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MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES: FIREKEEPERS CASINO 400

June 10, 2019

Todd Gordon Joey Logano

Brooklyn, Michigan

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Todd Gordon, crew chief of the No.22 Team Penske Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Joey Logano.
If you have any questions for Todd...

Q. When you saw Harvick take four tires, did you think about taking four or was it two all the way?
TODD GORDON: Not at all. It was two all the way. Just didn't feel like the track position you give up, the cycle that would happen, I didn't see that happening. We had really good balance. We had taken two earlier in the day. I didn't feel like we'd given up any speed.
Really proud of the guys because they executed the plan we had forwarded. I feel like we hit it right on the tee.

Q. With this being your second win of the year, knowing you've been pretty much knocking on the door, do you feel this is going to open the floodgates when you get to Chicagoland? What is it about this package that makes it suitable for a lower bank racetrack like Michigan?
TODD GORDON: I mean, I thought Kansas was a good race, too. When you look at this place, we thought this coming in, this place with the newer asphalt it's got, repaved in '12 I think it was, but the asphalt is new, there's a lot of grip. You run around here just about wide open all day long. That puts it where drafting makes a big difference.
Michigan has almost become its own identity between Talladega and Daytona, the superspeedway package and intermediate package, morphed in between the two.
I think to your question, I feel like we haven't executed as well. We should have four or five wins. I'd throw one or two of them away pit strategy‑wise, made the wrong call. Bristol, honestly I gave it away. We've had a couple execution issues. We've been competitive. I think we've had good speed.
I look for this to build momentum carrying us into the last third of the regular season, where we need to get to so we're right for the last 10.

Q. Had you got behind and were mired back in traffic, was the car capable of making a run from 20th to first?
TODD GORDON: Sure. We didn't, so I can say that (laughter).
I don't know if it would or not. Honestly that's part of our strategy for the whole weekend. It's cool because we sat down as a group, including Joey, the engineers, myself, everybody at the shop, and we figured out and kind of assessed what we needed this weekend, how we wanted to make the weekend roll. Winning a pole on Saturday was part of, We've got to be fast enough to go do that because that will put us in position where we can take the speed forward.
Do I think if we got mired back in 20th on a restart, we would have made it back forward? It would have taken us a while, but I think we could have. We had a lot of speed.
The balance didn't change all day. Part of that is because you're in clean air. Even when we got behind, back to sixth, we were trying to side draft the 9, the 4 jumped beside us and pinned us in the middle. From that he made pretty aggressive moves and got back to the lead pretty quickly.
I don't know if we could have from 20th. Joking to start with. But I thought I saw a lot of cars that could come and go. The place got racy and you could draft up on somebody. It was just timing your runs so you could make the pass. If you couldn't complete the pass, you were done.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Todd.
TODD GORDON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Joey Logano, driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske, and tonight's winner.
If you have any questions for Joey...

Q. Todd said you had sat down earlier in the weekend and laid out a plan, that it absolutely worked to perfection. Can you answer honestly, had you been caught back in 20th on a restart, would it have been possible to work your way back to the front?
JOEY LOGANO: I can't honestly answer that because we weren't back there, how that would have played out.
Yeah, I mean, they laid out a plan and pretty much filled me in on what it was going to be (smiling). I was in on the plan. I was bought in. I was good with it. It was nice to be able to show that the car had a lot of speed throughout the whole race. I'm proud of that.
What I'm more proud of is the way we handled everything throughout the weekend. We unloaded with speed, but the car didn't drive good. We were able to put some handling in the car, got the car driving decent. Qualifying on the front row and putting it on the pole was huge, paid dividends throughout the whole race.
The execution, the strategy, the pit stops. The driver did pretty good, too. Made one mistake, but made up for it. That's good. Ultimately Victory Lane.
You don't have days like that that are so close to perfect. That doesn't happen very often in our sport. Like I said, very proud of the effort that we've had really the last few weeks.
But from the execution side, this time we had the speed and had the execution going along with it. That's what really paid off today.
Ultimately getting a Ford and bringing a Mustang into Victory Lane for the first time at Michigan. I'm very proud and honored to be the guy that's bringing a car like that into Victory Lane for the first time at a racetrack that's in their backyard.

Q. You didn't seem to have the challenge that a lot of guys did when they were running second. They would get stuck behind you. What was it like for you? How were you able to do what they weren't?
JOEY LOGANO: I don't know. Well, I mean, I think there's a lot that goes into it. If it was one thing, it would be pretty simple, right? But it's not. It takes the car, it takes the spotter and driver being on the same page. It takes everyone really understanding what's happening around you at that moment.
There's times that certain cars just can't do what we did today, right? We had a great car that allowed me to execute moves and be successful with them. Sometimes you have a car where you can make these moves, but you can't successfully pull them off. That's when you never get there, right? That's when you run fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth. Can't just get there. We've all been there.
Today I had a car that was able to do it. We took advantage of that.

Q. Kurt, Kyle and Martin all said you jumped the final restart. From your vantage point, how did you feel about that?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I was able to see right in front of me. I hit it when I got there. Had a good start, though. It was a good one. That one felt good (smiling).

Q. Kurt said he was a little disappointed to see the caution with the last couple laps to go. Were you more nervous when they were reeling you in before the caution or did you think you had a better chance with the caution?
JOEY LOGANO: I felt like we were in great shape before the caution came out. I thought that's where I wanted to be. Two cars behind me, the 19, nothing against them, but his car didn't handle very well, I could tell from behind me. He was not going to be able to pull off a move to pass me I didn't think, without a lot of help from the 1 at some point. I didn't think that was going to happen in a couple laps. I felt pretty confident I was in good shape there.
Then the caution comes out. To be honest with you, as the leader, you're like, Oh. The race fan part of me is, Heck, yeah, this is going to be a great race for everyone to watch. I'm glad it worked out for both of us. We were able to win the race and the fans were able to get something really exciting there at the end. Not that it wasn't an exciting race. A lot going on, moving around on the racetrack.

Q. I checked into your radio a little bit, listening to T.J. giving you directions, talking about what the guys were doing behind you. Sounded more like a restrictor plate race. How big of a role did T.J. play in the victory today for you?
JOEY LOGANO: A big amount. Really big amount. He's great. He's a great spotter. I'm fortunate to be able to work with him. The chemistry we have when we're on the radio, I know what he's saying, I know what it means. There's some lingo that goes along with that that took us some time to figure it all out. Pretty much close my eyes and know what's going on. I can relisten to the race and know exactly what was happening without seeing it. That's his job, right? He's a visual communication expert is what I say (smiling). He does a dang good job at it.
Yeah, super important to get all the information of what's going on around me, whether it's under caution telling me what has happened on other restarts, what's going on as far as cars behind me in the moment, even sometimes what's going on in front of you. Can't see much. Big spoilers. When you're tucked up right on somebody, you can't see through the car to see what's going on in front of that person. When you're checked up tight to another car in front of you, he's spotting in front of me.
He said he went through three batteries today. He probably did. He was definitely on that button a lot.

Q. On a final restart, do you base what you do based on who is around you or do you base it more on what your car is good at that point in the race?
JOEY LOGANO: Yes (laughter).
A little bit of both. You know the strengths in your car, what you can and can't do with it. I mean, we've had plenty of restarts. Fortunately I had a lot of front row restarts from the lead, was able to kind of put some of those together of what certain cars can and can't do on restarts to get to that point.
You kind of think about that stuff, Okay, what gives me the best shot of securing the lead before I get to turn one? That was the goal, right? You don't want to be two‑wide when you get there. I wanted to be single file, being able to lunge out there a little bit. We were able to do that, so that was a key moment for sure.

Q. Do you think when those guys are telling us you went early, they're trying to influence you on the next restart?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm sure. I don't know. Talking to deaf ears.

Q. You're the first driver to win from the pole this year.
JOEY LOGANO: Really?

Q. Is there a reason maybe here qualifying and race trim were more similar or just a matter of circumstance?
JOEY LOGANO: That's really weird. I don't know. I mean, I think there's a lot of advantages to winning the pole here in Michigan. Number one being the pit stall you get is the best pit stall in not only this racetrack but probably the whole sport when it comes to winning a pole here. That first pit stall is really good. It's really close to the camera line, which obviously puts you in what position you're in when you're leaving. The closer it is, the faster the stall. Pretty big advantage to get it here. That pays rewards throughout the whole race.
We had a fast car. We kept it out front. I don't know why it happened to be like that here. I actually don't know why it hasn't been like at that other racetracks.
I think when you go to this racetrack more than anywhere else this year there was more wide open time than any other track we've gone to outside of superspeedways. It acted more like a superspeedway, speed in your car seemed to be pretty important, that compromise of how much handling you need to downforce on the car to drag. It's a tough conversation to have. It's tough to figure out. Who knows.
Like they asked me before, if we go back to 20th, do I get back up there? I don't know. Glad we didn't have to find out.

Q. Say last year, if you were put in the similar situation of coming back from 20th, when you look at last year's package compared to this year's, what is the difference in skill set required to get to the front, stay near the front, win the race?
JOEY LOGANO: It's far more mentally challenging this year than it is physically challenging in all honesty. It's like a superspeedway, right? You're not there swatting flies as much, you're not lifting. You're on the edge. You're using the full potential of your car, but you're not going 220 into the corner any more, right? You're not on edge as long as of a period of time through the corner.
That being said, you have to use that mental capacity now to figure out how you race around the cars around you, who is good, who is not, what they can and can't do, what their trends are, what lanes go on restarts and don't, how you pass cars, all that type of stuff.
It has gotten far more important to figure out. Whether it's practice or in the race, you're constantly learning throughout this process. Especially right now, the rules are so new, coming to this racetrack for the first time, we don't know until we go through a whole race.
Honestly, you get done with the race and you probably still have six or seven new questions. You might have four or five answer, but a whole bunch of new questions you don't have answers to. We're just refining it as teams, this rules package, on how do we maximize what we have every week, from a driver, from a car standpoint, all of that.
There's so much going on that honestly our debrief sessions are longer than ever because you're trying to figure it all out right now.

Q. All three Team Penske cars finished inside the top 10. What does that say about the organization?
JOEY LOGANO: Great, good. I said this earlier. When I think of key races to win, obviously the crown jewel events that we probably all know, Brickyard, Daytona, Darlington, those type of racetracks that really stand out. This one is next in line to me because of Roger Penske, this being in his backyard. You always want to win at your home track.
Not only that, but it's Ford's home track. What that means to the Ford family is so big, I can't say how big, how much they talk about how bad they want to win at this racetrack, really in general, but particularly this racetrack, bringing home that Heritage Trophy. That means a lot.
When you're able to be that person that delivers that for them, that's a special feeling. Maybe one of the best feelings, when you're in Victory Lane, being able to see your manufacturer take home that trophy. It's a really special thing that I think all three manufacturers take a lot of pride in having.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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