Ford Michigan 2 (Logano Presser Part 2)

Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
Pure Michigan 400 Sprint Cup Post Race (Michigan International Speedway)
Sunday, August 18, 2013

YOU WERE CHASING ONE OF YOUR HEROES, MARK MARTIN.  DO YOU THINK YOU COULD HAVE CAUGHT HIM IF HE HADN’T RUN OUT OF FUEL?  ROGER, WHO IS EASIER TO HANDLE, JOEY OR BRAD?  “I can’t wait to hear that answer (laughter). No, I mean, it’s kind of ironic.  In Pocono last year, racing for a win against Mark Martin, my childhood hero, who I can honestly say I wouldn’t be sitting here today without him.  Yeah, I would never want to race against someone else. It was a lot of fun to race against him.  Could I have passed him?  I don’t know.  I was able to catch him a little bit.  The way these cars are, as you get closer to him, your car is going to start handling worse. I really felt like he was going to run out of gas when Todd told me he was two to three laps short.  Originally he was seven laps short, when the 55 came out of the pits.  So I knew that in the back of my head.  So I really thought I was racing the 29 car the whole time, doing whatever I got to do to make sure the 29 stays behind me, keep momentum up. If I was able to get to the 55 and try to pass him, that would have given the 29 a huge run, probably would have passed me, 55 would have run out of gas, I wouldn’t be sitting here. I had to play that smart, look seven or ten laps ahead, play that as smart as I could.”

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED:  “I guess the two guys are working close together.  I get a race report from Joey, very specific.  I get a list from Brad of what we need to do with the car.  I put those two together and I guess it’s working.”

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JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RESTART.  IT REALLY LOOKED LIKE YOU MADE A PRETTY BIG MOVE AT THE BOTTOM.  TALK ABOUT THE AGGRESSION AND THE FORCEFULNESS OF WHAT THAT MOVE LOOKED LIKE FROM THE OUTSIDE.   “To answer your first question, basically when it’s go time, it’s go time.  That is when everybody is going to pick it up a notch, including myself. The 55, he spun his tires a little bit on the restart, which made the 29 have to check up because he can’t beat him to the line.  That’s a tough situation as the inside car ’cause he had to check up, which gave me the run because he had to check up. I timed it just perfectly that when I got to his back bumper, right at the start/finish line, I could pull out a line and almost try to surprise him, get down there that quick that he can’t block me in time, side draft and pull him back in the apron.  Make sure you can come back up off of two, I didn’t successfully do that.  78 got by me.  I was able to run down the 78, pass him. You just have to go aggressive.  That’s what you have to do to win these things.  You just got to show that you want it more than them.  It was a race‑winning move.”

HOW AGGRESSIVE A MOVE WAS IT?  WAS THAT OUT OF THE ORDINARY? “I didn’t feel like we were going to wreck by doing it.  Yes, it was aggressive.  But it’s game time, you know.  I’m here to win.  I’m going to do what I got to do.”

ROGER, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CERTAINLY BRAD IS EIGHTH IN THE POINTS RIGHT NOW.  WITHOUT THAT WIN, HE’S KIND OF STILL IN A TIGHT SITUATION.  HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT TEAM IS?  “As far as the 2 team, obviously they’ve had some very good runs.  Probably the Sonoma thing hurt them a lot.  We had a poor run there. Brad almost won last week.  I think we’re eighth in the points.  But it’s going to be finishing in the top 10for both these guys here the next three races if they’re going to get in the Chase. I’d have to say we’re on the bubble with both guys.  I feel good about the momentum.  What we got to do is execute. There’s a lot of drivers that are going to be vying for the two wild card spots, obviously be in the top 10.”

FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEKEND, BOTH IN QUALIFYING AND RACE, JOEY HAD A DOMINANT CAR.  ESPECIALLY FOR THE CHASE RACES, ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO MORE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE GEN‑6 CARS?  IF SO, WHICH ARE AREAS YOU CAN STILL IMPROVE?

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED: “I think that everybody brings their best game to the Chase.  There’s no question we’re working on aero.  Doug Yates and Ford are working on more power.  Every week we’re trying something new. I think we need to get the reliability, which is going to be key. If you look at the drivers who are up in the points, they’ve had reliability.  We need to keep that. I mentioned the list that Brad gives us.  Every week we have seven or eight things we try to do.  That’s one of the benefits of having a two‑car team.  We can make changes so much faster than if you have three or four cars.  I think that’s an advantage we’ll have in the Chase, if we catch on something we think is meaningful and it’s a speed opportunity for us.”

JAMIE ALLISON CONTINUED:  “Echoing what Roger is saying, this is big‑time racing.  Every team is working on preparation, upgrade specifications to prepare for the Chase.  Obviously on the Ford side with the Roush‑Yates engines, continuous development on making sure we have the right specification for the right tracks into the Chase. Obviously aero, aero, aero.  We know these Gen‑6 cars are highly sensitive to aero.  A lot of work through our CFD analysis to make sure we understand how these cars behave obviously by themselves and in the race. Also race craft and race strategy.  There’s a whole host of things that one prepares for to enter the playoff version of the season. The short answer is, absolutely, we’re prepared for the Chase.”

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED:  “One of the things I think is going to be important as we go into the Chase is that NASCAR takes a look at the cars that have been submitted and just see how far, as they’ve made rule changes over the last, what, 20 some races I guess it is, how close are these cars. It’s hard to tell. Once you’ve had a car for three or four years, you have a pretty good idea where we are.  I think there’s lots of discussions by teams and manufacturers about, Where are we? As they take our engines and cars to the tech center, I think a good aerodynamic look will make a big difference going into the Chase so we have a level playing field.  That’s going to be important.”

JOEY, YOU TOUCHED ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MARK MARTIN GROWING UP.  HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AND DID YOU SPEAK TO HIM AFTER THE RACE? JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED:  “I have not got to see him after the race.  It becomes a whirlwind after you win, all the interviews and stuff you got to do.  I haven’t gotten to talk to him yet. Obviously he’s been a huge help in my career, like I said earlier.  It’s good to be out there racing against him still.  There is a wealth of knowledge from doing this for so long, being in this sport for so long.  You can gain a lot of experience and learn a lot of things from him.  He’s a cool guy to have on your side and be out there running door‑to‑door with.”

YOU HAVE A FEW TOP‑10 FINISHES COMING INTO THIS RACE.  BEFORE YOU GOT SOME CONSISTENCY GOING, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SEASON, ITS FIRST 19 RACES?  JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED:  “A rollercoaster to say the least.  We’ve been very strong, even the beginning part of the season we had some issues, was able to work through that and found or consistency, got all the way up to 10th in points a few races ago. We had two straight 40th‑place finishes with a couple tire issues that we had at Daytona and Loudon.  From there it’s been okay.  We’ve had four straight top 10s since then, including a win today. We have to keep that momentum going.  Just goes to show, as long as nothing goes wrong, knock on wood, we’ve been pretty good.  We’ve had some good speed in our cars and been in the top 10.  We have to keep that momentum and that consistency for the next few races.”

ROGER, IF YOU HAD TO COMPARE JOEY LOGANO TO ANOTHER OF THE GREAT DRIVERS THAT YOU’VE HAD THROUGHOUT YOUR ENTIRE CAREER, WHO WOULD THAT DRIVER BE AND WHY? ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED:  “Well, it’s so difficult.  We’ve had so many great drivers.  I think I answered the question the same way before.  I really focus on the drivers we have today.  They earned the right to race for our team, represent our company and our employees. Joey fits the mold.  He reminds me a little bit of Rick Mears.  Understated, stands on the gas.  I can just see him maturing.  As he come to our team, he had a great opportunity with Gibbs.  I watched him.  He beat the hell out of us in the Nationwide so many races.  We knew he knew how to win.  I think giving him a chance to come with us, he’s just matured and he’s exactly what we expected.  As you saw today, he’s not afraid to stand on the gas when it counts.”

JAMIE, FORD’S NAME IS THE FIRST TO BE PLACED ON THE MICHIGAN HERITAGE TROPHY.  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO FORD?  WHAT WILL YOU DO TO LET THE PUBLIC KNOW THIS HAS OCCURRED? JAMIE ALLISON CONTINUED:  “Well, certainly we think it’s a great idea to have this trophy now (smiling).  We’re going to let the public know that we’re the inaugural winners.  We haven’t quite decided how we’re going to make use of that. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to reinvigorate the competition between the manufacturers as well.  We take a lot of pride in where we place as manufacturers.  We’re proud to have this home win and keep this trophy till next June.  It will be important you win that August race so you can keep the trophy longer.”

EARLIER YOU WERE ASKED ABOUT SOME ADVERSITY YOU FACED THIS SEASON, BEING IN THE ‘BAD GUY’ ROLE.  DID IT BOTHER YOU AND DID YOU SEEK OUT ANY ADVICE TO GET THROUGH THAT TOUGH STRETCH? JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED: “Yes and no.  Obviously when you go on Twitter and read that everyone hates you, it doesn’t make you too excited to read something like that. I know who I am.  I know I did the right thing.  I’m confident in myself.  There’s no regrets for any of that.  I can’t control what everybody thinks about me.  I know the people that really know me know how I am.  You can put that stuff behind you. I just race like I always have.  I didn’t change a thing.  That’s what has got me here and is going to keep me here, keep me winning races. No, I really tried not to let it bother me at all.  Sometimes it’s easier than other times.  For the most part I had a good support group around me to get me through stuff like that.  Obviously having a great team and running well answers everybody.”

ROGER, BOTH YOUR GUYS ARE ON THE BUBBLE TO MAKE THE CHASE.  CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHERE MAKING THE CHASE RANKS AS FAR AS WHETHER IT’S A SUCCESSFUL SEASON OR NOT.  WHAT TYPE OF ADVICE ARE YOU GIVING YOUR GUYS OVER THE NEXT THREE WEEKS? ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED:  “Well, I’d have to say we’re all here to make the Chase, win the championship.  We’ve had cars in the Chase continuously almost since the beginning.  It would be a disappointment if we didn’t. I understand we put ourselves behind in Texas.  But I think the success that we’ve had, we’ve been competitive, we’ve forged a new relationship with Ford Motor Company, which will be a long‑term relationship.  I think Joey has forged a relationship with Shell‑Pennzoil. At the end of the day I have to look at the glass is half full.  To me that’s important.  I guess we’ll look at the scoreboard in three more races and find out whether it’s been a success or not.  But I’m going to tell our guys to do what they’ve been doing, work smart, bring their car home.  Same thing I told Hornish as he sits there where he is now in the Nationwide.  He’s got a win now.  Believe me, he’s got to continue.  That’s what we’ve got to do here in the next three races.”

JAMIE ALLISON CONTINUED:  “I know this is Cup.  I would be remiss if I didn’t have a mention about what’s going on in Nationwide. We have top‑level teams competing for championships.  Somebody asked earlier what’s wrong with Ford. NASCAR is made up of all these series.  In one of the series, Ford is stellar, won 10 out of the 20 races, team owners, points, drivers, manufacturers. It just shows the potential, the capability of this combined strength of this team sitting right here.  The ability is there. The capability is there.  It’s the same people who work on these cars.  We’re prepared for a brighter future in Cup.

GIVEN THESE LAST THREE RACES, WHAT DO YOU DO?  WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY GOING INTO THOSE FINAL THREE TO KEEP HIM IN FIGHTING FORM? TODD GORDON CONTINUED:  “We will start out with a test tomorrow.  We’re in Richmond tomorrow.  We came out with kind of an aggressive testing program leading up into the Chase.  When we identified we were going to be in the bubble position with both race teams, I don’t feel there’s been a separation of effort.  Roger talked about it before, but we race as one team with two cars.  I get everything Paul does and Paul gets everything I do. The effort has been completely behind both of us.  We’ll continue to focus on closing up the 17 points we need to 10th, and that starts tomorrow with a test at Richmond and on to Bristol. If you look at the races coming up, we ran really well at Bristol in the spring before an altercation.  We ran well at Richmond.  But we saw that as an opportunity to take running well to how do we make victories again.”

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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