NASCAR Preseason Thunder Testing
January 9, 2014
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: We now turn it over to Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Roger Penske. Now, Joey, talk about the excitement you have coming in here to the World Center of Racing and getting ready for the 56th running of the Daytona 500?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I've had the whole day to hang out in the trailer and get antsy and not be able to sit still because I'm full of energy right now and a lot of excitement to get on the racetrack and do something. But not looking pretty out there.
I'm ready to go. My team's ready to go. We're excited about the season. We're able to keep the whole team together for the most part and be able to build off what we had last season, which is good, because we made a lot of changes coming into last season, obviously, with the driver, but with engineers, shock specialists, car chief, a spotter, all that. So those key positions are still there and that's important to kind of build off what we had last year. We ended the season with a good year, and being able to build off of that with the same people and kind of take a step back and look at what everyone's role is and where we can all do a little better job individually and as a team and try to make a great season out of it.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about what you would do in the off‑season, Joey, about preventing cobwebs and keeping yourself in shape to come back and ready to come back testing and racing?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, like you said testing, I've signed up for every test that comes up at Penske Racing. I went to Memphis a few weeks ago. I went to Colombia for Juan Pablo's go‑kart race, which is still a race, so you're racing something. I think that's important. Just to be in the seat and driving things. Really, no matter what it is, as long as you're taking something and pushing it to the edge, I think that's important.
I think being up at the shop a lot and understanding where the team's going and what changes and what these rule changes are going to do and help direct a team in the right direction to what's going to fit my driving style or what is going to be the most important as a driver as we come into this season. I think whatever you have to do to stay in the loop and at the same time also be in a race car is the most important things throughout the off‑season.
Q. Sort of a tough year last year for the entire team. A lot of people think the wheels started coming off at the first race in Texas with the whole rear end controversy. Do you agree with that? If not, what went wrong last year and what can you do this year to make sure the year doesn't repeat itself?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't think it was a terrible season, in all honesty. We made the Chase. We were very solid. Week in and week out we were a Top 10 to Top 5 car unless we had some kind of issue. I thought despite everything that happened in Texas, for the 22 team, we overcame that. We finished fifth that day and I was able to keep pushing forward to winning races.
I feel like we've had the opportunity last year to win five to six races. We only capitalized on one, so we can get better at that. I think that's a big area for us. I think our pit stops, we're making some changes on the pit crew to make that better. I felt like our cars last year had speed in them. I felt like the mile‑and‑a‑half stuff was probably our best. It's where our strongest suit was.
But we were working hard on where our weaker points were, which I felt like were short tracks, and able to work on that stuff.
Obviously, this rule change is kind of the great equalizer right now and an opportunity for us to take these rule changes and make the most of it and try to figure out first, because there are going to be guys that are going to figure it out first and going into this season and look at these first four or five races and take advantage of that opportunity. So we want to be that guy. We want to do that.
So we're going to work hard over this off‑season to figure that out, figure out our pit stops and try to figure out how when we have the opportunity to win take advantage of that a little better than we did last year.
Q. You've already been to Memphis, so what are you learning about the new aero rules?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, Memphis wasn't a big deal for the aero rules. Obviously, that's a shorter racetrack there, and obviously the right height rule and suspension stuff we can work on and try to get a direction on which way we wanted to go for over this off‑season, when we go back to the shop to know which direction we want to build our cars in and what we want to do. That is a baseline test to see what the differences are and what will work the best for us.
Obviously, there is a Charlotte test also, but these aero changes are probably bigger than anything else this year as far as the way we're going to build our bodies and what we want in them and, obviously, how much faster the cars go through the corners now.
So that changes it up a lot. It changes your driving style. Changes your car set‑up a lot, and in all honesty it brings it more to a Nationwide car, which I don't believe is a bad thing for this 22 team. I feel like it falls into my style a little bit. I think last year you see the Gen‑6 car, that kind of fell into my hands too.
We're excited about this season. We're very positive about these rule changes, and like I said earlier, take advantage of the opportunity to be the first guy to figure this out.
Q. Brian France has talked a bit since the season about incentivizing wins and risk taking. Certainly that comes from fans who say more needs to be taking place or so forth. How do you look at that? Is that I don't want to say an insult in the sense that some people think you guys aren't doing enough. Or should there be some more out there to incentivize? How do you do it because how are you going to come up with a system where if you win races, you know, no matter what they come up with, Jimmie Johnson keeps winning the championship?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know if there's any race car driver out here that isn't competitive enough to say they're going to do what they've got to do to win a race. They're going to try to win the race. I think if there is someone like that out here it's probably not the guy that's going to win any races throughout the season.
You have to want to be the guy that's going to push ahead. When you're running second, find that extra little bit to pass that guy. I think at the same time we want to do it as clean as we can, because we race against the same people every weekend, and there is that payback that comes back to you.
You know, obviously we're going to be as smart as we can. We want to put on a clean race. That's what a good race is when you see cars racing door to door. Obviously there is going to be beating and banging and rubbing, but taking someone out is a different story, and that's what we want to put on for our fans. That's a good show to me. That's a good race. That's what we want to do.
I think these rule changes, the whole reason we did them is to try to make the cars easier for us to get around and be able to catch each other easier and not get stuck in the wake of another car. Hopefully, this is the right direction for us to go into this next season to try to help that.
But I'm pretty sure the drivers at this level are very competitive and want to win really, really bad. Because pulling it into Victory Lane and doing burnouts is really, really fun. I'm pretty sure everyone enjoys that and we'll do everything we can to make that happen. I think we're changing the cars to help allow us race each other a little easier.
Q. As a young driver, do you kind of study what Jimmie Johnson is doing as he grinds his way through these championships and wins? Is there Nick you can study about him that you could emulate later?
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, anyone that's won six championships, he's got something figured out. I really wish I knew what it was though because I look and I watch, and he's very good obviously. We can race him. We can beat him. But it's smart to take a look at your competitors and try to figure out and understand what they're doing with directions of their car, what they're doing with that part of it and as a driver what he's doing to become a very good driver.
I've done that my whole career since I've started, and I've been able to make progress as I've gotten through my career. You know, like I said earlier, you're racing against the best race car drivers in the world, in my eyes at least. To be able to beat these guys you've got to work hard because they're good.
You look at football players and teams like that, they're always studying tapes and studying their competition on how they can get better. So the same thing comes down in our sport. We're going to look at pictures of cars on the racetracks and study race footage, in‑car cameras, whatever we can find, we're going to study it and try to understand what they're doing inside the car and outside the car to win six championships because I want to get six of them too.
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