Joey Logano’s win today is his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and 11th of his career.
- The win is Fusion’s 68th NSCS triumph since becoming Ford’s flagship vehicle in 2006.
- Ford now has 636 all-time NSCS victories.
- Team Penske has now registered 44 NSCS wins with Ford, including 17 over the past three years.
Ford Finishing Results:
- 1st – Joey Logano
- 6th – Brad Keselowski
- 15th – Trevor Bayne
- 17th – Aric Almirola
- 18th – Sam Hornish Jr.
- 21st – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- 22nd – Ryan Blaney
- 25th – Greg Biffle
- 29th – Cole Whitt
- 30th – Brett Moffitt
- 31st – Michael McDowell
- 36th – David Gilliland
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “It was kind of interesting to watch it in the mirror. I was watching him drive in and I was like, ‘He’s going to get me eventually,’ so I just wanted to make sure I stayed at least three or four car lengths up on him so he didn’t get to me.” MORE THOUGHTS ON THE RACE. “Kyle was good at time. The 2 was good at times. The 19 was really good at times. It was interesting how many cars were up front, but the Shell/Pennzoil Ford stayed up there consistently the whole day and our team just executed. That’s what we did and that’s what we do every week. We just try to keep our heads calm and cool and just run our race.” HOW MUCH WERE YOU LOOKING IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR WITH HARVICK ON YOUR BUMPER? “There’s not much time to look in the rearview mirror, but I realized how different his line was than mine. He’d drive in so hard and almost get to my back bumper and then I’d drive off really good. It’s kind of interesting to watch a race like that when two cars are a similar speed, but in two complete different ways. That’s what’s so fun about Bristol is you can drive the car about five or six different ways and make it fast, so it’s fun to race here.” DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU”RE HITTING YOUR STRIDE FOR THE CHASE? “We’re hitting it at the right time, that’s for sure. There was a point in the season that we were racing top-10 a lot, but not necessarily for a win. I feel like we’re right where we need to be, just like we were last year at this point. I can’t wait for the Chase to start.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – “We had some speed, but not any at all in traffic. I think we were a little bit faster than Joey, to be honest, but only in clean air. Once we got in traffic I just wasn’t good enough, but Joey drove a heck of a race and I’m happy for my teammate.”
ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – WITH THE WAY THE WEEKEND STARTED DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU SALVAGED SOMETHING TONIGHT? “Not really. It was a long night. Our car didn’t handle like I wanted it to and I just put us behind from the very beginning by getting in the fence in practice and not getting enough practice. It’s not the weekend I wanted.”
RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 SKF Ford Fusion – “I put us behind the ball early by speeding on the first stop and that put us far back, which gets you in traffic and a lap down early. That hurt us right away and we just didn’t have great grip all night. The second to last run I actually thought we were pretty good, but we could never catch a wavearound break or anything like that. It’s not the night we wanted, but we gained some good experience and hopefully we come back better.” HOW DO YOU FEEL AFTER 1000 LAPS AT THIS PLACE IN ONE WEEK? “I’m fine. I could do it again. It’s just nice to get all those laps under your belt and know the race track, what it does, and learn for next time.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion – “It wasn’t a terrible day for us. I felt like we had more speed than that, but the first pit stop we got boxed in by the 47 and couldn’t get out. That put us going a lap down pretty early there and we were in the lucky dog spot for the majority of the day and had decent speed in the car. We could have probably stayed in the lead lap with some track position, but it was a good way to fight back for my guys. I’m decently happy with a top-15. That’s something we’ve got to shoot for and get better, so it’s a step in the right direction.”
BRETT MOFFITT, No. 34 NO ESCAPE Ford Fusion — “Our No Escape Ford didn’t start out great, but it was much better at the end, especially when we were in a little bit of clean air. It was just hard to pass all night. But it was a good effort by the team and the guys did a good job on pit road. We definitely would’ve had a little bit better finish if we’d hit on the right adjustments a little earlier in the race.”
COLE WHITT, No. 35 Speed Stick Ford Fusion — “That was a long night. Our Speed Stick Ford was actually better than I thought it would be because we struggled in practice since we got here. This place was my least favorite for the rest of the season, so I’m glad we got it out of the way with actually a decent day because I know we’ll do better on all the rest of the tracks.”
DAVID GILLILAND, No. 38 CashCash Ford Fusion — “Definitely not our best night at Bristol. It started out with a loose wheel in the opening laps, so we had to pit under green. And then we just had trouble getting the car to turn in the center all night. We got some damage, too, checking up from one of the accidents, but the guys made some fast repairs there. We were glad to have a group from CashCash.com out at the racetrack. Wish we could’ve had a better finish for them, but I hope they had fun and enjoyed seeing their car under the lights.”
JOEY LOGANO PRESS CONFERENCE
TODD GORDON, Crew Chief – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “I felt like when we came in the weekend, and this is one of those race tracks that once a driver and a team figures out what they need to be successful, you can focus on that. And in practice we weren’t necessarily the fastest car here, but we had pretty good speed and we had the right balance and that’s something that we build off of and we felt like in happy hour we really hit on something and we worked on that and obviously in qualifying we didn’t qualify on the pole, but we had a flat tire in the first session, so I thought that was a really good recovery for the guys. We had a right-rear going down and figured out how to get through the round and got another tire on. A fifth-place qualifying effort was an accomplishment for the team and what they did, so I’m pretty proud of everybody there and pretty proud of the execution tonight. Joey definitely had long run speed and those couple of long runs that we had when it almost went 100 laps we were really strong in the last half of it.”
WALT CZARNECKI, Vice Chairman, Team Penske – “I think the resurgence I’ll call it after the first third of the season, which was pretty good after Daytona of course, went into a little bit of a dry spell, but I think from a Team Penske perspective things started to come together at Kentucky. I think for those last six races now we’ve been in contention and we’ve won two of them and had the real opportunity to win those races as well, so I want to congratulate Todd and Joey, of course, for what they did tonight. Talking with Todd before the race I told him upstairs a minute ago that he exuded a confidence and a sense of preparation that we were going to be able to compete and compete effectively. They executed and demonstrated it beautifully.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – WAS THAT THE BEST RACE JOEY HAS EVER DRIVEN? “He performed flawlessly. The best race he’s ever driven? I don’t know. Daytona was pretty phenomenal, but it was a typical Joey Logano performance. I said it in victory lane I’ll put the analogy to basketball, but there are only a handful of guys that want to have the ball in their hands with three seconds left on the shot clock and Joey is that guy. When it comes down to the time to make it happen he elevates and doesn’t make mistakes. I think Kevin challenged us pretty formidably and Joey never folded and never made a mistake and did what he had to do and executed. It’s a Joey Logano performance. I don’t know that I’d call it his best performance. He’s had a bunch of really good one.”
WALT CZARNECKI CONTINUED – “One word came to mind in watching those last 50 laps and the word was poise. He just didn’t lose his composure and using Todd’s analogy, Todd handed him the football and he found the holes.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS IN THIS NIGHT RACE TO? “I would say that at this place to be successful here takes a complete package and there are several opportunities to make mistakes. If you execute, you can be successful. Both of our drivers challenge each other. When you look at our setups we build off of each other to the point that it is Team Penske. We share a lot of information between the two teams and when you’ve got two teams attacking it and two drivers like we’ve got, Brad and Joey are both phenomenal race car drivers. They challenge each other, but constructively, and I think that’s a key to our success and here it’s something we all work together for a common goal. Last year we were 1-2 and tonight we were 1-2 for a while. It didn’t end up being that way, but we all work together and understand what it takes to be successful here and work at it.”
WALT CZARNECKI CONTINUED – “I think there’s a great heritage in Team Penske for this place, beginning with Rusty Wallace. Rusty had some great runs here. He had some runs where he should have won and things occurred at the end, but be that as it may, I think Bristol has always been right at the top of our hierarchy of important races if you look to the schedule. To me personally, winning the Daytona 500 is huge. That’s number one, but the Bristol Night Race is right there with it in my view, and I think the whole organization feels that way. But I really think it began with Rusty and the way that Rusty would focus on this event when he was driving.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – HOW MUCH IS THIS LUGNUT RULE INSTITUTED THIS YEAR CAUSING WHEEL ISSUES? “It may be a factor in it. This place itself is rough on wheels. It’s a place that you’ve got so much lateral load in the car and there’s so much drive and brake. It’s 500 laps of a lot of load especially on the rear wheels. If you’re gonna have a weakness, if you’re borderline on having wheels torqued every week, it’s gonna show up here. You’ve got a lot of gear in the car and you’ve got a lot of acceleration, a lot deceleration, a lot of lateral load. It’s a really, really high lateral load place with all the banking that’s in the corners and running right up there in the grip strip up there at the wall. I’m sure that the lugnut rule has a slight impact on that, but I’d say there’s a bigger impact of this race track is just rough on rear wheels.”
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN SOME GUYS RUN FASTER AT THE START AND OTHERS FASTER AT THE END OF RUNS? “There are several factors that play into that. I think it’s air pressure in tires, it’s camber settings in tires as to what you’re doing to make a short run speed vs. long run speed. I think how your splitter is off the race track. When you see tires build up, you look at these cars and the rotors are glowing in them and glowing rotors are 1300-1400 degrees, so there’s a big heat source in the middle of it, which builds the tire pressure up a bunch. As the tires build up, the whole ride height of the car comes up and if the splitter is on the race track it makes them tight. So there maybe guys early in the run are on the splitter and they just can’t turn the way they need to to make speed, but as the tires build up from the rotor heat and just the grip heat that that splitter comes up and gets to a happy spot and then their car works. You’ll see that and that’s stuff we all work on as race teams as to how we feel the race strategy will play out to long runs and short runs and whether you want to be good in the short run or good in the long run. I felt like the Gibbs cars were a little quicker than we were firing off, but about 50 laps in we could run them back down and I feel like there are several pieces there we had different philosophies on.”
IS IT HARD TO GET A GRASP ON WHAT JOEY’S POTENTIAL MIGHT BE? “It’s exciting to get a grasp on what his potential might be. He is 25 years old, but he’s much mature beyond that age. He got put in a Cup car at 18, so he’s 25 years old with seven years experience of understanding what it takes to be successful and made the Chase all three years at Penske and executing. I think you saw that in his Nationwide performances before he got here, that he was a closer, and he’s so mature beyond his years at 25. I’m thrilled at what the future brings for us.”
WALT CZARNECKI CONTINUED – “I think Joey has a great sense of self. He does not have an inflated, in my view, doesn’t have this inflated image of himself. He knows what his limitations are. He stays within his limitations and listens to people like Todd because he knows they have his welfare at heart and he doesn’t extend beyond it. I think it’s interesting, just an observation I shared with someone a few minutes ago, that when I listen to the dialogue between Todd and Joey during the race, Joey doesn’t say a whole lot if you listen. He knows that he’s executing. He has a great deal of confidence in Todd, so that’s a person that has a great, as I said, sense of self that he doesn’t know better. He realizes he’s part of the team and he’s not trying to extend beyond it. Having said that, he has tremendous potential – tremendous potential. But right now I think we’re gonna worry about Darlington.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – “We’re going to worry about the Homestead test on Wednesday and then we’ll worry about Darlington.”
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “That sounds nice. That’s a nice little ring to it. It’s cool to win here and racing Kevin hard and clean like that at the end was a lot of fun. It was real interesting how we ran such different lines and be the same speed on the race track and it’s interesting how that all works out. That’s what makes Bristol so much fun to go around is that you can drive around this place four or five different ways and have a lot of speed. No matter how you drive it, it’s what fits your style and what fits the setup of your car and we both found what works for us. I really thought we were gonna be able to pull away because I thought we were really good on the long run and then we didn’t pull away and I was like, ‘Uh, oh.’ It was all about working lap traffic right at the end, not making mistakes and not getting bottled up in traffic to get by. It was a very exciting last 20-30 laps for sure, and neat to be able to get a checkered flag again here at Bristol and pull that car up on top of the building here and get a big checkered flag and have a little bit of fun with the guys.”
DO YOU HAVE AN APPRECIATION TO BE WHERE YOU ARE NOW? “Obviously, JGR is a good team. They’re kicking butt out there right now and I’ve been fortunate to drive for two great race teams. The difference now is I’m ready to go racing and race for championships and back then I wasn’t. I definitely learned a lot. I wouldn’t trade those years for a million bucks. It was such a fun learning experience over there and it really shaped me into the person and the driver that I am and I owe them a lot for that, but I’m fortunate to drive for a couple of great teams and working with Team Penske and Roger and everyone on this 22 team has been a blessing to say the least. It’s just such a great group of guys. I say this all the time that there’s no one here on the team. Together we make a hero and I’m pretty proud of how we work together as a team. It’s something I put a lot of pride into and what our guys are able to accomplish there. You think of the pressure that these guys had to go through when you come down pit road with a few laps to go and they bust off an 11-second pit stop. That’s because they’re athletes. That’s a true athlete when you cannot choke under pressure and I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”
JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – HOW DID TAB BOYD HELP YOU FROM THE SPOTTER’S STAND TONIGHT? “Tab and I, we spend a lot of time together. We were up there in the spotter’s stand last night watching the XFINITY race together and we were joking around a lot because I’m very animated and I’m up there watching the race and I turn into a complete race fan and I’m pointing at things and bumping into everyone. He said the spotter’s stand is probably not a good place for me because I can’t sit still, but we go up there and watch races together when we can and be able to talk about it. We were able to learn and tell him what I need as a driver is we’ve got to communicate and it’s worked for us. I tell him what I need to have the right information at the right time, so I can make the best decisions inside the race car.”
ANY TEMPTATION TO TRY THE LINE HARVICK WAS USING? “Yeah, I tried it. I still couldn’t go in the corner as fast as he could. It just takes something completely different to run his line compared to my line, and obviously his team has worked really hard at making that line work and it’s fast. We’ve worked really hard at making our line work and it’s fast. And there are three other lines that are just as fast. You saw other cars running. You saw what Kyle was doing early in the race and how fast he was. You see what the 19 and the 11 can do as well. You can run this race track so many different ways and I found what works for me and the way that I drive a race car, and Todd Gordon has done a great job of really understanding what that is and giving me the right tool inside the race car to be able to make our race car fast. That seemed to work for us. It doesn’t work the whole race. There are definitely times that I had to try running the radius off the corner because it’s faster and you’ve got to be able to do that too, so you’ve got to have a car that can move around, especially when you’re lapping cars and stuff. You’ve got to have a car that can round the bottom, that can have everything you need, and the last few races here he’s definitely given me the car I needed to make the moves.”
WHAT WERE RESTARTS LIKE TONIGHT? “There’s a lot of questions. I spent a lot of time with NASCAR this week, actually, trying to understand what I can and can’t do and being able to understand where their heads at and what they’re thinking when they look at a restart, and what’s right and what’s wrong and what they’re going to police and what they’re not going to police. You’ve got to understand the rules. They’re always subject to change. Can we do a better job on restarts? Yes. Are they that bad? No, they’re not that bad. The restarts are still entertaining. We’ve seen guys – the 24 was really good on the inside of me tonight. We were door-to-door in the corner, so restarts obviously are a big part of our races a lot of time, so we put a lot of effort into them. As a driver you just want to know what the rules are and what you can and can’t do. The more we can just communicate and talk about it like anything else and try to understand that the better.”
DO YOU HAVE MORE CLARITY ON IT NOW? “I have more clarity, yeah. I talked to them and talked to the people I needed to talk to and got an answer out of them and that’s all I was looking for.”
JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED — DOES IT FEEL BETTER TO BEAT HARVICK MORE THAN THE OTHER GUYS OUT THERE, OR DOES IT MATTER? “I don’t care who the heck I’m racing. There are 42 other drivers out there that are really, really good and a lot of them are capable of winning a race and I don’t care who it is I’m gonna race them hard for a win. Yeah, Kevin and I are fierce competitors and we race each other hard, but tonight we raced each other really clean and that’s something that’s really cool. Obviously, I remember that and you can race back and forth like that. That’s the way we should race, but to answer your question, I don’t care. I don’t care who I’m racing, it’s all about the win and I don’t care if I had to beat my sister to win the race. It doesn’t matter.”
DO YOU HAVE RESPECT FROM OTHER NOW DUE TO RUNNING UP FRONT SO MUCH? “Yeah, you’re working your way through the traffic and you know he’s ready to pounce at any moment, so one little mistake I make – boom, he’s gonna be there and he’s gonna try to fill the hole and he’s gonna try to pin me behind a lapped car. That’s how you pass here. I was fully expecting that. That corner he saw that I entered high and he tried to execute that move. I saw it, but I also had to get the run that I was gonna get by running down the hill and straighten out the exit and passing a car, so at that point he was gonna have to slow down because he had to round the corner still, whereas I already got my turning done and I was able to get the reward on the exit from running the top and running that line. Right move by him, right move by me. We were just trying to match each other’s moves and trying to stay out in front or pass each other.”
WHERE WOULD THIS RANK AS FAR AS YOUR DRIVING PERFORMANCES? “I don’t know. Obviously, it’s cool to win at Bristol. It’s cool to be racing one of the best out there and being able to hold him off and race each other hard and not make mistakes. He doesn’t make mistakes and I didn’t make a mistake today either. It’s fun to race like that. Where it ranks? I don’t know. Winning a road course is really, really cool earlier just to have that on there, but winning at Bristol it’s just such a driver’s race track. It’s such a tough place to get around. You think about 500 laps around this place and it’s like, ‘Ugh.’ It’s so long and you’re just shot at the end of it mentally and physically and your car is wore out and you’re trying to get everything you can. There’s rubber everywhere and you’re trying to stay out of that, but you’re trying to run fast laps and you’re trying to work around other cars. You never get a break, so Bristol you start the race and say, ‘Oh boy, this is gonna be a long one.’ You know it’s going to be a tough, grueling race, but it puts on a great race and I enjoy coming here. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I don’t know where it stacks up on all of it, but it went well. I guess it stacks up there somewhere.”
WALT SAID YOUR POISE STOOD OUT TONIGHT. IS POISE SOMETHING THAT HAS DEVELOPED OR HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD IT? “I think my dad always told me you are who you hang out and if you’re hanging out with people like Roger Penske and Team Penske, that’s a lot of poise to say the least. I learned a lot from them and I try not to get fired up inside the race car. A lot of times I don’t because I see the bigger picture. I just want to get through it. We’ll be fine. We had a little hiccup on one pit stop tonight – no big deal. Everything is OK. We’ll get through it and those are opportunities to completely throw a race away. You can completely destroy a team. As a driver you’re one of the leaders and you have the power to destroy a race team or build a race team. I understand that and I think that’s something that’s helped us a lot. I think of qualifying and what happened this week. We had a flat right-rear tire and we were able to execute through the first round and be able to put a scuff on it so we could finish qualifying and we qualified fifth. We barely made it through the first round because the tire was seeping 15 pounds in two laps, and none of us got fired up. This is the funny part. I told Todd not to tell me anything. I heard there was a flat tire and I said, ‘I don’t want to know anything. Don’t tell me what corner it is. Don’t tell me a thing, just let me go out there and drive the car. Don’t tell me what your plan is,’ but that’s where we’re at with things. I trust Todd 100 percent and every decision he makes. I trust my team 100 percent in everything they do. I put my money on them coming down pit road at the end of a race and having that faith in your team gives you poise and allows us to do our job. We can start screaming and yelling and you kind of forget what the job is when you’re screaming and yelling at each other.”