Joey Logano Ready for Clash at the Coliseum
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW PAINT SCHEME? “Yellow, a lot of yellow. We’re gonna see that car on the racetrack, for sure. I thought Shell and Pennzoil coming together doing that video on our social pages did a great job of kind of explaining the story of what Next Gen is for NASCAR and what Next Gen is for Joey Logano and what it is for Shell and Team Penske, and kind of going to the next level and unveiling a cool paint job while we’re at it. It’s obviously very clean. I’d call it basic, which I think a lot of times when you get a good-looking scheme you get too many lines and you miss some of the awesome body lines that are on this Next Gen car, so it really kind of shows a lot of the cool curvature of the new design on the Next Gen car and, like I said, she’s clean, she looks good, she’s got some polished up wheels on it. That’s something that definitely sets it apart from a lot of other cars on the racetrack and that’s also a lot of work on Team Penske’s side to do that, but it’s definitely gonna be neat when you see that on a Team Penske car. I’m proud to finally unveil it. I know everyone has been waiting, but we just felt like 2-2-22 was the right time. We felt like we should play off the 22 in 22 and then go with this date as well for the unveil, so I’m pretty excited about the car and excited to drive it this weekend.”
HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THE REST OF THE FIELD DEAL WITH THEIR PERSONAL CODE OF CONDUCT THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS AND HOW YOU RESPOND IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS? “You hit the nail on the head. You’re in that position more and more every year as you see the way the playoff schedule is, especially last year, there are moments when you’re on the racetrack that test your character. It test who you are and how do you want to race and what are you gonna do to make it to the Championship 4 or to win a championship. NASCAR has put us all in a position to make challenging positions on what is right. I’ll be 100 percent honest with you, a lot of times you don’t know what’s right. You try to play out all those scenarios in your mind before the weekend starts so you know what to do in the moment, but half the time it’s something that comes up that’s maybe something you didn’t think about or something you didn’t have the answer to yet and you’re forced to make a decision in a split second. That’s the position that we’re put in. That is very entertaining for you guys. That sucks for us sometimes. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do. It is something that I think all of us drivers will think about a lot and the Clash is no different. You look at the way they’ve designed this racetrack, not just the fact that it’s small, but the way they put the curbing on the bottom. It just seems like it opens the door for more contact and sliding it down in there, so we will have to wait and see. There’s gonna be moments. There are transfers that they’re probably gonna do what they’ve got to do to get into the feature, and you’ve got no points on the line. I think it just kind of depends. Just because there’s no points on the line doesn’t mean that grudges don’t get carried over to the next race, either. It’s a tricky place to be. I don’t have the answer for you, but we are put in this spot a lot.”
WHAT IS YOUR MORAL CODE AS YOU HEAD INTO THE CLASH? “To be honest with you, you have to be consistent. What’s consistent? I’m gonna win. I’m going out there to win the race. That’s the goal and we do what it takes to do that, but you have to have your moral code and what is considered ok? Is straight-up dumping somebody OK to go win a race? I don’t think so. That’s not really in my cards. Now, a bump-and-run I’ve proven that’s OK. The facts are you have to be OK with it happening to you. Am I OK with getting wrecked? No. Am I OK with getting moved out of the way? I’m not gonna be happy about it, but you have to be OK with it if I’m gonna do it. I feel like that should be the code. Whatever you’re OK with happening to you, you should be all right with doing to somebody else. That’s probably what it is and that’s only fair. That’s just what it is. That’s what we’re going for. We’re going to win. There’s gonna be a lot of people watching this. It’s probably going to be one of the most highly-rated Clashes of all time I bet from TV, from really anything. There’s more people talking about the Clash this year than ever because we’re doing something different. It’s kind of like the dirt race last year. We talked about it so much that, boy, a lot of people are gonna tune in and watch because it’s such an unknown. There’s a lot of good things that go along with the Clash, but also a lot of tricky situations.”
WOULD YOU DO AS MUCH, THE SAME, OR MORE TO WIN THE CLASH THAN YOU WOULD THE DAYTONA 500? “I feel like it’s the same. Like I said, you’ve got to be consistent.”
THE SAME FEELING FOR BOTH RACES? “Maybe winning the Daytona 500 is a little better feeling. It pays a lot better, I promise you that. Maybe a lot cooler trophy, too. I can’t say it’s the same thing, but we’ll probably race the same way. We’re competitors that want to win, so I don’t think anything changes.”
IT’S BEEN SINCE 1971 THAT NASCAR HAS RACED ON A TRACK LIKE THIS. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET BACK TO THESE GRASSROOTS STYLE OF RACES? “I think it’s cool that we’re doing different things. I’ve been saying this all along, it’s not the Next Gen car, it’s Next Gen NASCAR. Everything is going to change with it. Obviously, you guys know all the details that go along with that now, that it’s not just the car is different. It’s different tracks, it’s different formats, there’s different weekend formats, you name it, so a lot of different things go along with this and I think there’s a lot of good things like going back to like you said to some of the short tracks and roots of our sport is great. I don’t know about quarter-mile racing yet. The last time I was on a quarter-mile I was driving a Legends car and I was nine, so I think this is gonna be pretty different. It’s a full sized car out there. I don’t know what we’re gonna have for room, but it’ll be interesting and we’ll learn. Either way, we’re gonna know whether we want to do this again or not.”
IS THIS NEXT GEN CAR GOING TO LOOK LIKE THE SAME ON SHORT TRACK RACES WE’VE KNOWN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS? “Some things will change. On a short track, being quite frank, the cars are just different. I don’t want to say they’re easier or harder to drive, but your brakes probably aren’t gonna be at limit anymore. You’ve got huge brakes on these cars. Wheel hop is not really a thing with the independent rear suspension, so you’re not gonna have wheel hop, but all of this allows you to dive it down into the corner harder, so it’s gonna change the racing a little bit, I think. There’s less risk on wrecking yourself by overdriving the car, which is gonna change the way we all race each other. I’ll be interested to see what that looks like. I don’t know if the Clash is gonna be the best example of what Martinsville will look like or other short tracks because it’s just so different and it’s a new asphalt, which is a lot different than our other short tracks.”
DID YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON TOM BRADY RETIRING? “I stuck with Tom Brady just out of respect with the way he’s done it. He’s the best. It’s fun to follow someone’s career like that, that strives for excellence to the degree that he has in his career, and the underdog story. He eventually was not the underdog, but at the start of his career he was. I watched some of the documentaries on his career and things like that is highly entertaining to me, so I always found myself rooting for him even when he left the Patriots I still stuck with him because I think he’s a stand-up person. It doesn’t seem like you ever hear anything bad about him. To be honest with you, I always say that Tom Brady and Jimmie Johnson probably have a lot in common and the amount of championships they’ve won, the person that they seem to be, I know Jimmie obviously better than I know Tom Brady. I’ve never met him, but it seems like they do a lot of things in a similar way and they’re pretty dang successful because of it.”
DID YOU REALLY SEE YOURSELF BEING THE GUY IN 2022 THAT WOULD BE THE VETERAN GUY AT TEAM PENSKE? “There have been plenty of times in my life, especially recently over the last two or three years that I look back 10 years ago and I go, ‘Boy, I would have never called that one.’ I would have never called this happening or having some of the people that have come along with me throughout the whole ride. I’d say, ‘Boy, you wouldn’t have called that, would you?’ I don’t know. I really enjoy the surprise of life. You kind of roll with the punches and let things happen and try to control what you can control and Jesus take the wheel through the rest of it and you end up somewhere and this is better than I could have ever expected, so I’m grateful to be in the position with Team Penske, with a great partner at Shell and Pennzoil, and 10 years with this partnership this year says a lot for the consistency – who we are, what we stand for, the loyalty, all those I take a lot of pride in. I think that’s a really special thing. You don’t see that a lot in our sport with drivers and teams and sponsors all sticking together for that long. It’s pretty rare, so I take a lot of pride in being a part of that equation at Team Penske.”
NO PIT STOPS AT THE COLISEUM, BUT HOW MUCH TIME HAVE YOU SPENT ON THE CHOREOGRAPHY OF PIT STOPS. HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING MORE THAN USUAL AT THE SHOP? “Some. I’m involved enough to know how they’re changing their placement on the car and what they’re doing differently and how quick it is – those type of things. Obviously, I’m in tune with all that stuff, but it’s gonna be different for sure. The teams are doing it in different ways. In each team you see some different things that I don’t think anyone is comfortable with in terms of what’s the best. It also changes the strategy, too. If you have a faster pit stop, it makes you think differently at some racetracks, so you’ve got to keep all of that in mind. Everything is different with this car. It’s not just the car and how the driver has to work the air to move and pass cars and do things. The crew chief also has to think about calling the race differently because fall off is gonna be different and pit stops are gonna be different. Fuel mileage is gonna be a lot different. How quickly we can fill up the car is different, and getting the car full on a shorter pit stop is also part of the equation, so there’s a lot more to think about and a lot of things we have to kind of figure out as we go.”
IF SUNDAY’S RACE PROVES SUCCESSFUL, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THIS IDEA EXTENDED ELSEWHERE? “I haven’t put much thought into it yet, but if it does work, shoot, pick up the walls and set them down somewhere else – keep going. Go from one stadium to the next. I think it’s awesome that if this does work, it gives us the ability to race downtown. It gives us the ability to race in the middle of cities where the stadiums are placed. If we can do that, I think it brings our sport to a whole different level. As much as I love our racetracks and they’re great, they need a lot of space – not just for the racetrack itself, but for camping and for everything that goes along with it. It’s a different environment than if it’s in the middle of a city, like a football game or a baseball game. If this works, this gives us the ability to go downtown anywhere and that’s a whole different fanbase that I don’t think we’ve reached our full potential in yet, so if this works it’s great for our sport. I’m saying if because we haven’t done it yet. We have to wait and see. It’s definitely changing the game, so we’ll kind of see how it works.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GO BACK TO THE WEST COAST AND RACE AT THE COLISEUM? “I’m glad to go back out there. There are a lot of great race fans. I always think that Fontana is one of the best camping racetracks we go to. You see the environment and everybody is hanging out and riding their bikes around, a family environment out there, so I love the Fontana experience. Sonoma, obviously, is very special as well. Different landscapes, different people. It’s a different world. You think about the cultures and how different it is when you go from north to south, east to west. The cultures are different. The people are different and it’s fun to be able to tap into all those markets. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that in the last couple years, so I’m excited to go back.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PROSPECTIVE FANS WHO MIGHT BE WATCHING NASCAR FOR THE FIRST TIME. WHY SHOULD THEY FOLLOW ALONG WITH NASCAR? “You’ve got to go and watch it. It’s hard to explain how NASCAR is until you go there. There have been so many times throughout my career where somebody will say, ‘Man, I didn’t watch NASCAR until I went to a race the first time.’ And they go, ‘I didn’t know it was all that. I thought it was just you guys driving in circles.’ Once they start seeing what it is, they become hooked nine times out of 10 it seems like. I love hearing those stories, so me telling somebody what it’s like I don’t think puts it into perspective until you can actually just go there and see it. Usually, everyone gets hooked from there.”
AS YOU START YOUR 10TH SEASON WITH TEAM PENSKE, HOW HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR ROLE EVOLVE? “I definitely feel like it’s changed drastically. It’s interesting. I’ve really adjusted some things in my life. I got this new motto in my mind, less is better. That’s what I want to do. I want to do less things and do it better, so I’m kind of cleaning up some of the stuff that isn’t as important and focusing on the things that are the most important. I’m pretty excited about that because obviously as one of the leaders in the organization takes on a lot more responsibility and takes on a lot more work and a lot more ability direct, especially with this Next Gen car. It’s bringing on a lot more work for everybody included, so a lot more to think about, do, more decisions to make and want to make sure that I’m ready for that. Less is better. That’s my thing and pushing that through this year. I’m excited about that and as a leader of Team Penske I’m excited about what we’ve got coming our way. The tests have gone pretty well. Our teammates are working well together. Blaney and I are probably closer than we’ve ever been and that’s a good thing. He’s seemed to step up as well, so I think the two of us can help guide the rookies into places to where all four of us can lead together in different departments and do different things, so I think we’re coming a long way. There are gonna be some learning curves for everybody, myself included, and the guys that have been here 15-20 years are gonna have a learning curve as well, much as the rookies are gonna have learning curves this year. There’s lots of work to do.”
LOOKING AT THE 2022 FORD CUP LINEUP
There have been a few changes to the Ford lineup since the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season ended. Here’s a look at the 2022 full-time roster:
Driver – Car Number (Team)
Austin Cindric -- No. 2 Ford Mustang (Team Penske)
Kevin Harvick -- No. 4 Ford Mustang (Stewart-Haas Racing)
Brad Keselowski -- No. 6 Ford Mustang (Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing)
Aric Almirola -- No. 10 Ford Mustang (Stewart-Haas Racing)
Ryan Blaney -- No. 12 Ford Mustang (Team Penske)
Chase Briscoe -- No. 14 Ford Mustang (Stewart-Haas Racing)
David Ragan, Ryan Preece, Joey Hand, TBD -- No. 15 Ford Mustang (Rick Ware Racing)
Chris Buescher -- No. 17 Ford Mustang (Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing)
Harrison Burton -- No. 21 Ford Mustang (Wood Brothers Racing)
Joey Logano -- No. 22 Ford Mustang (Team Penske)
Michael McDowell -- No. 34 Ford Mustang (Front Row Motorsports)
Todd Gilliland -- No. 38 Ford Mustang (Front Row Motorsports)
Cole Custer -- No. 41 Ford Mustang (Stewart-Haas Racing)
Cody Ware -- No. 51 Ford Mustang (Rick Ware Racing)
B.J. McLeod -- No. 78 Ford Mustang (Live Fast Motorsports)
NEXT GEN MUSTANG SET FOR DEBUT
The NASCAR Next Gen Mustang will take to the track for the first time in competition this weekend, beginning a new era of stock car racing. The Cup Series vehicle is all-new from the ground up and features components like rack & pinion steering and independent rear suspension that are common in today’s passenger cars. The exterior of Ford’s Next Gen Mustang was designed through a collaborative effort between Ford Performance engineers and the Ford Motor Company Design Studio team. During that process, the car also went through extensive simulation testing at the Ford Performance Tech Center in Concord, NC, and on the Ford Motor Company campus in Dearborn, MI.
FORD CLASH HISTORY
The Clash has been held in some form since 1979 and Ford has won it nine times by seven different drivers. The best stretch for Ford in the event undoubtedly came during a three-year winning streak in which Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett all reached victory lane from 1998-2000. Jarrett owns three of Ford’s nine victories (1996, 2000, 2004) in the event and on two of those occasions (1996 and 2000) he went on to win the Daytona 500.
ELLIOTT CLAIMS FORD’S FIRST CLASH VICTORY AT DAYTONA
Bill Elliott became the first Ford driver to win a non-points event in the NASCAR Cup Series on Feb. 8, 1987 when he captured the Busch Clash. The format that year was a single 20-lap run (50 miles) with no pit stop required. Elliott, who started on the pole in his No. 9 Coors Thunderbird after a blind draw, fell back to sixth on the start after Terry Labonte and Ricky Rudd were involved in an accident on the first lap. On the ensuing restart, Elliott steadily reeled in leader Darrell Waltrip and passed him on lap eight. Elliott led the final 13 laps and won with an average speed of 197.802 mph, a record that still stands for the event. A week later, Elliott won his second Daytona 500.
TAURUS WINS DEBUT AS RUSTY WINS INAUGURAL BUD SHOOTOUT
Taurus made NASCAR history as the first four-door sedan and it wasted no time in opening eyes as Rusty Wallace drove it to victory in its debut race – the 1998 Bud Shootout. The win was Wallace’s first at Daytona International Speedway and it came with a little help from his younger brother, Kenny, who pushed him across the finish line on the final lap. Bill Elliott and Jimmy Spencer finished third and fourth, respectively, to give Ford a sweep of the top four positions.
DJ HOLDS OFF JR FOR SHOOTOUT TRIUMPH
Dale Jarrett won his third Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 7, 2004 in his No. 88 UPS Taurus. The race was broken up into two segments – an initial 20-lap run followed by a 50-lapper to the finish – and marked the beginning of Nextel as series sponsor. Jarrett and Kevin Harvick were side-by-side at the white flag, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave Jarrett the push he needed to complete the pass on the outside going through turn one. Even though Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray got into an accident on the backstretch, the race finished under green with Jarrett holding off Earnhardt Jr. for the win.
LOGANO BREAKS CLASH DROUGHT
Joey Logano snapped a 13-year Ford winless drought when he won The Clash in 2017, making him the manufacturer’s first victor since Dale Jarrett in 2004. Logano found himself in the right place at the right time, taking the lead after Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski made contact on the final lap. Keselowski had a run and was trying to pass Hamlin, whose attempt at blocking came too late and resulted in both cars colliding. That enabled Logano to get through and win the Clash for the first time in his career. Four Ford drivers finished in the top six spots as Danica Patrick was fourth, Kevin Harvick fifth and Keselowski sixth.
KESELOWSKI SETS THE TONE
In a foreshadowing of what the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series would look like, Brad Keselowski took Ford to Victory Lane in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. Keselowski led a Ford sweep of the top four finishing positions as he took the lead on lap 39 of the 75-lap feature and never looked back, holding off Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney, respectively. It marked the second straight Clash win for Ford and served as a springboard that saw the Blue Oval lead the series with 19 points wins and capture the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.
FORD’S BUSCH LIGHT CLASH WINNERS
1987 – Bill Elliott
1992 – Geoffrey Bodine
1996 – Dale Jarrett
1998 – Rusty Wallace
1999 – Mark Martin
2000 – Dale Jarrett
2004 – Dale Jarrett
2017 – Joey Logano
2018 – Brad Keselowski
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.