Q&A with Joey Logano
Camry driver Joey Logano earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win in today's rain-shortened race at his home track of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Middletown, Conn.-native becomes the youngest winner in NSCS history at 19 years, one month and four days. Logano's win marks the 15th victory for Toyota in the Cup Series and came in his 20th career NSCS start.
|By the grace of the NASCAR gods, hometown favorite Joey Logano came back from two flat tires to win the Cup race in NH. He was also on pole in the Nationwide race. Praise the lord, it could not have been more timely.|
How do you feel about winning your first Sprint Cup race?
"I never thought I would be the one. It kind of bit us in Charlotte - we had the same opportunity to do this and we didn't do it. This was the opportunity we had and we didn't have anything to lose. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) made a great call. I have to thank Home Depot, I have to thank Sprint and all the fans and Toyota. This is a dream come true and this is the best race track that we ever could have had it at."
Does winning this race at your home track make it even more special?
"It makes it that much more special. I think your first win no matter where it's at is huge. Obviously it's not the way you want to win your first race, in the rain, but 20 years down the road when you look in the record books, no one will know the difference. I'll take them any way I can. This is my home track and where I watched my first Cup race. And Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief), all of the guys, a lot of the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing are from the northeast, so it's cool to get a win here."
What can you say about your day overall?
"It was awesome. You know, we pretty much -- we didn't take off as good as we needed to. I think it's just me still lost out there trying to figure out where I needed to be. We overcame a lot. We had a left rear cut down right before we made that last long green flag run and just trying to overcome that. When that happened, I thought we were done. I was like, the day just went bad, just try to finish it off and get as best finish we can and we made the right move at the end. He went for it and I was just lucky enough to be in the seat."
Has it been difficult for you to adjust to the ups and downs in NSCS racing?
"Well, I figured out that this sport is a roller coaster earlier this season. I go up and down, up and down, up and down. And that is part of this sport. One week you can win and the next week you can be 43rd, and it's just like that. I've figured out in other series that it's tough. This is obviously the toughest thing that I've ever done in my career but after yesterday, yeah, I was bummed out finished second. But today, this is cool. This is where I watched my first Cup race and where I ran my first Cup race and where I won my first Cup race, so I could not have picked a better place. This is kind of like a home turf place for me, a lot of family and friends here."
Did you come to this race track with a different mind-set than other race tracks?
"I try to go to every track with the same mind-set, you know, and just go out there, do the best you can, and go for the win. You've got to have that mind-set at least coming into every race. Obviously, yeah, you want to win at home tracks like this. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) definitely wanted to win here. We were talking earlier, he said before this weekend, he goes, 'We've ran good here forever, and it's not going to change this weekend.' You know, he was right, I guess."
What has your learning curve been like this season?
"It's tough, believe me, it's real tough. If you think of last year in the Nationwide Series, yeah, I had some good runs. Did I run where I thought I needed to? No. I think it just took time. Now over there, I think I know what it takes and every here we are working on it and obviously from what we did in the beginning of the season to now, we are running a lot better. If you look at my first race here last year, was completely opposite of this. It's motivating just to keep seeing yourself getting better and working with Zippy and all of the guys and getting that communication going helps us improve a lot, too."
GREG ZIPADELLI, crew chief, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What does it mean to win with Joey Logano at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
"It was a crazy day like Joey (Logano) said, but half of this sport is about putting yourself in position to have a chance to win on Sunday afternoon, and you know, that's what we did today and everything went our way. It's nothing more than that. We were lucky, but we put ourselves in position because we were behind. Because we did have the problems, it allowed us to pit, top off with fuel and do some of the things that the guys up front that were guarding their track position, which is pretty normal here. You can almost run this race like a road course, unless you were in the situation that we were in, and we took advantage of it, and last year, we were in the complete opposite. We should have won this race. We dominated most of the second half, and it rained with 30 (laps) or so to go and we had to pit for fuel and today we got it back. It was fun. Just to be able to put ourselves in that position and be here in Loudon, victory lane, there's not many better places."