better. That's helped out a lot.
And I think working with Adam Stevens another year over there and being able to learn each other and go to a racetrack for the second, third time and really be able to figure out what went wrong the time before, we are capitalizing on that right now. We are going to racetracks that we didn't run as good last year, and we are going there and winning now.
So that's a combination of a lot of things. Because you don't just win a race by fixing one problem; you have to have everything working for you, and that's what we have going on over there right now.
Q. Also were talking about your past, starting out so young and of course almost have to these days to make it; could you explain what was the most important thing for you to learn when you were so young?
JOEY LOGANO: Most important thing, that's a hard question to answer because every weekend you learn something like, man, I wish I had learned that before. So you are always trying to figure things out and there's always something that you learn every week and you use that to your advantage. Experience is such a big deal.
The big thing is when you're young being in a race car as much as you possibly can, driving and racing as much as you possibly can, learning about the cars, talking about it with experienced racers, whether they are drivers or crew chief engineers, mechanics, whoever. Just learn about the car. When you're that young, you need to figure that stuff out.
So there are certain things that you can learn by not being in a race car and people can tell you, but there's a lot of things that you have to learn the hard way, too. Experience is worth so much, it's unbelievable.
Q. I know you've had a couple of good runs in recent weeks but is there any part of you that ever gets frustrated that you had so much success on Saturdays, and Sunday results seem so up‑and‑down by comparison?
JOEY LOGANO: Obviously it's frustrating when you don't run well. That's a no‑brainer for sure. We are out there trying to win every race. We go there to win. It's frustrating when you come up anything short from that.
I think that's the right attitude that you have to have. You can't be happy with an eighth‑place finish. Do we think it's a solid finish? Yes. Is it as good as we want it to be? No. So we'll go back and learn from it and make sure we are better the next time we go there.
There's always somewhere, someplace, you always feel like you're screwed up. That's just part of sports and part of anything in life and just part of being a perfectionist in what you do.
Yeah, you get frustrated when you win on Saturday and Sunday didn't go as well. But this weekend, both races went very well for us, obviously winning on Saturday and having a very solid run there Sunday. So, you know, those are the weekends where you've got to have consistently very solid weekends like that.
Q. You got asked about Jason earlier but what's the process with him? You had a history coming into the season but are you aware in terms of your communication and relationship, are you where you thought you would be at this point?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I think so. The history going into it was not much at all. We ran a couple Nationwide races together and that was it. We really didn't know each other that well but we worked enough together to know that we do like each other. We did work together in a couple of races pretty well.
. But there is a learning curve there. There's a learning curve between the two of us getting to know each other and Jason getting over here and working with Sprint Cup cars and Sprint Cup races and longer races, all that stuff. There's a lot of difference between all of that. There's two learning curves there that you have to go through to become the best.
So we are steadily moving through those and getting better every week. That's why I said earlier, you have to be able to learn from each mistake you make and really diagnose what happened to make sure you don't do that again. I feel like we did a good job of that at Charlotte and we were able to work that into at Dover.
Q. With the resurfacing of Michigan International Speedway, one of the races coming up very soon and after the testing last month, many people are saying Michigan could be one of the fastest tracks on the circuit and, in fact, many fans have asked, do you and your team work closely with Goodyear on tire set up or does good year just say, here they are, the tires you'll use with this new repaved surface at Michigan?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, at Michigan, Kyle went up there to do the tire test with ‑‑ I think there were four or five other cars up there, and that's when I really work with the teams the most. Because they are able to throw a bunch of different tires on it, they get the info on the cars and they want the info from what the drivers have to say. And they put it all together and they try to come back with the best tire, whether it's the most grip, whether they have fall‑off and make sure the tire is safe and doesn't have blowouts.
They have say very tough job, for sure, to do all that, and try to make all 43 of us happy; that's just next to impossible. They do a good job of that. And every other week they call in here at Gibbs and we have a team meeting and all three of us drivers and crew chiefs and engineers, and we sit down and have a conference call with them and we'll go over the last few races and what we think could run better with the tire and what were the characteristics of the tire, good things and bad, and try to bring something better.
I think Goodyear does a good job communicating with the teams in trying to bring back something better.
Q. Great answer because so many fans think everybody is working separately but it's really a team effort. Thank you.
JOEY LOGANO: Yep. Thank you.
Q. Racing in 2012 in a contract year, pressure‑wise, how is this different from years past, or does it light a fire under you more than anything?
JOEY LOGANO: It's pressure all the time, so whether it's a contract year or not, you're always out there to do the same thing. So for me, I'm out there to win every race and that doesn't change from what it was this year or three years ago.
So there's no added pressure to that. Is there something extra in your mind? Yeah, there's something extra on your mind that you have to figure out before the season is over. But at the same time, you go out there and focus on your job.
My job is out there to win races, so as long as I do that, all of that will come together pretty easily. I just have to keep focusing on what's most important, and that's this year right now and all of the stuff will kind of follow when it needs to.
THE MODERATOR: I had one additional question. Can you talk about how you guys as a team with Pocono this weekend, and then quickly to Michigan to Sonoma, how you guys prepare for basically running three races in a row that are very different types of tracks, how do you and Jason‑‑ what is the preparation like?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's tough. Like you said it's three different racetracks, very different racetracks, and we don't have much time in between those racetracks.
We are leaving earlier tomorrow morning to go up to Pocono to do the test there and we will do the same thing next week at Michigan and have a test there. And at Sonoma, the truck has to leave early and go out there because it's a long night and it's a lot different.
We were able to go to VIR last week and do some road course testing up there and really able to kind of get used to that and get back in the flow as a driver and go through some new setup things that we can try when we go out to Sonoma and kind of have a little playbook ready to make changes in practice.
Those are three different racetracks, very different racetracks. So you've got to be on your game on all of them, and the best way is just communicating and getting through it and I feel like we are going to have three good race cars that are capable of winning at all different types of racetracks.
Q. Sorry if this has been asked, I jumped on late, I heard you before, tough race at Dover, to joke with your team, who made all the marks on the front stretch, and of course you can done that in the celebration in the Nationwide race; curious how much have you been able to translate from the Nationwide wins to Sunday, or does it seem like you just drove very different cars?
JOEY LOGANO: They are different cars, but they are somewhat the same type. So like I said earlier, I think the smaller the racetrack, the more similar the cars are. The more speed they have; the Nationwide cars just kind of die out down the straightaway. You only have so much horse power and only go so fast into turns.
Dover is one of those places that's a smaller racetrack that you're driving similar so you're able to transfer a lot of the information, even set up‑wise, back and forth between the cars.
So you know, it's still got a splitter on the front and you're still trying to control that the best you possibly can and all that, so there's a lot of similar things in the way you drive them and the way you set them up.
So obviously it's a little tougher with the Nationwide cars with coil binding and stuff like that, so those are the big differences. You're able to transfer more information than you probably think, especially at places like Dover.
Now, Michigan might be a totally different story when we go there. It seems like we'll probably be wide open all the way around that joint in a Nationwide car and probably be pretty close to it in a Cup car. But listening to Kyle, sounds like it will have a lot of grip and we'll see when we get there. You are able to transfer a lot over, but the big things is it's a confidence builder.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for joining us.
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