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Joey Logano Advances To Chase Eliminator Round With Dominant Charlotte Victory

·         Joey Logano’s win today is his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and 12th of his career.

·         Logano advances to the Eliminator Round for the second consecutive year after winning his third career Chase race.

·         The win is Fusion’s 68th NSCS triumph since becoming Ford’s flagship vehicle in 2006.

·         Ford now has 637 all-time NSCS victories.

·         Team Penske has now registered 45 NSCS wins with Ford, including 18 over the past three years.

·         This marks Ford’s 29th all-time NASCAR CHASE victory.

 

Ford Finishing Results

1st – Joey Logano

9th – Brad Keselowski

10th – Aric Almirola

13th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

14th – Ryan Blaney

17th – Sam Hornish Jr.

22nd – Trevor Bayne

24th – Greg Biffle

27th – David Gilliland

30th – Brett Moffitt

31st – Michael McDowell

38th – Cole Whitt

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionVICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “We had a great car.  Todd Gordon and this Shell/Pennzoil team, all of Team Penske, you always want to win it.  Charlotte is everybody’s home turf and you want to make it happen here.  What a great car.  We led a ton of laps and I just have to thank Ford and Shell and AutoTrader, SKF, Coca-Cola – everyone that supports what we’re doing.  This makes Talladega way easier.  I know that’s on everyone’s mind when this round starts and last year we won Kansas when it was the first race of this round and now we were able to get it this time at Charlotte.  We’ll get lots of sleep here the next couple of weeks.”  WHY DID IT WORK FOR YOU HERE TODAY?  “Because what we did before didn’t work.  We were trying something different and Todd did a good job.  We’ve struggled here the last three or four years and this week we obviously made some good changes to our race car and had a very fast race car.  This helps us recharge our batteries and get ready for the next round and come out swinging for that one.”  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BEAT THE 4 CAR LIKE THAT?  “I think everyone saw how fast he was last week and it probably made a lot of people nervous, but our team kept their heads up and stayed confident.  We know we can beat them.  We know we’ve got what we need over here and our team is as tight-knit as they get.  I’m proud of them.  I couldn’t be more proud of them.  We had a lot of money stops today to keep us out front.  The pit stops were great and I couldn’t be more proud of what they’re doing right now.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Detroit Genuine Parts Ford Fusion – “It was a lot of work.  We weren’t as fast as we wanted to be.  When we had green flag pit stops we seemed to be really fast with the Detroit Genuine Parts Ford, but on restarts and yellow flags I’d just get stuck in the dirty air and couldn’t move anywhere.  I think the 24 car looked really good.  He was the only guy I saw that was really able to pass today, but I just couldn’t pass.  I thought we had a fast car and if we could have got out front maybe we could have stayed out front, but that wasn’t the case today.  It was a good effort to keep the wheels on it on a rough day, so to speak, and make the most of it so we’re not in bad shape for the next two races.”  WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND FOR THESE NEXT TWO RACES?  “We need to have another solid day at Kansas or we’re really gonna sweat Talladega.  A couple of Chase guys had some bad luck and that could happen to us, too, so we have to stand the test.”

RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 PPG Ford Fusion – “I didn’t think we were bad all day.  We didn’t start off too bad and we progressively made it better throughout the day, which I was happy with.  I was running fairly good there most of the day and we had one adjustment that wasn’t good.  It was the second-to-last run and we lost track position.  We slipped from about 10th to 13th or 14th and it’s just hard to get it back, especially when there are no more cautions and it’s green flag sequences.  It’s hard to get it back and pass everybody, so I’m really happy to have PPG on our Ford Fusion today.  That was a lot of fun and it was nice to get a full race here.  It was a good job by my guys being able to compensate from preparing to race last night to the heat of the day today, so they did a good job.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – “Another top-10 for us.  We’ve got some speed in our cars and they’re driving good.  Trent and the guys have been doing a good job, so I’m really happy with our consistency and we just have to keep working at it.  We have a few more weeks to go to try and steal a win, but, otherwise, I think we’re on to something.  I think we’re running a lot better and I’m really proud of everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports for bringing me these nice race cars these last six weeks.”  TOUGH TO PASS.  “Yeah, it was tough to pass.  We had a screw up on a pit stop at one point and that kind of got us behind.  We fell back to 19th and I was actually happy with how I was able to maneuver traffic.  We were able to pass some cars, so it seemed like our car drove in traffic better than others and I was pleased, but we still have a little bit more work to do to go and race up there inside the top-5 and go try and win some races.”

JOEY LOGANO PRESS CONFERENCE

ROGER PENSKE, Owner – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “I guess everybody saw what I did today.  He was dominant.  I think the pit crew executed.  It’s one thing when you lead here for 20 or 30 laps, you come in the pits and be able to come back out and lead as many laps as we did it was a credit to his driving and of course the car Todd put under him.  I think our Ford has come a long way with a little bit more power for us as we came into the Chase, so that’s been a big help to us.  For Joey, he came on our team and he’s done nothing but gone straight up from the standpoint of performance and what he’s added.  To me, it was a real team effort and certainly I think at his age and how he handles himself and the way he drove today with the 4 car.  When you can beat the 4 car any day, any time that’s a big deal for us and I think it was good that we could at least be on a level playing field with him today.  Unfortunately, I guess some of the key guys that we would have expected to be up in the front had some problems, so you never know how they would have run if they didn’t have the problems, but we’ll take it.  I think it’s better than a win when you can go on to the next bracket, so I guess that’s the real end game here is to move on in this Chase.”

TODD GORDON, Crew Chief – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “We looked at the weather coming into the weekend and actually Friday practice we had a daytime practice the first practice on Friday and an evening practice the second one.  We made the effort to make a longer run on tires in both practices to see where the balance would go both ways and was pretty happy with our car in both conditions, so I felt pretty optimistic about what we had in the sunshine today, just knowing what we had for a read in first practice and how little we changed from then to where we were for the race last night.  I love it when we get these tracks to get a little more sunshine and a little hotter and slicker.  That’s when this guy to my left really shines his talent.  It was a phenomenal weekend.  I think everybody on this Shell/Pennzoil team did a great job of preparing.  It was pretty cool that we came here pretty much how we raced, so a couple tweaks that we wondered about, but had good balance because it worked in both the sun and night.”

JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “Anytime you have a race car that fast you just hope something doesn’t go wrong, but everyone did a great job.  Todd made great calls.  The pit crew was on top of it today.  They’ve really been incredible most of this year, so it’s special to have a perfect day in racing.  You don’t have that very often.  Usually, at some point in a 500-mile race you have to overcome something, but today everything went as planned.  Obviously, getting this win at Charlotte means a lot.  I think it’s on everyone’s bucket list to win here, mainly because everyone’s race teams are here.  This is home turf for everyone and you want to win in front of your race team that doesn’t typically get to come to the race track and get to celebrate with guys that you typically don’t get to have in victory lane when we travel far away from here, so that’s special.  Obviously, we can all talk about Talladega and how special it is to get through to the next round because the pressure that a lot of these drivers are gonna have on them, that we had on us when this race started, to get to the next round is big.  To be able to have that pressure off of us and to be able to relax and enjoy this next round, don’t get me wrong, there are still two trophies to win, but to have that pressure off and be able to have our batteries charged up and ready to attack when we get to the next round is gonna pay big dividends.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – YOU BEAT THE 4 CAR.  DOES THIS MAKE YOU THE TARGET NOW?  “I think there are a lot of fast race cars out there right now.  Last week, obviously the 4 was dominant.  This week, we had a very fast car.  Next week, who knows?  You can’t rely on anything.  As Roger says, one of the quotes that I always remember is ‘Don’t trip on your press clippings.’  I usually hear that after every time we win, so that just means don’t rely on the speed you’ve got today because tomorrow it won’t be there.  You’ve got to be able to keep moving forward and working on becoming a better race car driver, in my case, a better race team, faster race cars.  Everyone does a great job at Team Penske in not settling for just first.  We want to win a championship at the end of the year and there’s still a long ways to go.  We’re not where we need to be yet by no means, but there’s gonna be a lot of development still.  Cars are still gonna be changing and cars are gonna be fast one week and not the next week, so, like I said, you’ve got to be able to focus in and know what each track is calling for and try to put together the fastest piece we can.”

DID YOU LEARN ANY LESSONS FROM WINNING THE FIRST RACE OF THIS ROUND LAST YEAR AS WELL?  “More race wins.  That’s all we need to do.  Win more races.  Last year, we did an incredible job getting ourselves to Homestead.  I felt like we had a great Chase.  We executed perfectly.  We did everything we had to do to get to Homestead.  I feel like the lessons we learned were in Homestead, so we’ve got to get back to that race, get back in the same position we were last year and I feel like we’ll be in a lot better shape because we all lived it once and know what we’ve got to do now.”

TODD GORDON CONTINUED – DID NASCAR WORK WITH YOU TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE CAR FOR A DAY RACE AS OPPOSED TO A NIGHT RACE?  “We finished tech yesterday afternoon before they called the race, so the cars all rolled through tech as we were racing last night, and really the weather didn’t make the big swing.  It looked like as we were preparing ourselves to go to tech that the weather was gonna clear out by 6 o’clock and then about 4 o’clock it looked like it started to loop back and their forecast went to midnight.  When we left the garage we were planning on racing last night.  I thought it would be rain delayed.  I talked to a few people in the media that I thought we would start at 9 or 9:30 and go last night, and we talked about the differences in our setups of what we ran in the day practice and night practice and it was small, it was there, but it was small.  But what NASCAR did is they impounded the cars.  They didn’t call the race last night until every car was through tech and back into the garage they were impounded.  The only thing they let us work on was grille tape this morning because it was gonna be warmer, so they let us adjust our grille tape, and warm the motor up, but that was the extent of the changes they allowed us.  So, really, you were stuck with the setup chassis-wise that you had for last night.  Fortunately, we had a pretty balanced race car and it took the same thing in the day and the night.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS COMBINATION AT PENSKE THAT HAS MADE IT CLICK FOR YOU?  “When you get the right people around you the word team kind of gets a whole new definition sometimes.  It becomes a family and I look at how tight all of Team Penske is, but in particular this 22 team, how tight we are as a group.  There’s not one person that says this is my job and I won’t do nothing else.  Everyone is always picking up the slack where they need to.  There’s no one that’s too big for themselves and wants to be Hollywood out there.  Everyone is a bunch of racers and I’m proud to be a part of that group.  It’s an honor to be a part of that group and obviously driving for Roger can you find someone better to race for?  I don’t think so.  When you get everything clicking just right and what I think it’s all about is people and Roger talks about it all the time, but there are a lot of people that can buy a lot of those tools to go out there and go fast, but you’ve got to have the right people to run those tools.  Roger and all of Team Penske has done a great job of selecting some very special, hard-working people to put together a great race team and I think that’s why we see the results.”

TODD GORDON CONTINUED – HOW CRUCIAL IS IT FOR YOUR TEAM TO KEEP EVERYONE TOGETHER DURING THE COURSE OF A RACE LIKE THIS WITH ALL THE GREEN FLAG STOPS.  “That’s one of the things, I think, everybody here to build off of Joey’s comments, but this whole team is together and on the same page and supportive, whether it be Tab or Joey or the mechanics or the engineers and even Roger.  He leads by example.  Turmoil and chaos never brings anything good, so it’s always focusing forward and what we can do next.  I thought we executed a good race plan, and there were no issues.  Even when we green flag pitted we came back, I think there was only one time that we went a lap down and we knew how close we were and what we had to get.  You focus on what’s ahead of you and not what’s behind you when you come to situations and everybody here does a great job of that.”

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – WHAT DID YOU SEE IN JOEY WHEN YOU DECIDED TO BRING HIM TO TEAM PENSKE?  “I think as we look at drivers, whether it’s on the Indy Car side or the NASCAR side, we look at drivers that know how to win and there was no question in equal equipment Joey ran wheel-to-wheel with Kyle Busch many times, so that validated that piece.  And after sitting with Joey and talking with him about technically how does he look at the car, how does he connect with the engineering folks, obviously we understood that he was a student of the sport and he was committed.  He was young, he was committed and, quite honestly, Brad played a big part in that because he and I talked about who would be the right person.  Brad had come on our team and looked around the room to kind of see how we operated and he said Joey would be the right guy, so I think it was support from Brad, knowing that Joey was already a winner.  This is not anything that should be new to anyone because he’s driven against the best and won early on in his career, even though there were certain times that people maybe had statements about his ability or what he did, but, to me, it was an easy decision and he came on the team and we didn’t have 1-2-3-4 drivers, we had 1-1 and that’s how we try to run the team, and I think the transparency between Paul Wolfe and Todd – both of these crew chiefs came out of a winning capability and seasons in the XFINITY Series, and to bring them up and have them grow with the driver makes the whole difference.  I think you’re seeing that today, the execution and the success and certainly what we’ve been able to do, but I had no question about it.  I wasn’t lucky, it was that he was available.  In fact, it was interesting I called Joe Gibbs and I said, ‘Look, I’ve got a full-time ride for Joey.’  And I think they were trying to put something together at that point and Joey knows that and I said, ‘Look, I’ll wait.’  I actually waited a week before we even put it together because I wanted to be open and honest with Joe, but at that point we moved ahead and obviously we got one of the very best guys in this business today.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – IS THERE ANY MENTAL EDGE TO BEATING HARVICK?  “There are 42 other cars we’ve got to beat, too.  He has been the one that’s finished second, I think it’s just a coincidence.  Obviously, they’re a great race team, but a team like that has a week like they did last week, you’ve got to be able to pick up your game and be able to hopefully be able to beat them and show that we’re here and it’s not gonna be an easy ride for someone.  I think our team showed that today, that we can go out there and compete with the best.  I knew that coming into today and knowing really every week that my team has what it takes to go out there and beat them.  Obviously, they have a lot of speed in their cars on a consistent basis.  We do as well, and in this Chase winning these races in the Chase is such a big deal.  It’s nice to have race wins, but when you’re able to get Chase wins and rack those up it seems to be a little harder to get them at Chase time because everyone picks it up a little bit, so it shows that our team picked up what we needed to.”

TODD GORDON CONTINUED – DOES THIS CHANGE WHAT CAR YOU BRING TO KANSAS?  “That’s a funny question because, no, it doesn’t is the short answer to that.  At Team Penske they do such a phenomenal job of building race cars that I don’t have favorites.  They’re just car numbers.  There’s a sequence of how we bring race cars to the race track.  I got asked the same question yesterday.  Would you try to turn it around and bring it someplace else?  There’s such consistency in our manufacturing process that we this car probably won’t be seen for the rest of the Chase.  We’ll continue down the path that we’ve got because we know that we’re building better race cars every day and rather than try to recycle something and run equal to it, we’re gonna try to build something better.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – DID YOU STAY AWAY FROM AREAS ON THE TRACK THAT MAY HAVE HAD OIL?  “I was pretty much like a catfish today, I was just on the bottom.  All you guys are welcome to use that one (laughing).  I never moved up much and didn’t feel any oil on the race track at any point.  I was warned.  My spotter did a great job warning me that people were talking about it, so when someone comes over the radio and says, ‘Hey, they’re talking about oil in the middle of the race track,’ then you probably shouldn’t run in the middle of the race track, especially with the position we were in, so I never got around any of it and never felt much of it.”

ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – WHAT WILL BE YOUR ROLE IN THESE CLOSING WEEKS?  “I’m not sure I’ve got a big enough wallet to fund this thing, let me put it that way (laughing).  Seriously, I’m a support tool.  I communicate with the guys at the shop every day to see if there are any issues.  If there’s a tie on something I try to give my input.  Many times I’m not the one that makes the decision, but as I think Joey said, when we build a car nobody knows whose car that’s gonna be until we put the paint on it.  There’s a process.  I think Travis (Geisler) and Mike Nelson really have put this together with a whole team of people back at the shop.  We need to be better each week, so we have things.  The engineering team has things to make the cars better and I think when you go back to Dover, much different strategy last week.  We didn’t have to win like the 4 did.  We just had to have a solid finish and after the 2 got the penalty the week before, he was in a different spot so you didn’t really see everything we had last week.  There was no reason to come there with anything that might not be reliable, so when you move on now we can use the next two races that I would push our guys to see what we could run to give us maybe an edge as we get into the last few races.”

JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – DID YOU DO ANYTHING TO DAMAGE YOUR CAR DURING YOUR BURNOUT?  “My philosophy with burnouts is it’s not cool until something breaks (laughing).  I just like burning the rear tires off it.  It’s a lot of fun.  I really think about a lot of times coming back down pit road and see if they could put rears on it like a modified and go back out and burn them down again.  It’s a lot of fun.  No, I think she looks good, doesn’t she?  She looks the way a winning race car should look.”

HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THIS SPORT EVERY WEEK AS FAR AS WHICH TEAMS YOU NEED TO LOOK AT AND WHICH TEAM YOU NEED TO BEAT?  “It doesn’t really matter looking at other people.  You’ve got to look at yourself.  Todd and I talked about going into Dover the 4 situation and we talked about it and said it doesn’t really matter.  It doesn’t change what we have to do.  We still have to go out there and win races.  Whether he was in the Chase or not, it’s not gonna make a difference.  We still have to do what we know how to do and what we have to do and control our own destiny and focus on what makes our race cars faster.  We just stay focused in doing what we know how to do, don’t go and reinvent the wheel and just stay focused in.  There are gonna be cars that are dominant each week and we just have to be that car more times than not.”

TODD GORDON CONTINUED -- DO YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM THIS POINT TO THE END OF THE YEAR AS FAR AS DEVELOPMENT OR ARE YOU JUST FOCUSED ON RIGHT NOW?  “We learn every week.  It’s a never-ending process.  If you ever quit learning, you’re gonna start slowing down.  To the point, every practice run you make is trying to find something new and we’ll be on it tomorrow.  It’s back to development for Kansas and try to find stuff there.  Obviously, the pressure is off so you can be more aggressive on it, but every week you try to learn.  To Joey’s point, we focus on what makes our race car faster and our balance better.  If we focus on that all the time, we’re gonna be successful.  If we focus on what other people are doing, we’re not working on our race car.  We’re worrying about what theirs does.”

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