Joey Logano Completes NASCAR Contender Round Chase Sweep With Third Straight Victory
• Joey Logano’s win today is his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and 14th of his career.
• In addition, it’s Logano’s fifth career Chase triumph, and third straight.
• This marks the first time a driver has swept all three races in a Chase round and Logano becomes the first Ford driver to win three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races since Rusty Wallace did it in June of 1994 at Dover, Pocono, and Michigan.
• The win is Fusion’s 70th NSCS triumph since becoming Ford’s flagship vehicle in 2006.
• Ford now has 639 all-time NSCS victories.
• Team Penske has now registered 47 NSCS wins with Ford, including 20 over the past three years.
• This marks Ford’s 31st all-time NASCAR CHASE victory.
Ford Finishing Results:
1st – Joey Logano
4th – Brad Keselowski
9th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16th – Aric Almirola
17th – Sam Hornish Jr.
20th – Greg Biffle
21st – Trevor Bayne
22nd – Cole Whitt
23rd – Bobby Labonte
28th – Michael McDowell
29th – Josh Wise
32nd – David Gilliland
43rd – Ryan Blaney
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – THAT LAST RESTART YOU CHOSE THE OUTSIDE LANE INSTEAD OF HAVING YOUR TEAMMATE BEHIND YOU. WHY? “The 24 was just so fast. We had seen it in qualifying how fast he was and I saw through the race how he was a great pusher. When you realize someone is that much faster you have to go to that lane. It also seemed the top was a little better on restarts. I felt with those two things that was the lane I had to choose. It worked out the way it needed to be. It would have been interesting if the race played out what would have happened. I am so proud of this team. Three in a row in unbelievable. I don’t even know what to say. I am speechless.” THAT LAST RESTART, DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE OUT FRONT WHEN THE CAUTION CAME OUT? “Yeah, I did. I had a good start and then the 24 was pushing me and the plan worked perfectly but the inside lane started pulling back up. I saw the lights come on when I was still in the lead and I thought we had it. It is all about how the timing loops are and the camera to make sure that is what happened. It is such a crazy race. That were such long green flag runs, you never see that. To pull it into victory lane here at Talladega is so cool.” WHAT WAS THE DEAL ON THE SECOND TO LAST RESTART? “Everyone just stacked up behind us. They were trying to time the restart so much and if the leader goes late in the box it stacks the field up a lot. That is a product of everyone laying back and timing the start and the start not going how they planned it.” IF I HAD TOLD YOU BEFORE THIS ROUND STARTED THAT YOU WOULD SWEEP IT WITH THREE WINS IN A ROW, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE SAID? “I would have said you were crazy. It is amazing. Dreams come true I guess. We have to keep this dream rolling. We have a long way to go. We are back to zero going into Martinsville so we need to make something happen in the next three races.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – “We did exactly what we needed to do. We stayed up front when it counted and took care of our race car. The guys gave me a good car. We worked together well with our teammates, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, and at the end we just finished it up strong. That’s exactly what we needed to do and I’m really proud of everybody.” YOU ADVANCE TO THE NEXT ROUND AFTER GETTING THROUGH THIS TOUGH BRACKET. “This is, to me, the toughest bracket to get through. I feel like we tested Phoenix and were awesome. I’m looking for a lot of good things there. We finished second at Martinsville in the spring and probably had a shot to win it. We just need to capitalize.” THOUGHTS ON THAT LAST RESTART KNOWING WHERE YOU WERE IN POINTS AND WHERE YOU WERE ON TRACK. “I’m here to win. I never got an opportunity, honestly, with the way the restarts played out, but I’m glad if I didn’t win my teammate did.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 Cheez-It Ford Fusion – “It was really unfortunate. We had a great strategy and had a great car. We were really close to winning it. It’s unfortunate that one of those cars blew up and brought the caution out. There’s nothing we can do about that.”
MATT PUCCIA, Crew Chief – No. 16 Cheez-It Ford Fusion – “We were gonna make it if it went green for sure. We were gonna make it to the end, but we just didn’t need that. I guess the 1 car blew up down the back and oiled the track down. It’s just a shame. We could have possibly made it, but I just didn’t want to be that guy who was gonna wreck the whole field if we didn’t get it going on the restart. It’s unfortunate.” TALK ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY. “Using our worst mileage we were two to three short and using our best mileage when we were back in the back and just saving gas we were gonna make it right to the end. I just told Greg, ‘All you have to do is save, save. That’s our play.’ I knew the whole field had to stop, so we started saving as soon as they threw the green flag on that last restart on lap 136 or whatever it was. We just saved and saved and were gonna make it, but the caution bit us.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion – “That’s a crappy way for Harvick to have to get in the Chase is to wreck somebody – what I believe to be on purpose – maybe it wasn’t. The restart before that he had engine problems and got out of the way. I think he realized if the caution came out he was gonna be fine, so I go by and get hooked in the left-rear. Harvick is a really good driver. I think he knows the limits of his car and where it’s at, so that’s why I think it was intentional. To me, we had a really good AdvoCare Ford Fusion. I ran really good all day and was able to work my way toward the front. I felt like we had a top-10 run, no doubt, and then you finish like that it ticks you off a little bit.”
RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – "It was a good day for us. We had a good car and we were just starting to make our way toward the front then we lost oil pressure and unfortunately it gave up on us. These guys worked really hard to give me a fast race car and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion was going to be really good today. It was a lot of fun out there for sure. Plate races are always a lot of fun. Roush Yates does a great job for us, so we'll go to Texas and hopefully we'll have a better run there."
MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 95 K-LOVE Ford Fusion – “We had a really fast car. The K-LOVE Ford was really quick. We ran up in the top-10 most of the day and then I sped on pit road and got us behind. We got back on the lead lap and then just got caught up in the mess, really it was just because we were back there where we shouldn’t have been.”
SAM HORNISH JR. – No. 9 Jacob Ford Fusion – “I felt like our Jacob Companies Ford was pretty good. We could never get all the way to the front, but the couple times that it started to even out a little bit I felt like we could get fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth – somewhere in there – and then when it got down to race for it at the end that we were able to move forward, but I just tried to protect the car all day. The last pit stop we had under green I couldn’t get to the bottom quick enough in the middle of three and four, so I had to drive it a little bit harder off of four than what I wanted to, and just like right at the last minute it locked up the right-front. I’m not sure if it would have made it or not, but I thought it was better to be safe than sorry and we took tires when a lot of the other guys didn’t. We lost eight spots probably because of it, and then on the restarts there it’s hard to make a decision on what to do because you can’t pass a guy and then if he’s got an issue you can kind of clog up the whole lane. I was trying to get turned down, but there were cars beside me and then the hole just kind of closed up right in front of me and we got wadded up. It’s unfortunate. The car was good. It didn’t have a scratch on it, and it probably cost us a few spots. If I would have just pulled out of line, we could have probably been 10th, but you don’t know if you’re gonna get black-flagged for pulling out too early. We knew the 4 wasn’t gonna get going, but it’s still a hard thing to do.”
ROGER PENSKE-TODD GORDON PRESS CONFERENCE
TODD GORDON, crew chief, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion – TELL US ABOUT THE FINAL LAPS. “I would say we were probably the lowest stressed group coming into today. The final laps there we had a good car. I felt like we could contend and execution in the pits got us to the point where we got off pit road that last fuel only stop first and we were watching it go and seeing what was happening with the 16. He was trying to make it on fuel and we weren’t sure where that was going to go but then a caution comes out and bunches everyone out and it put us in a position where we knew it was going to be restarts. With the one restart rule, we got through it with a caution coming out pretty quickly there. We survived. Just phenomenally proud of this whole Shell Pennzoil team and what they did.”
ROGER PENSKE, owner, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion – THE 22 TEAM HAS SWEPT THE ROUND. TALK ABOUT THE MOMENTUM WITH THAT TEAM RIGHT NOW. “I think if we sat down prior to this round and said someone would win all three they would have said you were crazy. The execution of Todd and Joey is at the top of their game. Today, when you look at that last pit stop, it made the difference for both the 2 and 22 getting out and getting into the lead which was key. To me it is moving on to the next round. It will be tough in the next three races and our goal is to get to Homestead with both the 2 and 22. Great job and part of this is not just with who is here at the race track but the people who support us back at the shop. There are 350 people there working every day and we don’t see those folks. Our sponsors, Shell Pennzoil and no question the motor was strong today with Roush Yates and Miller Lite. We had our best game on for the last three races and we have proved it with the success we’ve had. We have been in this position before and we know how tough it is to stay on top.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF DECIDING ON THAT LAST RESTART TO SWITCH THE POSITIONS OF THE CARS? “Well, Joey and I talk a little about it and I let him make most of those decisions. Maybe that is a better question later. I felt like the 24 has been strong and they qualified on the pole by two-tenths so you know the 24 is really strong and didn’t really want to stack the 24 and 88 together in one lane. We knew Brad was in really good position as far as making it to the next round and we felt that splitting the Hendrick cars and ourselves up we could get a better run being the leader you get to set the restart and we took the opportunity to split those guys up.”
WHAT WAS YOUR TAKE ON THE FIRST RESTART WHEN IT WAS DECIDED IT REALLY WASN’T AN ATTEMPT? “I think you need to ask somebody in race control how that is defined. I thought it was over at that point but obviously I didn’t quite understand it as well as they do. Fortunately we got a second opportunity and did the same thing.”
ROGER PENSKE CONTINUED – ROUSH USED TO BE THE PREMIER FORD TEAM, CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THE RISE OF THE PENSKE ORGANIZATION AND HOW YOU HAVE BEEN PERFORMING? “I don’t know if it has been a rise or not. It is a team that has come together when Brad came on board. We found some success in 2012 and having Joey be available to come on the team and these guys have worked together. I have said it before, with Paul Wolfe and Todd both coming up through the XFINITY Series gave them confidence and also built that nucleus of people around the team. I think Roush Yates has stepped up and we thank them for that. I think our aero guys and all the people back at the shop has made a difference. Roush is a great organization and they are showing some speed now and I think when we get to the different rule package they will be right back there.”
TODD GORDON CONTINUED – THE 4 CAR KNEW IT HAD A PROBLEM AND KNEW IT COULDN’T GO ON THE RESTART. WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING FOR A GUY TO DO IN THAT SITUATION? “I don’t know what was going on there with him to be honest.”
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT YOUR DRIVER TO DO? “You have to try to maximize your opportunity to make it, right? I think if the car is still running and still capable of going you try to get everything you can out of it.”
JOEY LOGANO PRESS CONFERENCE
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – “We got momentum, that’s for sure. This team has just been firing all eight right now. It’s amazing. All these different types of race tracks we’ve been able to win at this season and how hard everyone keeps fighting. We want the big trophy at the end of the year. We want to win every trophy in-between, but we want the big one at the end of the season. What we’ve shown here this last round is a big deal, but the fact of the matter is we’re back to zero again. What we do have going for us that other teams don’t have is a lot of confidence, we’ve got momentum and we’re relaxed. We’ve shown that we know how to do it. We’ve just got to keep going out there and doing what we know how to do.”
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE ONLY GREEN-WHITE-CHECKER THAT COUNTED? “You know there’s gonna be some back-and-forth, for sure, on what was gonna happen. When you’re lining up against the best at superspeedway racing, and with a very fast car, he proved that throughout the whole day that his car was very fast, and also proved the 24 was really fast throughout the day as well. I wanted to have that 24 behind me to push. I felt like he was really good on restarts. I saw that earlier in the race, so I felt like that’s what I had to do. I had to get around those guys. I wanted to split them up for one. I thought those two together would be too strong to beat, so I felt like I had to split them up. I felt the top lane was the lane of choice that I felt like we needed to have and was able to make the run and get out ahead enough before the caution came out.”
DID YOU HAVE TO STEER THROUGH ANY DEBRIS AFTER WINNING THE RACE? “I was aiming for them. I was thirsty. I was aiming for everything. It’s kind of a cool explosion when you hit beer cans and stuff. It explodes all over the place. It’s kind of a shame they were throwing their beers full. I feel bad. They probably should have drank them (laughing). It was kind of interesting. Usually there’s one or two, but that was kind of like it was raining out there, so it was kind of a new thing but that’s OK. Everyone is passionate about their driver and that’s what makes our sport great. I appreciate the passion that our fans have and I think that’s something that’s really cool to see about the way that people act for their driver. It is what it is. It doesn’t hurt my race car. Our race cars are built strong, so they can hit a lot of stuff and keep on rolling.”
THOUGHTS ON SWEEPING THIS ROUND. “I didn’t think it was possible, I can tell you that much. When you come to Chase time everyone is bringing their A-game, bringing everything they’ve got, the best they can – not only with their race cars, but every driver is trying to find that extra little bit and to see what this 22 team has done coming into the Chase and being able to have some very good finishes in the first round, click off three wins here in the Contender Round, it sets a statement and that’s what we tried to do. We were in situations throughout this Chase that maybe we didn’t have to win, but our job is to win. That’s what Roger Penske expects from us. He expects excellence. He expects us to win a lot of races and I want to produce. It’s a performance business and we’ve got to go out there and if there’s a trophy, we’re supposed to get it. That’s our job and we just need to able to do that.”
COULD YOU HAVE HELD OFF JUNIOR IF THE CAUTION DIDN’T COME OUT AND HAVE YOU SEEN ANY REPLAYS WITH THE HARVICK WRECK? “I didn’t see how the crash started or what happened yet. I have no clue what’s going on. I guess there has been some talk of things, but I have no clue. I am out of the loop right now, which is a good thing for a change. It’s nice to be able to not really know what’s going on here, but I think as far as the last restart and what concerned me, racing the 88 obviously he was very fast, like I said. He had a very fast race car. Could we have held him off? Yeah, of course. We did earlier in the race. We were fighting him hard. Was it gonna be easy? No, it was gonna be very challenging. It was gonna be very hard. We were racing against the best speedway racer that we know. He’s won a ton of these speedway races and I look at him as one of the elite speedway racers and to race against him for a win was not gonna be easy, but to be able to come out with the checkered flag meant a lot.”
CAN YOU GO THROUGH THE CONVERSATION YOU HAD WITH TODD ABOUT SPLITTING UP THE HENDRICK CARS AT THE END? “I felt like just kind of going off what I learned earlier in the race, that’s what you’ve got to look at. The 24 car was obviously the fastest car on the race track. He proved that throughout the race. Every time he got shuffled out he drove all the way back up. Obviously, he’s a great race car driver, but he had a fast race car as well. We saw it in qualifying as well how fast his car was. I know the 88 was fast. He led a lot of laps and ran around him all day as well. I know what the 2’s got, the same thing as me, and I thought if those two Hendrick cars team up, it would be very, very hard to beat them no matter how great Brad and I always work together, it was gonna be hard to beat them. That just goes to show we have a lot of work to do still. We still have to be better, but the strategy of splitting them up and getting the push from the 24, I felt like it was my best bet.”
WAS THERE A POINT WHERE HE WAS IN FRONT OF YOU ON THE RESTART? “That’s definitely when it decided it. I was in front of him the whole time and then the caution light came out and it’s over, we lift. It’s kind of a moot point after that what’s gonna happen because the cars behind you lift, you lose your pushes, so you don’t know what’s gonna happen after that. I know we had a good start. Being that control car was a big deal. Having the 24 to push me getting up to second and third gear gave us enough of a lead that as he started pulling us back on the inside, he definitely had momentum as he started to catch us and was probably gonna be in the lead at some point. I don’t know if he would have cleared us, but we would have been side-by-side off of two most likely, so it’s hard to say what would have happened, but the fact of the matter is they’re crashing behind you. You’ve got to throw the caution because they crashed and we weren’t gonna be able to go through there again.”
SO AS FAR AS YOU KNOW HE NEVER GOT IN FRONT OF YOU? “No, he wasn’t – not that I know of – and I probably had the best view of anyone. I think the two of us could probably see that the best.”
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