Saturday, Dec 03

Ford Performance NASCAR: Logano Discusses F-150 Lightning at Martinsville

Ford Performance NASCAR: Logano Discusses F-150 Lightning at Martinsville Ford Performance Photo

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – WHAT TURNS YOU ON ABOUT THIS F-150 LIGHTNING TRUCK?  “I think the F-150 Lightning hits all of the markers that I want out of a truck.  It’s got the styling.  It has the use-ability and it’s really fast.  I mean, you remember the Ford Lightnings from before and that was all about performance and speed.  This thing is going 0-60 in under four seconds.  None of them go that fast before, so this is the fastest Lightning there’s been.  You can put your kids in the back, and fill it up in the bed and then you’ve got a frunk you can put even more stuff.  For someone like me that has three screaming kids, this is the perfect vehicle.  I think for someone that’s going to the construction site, it’s the perfect vehicle because you can plug your stuff right in the back.  You can plug all your power tools in and whatever you need.  Someone at home, one of the big selling pieces is you can light up your home when the power goes out with this thing.  You can plug it right in, so there are a lot of really cool, special pieces with this truck.  One of my favorite pieces is the styling, personally.  It looks like the F-150.  Everyone loves Ford F-150 for so many reasons and I think one of the most important ones is that it looks cool.  People love customizing them.  People love just the way they look in different trim packages and this truck kind of continues that tradition of good looks.”


DO YOU WORRY ABOUT HAVING THAT MUCH POWER ON REGULAR ROADS DRIVING AMONGST NORMAL PEOPLE?  “Do I worry about it?  No, I’d rather have all of it.  I want all the power you can give me.  There’s never enough.  You can control it.  There’s a pedal for that.  It’s not a switch, it’s a pedal and you can modulate that (laughing).”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY AND HOW THINGS ARE EVOLVING?  “To see the technology of what electrification is and the sustainability piece that goes along with that is pretty impressive how quickly that’s developing.  You think about where electric vehicles were three years ago, one year ago, and where is it gonna be another year from now?  Things are just happening so rapidly – battery technology, charging stations being put in.  I obviously work with Shell and there’s a lot of work on that side of it that I see, and then everyone is just working together because it’s happening.  It’s gonna happen.  We can’t stop it.  It’s gonna be a big movement in our world and especially in our country, so we have to adapt.  We have to look for the advantage in that and also see that it is good.  It’s good to do.  It’s good for our world, so it’s kind of that next thing.  Think about when vehicles came out in general.  That was a big movement.  You think of other game-changing things.  Power to homes.  That was a big thing.  When you got a smart phone.  That was a big thing.  Electric vehicles is the next big thing.”


WHAT COLOR DID YOU ORDER?  “I got a blue one ordered.  I have a blue Tremor right now that I like and my son loves it.  His favorite color is blue, so we got blue mainly because he thinks it’s cool and I think it looks cool.  It’s Ford blue.  It makes sense.  It looks nice.”


ARE YOU READY TO RACE A HYBRID OR ELECTRIC VEHICLE?  “Yeah, I think we can in the future.  I don’t think it’s too far down the road if you ask me, to be honest with you.  I don’t think we want to completely get rid of the internal combustion engines.  I think there’s a lot of tradition behind that, so I think there’s a lot of stuff about just fans in general that love the sound and the feel of what NASCAR brings to the table.  But I think if you do some kind of hybrid with some electric engine in there somehow, I think that can be a real game-changer to where you can kind of check both boxes.  I think that’s important for the OEMs that are in our industry right now that, ‘Hey, this is where it’s going.’  We have to be able to touch on both of those things to be able to stay relevant and keep the interest of OEMs and bring new ones in.”


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BRISTOL DIRT NEXT WEEK?  “I’m excited.  I had fun last year.  You just kind of have to go with it.  There’s still a lot of unknowns.  We might know a little bit more than we did last year, but you have a whole new car now and there are areas I still want to be better at.  That’s why I’m running the Truck race, so I don’t know.  We’ll just kind of get up there and go racing like we do every other week.”


DO YOU WANT TO SEE DIRT CONTINUE MAYBE AT A DIFFERENT TRACK IF THIS BRISTOL EXPERIENCE DOESN’T WORK OUT, OR BE DONE WITH IT COMPLETELY AND STICK TO PAVED TRACKS?  “I don’t think it’s a dirt experiment anymore.  We already did it once.  That was an experiment last year and I think most people liked it.  I say this about our sport all the time, there are people that love short track racing.  There are people that love superspeedways and hate short track racing.  There are people that love mile-and-a-half racing.  We get to do it all and some weeks you’re gonna see your favorite track and some weeks you’re gonna see something completely different.  The fact that NASCAR is going to different things.  We just ran the Clash.  I thought that was crazy, but it was actually pretty good and really big for our sport.  What’s next?  We can race anywhere.  We’ve proven we can put on a great race and an entertaining race for the fans, and a competitive race for the competitors out there.  I don’t care where we go.  Let’s do it.  I think it’s great and if that’s on dirt, fine.  If it’s at a local dirt track or Bristol, I don’t care.  I’m gonna go race where they tell me to race and try to win and I think, honestly, it’s been pretty good here the last few years of the unknowns.  When we go to those new tracks – Road America, the place packs out.  Go back to Nashville after not going there for 10 years or so, the place packs out.  So there’s something to that on bringing races to different markets that we haven’t gone to and bringing the races to the fans, whether it’s on whatever kind of track.”


IT’S ALMOST LIKE BRISTOL IS GETTING A RE-DO FROM LAST YEAR WITH THE WEATHER HOPEFULLY BEING BETTER AND THE RACE MOVING TO NIGHT?  “Absolutely, and there’s gonna be things that we’re still gonna have issues.  We still have a new car when we go there, so there are some unknowns like how the car is gonna cool?  How is the car gonna handle the mud and dirt and where is it all gonna collect?  What’s the dust gonna be like in the car?  Those types of things.  The night racing I think was something we learned last year, ‘Hey, we have to race at night to keep the dust down.’  It doesn’t matter what TV wants on that one.  We have to race at night.  That was important because you just couldn’t even see the cars and it was unsafe inside the car, so vision was important and this should be a good step in that direction.  Like I said, there will be some things we’ll have to learn and figure out afterwards.  We’ll debrief and figure that out, but I think it’s gonna be fine.  We make a bigger deal out of things than what it really is all the time and then afterwards you go, ‘Oh, that wasn’t that bad.  That was OK.  That was pretty fun.’”


IS THERE ANYTHING FROM THE TEST THAT FRIESEN DID THE OTHER DAY THAT YOU HEARD THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM IMPLEMENT?  “I think the biggest thing that we can probably do, and it’s too late now, but it’s just trying to eliminate the front windshield for the race.  There’s no other dirt cars that I’ve ever seen race with windshields in their car and that dust is one of the biggest issues, so figuring out a way to safely remove the windshield and add some kind of structure to keep big pieces of debris from hitting the driver is gonna be the number one goal moving forward after this race and what that is, and then probably some cooling options.  The goal, to me, is how do we run these cars on a tacky racetrack where there’s a lot of mud?  When it’s dusty and it’s not big clumps of mud that gets stuck on your windshield it just kind of blows over the top.  So it just kind of ties your hands on what the track has to do.  That’s what we kind of ran into last year is the track had to be dry before anyone went out there.  We saw the trucks hit the gas in their heat race and the whole windshield was full of mud  before they got in the corner, so if we had tear-offs, we’d just pull the tear-off and keep racing, but the other part of it is that mud is also gonna clog up the air inlet and overheat the engines pretty quickly too, so we’ve got to fix two issues there.”


THEY DID TAKE OFF THE WINDSHIELD.  “Yeah, but it’s too late.  It’s a week before the race.  I think it’s too late at this point.  Hey, if they say we’re gonna do it, I’m all for it.  I’ll be on Team Get The Windshield Out, but I think at this point it’s gonna be hard to get all the teams to buy into that.”


DOESN’T DUCT TAPE FIX EVERYTHING?  “I don’t know what we’re gonna duct tape.  I don’t know what we’re duct taping on that one.”


WHAT ABOUT MARTINSVILLE?  DO YOU HAVE ANY AGGRESSION LEFT OVER FOR ANYBODY?  “I think everybody wants to win here.  This is a historic racetrack, one of the most historic racetracks we go to.  It’s special to win here.  I want to win.  I think at this point we’re gonna have to win to get into the playoffs with as many different winners as there is, so we better figure it out and this is probably one of our better chances.”


IT SEEMS THIS CAR PRODUCES DIFFERENT RACING DEPENDING ON THE TRACK.  IS THAT A GOOD SIGN OF THIS CAR?  “Sure.  I think the racing is better than what it’s been over the last couple of years, in my opinion.  I think cars have been able to move around the racetrack more.  Things have been pretty good all things considered with the racing on the racetrack.  A lot of what-ifs.  There are a lot of teams making mistakes on pit road and drivers making mistakes in learning the car and understanding what they can and can’t do and just crashing them.  It’s pretty good I’d say right now.  It’s fun to go back and re-watch them right now for me and seeing what everyone is fighting.”


HOW MUCH DOES WINNING A RACE ALTER YOUR MINDFRAME IN TERMS OF GETTING PHYSICAL ON THE TRACK OR DO YOU TAKE THE TEMPERATURE OF HOW THE RACE IS GOING?  “My aggression level, to be honest with you, is the same all the time – whether we have a bunch of parts or not, or we have 10 wins or no wins I’m gonna win.  That’s the goal.  That’s what we have to do.  Now, it may change on a strategy where you may run the race completely different whether if you’re going for stage points or a stage win and setting yourself back.  I think those things probably change if you have a win, but outside of that, I think drivers most of the time are gonna race the same, they might just call the race different.”


HAS THIS CAR ALLOWED YOU TO BECOME MORE AGGRESSIVE?  “Absolutely.  The car from a door banging side of things, rubbing, not cutting tires down, we haven’t really seen that happen yet.  It didn’t happen at the Clash.  It hasn’t happened at the road courses to speak of and there’s been plenty of contact, so the car is really good from that standpoint.  The weak point is the rear toe link.  That’s definitely the weak point.  It’s crazy.  You look at these cars that get out of the race because something broke on their car after a wreck and the body looks fine.  It’s kind of funky.  Even Daytona, we saw cars crash really hard and it’s kind of like the body pops back and it doesn’t look bad, but everything behind it is crushed.  The body has been pretty fun and I think that’s something we’ve all learned.  The rear toe links, like I said, is the one thing that stands out as the weakness of the car.”


DO THE XFINITY GUYS WHO HAVE RACED THIS BODY HAVE AN EDGE?  “No.  We’ve all ran them enough now.  I’d say all it takes is for someone to run into you one time and not cut your tire down to say, ‘Oh, I guess that’s OK now.’”


ARE YOU PRO SIM?  “I wouldn’t say I’m pro sim or anti sim.  I’m kind of middle of the road on it.  I’ve seen some gains and things you can do with it, but like anything else it’s a tool with limitations and as long as you understand what the limitations are it’s OK.  If you put too much weight into it, you can really dial yourself out.”


ANY CONSIDERATION THE NEXT TIME WE GO BACK TO RICHMOND OF PUTTING ANYTHING ON THE TRACK TO MAKE IT MORE INTERESTING?  “I got asked this on the radio the other day and I thought, ‘Man, would I put anything down there?’  I don’t know.  To me, what changes at Richmond, whether the track is wide or narrow, is the tire.  It’s all about the tire when you go to Richmond.  There used to be a tire that we ran there that would really lay down a ton of rubber.  The track would get really dark and it forced cars to move up the racetrack and the track got really wide.  In the last four years, we haven’t had that and the track has been really a one to two-lane racetrack and that’s whether it’s Next Gen cars, Xfinity cars, anything else.  Whatever compound or something – you look at it after the race walking out of the track it looks like a car hasn’t even been on the track yet.  That, to me, is what I think it is.  I don’t think putting resin down or those types of things to fake it is really the answer there.  I think just if you want a wider racetrack, you would probably just change the tire.”


REALISTICALLY THE TIRE IS NOT LIKELY TO CHANGE THIS YEAR YOU’LL HAVE THE SAME THING.  “Yeah, we just have to be careful when we start talking about resin because we haven’t done that there before and if you do it in the wrong way, it can make the racing right to where the top lane is too dominant, the bottom lane can never pass anyone and everyone is gonna follow the leader.  You’ve got to be careful what you wish for on this one because when I look at Richmond I think there’s actually some really dang good racing there and it’s natural racing.  There’s no manufactured garbage in racing at Richmond.  It’s old school, go out there, you can run hard and you can pay the penalty on the long haul.  You can go soft on the front side of the run and be good on the long haul.  There’s a lot of racing strategy and as a driver that’s a lot of fun, and I think the fans that can appreciate that enjoy that race.  I watched the modified race there on Friday night when I got up there and I thought it was an incredible race because it had that in it.  It had the comers and goers in it.  Look at the Xfinity race.  They ran the whole final stage green and they finally all met up right at the end.  It was great and the Cuppers had a similar effect.  It was pretty entertaining from my side and, like I said, it goes back to what I said earlier, with fans that like that.  Some fans might not like that, but if you don’t like that, Martinsville is next week and it’s gonna be a lot different than that.  And if you don’t like Martinsville, you’ve got dirt racing next week, so NASCAR provides different types of racing for you and I think that’s the most exciting thing about being in this sport right now, whether you’re a fan or a competitor.”

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