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May 30, 2014 - 01:26 PM
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2014 Dover Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Joey Logano
Posted by: ASkyler on May 30, 2014 - 01:23 PM
NASCAR News
2014 Dover Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Joey Logano


Joey Logano is gunning for his fifth straight NASCAR Nationwide Series win at Dover when he jumps behind the wheel of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang Saturday afternoon. Logano is also looking for his second Cup victory of the season in his No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion. Logano discussed the weekend ahead with media members Friday morning.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion - YOU’VE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS HERE OVER THE YEARS, ESPECIALLY IN THE NATIONWIDE CAR. TALK ABOUT THAT AND WHAT FIVE STRAIGHT WINS HERE WOULD MEAN. "Hopefully we get the win tomorrow. Hopefully our Hertz will be fast later on here in practice. This has been a great race track for me. It is one of my favorite race tracks because of the success here. To be in that group of guys that have won five races at a row at a race track with Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Busch and Jack Ingram, it would be an honor to be there. We will have to see what our Mustang has in practice here in a little bit. This is definitely my favorite track and it is close to home for me. I grew up in Connecticut and we aren’t too far down the road from there. This is a neat place to run at."

 

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YOU’VE ALSO HAD ONE REMARKABLE CRASH HERE. WHEN YOU HAVE A HIGH SPEED CRASH LIKE THAT AT A TRACK LIKE THIS, DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE OUT THERE? "I don’t think about it but all you guys make me remember it. It is funny, every time I come here it is brought up. I remember the year afterwards I came here after that crash and they had the program and it had one of those things when you change the angle of it that it changes the picture. It had my car in the monsters hand and he was slamming it into the ground. I was like, ‘Alright, I am back.’ It is definitely one of those highlights that will always be there for Dover and I have accepted that and it doesn’t bother me anymore."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO USE EXPERIENCES FROM DIFFERENT SERIES’ TO RUN HERE? "I think Nationwide to Sprint Cup is a big difference in the way you drive the car here. This year it might be more similar. It seems like everywhere we have gone the Cup cars are closer to the Nationwide cars in terms of the downforce level they have, the grip they have and horsepower wise it is the same but you have so much drag that it feels a little more like a Nationwide car. I would assume that would bring them a little closer to each other. It takes something different in a Nationwide car to go fast than it does in a Cup car and that is the same thing from Cale Conley. He is coming from an East car to a Nationwide car. That is an awful big jump. You are going form a five-spike tire to a radial tire. That is the biggest thing that he will see. It takes experience. It has taken me awhile. I was able to figure out fairly quick in a Nationwide car what it took but it took me longer in a Cup car. I know what I need, it is always a challenge of getting it there. Jimmie (Johnson) is really good here in a Cup car and we are hoping to catch up with him and get past him."

WE ARE HALFWAY TO THE CHASE, WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET AT THIS POINT? "We need to keep working hard. There are a lot of teams that are catching us. That is what I think. Team Penske has been really strong in this first quarter of the season. If you look at the 4 car, he has been up there and is definitely probably the strongest car on the track week in and week out. We are up there with him but I feel like he is a little ahead of us right now. We have to keep working hard to make sure we keep this momentum that we have to get into the Chase. We are in it, but to have that momentum when we get to Chicago and keep that rolling toward the end of the season. The cars are evolving so much with these new rules, everyone is starting to catch back up. When you make a big rules change like that a couple guys hit it and you will see them run well but eventually it gets tight again and tougher and tougher to have that advantage on anyone. It isn’t going to get any easier and we know that. The importance of every little thing that we do just becomes that much more significant. Whether it is what I am doing on the track, our strategy, our pit stops, all of that. It is so difficult to pass and the field is getting closer and closer, so all of that becomes more important."

AS A PAST POLE WINNER AT POCONO, HOW DO YOU THINK THE NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT WILL PLAY OUT THERE NEXT WEEK? "I think you will see similar to where we have been all these other places. You will see cars trying to get clean air. The draft will be a good thing down the straightaway but a killer in the corner. You have ot weigh out what the pros and cons are there. If someone gets lucky and gets a draft at the end of the lap it might be great. Trying to time that out and to plan that is nearly impossible. If you look at the trucks, when they go there it will be all about the draft. They will be out there three or four or five cars in a pack trying to draft up and make a good lap there because the on throttle time is so much more than what we have in a Cup car there. For the most part, I think you will see something pretty similar that you have seen at the other tracks, trying to get clean air to get a decent lap in."

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW FORMAT? "I like it. I think it is pretty cool. Unfortunately, I have won a lot of segments but not the right segment, I have only done that once. I have won the second and first one quite a bit. Those are frustrating when you win the first segment and don’t back it up and qualify third or fourth. We can’t be down about our qualifying efforts on the 22 team or Team Penske in general. Brad has been qualifying really well and we have taken to this new format pretty well. I think we have had fast race cars and been able to take advantage of that."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SENSATION OF THE BANKED STRAIGHTAWAYS HERE AND HOW HARD IT IS TO ENTER PIT ROAD UNDER GREEN? "Both are difficult for sure. Even though the straightaways are very banked here they feel fairly flat compared to what the corners are, especially when you come up out of the hole and you kind of launce out of the corner and get on the straightaway and the wheel is falling out of the wheel well and the whole car is feeling really light there and then it lands back on the left side because there is some baking there trying to hold it up. The banking is a good thing. It helps us race and I think it helps us keep the cars a little more stable because if we lost all the load from coming out of the hole and had no straightaway banking there would be a lot of cars in the fence. Not that this track isn’t difficult enough as it is. It is a fun place though."

WHAT ABOUT ENTERING PIT ROAD? "It is tough because you are slowing down right in a groove on entry. Typically like at Charlotte, Texas or most the tracks you go to, you can start slowing down halfway through the corner and slow down and make it to pit road. With pit road entry being middle of the corner, you have to start lifting basically as soon as you land in the corner, if not a little before that and it makes it dangerous because if the guy behind you doesn’t know that you get run over pretty quick because nobody is expecting it at that point. The groove here is on the bottom so you are in the groove and slowing down early and it is so narrow into the corner - you can move up a little in the middle and on entry everyone pretty much runs the same lane. When someone slows down in front of you it is a recipe for disaster. You see a lot of close calls during the race from the green flag pit stops."

YOU GUYS ARE PRETTY SECURE IN THE CHASE. DOVER IS THE THIRD RACE IN THE CHASE. WILL YOU TRY ANYTHING THIS WEEKEND TO SEE IF YOU CAN GET AHEAD OF THE GAME GOING INTO THE CHASE RACE LATER THIS YEAR? "We try every time we go to the race track to get better. This race in the fall is so far away from where we are now. It is going to be a lot different. Dover is a unique race track and what you find here that works may not work anywhere else but when you come back will probably work. If you find a setup here it usually lasts awhile and you can fine tune that or at least that direction of where you are thinking for what makes a car go fast here and fine tune that when you come back. That all stays the same, but the cars are evolving so much that when we come back they will be so different again. I think it will take a little bit of a different setup. I don’t think we look at this race any different than any other race. Knowing that it is in the Chase, it is important to figure something out for the Chase race if we want to win the championship, but at the same time we don’t do anything differently than we would eveyr week."

TALLADEGA IS A WILD CARD RACE IN THE CHASE. DO YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT DOVER? "I don’t feel like Dover is like Talladega. I don’t feel like it is a crap shoot or wild card. It is a race track that you can make a difference at. As a driver and a team we can definitely make up for something here. If you have a bad race in Talladega this race can be that much more important to get that win and make sure you get to the next round. You could be taken out at Talladega and be in trouble. It could hold even more importance than we think when we come back. That is why it is important to run well here."

YOU WERE 18 WHEN YOU MADE YOUR NATIONWIDE DEBUT HERE. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? DID ANYONE MENTOR YOU HERE? "I remember my first Nationwide start here. It was interesting. I think I finished seventh or eighth and I was mad about it. I thought we should have run better than that. It has been one of those tracks that I have taken to right off the bat. I had a lot of good teammates in the past to be able to study what they liked in a race car and obviously Kyle (Busch) was my teammate for awhile and this is a good race track for him and I was able to learn a lot from him and see what he does and what he looks for in a car and I am always looking around to see what people are doing and trying to be a student of the sport in any way I can to make myself a better driver. Whatever is handed to me or what I can see on TV or whatever I can talk to someone about and learn, it never changes. There are always people trying to catch you and trying to get better and you better do that too."


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