Toyota NSCS Michigan Notes & Quotes – Joey Logano

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Joey Logano — Notes & Quotes Michigan International Speedway – June 15, 2012

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How do you feel about your season? “We’ve been on a role here lately.  We just have to keep that going. We’ve had a lot of top-10 finishes on the Sprint Cup side and on the Nationwide side we’ve been able to knock off four wins here.  We just have to keep that rolling.  I thought we had a pretty good test yesterday — I think our car is pretty good.  We’ll race the same car that we tested yesterday — we just take all the data off of it and some of the other things.  We’ll practice it today.  We did the same thing last week and I felt like our Home Depot car was pretty good.  I felt like we were able to get our car decent at the beginning of the second test session there yesterday.  We were pretty good on the front side and fell off too hard on the back side of a run.  Then we were able to switch it up and be decent on the front side and we hung in there pretty long.  I feel like right now we’re one of the better cars out there and we just have to keep working on that.  We were in this position last week where we had a really good car and we just need to make the right adjustments from here on out to make sure we keep it a good car.  It’s easy to get caught up in where the tracks going and what’s going to happen, and you just have to be aware of what you think is going to happen at the beginning of the race.”

Is this season your time to shine? “I’ve always thought it was time for me to shine.  This year doesn’t change my attitude any, but winning races and stuff like that obviously makes it look like that.  That’s alright with me.  I think we’ve had some really good cars here lately.  I think Adam Stevens (18 Nationwide Series crew chief) and Jason Ratcliff (20 Sprint Cup crew chief) are doing a really good job on both race cars and giving me what I need to win races.  They’ve given me the stuff and we’re making the best out of our opportunities out there.”

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Will you focus on winning races or gaining points during the next 11 races? “I think it’s a little bit of both.  I think you always have to go out and get the best finish you possibly can, but if it takes a chance to win a race and you have to risk something — if you’re in that position to win a race, you better take that chance to win that race because that’s going to be very important.  At the same time, you don’t want to cost yourself too many points by taking that risk.  Whether that’s doing an aggressive move on the track or that’s risking pit strategy, fuel mileage or something like that.  I think you have to weigh the consequences out before you do a lot of things.  You look at what Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) did last week – he weighed it out different than we did.  There’s different philosophies on everything, but I think when you have a shot to win you have to take that shot because they mean so much.  These races are hard to win. Anytime you get a chance to win a race, you want to take it because I found out its pretty fun to win these things.”

Are you scared of the speeds at Michigan? “It doesn’t make me scared, but I’m probably not smart enough to be scared.  I think our cars are really safe and I think I’m not really worried about it.  I think if we have a tire issue or right-fronts (tires) are blowing out then yeah, that’s going to hurt a lot.  As a race car driver, you don’t think about that when you’re out there.  I think if you do think about it when you’re out there, you probably don’t belong out there.  There’s always a risk every time you strap in a race car and I think everyone notices that, but I think we also notice how much safer our sport is compared to where it used to be.  I guess it’s in your mind, but it’s not in your mind.  It’s not in your mind when you’re out there.  When you’re out there racing you don’t think about it before you make a move on somebody about, ‘Man, if we crash, this is going to hurt.’  That doesn’t go through your mind.  You’re out there trying to win races.”

Is there something magical about going 200 mph? “I think a 200 mile per hour average is really cool – something really neat.  I think you’ll see a lot of cars qualifying tomorrow at the 200 miles per hour average, which is going to be really neat.  I remember the first time I hit 200 miles an hour at an ARCA test at Kansas and I thought that was one of the coolest things.  I was looking at the data and we were at like 199.5 and I was like, ‘Man, I want to hit 200 – that would be cool.’  I think I was like 16 or 17 at the time and I thought that was the coolest thing.  Now, it’s just a number, but it’s cool to see it.”

What are you expectations when you visit tracks for the second time this year? “I think anytime you come back to a place the second time, especially with myself with the new crew chief, is going to be a gain for sure.  Daytona is a beast of its own – it’s going to be Daytona and our Nationwide car here is actually going to be pretty similar.  When you come to any of these race tracks coming up for the second time that Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and I are going to have a notebook on now that we can go off a lot of things that we worked on before I think is going to help us.  When we’ve had bad races, we’ve been able to diagnose where we think we went wrong and you want to put those theories to the test and see if we fixed it.  You’re excited anytime you come to these race tracks the second time, especially with a new crew chief.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) Does Joe Gibbs Racing focus more on the positives of this season or the negatives? “I think we focus on the positives — something that you always want to focus on, but at the same time, you can’t lose focus on the problems you had and trying to learn from it.  I think you need to learn from your mistakes, learn from Kyle’s (Busch) engine problems last week, learn from a bad run that we had at Charlotte — learn from it and forget about it.  If you keep dwelling on it, you’re not going to help the moral of yourself or your team and it makes it even harder to fix it and get yourself out of a hole.  We have to be smart enough to look at where we went wrong and then come up with an answer and forget about it and then go on to the next week.”

Are you planning to talk with Detroit Red Wing goaltender Jimmy Howard on Sunday and compare goaltending notes? “Easy with the term goaltender with me — I let a lot of them in.  I think it’s really cool — I’m a hockey fan so I think it’s neat anytime any different athlete comes to our races.  I think it’s cool to meet them and talk to them.  We do have stuff in common with them — they go through a lot of the same stuff that we go through as far as the pressure stuff and all that.  I think it’s cool, I think it would be really neat to meet him and I have a lot of respect for hockey players.  Watching them train and how hard it is and how talented those guys are, how quick they can be — their hand-eye coordination with passes and stuff is amazing to me.  It’s cool to meet guys like that for sure.”

Do you approach road courses differently than ovals? “You do some things differently.  You prepare yourself in a different way, I guess , because you’re doing it a little different. We did go to VIR (Virginia International Raceway) and do a test there with our Home Depot car.  I think that went well. There were a lot of cars out there too — there were probably 30 something cars there.  A lot of guys were preparing for it.  I think as a driver you do about anything you can to get used to the track again — on the iRacing sim (simulator) or whatever and just getting yourself back in the groove and then the typical stuff.  You watch the tape of the race from before and you go over your notes from last time and kind of figure out what you want to work on when you came back there again.  You’re just trying to get yourself back in the road course mode — it’s just a little bit different as a driver because we don’t get to do that every week so it’s a little bit of a challenge going back and forth.  I think after last year, we’ve had some really good runs on road courses the last two times we were there and I had a lot of help with Max Papis and all that.  I’ll call him up again and just get ourselves back in the right mode and try to do it again and finish a little better than we did last time.”

What will the Nationwide race be like at Michigan? “We can’t push all the way around the race track — I know that.  I think the race is going to be pretty cool.  I got behind a car and the draft you get is unreal.  You’re like, ‘Wow, this is going to be pretty crazy.’  I think if this track widens out – right now it’s maybe two lanes wide-ish.  I think if it widens out, it’s going to be crazy and I’m sure it will widen out some, but man the run you get down the straightaways and you will see some push-drafting for sure down the straightaway and people will be lining up.  I think it’s going to be really, really hard and it’s going to take a really stellar car to break away from the pack.  I think there’s going to be a lot of guys just drafting and getting a run at the end of the straightaway and bonzaing into the turn – that that point, once you’re in the turn you get up on someone’s door or something like that, those cars are going to be getting loose and all that.  It think it’s going to be very, very entertaining, especially on restarts.  I don’t think it’s really going to spread out that much.  I think these cars have so much drag on them – watching Nationwide practice already, there are a couple different theories out there.  Some guys are going out there trying to take all the drag off their car and posting fast lap times.  You look at that and say, ‘Alright, in the race is that going to be better or going to be worse?’  None of us know that yet.  None of us know if you’re going to want the downforce or you’re going to want the speed down the straightaway in your car.  I think people are trying to find a happy medium out there.  It’s a little bit of a guessing game, but it’s a lot of fun right now.”

Do you feel the unknown aspects are the same between Pocono and Michigan? “I’d say they’re about the same.  I feel like a lot of us learned a lot last weekend on how these repaves could be.  I think we learned a lot at Phoenix about Pocono and we learned a lot at Pocono for here (Michigan).  We’re all kind of figuring it out little by little, but I think we’re going to have to be aware of like the first lap at Pocono last week – it was icy, there was no grip at all and you seen that with a lot of guys sliding all over the place.  I was glad I was in the front of it because it looked pretty hairy back there.  If it rains, I think it’s going to change a lot.  Hopefully, it doesn’t rain and the track keeps widening out.  You seen at the end of the Pocono race, there was definitely a couple lanes there and people moving around some and there was some good racing.  I would assume the same thing would happen here – I assume it would get even wider here. We’ll see what happens.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) How much side bite do you have with the tires? “I think the tire itself has a lot of grip.  I think the aero balance is going to change a lot.  You’re going faster so you’re going to have more downforce on your car because you’re going 218 miles an hour, but now when you lose that downforce then that changes a lot more.  You’re going to lose a lot more downforce so the same goes for side force — when you get up next to a car.  You’re going to make that move to get underneath them — are you going to get freer underneath them?  Probably, probably will because you’re relying so much on air.  The tire itself has got plenty of grip and it doesn’t fall off that much and it’s very similar to last week.  We’re going so fast that we have so much downforce on our cars right now.”

Will it be better to pass on the outside or the inside? “You’ll probably want to be on the outside, but if you get pushed outside the groove — you’re not going to want to be on the outside.  I think it’s going to be a little combination — it’s definitely going to be give and take out there.  It’s going to need to be give and take out there unless you’re going to see a lot of wrecks like that.  I say this every week — they’re the best race car drivers in the world out there racing against each other.  Even when they get in bad spots, it’s amazing how many times we pull out of it.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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