Thursday, Sep 21

Joey Logano Charlotte Media Availability

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – HOW WAS IT IN THE BOOTH AND WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THE RACE? “The booth today was a lot of just hanging out and eating probably too much junk food before a 600-mile race. We were just chilling and talking to our fans. Kevin graduated from the Driver’s Only, so that was a big news event for you guys today. I don’t know if you want to write all that down, but that was huge. Outside of that, we just had some fun and unfortunately the weather got the best of us. I’m looking forward to the race. The Coke 600, a crown jewel event and one that has haunted me for a while and one that I really, really want to win. Obviously, nobody knows what they’ve got as far as their race car without practice or qualifying, but we’ve got 600 miles to figure some stuff out.”


WHAT HAS CAUSED FORD’S INCONSISTENCY THIS YEAR? “I think you’re going down the right road to understand what’s going on. Everyone had the ability to adjust their front ends, cooling packages, and we didn’t maximize as well as we needed to. I think that’s the bottom line. There’s no other way around it, so we’re constantly looking for improvements and how we can make our cars better, just like everybody else is, but we’re starting a little bit behind. That doesn’t mean we can’t win races. It just means we have to be perfect, and that means the teams are gonna have to do their jobs to really overcome some of the issues. There’s still a long season. There are still plenty of races to win and plenty of time to turn the ship around a little bit, but it’s tough right now. It’s probably gonna be tough for the foreseeable future until we can make some adjustments, but we’re still in the hunt. When I look at the races that we’re executing perfectly from a car setup perspective, pit road perspective, strategy, restarts, if we nail all of those, we can win. If we miss one of those, we can’t win. So that’s just what it’s come down to right now is we have to strive for perfection, which we do anyways, but it really matters now in how we execute.”


IT SEEMS THE SUPERSPEEDWAYS HAVE BEEN SOLID, BUT THE ISSUES ARE SHORT TRACKS AND INTERMEDIATES. “Yeah. We’re lacking downforce. That’s where we’re lacking. There was a compare done a few weeks ago and everybody got to see it, so that’s the situation. It doesn’t mean we can’t make up that difference on car setup and maximizing what we have. If we do a better job than everybody else, we can make up that difference.”


HOW MUCH OF A CHALLENGE IS THIS WEEKEND WHEN NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THEY’VE GOT. IS 400 LAPS A LUXURY IN THAT REGARD? “No, it’s hard to say it’s a luxury. If you asked us this before COVID – what was this like starting a race without practice, we never did that.  We always would have practice before the race. Now, we are kind of used to it. It’s like, ‘OK, there’s no practice, no qualifying all right. We’ll just start the race and see what we’ve got,’ so it doesn’t seem as crazy as it used to be and, like I said, we’ll figure it out. You just hope you get your heights right. Really, these days with practice you can’t change a whole bunch anyway. You can adjust your heights, some wedge, swaybar arms and toe. That’s what you got, so there’s not a whole bunch of room for adjustment anyways, so it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be.”


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE UPDATES THAT WERE MADE THIS WEEK WITH THE NEXT GEN CAR? “I don’t think any of us are satisfied until we see that it’s better, and I think that’s kind of the situation we’re in. We’ve seen how we got to this spot that we’re in now as far as safety with developing the Next Gen car, and it’s frustrating. That was frustrating, but I feel like now there’s some pretty clear data on where we’re at and at least we can understand that, and there are steps being made to move forward and make it better. So, when you think about the rear clips, OK, that seems to be better. There’s been a few rear impacts and everyone seems like they’re doing OK. It stinks that it got to the point where it’s hurt a few drivers last year, and then you see Larson and Preece’s wreck in Talladega and you’re like, ‘OK, the front is too stiff, too.’ We can’t forget about that, so then next steps are made for that. The frustrating part is that we had to wait until some big wrecks happened to make changes. That was the frustrating part, but changes are being made now and that’s good.”


IS IT EASIER TO GO AND UNLOAD WITH THIS NEXT GEN CAR COMPARED TO OTHERS? “No, I don’t think it’s any easier. If anything, it’s harder because we understand the old car probably even better than we still understand this car, but it’s the same for everybody. Nobody had any laps. It’s all going off the setups that the engineers and crew chiefs and drivers have come up with. You’re looking at sim, other races at that track or other tracks like it, and the best decisions you can make. That’s what you’ve got and we’ll see what we’ve got tomorrow. It’s kind of exciting in some ways. It’s like, ‘How good did we do?’ So, I’m kind of excited about that part.”


WAS THAT THE LONGEST BROADCAST YOU WERE A PART OF TODAY? “That was the longest time I sat in the booth not doing anything, yes. I think you were there the whole time to see it.”


WHAT WAS IT LIKE? “It’s just hanging out. At that point, you’re just kind of bs-ing and having a little fun. We just tried to figure out what was going on and what was next as far as next hits that come up. We’ve got to do those and just wait it out like everybody else. It’s really not any different. We’re just waiting to hear the answers. You’d think that we would know the answers before everybody else up there in the TV booth, but that was not the case. We found out right at the same time as everybody else did.”




WILL THAT START THE WEEK BEFORE? “Yeah, probably something like that. I did some of the iRacing stuff when we did that during COVID. Actually, I take that back. I did do it one other time, but outside of that not right yet, but we’ll do some Ford sim stuff I’m sure and try to figure some stuff out there.”


CAN YOU IMAGINE GETTING IN A CAR A MONTH AFTER YOU BROKE YOUR BACK? “With no practice. That’s really hard, I would assume. It’s gotta be hard. Alex is a professional, though. He’s been racing his whole life. He’s a good driver. I’m sure it’s gonna feel a little weird at first because you’re getting back in something going really fast and it takes a few laps to get used to it again, which I would assume that’s what it’s gonna be. You can think of the offseason most of the time and you get back in the car at Daytona and you’re like, ‘Whoa. I haven’t driven a car since Thanksgiving’, and it feels a little odd. I’m sure it’s gonna be like that. Usually, we have practice to kind of work out those things and knock the rust off, but I’m sure with Alex it’s not gonna take long – a couple laps before he’s right back at it.”


HOW WILL KEVIN DO IN THE BOOTH NEXT YEAR? “I think Kevin will do fine. The one thing that all of us sitting in this room and everyone in this industry are very blessed to have is Kevin Harvick and the fact that Kevin Harvick isn’t going away. Kevin cares about this sport. He cares about the people in this sport. Hearing him talk about the guys in the garage a lot. He talks about the guys in the garage as much as the drivers or the fans. He cares about the sport is what I’m trying to say and that is shown in so many ways that you guys don’t see. I get to see, but also in ways that the world is gonna see in the Fox booth next year, and I think that’s something that we all should be pretty grateful for because, obviously, he has a great fan following, but he also has a very loud voice within the industry that is very well respected and the fact that he’s not just taking and leaving, meaning he had a great career and he left and he says, ‘Thanks. I’m out.’ He has decided to stay involved and continue to build the sport for the next generation. That says a lot about a person to me. If it wasn’t for people like that, I wouldn’t be sitting here today talking to you and you wouldn’t be sitting here watching the sport either or writing about the sport. This, to me, is a true hall of fame move that’s probably even bigger than a few race wins that he’s had. The fact that he cares enough to continue means a lot to me.”


DO YOU GET BETTER IN PRACTICE, IN THE RACES, OR IN THE SIMULATOR? HOW DO YOU DO IT? “It’s never one thing. It takes everything, every little piece to make it better. You’re talking just speed, at least the things you just brought up are speed knob type of things. That’s usually downforce, drag and horsepower. When you’re off, that’s usually the things that will bring the speed in and, really, these days that’s all you’ve got. There’s not gonna be a new spindle or something like that. You can’t make those anymore. What you’ve got is what you’ve got for parts, so if you’re off on speed, there’s only three things you can look at to get faster, and we need to maximize our setups and stuff like that, and understand the balance of mechanical grip versus aero grip and platform, and I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job at a lot of that stuff. We just have to continue to look for the little things. It’s just gonna take some time. It’s gonna be kind of grind it out type races and it doesn’t mean that when the playoffs come around we ain’t gonna be in the hunt. We are every year and I expect to be in the hunt again this year. I’ve been through these situations before and 2018 always comes to my mind when I ended up pretty damn well. My mind is kind of set on that, that we understand where we’re off and we’re working on it and we’ve got a little bit of time before the playoffs start. We may not go into the playoffs with the most playoff points, but it doesn’t mean we can’t win the championship. That’s our situation and until then we have to be perfect all the time.”


HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR IS THAT FOURTH STAGE TOMORROW? “It’s a very important race for that reason. When you add another 10 possible points and another playoff point sitting there, it’s one of those days that if you have a good car and you’re fast, boy, you can stack in some points. You can have an amazing day, so hopefully we have that, but that’s what makes the 600 different and special and you have that added stage to it, and, really, if it goes green stage to stage, there’s not a whole bunch of opportunity on strategy. You can split it down the center. There might be few people that go long, a few people go short if it goes green, but it’s not like there’s a caution and half the cars take two or stay out or whatever. If there is a caution, it may change some things up, but if there’s no cautions, a fast car is just gonna get a lot of points, and if there is a car up front and they execute the day, they’re gonna come walking out of here with a boat load of points.”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR VISIT TO THE NAVAL STATION NORFOLK? “I was blessed enough to go for Mission 600 to go to Norfolk, Virginia, to visit the Navy Station out there. I got on a Destroyer and they gave me a tour of the whole ship and the tour was special. It was cool, but meeting the people was what really felt special to me and hearing their stories. I guess the thing that stood out to me the most is they just got back from an eight month tour and there were 14 members on that ship that have not met their kid, not met their baby yet. I guess that, to me, it gives me chills thinking about it right now. I couldn’t imagine the commitment that not only that soldier is making, but their family is making in just everyday living. That’s the way they live. They’re gone for eight months. They’re home for a couple weeks and then they’re leaving again for another three months in two weeks. So they’re going home to meet their kid for the first time. I just couldn’t imagine. I get antsy to go home after a rain delay and I’m home on Monday instead of Sunday night. Can you imagine being gone that long and you miss all of that as you fight for strangers that you have not met? Think about that commitment that these men and women do for us in this country. I guess every time I do something with the military it’s a good refresher, and I wish everybody in our country got to see what I got to see because I think that would change our culture and our perspective a lot because it is unreal. Weekends like this are great because it is in the front of everything. We’re stopping the race. We do all these things before pre-race. These things are key for us to do to be able to show our military the appreciation they deserve and it’s so easy for us to not think about that stuff because we live in our little world as we all do and everything is always great in our little world, but that’s because somebody is out there making a ridiculous commitment for us that we’ll never understand. Think about that. That was just a normal trip. Imagine going into battle and then paying the ultimate sacrifice that so many people have paid for us and a lot of them on the windshields of our cars this weekend. To me, that is unreal – that type of commitment people are willing to make for us. This weekend is special for that reason – to just show some appreciation, shake a hand, say thank you. It’s literally the least we can do. It never feels like enough. I always leave these places thinking, ‘Man, I’m not worthy.’ It’s just a special thing.  I wish everyone got to see it.”


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