Joey Logano Makes It Two Straight Wins in NASCAR's Chase Contender Round With Kansas Triumph
• Joey Logano’s win today is his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and 13th of his career.
• In addition, it’s Logano’s fourth career Chase triumph and repeats his triumph in this event from a year ago.
• This marks the fifth time a Ford driver has won back-to-back Chase races since the format began in 2004. Carl Edwards did it three times while Greg Biffle and Logano have done it once.
• Consecutive Chase Wins: Carl Edwards (2005 at Texas and Phoenix; 2008 at Atlanta and Texas; 2010 at Phoenix and Homestead); Greg Biffle (2008 at Loudon and Dover); and Joey Logano (2015 at Charlotte and Kansas).
• The win is Fusion’s 69th NSCS triumph since becoming Ford’s flagship vehicle in 2006.
• Ford now has 638 all-time NSCS victories.
• Team Penske has now registered 46 NSCS wins with Ford, including 19 over the past three years.
• This marks Ford’s 30th all-time NASCAR CHASE victory.
Ford Race Results
1st – Joey Logano
7th – Ryan Blaney
9th – Brad Keselowski
13th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17th – Greg Biffle
18th – Trevor Bayne
24th – Aric Almirola
28th – Sam Hornish Jr.
32nd – Brett Moffitt
33rd – Cole Whitt
36th – David Gilliland
38th – Reed Sorenson
39th – Will Kimmell III
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – TAKE US THROUGH WHAT HAPPENED WITH MATT AND THE LAPS BEFORE? “It was just hard racing. He raced me really hard. I raced him the same way he raced me. It was a lot of fun out there racing for a win like that. The cars were very fast, equally paired and I couldn’t be more proud of what this Shell/Pennzoil team is doing right now. We’re such a fast race car, such a great team. We’ve showed it two weeks in a row now and this is a lot of fun. We’ve just got to ride this wave and we’ve got to get to Homestead still.” YOU GOT TO HIM AND THEN FELL BACK, AND THEN CAUGHT BACK UP. WHAT HAPPENED AT THAT POINT? “He came up and started taking my air away, as he should, and I had to kind of adjust what I was doing and try to find a fast way back to him. I was able to get those runs back to him and get back to him.” DID YOU TALK ABOUT BEING AGGRESSIVE AND TRYING TO PUT MORE PEOPLE IN A TOUGH POSITION AT TALLADEGA BY WINNING HERE? “That’s the goal. When you see trophies you want to get them. I’m so proud of this team. Our goal is to keep everyone on edge when they go into Talladega and we can feel comfortable about it, so I’m just proud of what this team is doing. I’d like to get to Homestead, but it’s one step at a time here. We’ve just got to keep this speed in our race cars and keep doing what we’re doing.”
MORE VICTORY LANE – HOW WILL YOU REMEMBER TODAY? “A fun race. What a great Shell/Pennzoil Ford. These guys were really good, on top of it just like we’ve been this whole Chase. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’re doing right now. I’ve got to thank Shell, Pennzoil, AAA, Coca-Cola, Roush Yates motors. This is a big motor race track. I was on the gas a lot and they brought the big steam. I’m just proud of what this team is doing right now.” DESCRIBE THE LAST FEW LAPS. “It was good, hard racing. We were racing each other really hard and I got in the fence twice on the straightaways. He raced me hard and I raced him hard back. That’s hard racing. That’s the way I race. If I get raced like that, I’ll race the same way. That’s how I’ve always been and it will always be that way. I really couldn’t be more proud of this team. To be sitting in such a great position going into Talladega makes us feel really, really good.” YOU BLOCKED MANY FROM VICTORY LANE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT STRATEGY-WISE GOING TO TALLADEGA? “The fact that we’re the only team that can relax right now is gonna pay big dividends when we get to Martinsville. Everyone is a little bit nervous. Our goal is still to win the race. Even though we’re moved on to the next round, our goal is still to win that race and try to get some guys nervous for next week. That’s kind of the strategy of this Chase and to be able to do that today, like I said, I couldn’t be more proud. These guys work so hard and Todd Gordon, he’s a fricking genius, so it’s fun to drive his car.” DID YOU CONSIDER IT A GOOD MOVE? “I didn’t think it was a good move when I hit the wall. I’m sure we’ll talk about it. I felt like, ‘Hey, I’ve got to race hard. I got in the fence twice,’ so I wasn’t gonna put up with it.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – “It was kind of a rough day for us. We were not as fast today as what we hoped to be, but the 2 crew and my Miller Lite Ford team stayed with it and got a decent finish out of it to where we can go to Talladega and have a real shot at this.” WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING TO TALLADEGA? “I haven’t really thought about it. I’m still thinking about Kansas, but I’ll have a whole week to prepare.” THOUGHTS ON JOEY WINNING 2 RACES AND THAT OPENING UP ANOTHER SPOT WITH A SECOND DRIVER GETTING LOCKED IN? “Yeah, that’s certainly not a bad thing for teams that are in a position like mine, where we’re gonna have to race with points or win Talladega. It could be worse. I’m happy for Joey.”
RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY "Not bad. We started off fairly decent. I lost some track position at one point in the race. We kind of got behind on the car a little bit. I thought we were going to struggle after that but (crew chief) Jeremy (Bullins) did a great job of getting us better and getting us where we needed to be at the end, and be able to run toward the front. The last re-start didn't go very well. Overall these guys put together a good race car and it's a great way to start the last four races of the season."
RE-STARTS WERE GENERALLY GOOD FOR YOU ALL DAY. "When you've got a bunch of Chase guys around you don't want to take a chance."
YOU SEEM TO BE CONSCIOUS OF THE CHASE DRIVERS. "You always think of that, especially on that last re-start. You think about trying to make something happen and be more aggressive but you don't want to put them in a bad spot and have something bad happen to them."
DO YOU FEEL POSITIVE ABOUT THE REST OF THE YEAR, RUNNING MORE RACES CLOSER TOGETHER? "I feel pretty good about the rest of the year. We've learned some things. We still have to get a lot better but we're getting there. Being on the race track more is part of it. Things come with time for both me and Jeremy and we're finally getting some time under our belt."
ROGER PENSKE-TODD GORDON PRESS CONFERENCE
ROGER PENSKE, Owner – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “We’re very fortunate to have Joey on our team. He came on here a few years ago and has really been up ever since. There’s no question he and Brad, I’ve said it before, have made quite a bond together and the two crew chiefs with Paul and Todd, they’ve worked together on the Nationwide/XFINITY and of course have come together here. The speed we have, we’ve got great cars and really when you think back of the guys back at the shop that are building these cars every day and certainly the way the pit crews have operated. You see we’ve made a big step on pit crews thanks to Todd and Paul, and I think Joey has stepped up his game tremendously. He’s got confidence. He’s a great driver. I think we’ve seen that because he’s won on the road course, he’s won on the big tracks and there’s no question we’re very fortunate to have him as one of our drivers and I think he’s gonna be in this sport a long time and win a lot of races.”
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE KENSETH INCIDENT? “I was up on the outside. I saw a couple times Joey got squeezed off of two and I think over in three, and as they went down into one Joey had a fender up inside. He was on the outside of the 20 and he got in the wall. I don’t know if you saw that or not, and then he turned down, Joey did, to take the lower lane and there was another car up there – I think a slower car – and then Kenseth came down. Unfortunately, they got together. I don’t like to see that anymore than anybody else does. It’s one of those racing accidents. It’s real tough when it’s in this kind of a situation, but there was no question that Kenseth was doing everything he could to keep Joey from going by.”
TODD GORDON, Crew Chief – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – WHAT DID YOU SEE? “I saw two guys racing their butts off. Joey had a couple runs at Matt and Matt blocked both of them and unfortunately got us in the wall into turn one, and there’s more contact that prevails beyond the contact to the wall. It’s just hard racing. Two guys that want to win and both have, and Joey’s talked about it, they’re both very competitive race car drivers and they do a lot of similar things and neither one of them was gonna give there. Obviously, it came out the way it did.”
HOW MUCH PRESSURE HAVE YOU PUT ON THE REST OF THE CHASE FIELD BY WINNING TODAY? “We talked about that in our team meeting ahead of time, and we’ve talked about it all week because the opportunity after you win Charlotte is that winners go on, and if you can go ahead and lock everybody else out, it puts everybody else that’s a Chase contender on edge going to Talladega. It’s a great advantage. We’ll take what we can and I haven’t had a Chase race at Talladega needing to perform there with a win here last year, and this team has done great job of making sure that everyone else has to.”
ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED -- HAS THIS PLAYOFF TWEAK ALTERED THE RULES OF GIVE-AND-TAKE IN THESE SITUATIONS? “I think the Chase format was designed to create tension, to create competition and certainly pressure on the teams and the drivers. From the standpoint of the way they drive on the race track you just have to watch the restarts and see that it’s elbows out the window there every time. I think this situation here at the end, as I said earlier, it’s unfortunate. You don’t like to see that, but if you go back and you look at it frame by frame, I don’t think you can just say Joey ran into him on purpose. I think there was movement on the 20 car coming down on him and certainly when he got in the wall, we didn’t run into the wall in turn one just because we wanted to, so, to me, it’s unfortunate for Matt and Joe Gibbs, but I think the format is terrific. We’re stepping up. Our guys are bringing better cars. We’ve worked on these cars for months to have them available for this time of the year, and I think that we’re starting to show that speed here as we get into the Chase.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – DID YOU ALTER THE APPROACH TOWARDS THE TAIL END OF THE RACE? “We build our race cars to do that. You have to look at the end of the race and checkered flag and race your race backwards. We understand how we need to make our cars to be successful on a last stint and how our cars need to be for the whole race. Honestly, we didn’t have the speed the 48 or the 20 had in the middle of the race. We had a tire come apart actually and fell back a little ways, but definitely had a strategy for how we wanted to end the race and when the caution comes and were able to play that strategy and definitely find speed in our race car.”
ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL MATT WAS RACING FOR WINNING ONE RACE AND HOW MUCH KNOWING IF YOU BEAT MATT HIS CHANCES OF MOVING ON ARE SLIMMER? “I don’t think at any time we were calculating where Kenseth was gonna be, either out front or behind. The checkered flag hadn’t fallen and we were still racing. You could see the last pit stop we had an excellent stop, came out there right up front, and, to me, Joey had more in the car. I think you see that when it’s time to go. You saw it yesterday – back in 14th when it was time to go in the XFINITY race and he finished third. To me, as I said before, that’s the game we’re in. Last year, Brad had to go to Talladega and win that race to go to the next round, so that’s gonna be the case next week for a number of drivers.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – DID YOU HAVE THE SAME SETUP AS LAST YEAR? “The thing is if you ever try to take a setup you had from the spring to the fall, you’re gonna slow down because you look at it, I think we were looking at it and pole speed was up a tremendous amount. Everybody makes their race cars better, but I think the thing that you look at is we understand what we have to feel in our race car. Joey does a phenomenal job of it, of what we need to feel in our race car in practice to be successful come race time because you don’t ever really get to race the line. The track widens up come race time and there’s some things that happen with the track and once you know what that offset is and what you’re looking for in practice to be successful, you look for those same things. We felt really good about our car yesterday. We had speed, but we had the balance that we needed to have to come forward racing, and it played out again.”
ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – HOW DO YOU PREPARE JOEY FOR THE AGGRESSIVE RACING THAT LIES AHEAD? “He’s got to race the guys around him. We don’t race the car. We prepare the car and bring it to the track. Each one of these drivers know what the circumstances are and with that they’re gonna make the moves that are necessary to try to get ahead, and you could see it on restarts today. To me, that’s gonna be the pattern as we go the next four or five races.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS FOR THE 2 TEAM RIGHT NOW? “I think we have good transparency between the two teams, there’s no question about it. I think as you saw Brad got better there at the end and made a big move, and I think that was because we’re sharing data up and down the pit road during the race. I think Paul and Todd will get together with Travis (Geisler) and Mike (Nelson) this week and they’ll look at what are the things that worked and what didn’t. They’ll use that in their playbook as we go forward.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – DID YOU SEE ANY ISSUES WITH MATT AND THE RESTARTS? “There is data out there to take a look at it. I’m sure that TV and NASCAR have that. I can’t speak for it. They do look like they were pretty slow to the restart zone, but I can’t speak for that. I have no information that tells me anything differently. I know when we rolled up to the restart zone we rolled up at pace car speed and had a good restart, and Joey was successful with it.”
JOEY LOGANO PRESS CONFERENCE
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “What a fast race car again. Starting back in 14th wasn’t where we wanted to be, but the first run we drove all the way up to second and I was like, ‘Wow, we’ve got something today.’ Some of the guys made their cars quite a bit better and they were able to kind of move up through the field with the different strategies and stuff like that, and then really the last pit stop Todd made a great call and made some great changes, and then it’s always that time to find that next level as a driver and find that next little piece to get a little bit more speed out of your car, and I was able to race hard and get back to the lead and be able to win.”
CAN YOU GO THROUGH THE SITUATION WITH MATT? “It’s just hard racing. With 15 to go I got to the outside of him down the backstretch and I had to lift to not wreck both of us at that point, and then I kind of got put in the same situation down the fronstretch. And then we just happened to go in the same corner and we both went for the same piece of real estate. I wanted that middle lane and so did he, and we collided there. It was hard racing. We ran each other hard. He ran me hard and I ran him hard back. That’s the type of driver I am and the type of racer I’m gonna be and it just comes to that point sometimes unfortunately those things happen. It doesn’t take anything away from our win today. I’m proud of what this team has been doing. I’m proud of the way we’ve been racing week in and week out and executing our weekends with not only a fast race car, but doing our jobs during the race to keep us up front. I’m proud of what we’ve got.”
HOW MUCH OF AN EDGE IS IT FOR YOU KNOWING YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE LOCKED INTO THE NEXT ROUND GOING TO TALLADEGA NEXT WEEK? “Really, we’re able to go into that race and be relaxed and that’s something to feel good about because our goal coming into this weekend was to win the race and keep everyone not feeling too comfortable about Talladega. Really, the only way you feel comfortable is if you have a win. For us, we were able to get those two and set ourselves up in a good spot for that weekend, and obviously move to the next round, but, really, I look at these last two races and we can’t be too proud of ourselves as far as this is two tracks that are very similar, so we had two very fast race cars at very similar race tracks. If I look at the next round you have Martinsville, very different. Texas, it’s similar but quite a bit different than what we have here, and then Phoenix, so we’ve got three way different race tracks than what we’ve been racing. We can obviously be proud of what we’ve done, but don’t just hang your hat on that. We need to definitely move forward and think about these upcoming races.”
ANY CONCERNS ON HOW MATT WILL RACE YOU THE REST OF THE YEAR? “No, not really. I feel like he raced me the same way. I’d be surprised if he expected something different, so we were just racing hard. He’s racing for a win and I’m racing for a win. There’s a lot of aggression there and that’s what our sport is built on. Our sport is built on stuff like that and going forward we’re gonna race. That’s what we do. That’s what we do every week. We go out there and race each other. These things always seem to happen every now and again and you work it out. Eventually, it all comes out fine.”
DID YOU INTENTIONALLY TURN HIM? “No, I think we both went for the same piece of real estate. We both went into that corner hard. I wanted to get position and get to the inside of him and he went for the same piece of real estate as well. I wanted that second lane to be able to stay on the inside of him, thinking he may get trapped up behind one of those lapped cars in front of him because they were running the top before. They all happened to go to the bottom, which you don’t know that until you’re in the corner.”
JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – DID MATT’S SITUATION FACTOR INTO YOUR MINDSET? “You want to win the race. That’s part of the strategy when you go to this round or really any round is to win as often as possible to keep your competitors out. Everyone is fast in the Chase right now. Everyone has got a lot of speed in their cars. Everyone is running up front at points during the race, so, for us, it’s just about winning trophies. You don’t have to think too much deeper than that. We want to go win the race and we look at Talladega next week and say, ‘Hey, we want to win that one, too. How cool would that be?’ So we’ll work hard just like we’ve been and work hard to prepare to make our car fast there and we’ll push forward.’
HAVE YOU NOTICED THE RACING GETTING MORE AGGRESSIVE SINCE THE CHASE RACES STARTED? “I don’t really notice it much different. There is probably more on the line now than what there is during the regular part of the season, but it seems like during the Chase there’s always controversy at some point for drivers out there just because there’s a lot on the line. I don’t think people are racing harder than what they did before, maybe in certain circumstances. For some reason I just keep thinking of what the 31 did at Phoenix to get into the next round. Obviously, we wouldn’t do that if it was just a normal race. Why would you do something like that to get one spot at the end of a race? But you would do that to get to the next round and you knew you had to get that spot, so that part of the racing changes for sure, but I think all of us are racers, all of us want to win really bad. We’re all very competitive people that want to win trophies and I don’t think that changes from Daytona to Homestead.”
DO YOU GO TO TALLADEGA LOOKING TO PROTECT BRAD OR TO GO 3-FOR-3? “We go for 3-for-3. That’s our job is to go out there and win. It’s also our job to work with our teammate and when you go to Talladega it’s hard to win by yourself. You need to have your teammate out there and be able to work together. Just like every other superspeedway that you’ve seen so far, you see the Penske cars work together because that’s what we have to do to try to be up there and win that race. I don’t see that being any different than what we typically see, and we’re both out there we want to win. Our goal is to go out there and win the race. That’s what our jobs are. My job as a race car driver for Roger Penske is to go out there and win, but I also know it’s a goal for Roger to have both his cars racing in Homestead for a championship. We’ll work together as we typically do at any other speedway race.”
HAVE YOU HAD TO TOUGHEN UP YOUR SKIN SINCE GETTING IN THIS SPORT? “It’s a tough sport. It’s like that in any professional sport. It’s tough. It’s not supposed to be easy. It wouldn’t be that much fun if it was easy. We wouldn’t be doing this, so that’s why this is the top level of motorsports here in the Sprint Cup level. I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m proud to be in it and proud to be winning in it. Does it toughen you up? Yeah, it toughens you up. I toughened me up pretty quick in the first two or three years of my career. You don’t really have an option sometimes to but toughen up.”
MATT HAS A DIFFERING VIEW. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT SITUATION? “Every situation is different. Every situation is unique in how you handle it and move forward. That fact of the matter is we need to go race each other again. It’s not like the last time we’re ever gonna race each other, and we’re always gonna have our point of view. I’m gonna have my point of view, Matt’s gonna have his point of view and that’s great, that’s good, that’s what our sport is built on. Our sport is built on hard racing and sometimes when you’re racing that hard and racing that close things happen. Right now, everyone is in the heat of the moment, so everyone is gonna say what’s on their mind exactly. As you cool down you’re able to maybe look at things differently, probably for the both of us. Right now, I looked at the way we raced and I say we raced hard and that’s what happened. To me, I felt like I got raced really hard. I got the right side of my car is skinned up. I didn’t just drive it in the fence, you know what I mean? I think it’s just those situations that obviously build and makes you keep racing hard. It’s just life. That’s racing. That’s what we do every week.”
JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – ANY WORRIES THAT MATT MIGHT TAKE HIS FRUSTRATIONS OUT AT MARTINSVILLE OR SOME OTHER PLACE? “If I worried about that, I probably would run about 30th every week, so I’m not gonna worry about that. I’m gonna drive my race car like I do every other week and what we’re gonna do is be very proud of what we did today. I’ve got a very fast race car. My team did a great job. We’re doing what we’re supposed to do. I’m gonna focus on that.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU COME HERE TO KANSAS? IS IT ANY EASIER? “I wouldn’t say easier, but it has been our best race track in the last couple of years. I think this is our fifth top-5 in a row here and a couple wins within that, so it has been a really good race track for our race team. It fits my style. I feel like Todd Gordon, myself kind of realize what we have to do as a team to go fast here and he knows how to call a race. The guy is a genius. He’s very, very smart. He’s fun to work with. He knows what I need. We’ve got that chemistry, which is so hard to have, but we have a friendship that goes deeper than what we do on the race track. Last night, I hung out in his bus for two hours and we didn’t even really talk about our race car for about 30 minutes and just hung out, and there’s a lot of value to that. There’s not a lot of race teams that have that and it’s something we’ve got and I think we use it to our advantage.”
DO YOU FEEL THIS FORMAT HAS MADE YOU THROW SOME UNWRITTEN RULES OUT THE WINDOW? “We go to win the race.”
DO YOU FEEL THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE, EVEN 20 YEARS AGO? “Yeah. I mean it should be. If it wasn’t, I’m pretty sure you look at some of our legends in our sport, they didn’t go out there to run second. They didn’t become Hall of Famers by saying, ‘Second is good this week. We won last week.’ Come on.”
WHAT KIND OF IMPACT HAS JEFF GORDON HAD ON YOU AND THE SPORT? “Jeff Gordon has had a huge impact I think on every young racer growing up as a race car driver, and really a lot of people. You see the type of person he is, he’s a great person. You see what he does for charity and what he does giving back. There’s a great role model right there to start off with, that’s something I want to base my life around. I see what he’s been able to do on the race track and when I first started racing quarter-midgets he was the young guy in this sport. Obviously, it was natural and easy to root for the young guy that’s out there winning a ton of races, so I had all the Jeff Gordon gear just like I feel most kids my age. When I was racing quarter-midgets I think every kid I raced against was a Jeff Gordon fan and every other one had a car painted like Jeff Gordon, so it is a dream come true to be out there racing against him, racing for a championship with him. It’s incredible to think that. That’s the coolest thing about our sport is drivers can be in it for so long that you can race against your childhood hero, and when I meet kids right now and they’re like, ‘It’s so cool. I’m gonna be racing against you some day.’ And I think, there’s a good chance that happens. That’s crazy. I’m gonna be old, but it will be really cool to see that.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE ‘PUCKER’ FACTOR AT THIS TRACK? IS IT NUMBER ONE? “Yeah. I don’t know if we have a better word to explain that. I agree with it. I’m trying to think of a more politically correct way of saying it, but I can’t, so, yeah, we’re all puckered up (laughing). Qualifying here you’re trying to go as fast as you can and trying to hold it wide-open. To be fast you have to be loose in qualifying and there’s not much margin of being able to slide the car when you’re going that fast on a hard tire, so you get loose it’s like you’re gonna smack the wall pretty hard. So I think that brings the pucker effect into play, which makes it a lot of fun. Hey, I give him credit. I texted him after qualifying and said, ‘Man, I don’t know how the heck you did that.’ It took a lot of guts to be able to do what he did on Friday.”
JOEY LOGANO CONTINUED – VETERANS TRIED TO PUSH YOU AROUND EARLY IN YOUR CAREER. HOW DID THAT FORM HOW YOU DRIVE AND HAD YOU LIFTED AS YOU DID ON THE BACKSTRETCH, WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE DOES THAT SEND TO THE OTHER DRIVERS THAT THEY CAN MUSCLE YOU IN CRUNCH TIME? “All of the great racers out there are students of the sport and they re-watch and they see what the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors are. I do that. I realize who I’m racing. Everyone keeps a little notebook on the way people race, whether it’s restarts or during the race or certain trends that they typically do when you’re around them, so I think you always kind of take that into consideration a lot of times. I wasn’t trying to send no message either way. I was trying to win the race.”
HAD YOU LIFTED AND FINISHED SECOND. “Had I lifted, I race hard because my team works hard and they expect that out of me. As a racer, they’re all racers as well and they expect their driver to go to battle in those situations, and that’s my job. If I lifted in that situation like I did on the backstretch, if I did that twice, I’m not sure my team would be too proud to work for someone like that. I wouldn’t want to work on someone’s car that’s gonna roll over.”
TOOD KNEW YOU WOULD WIN IF THE RACE WAS TIGHT DOWN THE STRETCH. HOW ACCURATE IS HE? “I think when it comes down to the last run of a race, you always got to try to dig down deep and say, ‘What else do I have left? Where is it?’ And I have to tell myself a lot of times that you’ve got to find more. You think a lot of times you’re at 100 percent and then when it’s game time you find another level, and I think that’s what great athletes do in situations when it’s game time, when it’s the end of the race, when it’s that make-it or break-it moment and I love being in those situations. They’re fun. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of that, and that’s what you see the best drivers out here doing. The best drivers, when it’s game time, you see the cream rise to the top and it’s not easy to do. I can’t say I’ve perfected it or have always been that way, but I’m proud of the progress I’ve made as a driver to be able to find that extra level when you need it.”
DO YOU CHANGE SOME RULES TODAY IN THE SENSE OF BEING AGGRESSIVE IS OK AND ULTRA-AGGRESSIVE IS OK? “I didn’t change any rules today. NASCAR does the rules. I just drive the race car. NASCAR makes the rules and we play by them. There are no rules when it comes to the way we race each other and the way we’re gonna race hard. I’m gonna race the way people race me and I expect the same back. I think the answer that 90 percent of the drivers will tell you is if they’re raced hard, they’re gonna race hard back. If they’re raced nice and easy, they’ll probably race nice and easy back. I think if you want to call it a rule, that’s the unwritten rule – if you want to call it that – that’s the way we all look at the situations.”
THE WAY YOU RACED HIM WAS THAT JUST HOW IT WAS IN THOSE LAPS OR DOES THIS GO BACK TO HOW YOU GUYS HAVE RACED IN THE PAST? “No. We went for the same lane on the race track. What am I gonna do, go in there and take him out? I wanted to run the second lane and so did he. Well, there’s only room for one.”
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