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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Joey Logano addresses Richmond cheating controversy in Chicago press conference -- FULL TRANSCRIPT

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion

“I am going to be 100-percent honest with you, I knew nothing about it until yesterday. I landed and we went to New Hampshire yesterday to do some Chase stuff and my phone was blowing up. I was like, ‘What is going on?’ That is new stuff to me. Obviously there is no transcript on our radio of anything said about it. Obviously I would have known about it if that was the case. That is stuff that happens week in and week out with spotters. They are up there communicating back and forth trying to work deals out. ‘Hey, help me out here, I will help you out here, let’s work together.’ That happens all the time. What I look at it and say is that if we didn’t pass the 38 car we were still 10th in points and still got our bonus point so it has no change in the outcome of where we are right now. I don’t look at it as being a big deal at all to be honest with you.”
ARE YOU CONCERNED NASCAR MAY LOOK AT IT AS A BIG DEAL AND PENALIZE YOU? “No, I am not concerned about it. I am focused on trying to win Chicago right now. It is not a distraction to me at all to be honest with you. I am just here to race.”
AT WHAT POINT WOULD ANYBODY ASK YOU TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU AS A YOUNG DRIVER WOULD SAY NO? “Obviously as a driver you are driving the car. You are the driver. It is ultimately your decision on if there is a team order in that way. I don’t look at what happened as being a team order. It isn’t even our team. We don’t have anything to do with Front Row Motorsports. We are Penske Racing. It is a lot different than the other situation that happened.”
THE 38 POINT DIDN’T MATTER BUT THE TWO MICHAEL WALTRIP POINTS DID. DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL ANY LESS ABOUT BEING 10TH IN POINTS? IF THOSE GUYS DON’T DO WHAT THEY DID IN THE LAST FEW LAPS. “We got one win and eight top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes. If you look at those numbers that is every bit of the top-three or four that have happened this season. I don’t feel bad about being in the Chase at all. We deserve to be in it if you look at those numbers.”

THE THREE BONUS POINTS YOU GET FOR BEING 10TH? THAT IS KIND OF A RESULT OF THE TWO MICHAEL WALTRIP CARS HOLDING BACK. “Whatever happened there happened. We are in the Chase and here to race. We are going to take those bonus points. We deserve it. We deserve to be in the Chase. We won that race and so we have our bonus points. Yeah, we run with it.”
WHAT ABOUT THE CHASE? HOW IS YOUR TEAM SET UP AND HOW ARE YOU LOOKING AT IT HEADING INTO CHICAGO? “I am excited about it. We won the Nationwide race at Chicago earlier this year. Maybe we will learn something from that. We tested here with our Shell Pennzoil car and I feel like we’ve got something pretty decent. I feel like this race track is the type of track we have been excelling at. I feel like the mile-and-a-half and two-mile race tracks our motor has run really well at those tracks and I feel like our bodies have been there and setups have been right where we need to be on that stuff. I look at it as kind of a miniature California and we had a really good run there. The race track has some tire wear and you are able to run up by the wall and on the bottom and it will be a great race because of that. I am excited about it.”
WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM BRAD SINCE HE WAS IN THIS SPOT LAST YEAR IN TERMS OF HOW TO HANDLE A CHASE AND THE PRESSURE? “I can learn a lot from him. You look at his numbers throughout the year last year, especially the Chase, you have to have a fifth place-ish average with probably a win or two to win this championship. We have done that over the last 15 weeks to get ourselves in the position we are now. I feel like we had a Chase run to get here besides a couple of races. Those couple of races we have to figure out what to eliminate. I feel like we tied six of them together without having a bad run. Now we have to tie 10 together without a bad run and try to maximize our points through that. The big thing is to stay calm no matter what happens, do the best we can, get the best finish we can. On a bad day, you have to find a way to finish 10th and top-five every other week. That is what makes it tough. Now, there is probably more than one way to do it. You look at how Tony won the championship, he won half the races and the other half were tough. You have to be able to make up for bad ones I guess. It is easier if you can be consistent and focus on top-five finishes. If the situation presents itself to win you take advantage of it.”
YOU HAD SUCH A RUN GOING INTO RICHMOND AND THEN DIDN’T HAVE SUCH A GREAT NIGHT THERE. ARE YOU CONCERNED YOU LOST ANY MOMENTUM? “No, we tried something different and it didn’t work. We probably shouldn’t have. It probably wasn’t the race for us to try something different but at the test we played with it and decided it seemed to be faster. It probably was until about 40 laps in every run and then a light switch went off and we lost all the rear grip in the car and were sliding around and it was no good. We have to try things. It is the only way to learn and get better. Maybe it wasn’t the best race to try.”

WHY DID YOU PICK RICHMOND? “We are always looking for more but that is a great question. Really deep down inside we thought it was the right call and what we needed to go faster. Sometimes it is the wrong decision. You aren’t right all the time but if you never swing the bat you never hit a homerun.”
YOU HAD THAT POINT WHERE BEFORE THE CAUTION CAME OUT, NOW HAVING LISTENED TO YOUR AUDIO, WHERE YOU REALIZED THAT YOU WEREN’T IN THE CHASE, WHEN THE 39 WAS GOING TO WIN. DID YOU EVER HAVE THAT MOMENT WHERE YOU THOUGHT THAT YOU REALLY HAD TO GO? “I think the intensity level was up the whole weekend. You know the significance of the whole weekend and what is going on. It is nerve wracking. I think we can take that experience from that and learn what we have learned on how to deal with that pressure, into the Chase when we are running for a championship. That pressure doesn’t go away after Richmond. You are focused back in trying to win this thing. That is the main goal. I thought it would be like a deep breath and everything was good but it is the complete opposite. It dumps more pressure on you. I have enjoyed it though. It is a dream come true to be in the Chase and would be more of a dream come true to win this thing. I feel like we can do it. I feel like we have a good shot at it.”
TAKING YOURSELF OUT OF THE PICTURE FOR A MINUTE, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN GIVING A TEAMMATE THE CHANCE TO LEAD A LAP OR WHATEVER AT ANY TIME DURING THE SEASON AND DOING IT IN A RACE THAT COULD ULTIMATELY DETERMINE WHO IS IN THE CHASE? “You are going to work with your teammate. That is normal. You work with them off the race track and share notes and it is the only way you make an organization strong. On the race track, yeah you give each other more room. That is a no brainer. You are working with these guys and you want both your cars to finish the best that they can. It is the only way you make your organization better. If you are racing each other and wrecking each other that is pretty dumb. I don’t think doing it at Richmond is any different than any race leading up to it. It isn’t one race that puts you into this Chase. It is the 26 leading up to it that put you in more than anything.”
DO YOU RESENT THAT FACT THAT YOU RAN YOUR RACE, DIDN’T KNOW THIS STUFF WAS GOING ON, YET YOU ARE A FOCAL POINT OF THIS CONTROVERSY? “It happens. I have been the vocal point all year on something. I am used to it at this point. I just go with the flow. I guess I have learned a lot this year and experienced a lot. It just makes you stronger. They say it is character building. I am a hell of a character now.”

WERE YOU SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT THE MWR CARS WERE HELPING YOU? I KNOW THEY WEREN’T HELPING YOU TO HELP YOU, BUT WERE YOU SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT THEY WERE WORKING TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP YOU? “Well, it wasn’t to help me. It was to help themselves. Indirectly it helped me and hey, thanks. Alright, that is fine, whatever. Like I said when I sat down here. We deserve to be in the Chase if you look at our numbers. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be here. If you want to write a story about how we shouldn’t be here because of what happened with the Waltrip cars, go ahead but I think it is a bunch of BS if you write a story like that because if you look at the numbers it proves everyone wrong.”
EVEN WITH HIS ARGUMENT THOUGH YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE CHASE. “Yeah, either way we are in the Chase and here to race and to win Chicago and the next 10 races and hopefully be sitting on stage in Las Vegas because that would be pretty freaking cool.”
DO YOU THINK ALL THE CHATTER ABOUT THIS FADES? CAN THE SPORT PUT THIS SCANDAL BEHIND IT QUICKLY? “I think it will go away. I think you have seen that. That is how our sport is. This is what we have to talk about this week and we will talk about it. Next week it will be over and we will talk about what happens at Chicago. We have no clue what that will be.”
UNLESS GORDON STARTS WRECKING EVERYBODY. “That could happen. You never know. If that happens we will all talk about that. It all goes away eventually. Some things take longer than others. Some things take a week, some take a month but eventually people forget about it and we focus on the great product of racing we have on the race track.”
LONG TERM, DO YOU THINK IT WILL CHANGE THE WAY THE TEAMS OPERATE? “I think that is why NASCAR did what they did. Obviously it is a big thing that happened there. It could possibly.”
HAVE YOU GOT ANY MORE NOTCHES? “Oh yeah, we picked it up a notch this week. He is making a joke because we had an interview after media day in Richmond and he is making fun of me because I told him how many notches we had to pick it up. We had a couple days at the shop this weekend to get a little faster and pick it up a notch. We are bringing more people to the race track, being prepared for if something goes wrong, we have people looking at certain things we have to do. I feel like we have done that. That is one area, and we look at every area to make it a little better.”

DOES THE FOCUS GO ONTO THE 22 CAR NOW AND GETTING YOU A CHAMPIONSHP? NOT TO IGNORE BRAD, BUT TO FOCUS HARDER ON YOU? “Yeah, there is additional focus on the 22 team right now to win the championship. No doubt. That is going to happen. Whoever is in the Chase they are going to try to win the championship. That is the number one goal for Roger Penske, to win the championship. Now that we are the only team in, there is a lot of focus on this team. That doesn’t mean they will forget about Brad. I would almost promise you that he will win a race before the year is out. He has been fast enough to do it quite a few times. I don’t see him not being in the Chase and not getting as good a car. Our cars are the same. Our cars all come off the same assembly line if you want to call it that. The guys do a great job making our cars very consistent. That won’t be any different but the focus on maybe what his setups will be and trying different things. They may go down some different roads than what we will to try to learn something for us to make the 22 car a little better. That is probably common to every organization that is sitting here today.”
ANY CREW CHANGES? “No, our pit crew is our pit crew and we work with them and we aren’t a team that will start shuffling around.”
DID THEY DO THAT LAST YEAR WITH BRAD? “I don’t know. I wasn’t there. They are my guys and they have gotten us to this point and they will carry us the rest of the way.”
AS YOU LOOK AT THE FINAL 10 RACE TRACKS THAT YOU ARE HEADED TO, WHICH ONE ARE YOU MOST ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT GOING TO AND WHICH ONE ARE YOU HAVING TO WORK THE HARDEST AT BEFORE YOU GET THERE? “I am the most excited about the mile-and-a-half type race tracks. Texas we are looking forward to a lot. Homestead could be a good one for us. I am not looking forward to the short tracks. Those have been our weak spot this year. Martinsville and Loudon have been our tougher race tracks. Those are the ones we have to really focus on trying to get our cars faster somehow. Those are going to be our tough ones. Whether it is me changing my style to get around better or the team coming up with a setup that fits me and makes the car go faster around that place, we will have to wait and see. I feel like the bigger race tracks will play into our hands the most.”
DOES PHOENIX FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY AS WELL? “No, Phoenix doesn’t fall into that category for me. I feel like we can run well there and my driving style works good at that place. I think it is similar to Loudon and that is why you are thinking that but Loudon is a lot different than Phoenix and there will be quite a difference there.”

“It went well. There were a lot of cars there so that is a good thing. You ware able to rubber up the race track. It got up to the fourth lane and I tried running the fifth lane which is the wall but it was too dirty and I was sliding. The track will be wide and I feel like when we tested it was pretty wide and we were able to learn something we can carry over. That is the big then. If you are the only team testing there isn’t enough rubber on the race track to learn anything. You have to take almost the first day and it will be changing every time. It is hard to get a read because the car drives different because of the track. As a driver when you test you have to be able to decipher what was the car, what was the track and all that. That part is always a challenge.”
IN YOU YOUNGER YEARS, WHETHER IT WAS BANDALEROS OR LEGENDS, BEFORE YOU GOT TO NASCAR, DID TEAM OWNERS EVER COME INTO PLAY? “It’s never come into play for me. It was me and my dad so we never had that. Pops never said to let anyone go by (laughter). No, it has never come up for me.”
WHAT IS YOUR WEAKEST TRACK? “Loudon, which sucks because it is my home track. I feel like I should run the best there because all your friends and family and everyone is up there rooting for you because you are a northeastern guy but it has been my toughest race track. That is frustration. I have won a race there and gotten some top-10s there but it is my toughest track right now if you look at the list.”
DO YOU FIND YOURSELF WONDERING OR WORRYING ABOUT THE STUFF THAT CAME OUT YESTERDAY? ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT IT BECAUSE THEY HAVEN’T MADE A DEFINITIVE DECISION YET? “It isn’t going to make my race car any faster is it? Alright, then I probably shouldn’t think about it. I am worried about Chicago and figuring out how to win that race. That is the only thing I can control. I can’t control anything else. I am focused on just winning.”


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