NASCAR Media Conference
May 22, 2007
DENISE MALOOF: We are now joined by our third and final guest on today's teleconference, and that's Joey Logano, who is the 16-year-old developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joey had a very significant win this past weekend at Iowa Speedway. He beat Kevin Harvick in the first-ever NASCAR-sanctioned event at that track.
Joey, I know Sunday's victory in Iowa was your third NASCAR Grand National Division win in four starts. You out-dueled Kevin. That still has to be a thrill, even today.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it was definitely real fun to run with Kevin, especially after he won the All-Star race the night before. It was cool to be on the track with him. Beating him, it was pretty cool.
DENISE MALOOF: Let's go right to some questions for Joey.
Q. Is there any one thing that puts you in a position to shake off the fact who is actually stalking you around the racetrack in Iowa, racing you side by side? How impressed were you that this NEXTEL Cup start didn't come in, elbow you, go on?
JOEY LOGANO: It was pretty cool how he ran me real clean. I think he kind of expected a lot of us to run him dirty. Really, it was just the two of us out there. No one that had much for us. I think we swapped the lead 15 times. It was pretty cool. We ran door-to-door so many laps, it wasn't even funny. It was definitely cool, especially after he won the All-Star race. A lot of fun.
Q. Can you talk about the patience it's taken to come up through the ranks the way you are, what it's like to already be under a development contract. I'm sure you're antsy to go.
JOEY LOGANO: My whole life I really had to wait on my age. When I was nine, had to wait till I was 12 to run Legends cars. I was still running Legend cars on unsanctioned tracks. It's good to be with a team like Joe Gibbs Racing so I know I'll be ready to go when I'm 18. I'm just trying to get all the experience I can right now.
Q. How special was it for you after doing this door-to-door battle with a NEXTEL Cup superstar on the track, he came over and talked with you in Victory Lane?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it was cool to be on the track with him for sure. He was a real fun guy to race against. We ran door-to-door for a long time. It was real neat to run against him. We had a blast. He came up to me at the end of the race, said he had a lot of fun. We ran so clean the whole time, I think we might have bumped each other once coming off a corner. I think he appreciated how clean we ran each other.
Q. In this form of racing, how much does it raise the level of your game when a guy like Kevin Harvick comes in and races with you guys?
JOEY LOGANO: It raised it a lot. Our fourth race of the year. We won two of them coming up to that. That was the fourth race, won three of them now. It was cool to be able to beat him. We knew he was going to step it up a lot. In practice, I think he was sandbagging a little bit. Went out to qualify, put it on the pole. We knew we had something for him the whole race. We took tires; he took tires at the same time. By the time I got to him, I saved a little bit on the way up, had a little bit more at the end than he did.
Q. You talk about your age, kind of how it's limited you. Where do you see yourself in five years?
JOEY LOGANO: Hopefully in the NEXTEL Cup Series. We'll see how it goes. Definitely got to keep doing what I'm doing right now: winning races. Just whatever I get in, I got to win, whether it's a go-kart or a Busch car, I don't care. Really I think winning is what gets you there. That's what I'm trying to do.
Q. Did this weekend change any expectations for you beyond five years from now?
JOEY LOGANO: It might have. I think it was a real big win for sure, just to be beating Kevin Harvick, especially after he won the All-Star race. Yeah, I think it definitely was a big step in my career.
Q. How difficult, if it is difficult, is it to maintain focus on what you're doing right now and not look ahead to that next career step? What you've done in four races, I guarantee someone is looking ahead. Who is the most critical guy in your race team as far as keeping your head straight?
JOEY LOGANO: I definitely just have to worry about what's going on right now, let that take place as it comes. Take one day at a time. I'd say my crew chief Mike is keeping my head on tight right now. He's a real down-to-earth guy. My whole family does real good like that, too. Definitely it's a lot of people that gets us here. Those are just some of the few guys that get me here.
Q. How do these Grand National cars relate to a Hooter's Pro Cup car that you've driven before?
JOEY LOGANO: They're real close. The Pro Cup car is pretty much the same thing as these are. Spec motors in these cars. I'd say the only real big thing is you have the biased ply tires on these, the Pro Cup car had radial tires. The horsepower, they say it's a little less. They both say they have 600 horse. Seems like the Pro Cup car is a little low on torque. The spec motor runs good down the straightaway once it gets going.
Q. Are they about equivalent in weight?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, they're the same weight. Basically even to a Busch car or a Cup car, they still drive pretty darn close to the same. In Busch East, you can run the 110 wheel base or 105. We've been running both cars. Both of them are pretty good.
Q. NASCAR this year lowered the age restrictions which enables you to get into the series and move up. When would you have turned 17?
JOEY LOGANO: May 24th. So a couple days from now I'll be 17. It definitely helped when they lowered the age. I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without them lowering the age, having a team behind me like this. Definitely helped me.
Q. How did you react to the news they had done so? Were you saying, Now is my time?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, I actually didn't know why it was 18. It's still a short-track series. When they moved it down, Gibbs took notice of that. That's when we started talking about getting a Busch East program started. That's when we got a bunch of older Cup cars from the Cup shop, just started getting those ready for this year. It's paid off so far.
Q. In term was of the way the season has gone for you, have you have scripted it any better up to this point?
JOEY LOGANO: No. Actually doing better than I thought we would. I go to every race thinking I'm going to win because I'm probably the most competitive person in the world. I don't like coming in second. Me and second don't get along good. I didn't really think we'd be doing this good. I was disappointed at Elko when we didn't win and we had a fast enough car to win. Kind of blamed that on myself. I really couldn't have asked for anything else. I got a great car everywhere else we went so far. Won three out of four. Four out of four would be better. Right now I couldn't ask for much more.
Q. Have you been testing the Car of Tomorrow or any other cars for Gibbs?
JOEY LOGANO: I haven't gotten into a Car of Tomorrow yet, to be honest with you. I know we've been talking about it for a while now. I'm not sure when we're going to go test one of those. Definitely would like to.
Q. Are you getting to interact much with the Cup drivers at Gibbs?
JOEY LOGANO: We see each other once in a while. Denny works out at the same time I do. I see him a lot. J.J. is real cool. Tony lives up in Indiana. I don't get to see him a whole bunch. When I do, it's pretty cool.
Q. How did you end up at Gibbs Racing? Was there a little firestorm of people bidding for your services when you signed with Gibbs?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, definitely there was a little bit of something. We came back, we talked to Roush, Ganassi, Gibbs, all in one day I picked up three different contracts. Before I opened them, my dad said, Which one do you want to drive for? I said, Joe Gibbs Racing. That's the one I knew I wanted to drive for. I just like being here, the whole family atmosphere. I have no problem going up to Joe or J.D., asking a question, saying something. I feel like this is home for me.
Q. I've heard Mark Martin mention your name. Have you driven for him?
JOEY LOGANO: I've known Mark for a few years now. He took a liking to me a long time ago, running Legends cars up at Lowe's, the shootout. I drove his fast trucks two years ago I think, probably three years now, down in New Smyrna over the winter just a little bit to play around. It was fun. We won four races or something out of three, five races. We won a ton of races. It was pretty cool.
Q. If you're going to be 18 in a year, have you talked with the folks at Joe Gibbs about a specific plan? Do you think you'll be racing truck next year, maybe even Busch? There's the possibility of Mark Davis, them going to a fourth car with Cup. How do you plot out your future?
JOEY LOGANO: I know they've been talking about a Busch car next year sometime. Not real sure when or what car I'm going to drive yet. I know I have a long-term relationship with Gibbs. We'll see how it goes.
Q. Nothing specific other than you might drive some Busch next year?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. I know they're talking about it right now. I'm not allowed to say anything yet. We'll see.
Q. You probably have grown about three or four inches since signing with Joe Gibbs. Do you know how much you've grown mentally in that time?
JOEY LOGANO: I've grown a lot. Every race I go to, I've learned a lot. Especially this last race, running behind Harvick, I was watching his line, watching how he gets into the first turn after a restart. I learned a lot there paying attention to that in the beginning of the race. I think that's what won me the race at the end of the race.
He would get into the first turn and wheel it in there, just drive it in so hard. I didn't know how he was able to do that. Last restart I just said, Heck with it. I drove it in as hard as he did. He was trying to clear me before we came out of that corner, kind of slide up in my groove. We pretty much drove in the same difference, got back on the gas way too early because he was trying to clear me. I heard him get back on the gas; I got back on the gas. We both knew we had to lift again before the corner was over. It got big coming off that corner. That's the corner that won the race.
Q. Can you talk about what it's like when you finally got your public driver's license.
JOEY LOGANO: Pretty neat. I don't have to bum a ride no more on anybody. It's been, what, a year now since I had it. Definitely nice I don't have to call everybody to go somewhere. It's nice.
Q. You're going to be celebrating your birthday. Anything special planned for that day?
JOEY LOGANO: No. Just another day for me. I'll probably go out and hang out a little bit. I think I'll probably go work out. Just another day for me.
Q. You had the three offers in front of you, Roush, Ganassi, Gibbs. Strong teams. What put Gibbs ahead of those two?
JOEY LOGANO: I'd say the relationship that we had right off the bat between me and Joe and J.D. I just felt real at home here. We did this contract in five days and it was done. They didn't mess around. That's kind of the way I liked it. Got done quick, I was able to keep racing. It was pretty neat.
Q. What about their equipment, the fact they put you in some pretty strong equipment? Has it borne out for you, you made the right decision?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, for sure. When they said we were going to move right into the Busch shop, run our stuff out of here, I couldn't ask for anything more. I knew I was going to get good equipment. That's what it takes. You got to run good with not good equipment to get good equipment. Once you get good equipment, you can run real good like we are right now. It's real good.
Q. Fans that may not know what a developmental driver is, besides being locked into a contract, what do you do for Joe Gibbs?
JOEY LOGANO: I drive the Busch East car for Joe Gibbs Racing and been doing real good this year. We won three out of four races. Just couldn't really ask for anything more right now.
Q. Do you do any testing for the Cup and Busch guys?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I do some of it sometimes. Last year I did quite a bit of Cup tests. This year I haven't done as many. I know some are coming around the corner here.
DENISE MALOOF: Joey, that's all we have for you today. Appreciate you coming on with us, participating. Thanks for your time. Congratulations again.
JOEY LOGANO: Thank you.
DENISE MALOOF: To all of you in the media, thanks for joining us today. We will see you next week.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|