NASCAR Media Conference
June 22, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today's NASCAR Cam Video Teleconference.
Our guest for the NASCAR Cam today is defending champion of New Hampshire Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota. For Joey, Joey's last year victory was his first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Joey, just to open up, how special is it to go back to the place where you got that first Sprint Cup Series win?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's a big deal for me to go back there. It's basically my home racetrack. I grew up a couple of hours away from there, well, about three hours. And, you know, it's a cool place, a lot of family and friends. It was a cool place to get your first win.
Kind of a home track, and a lot of the guys on the Home Depot Toyota team have grown up around there. So it is definitely a cool place for us to go back to.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for that opener. Questions for Joey.
Q. Joey, I will never forget them shoving that big lobster at you as you won the race at New Hampshire. I wonder, with that big smile on your face and with the lobster in your hand as you think back to that, how much do you think you've changed in both how you're driving and who you are today compared to like at that moment when you won last year?
JOEY LOGANO: I think as a driver I've changed a lot from that moment. I think as a person I don't think I've changed much at all. I'm still the same Joey that's been growing up my whole life. So nothing's changed there.
But as a driver, I'm night and day different. And I feel like that's a good thing. We've got a long ways to go to get to where I need to be, but definitely making big strides every day when we get on the racetrack. So that's a good thing. Gotta keep working hard and try to get better.
Q. A couple of weeks ago, when you won Kentucky again, you talked about that you were really feeling like you needed a win somewhere. Now, if you just narrow that down to the Cup side, does it eat on you at all that you haven't won since New Hampshire? And are you kind of anxious to win sort of a race for it win, rather than a rain win?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. Obviously, I want to race to win, for sure. On the Nationwide side, I felt like I was owed at least one win, just because of how good we've run this season. And just how long it's taken to win a race and been in position to win a race and haven't won.
On the Sprint Cup side, we haven't been in position to win enough races to feel it owes me one. Definitely, we're out there trying to win every week.
On the Nationwide front, it's a different story for us, because we're so close over and over again. And we need to be the same way over here on the Sprint Cup side, which is going to take a little bit of time.
Q. Wanted to ask you a little bit any fallout from Pocono? Is that all behind you now, and have you had a chance to clear the air with Kevin? And do you intend to?
JOEY LOGANO: I put it all behind me. I have not talked to him. But that's all in the past and we're looking ahead and trying to get this Home Depot car into The Chase. We're close.
We just need to have good, solid finishes and definitely going to be a lot better finishes than what we had last week in Sonoma, and definitely just have a good, consistent finish this week in New Hampshire, trying to get where we need to be. All that's in the past. I just look ahead.
Q. They were mentioning on the broadcast this past weekend how impressive you looked at the road course. Not a lot of experience at that particular track. As you go to some of these tracks over and over again now, are you gaining more experience, both on the road courses as well as on the ovals, on the Cup side?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. Every place definitely brings on their own set of challenges. Last week, in Sonoma, we just weren't good. I don't know what it was. We were better there last year, the first time, to be honest with you.
But when you look at road courses like that, that's just about surviving. If you survive that race, you'll have a solid top 15 finish, at least.
We failed on surviving. Sometimes those are things you can't do much about, and sometimes you can do some things about.
It's the same thing at most racetracks, at Sonoma more than others. Definitely learn a lot every time I get to these racetracks, even more every time I get here.
The biggest thing is I have a notebook now I can look at when I go to these racetracks and say this is what I fought last time and this is what I need to look for in practice and help my crew chief Greg Zipadelli on getting our car the best we can.
Q. Joey, as far as what happened near the end of the race last week, have you gotten a chance to talk to Montoya yet, and have you gone through and tried to figure out what happened?
JOEY LOGANO: No. Actually, to be honest with you, I've been in LA. I was doing a Destroy Build Destroy shoot. It's a Cartoon Network show. Me and Carley worked at that shoot. I was up there all day yesterday. I got home at 6:30 this morning; I took the red eye. So I haven't got to see it on TV yet, to be honest with you. So I plan on going this afternoon to see what happens here, see what we can do to fix it.
Q. Joey, it seems like every driver remembers where they were and what they were doing when they got the call, the call from a team owner to come drive for them. Can you recall -- I think it was back in '07 or before then -- when J.D. or Mr. Gibbs called you to come drive, what were you doing, what were the feelings?
JOEY LOGANO: We actually kind of went to them. So it was a little bit different. It wasn't an actual phone call. For me, we knew Scott Zipadelli really well growing up in Connecticut, he was from up there. At the time he was the car chief of the 18 car over at Jacobs Racing. He asked me and J.D.
And I remember sitting there with J.D. We had this little video made up with stuff I've done through my career.
And here comes Joe Gibbs walking up. I thought that was one of the coolest things. And, shoot, two weeks later, three weeks later, maybe, had a contract done, signed, we're going racing. That was it.
So it was cool to see how quick they got it done, don't worry about it, and get back to the racetrack. So that was fun. It's not fun to be in limbo and not knowing what you're going to do and all that. It's cool to make a decision and focus on racing.
Q. Can you just talk about the final race in the race to The Chase? Obviously Michigan is a track you've run well at. It's going to be key for you coming back. So can you please just talk about those final races coming up to The Chase and where you expect to be at that time.
JOEY LOGANO: Michigan should be a good track for us. We have to get through the next one. Loudon is a tough racetrack for me. I know we won there. But we haven't been the fast enough car there yet. So we have to get through there.
Daytona is always a crap shoot. Don't know what can happen there. Get through the next two races, hopefully gain some points. I think we're 140 something points out of The Chase right now. And we definitely need to have some good, consistent finishes. If we make it here, we've got Michigan. We've got quite a few here coming up, I can't remember them all, that we've won good at.
If we get through these next few weeks, we'll be able to hopefully make some points through the next few and try to make it to The Chase by the time Richmond comes around.
Q. You probably expected big challenges once you got to the Cup. But did you expect that your deeds and your comments would be spread so far and wide by all forms of media covering NASCAR racing?
JOEY LOGANO: No. No, I mean, I think it's cool. These people are listening to me, so I guess that's good. But racing at this level brings out a whole bunch of challenges whether it's on or off the racetrack. And you've just got to learn and know how to deal with them.
Q. You said that you've grown significantly in the last year as a racer. Could you just talk specifically about how you are better, what things you're doing better, or are you just more in tune with the team, the car, what you have to do out on the track?
JOEY LOGANO: Everything you just said. You know, driving the car, because it's so different than anything else I've ever driven. That is something that's definitely come to me as we keep going here.
Knowing what you want in the car at certain racetracks. That's something that you figure out, I think, as you keep going even more. Some places I think I have that really figured out. Some places it's unknown. Those are things you try to figure out, working with your team, all that stuff.
It all comes together. It's a bunch of little things, too. It's not one big thing a light switch goes on and it's like, oh, my God, now I got it. It definitely takes a bit of time and trying to figure it out. And it takes a lot of hard work. You can't get down on yourself when you have a bad day. You have to keep your head up and working hard and you've got to stay motivated.
Q. Just wanted to ask you a little bit about Danica Patrick. Obviously she's going to be racing in the Nationwide Series race in New Hampshire. I think you can certainly relate to what she went through at Daytona, her making a debut in a stock car and you in a Cup car. What impressions did you have about what she went through, how she handled herself and the Nationwide Series now coming back, she's going to be toggling between both IndyCar and Nation car, could you talk about the challenges that might present?
JOEY LOGANO: I've never driven an IndyCar before, but I've got to imagine it's got to be night and day different. I went from a Nationwide car to a Sprint Cup car, and I thought that was a big change. So I can imagine that's going to be three or four times a bigger change than what I went through. Just the way these cars drive, they're tough. She's going to go through the same thing I went through probably times 10.
So it's not an easy road. And I think everyone has to have patience with that, because it isn't easy. It's definitely a tough deal, and I think if you're not used to driving a big heavy stock car, it takes a little bit of time.
Q. Does she bring instant credibility, instant respectability given her background?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it's cool she's giving a shot at it. I mean, this is definitely a big, a real hard step to take if you have seen people try to do it before and haven't made it. You see people that have done it and have made it. So it's not an easy step. But I give her credit for trying to do it. I think that's something that's really cool.
Q. We're doing a preview piece on New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and one of the topics of conversation has been qualifying order and the importance of where you start since there's not a lot of passing at Louden. So as the defending race winner, can you speak on the importance of qualifying and also any other keys to victory here at Loudon?
JOEY LOGANO: Qualifying at every racetrack, Loudon probably a bit more than the normal, but seems like when you have a bad qualifying run, you fight all day to get up to where you need to be.
If you start up there in the top 10, you can tell which car is going early on in the race. If you start in the back, a lot of times dirty air, cars around you can't get clean racetrack, it's hard to say exactly what you need for your race car to be good at the end of the race when you're up towards the front.
When you start up there, kind of you puts you ahead of the eight ball throughout the whole race. And just knowing which way you need your car to go, which way everything is going. You're up there with faster cars, you can see what they're doing, stuff like that. So definitely helps to qualify good. So we definitely put a lot of effort into it.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how you defined how aggressive to be being a young driver, but not a beginner; you have Jeff Gordon stepping up on the aggressiveness. You have Tony Stewart saying watch the highlight reels, and he's being more aggressive on the restarts because he's seeing the young guys coming in and he's like, well, that's what I gotta do, I gotta do. It used to be you raced guys like how they raced you. Seems like the game is changing a little bit on aggressiveness. Can you talk about how you decide how to beat right now?
JOEY LOGANO: It's something you try to do in the heat of the moment, I guess, whether what you need to do and the position you're in, whether it's points or what place you're in the race, and whether you think you should be in that spot in the race, whether it's pit strategy and what's going on.
I think that kind of changes your motive on how you restart the races and how aggressive you are. So I think it all depends on the certain scenarios that's going on.
Q. I was just wondering what you think the Nationwide race will be like next week with the new car, and do you expect -- will you be able to transfer anything more over in this new Nationwide car to your Cup effort?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I think our Nationwide stuff is going to be fine. Did the Nationwide test down in Daytona a month ago or so now. And I felt like our JGR cars were pretty good. I felt like the same cars up there are still doing good. Penske's cars are very fast.
It's the same group up there, yet it's still Daytona. It's going to be different when we go to every track. They are going to be quite a bit different. But the cars move around a lot. They were pretty loose and hard to get the back end of the racetrack, but it wasn't a whole bunch different than the COT tuck car. It's definitely -- they're more alike, which is cool at a Super Speedway like that, and the draft was definitely a little bit different. So I think there's going to be a lot of guys playing around out there.
We had a decent size tack out there. It wasn't huge. Maybe 20 cars at a time. It seems to amp up in a race when you get a bunch more cars out there. So it will be typical Daytona July, slipping and sliding. Going to slip and slide more than what the old Nationwide car did.
Q. Talking about qualifying well. Three straight poles at Kentucky, three straight wins. You pretty much have Kentucky figured out. What is it about that track that you do so well at?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know what the deal is with Kentucky. I wish we had a Cup race there or something. I don't know what it is. I feel like I have a lot of laps out there from testing back in the day. But I don't know what it is. Everything just kind of works out for us. We always had fast race cars and pick into what I really need there to win a race.
I don't know what it is. We've always seemed to qualify good there and win a bunch of races. So I look forward to getting back there.
Q. Now that you've run the entire NASCAR circuit a couple of times, is there one track that you don't like going to because of things that are more difficult to keep up with and it makes it difficult for racing, you know, one track that you say, oh, boy, here we go?
JOEY LOGANO: There's a couple like that. Bristol for me, I've always been fast, and I think about it. And since I've run a Pro Cup car there, I think it was '05, I've yet to have an uneventful race there. I've always been fast, put it on the pole last race there in a Sprint Cup car. And it seems like every time something's going wrong in that race, whether it's tires blown out, getting in a wreck. It's a million things that have gone wrong. Blown up motors. The whole deal. So that's one place that we're fast enough. We just don't have the luck or something that really just hasn't helped us.
So I don't know what we need to do at places like that. It's just -- I don't know if it's a coincidence or what the deal is.
Q. The last few years, obviously the Sprint Cup guys have dominated the championships as far as the Nationwide is concerned. Considering how well you've done in the Nationwide series this year, nine top 10s in the races, do you feel like next year there's a possibility of you doing the schedule, the post schedule, or is it, it just depends on what you do in your Cup car this year for the rest of the year?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it kind of depends on how I do in the Sprint Cup Series. It's a tough decision to make, it's definitely a tough gig running all of those races, and it's hard to give 100 percent to both sides.
So it's something that's been going through my mind, whether I want to run the whole series, and I have to make a decision pretty quick here. So I'll let you know if that ever happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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