Team Penske’s Joey Logano in the No.22 Autotrader Ford Mustang will start Sunday’s Ambetter 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway from pole position as for the first time in their NASCAR Cup Series history the scored the top eight starting positions.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN?
“It was probably a little bit more interesting than a lot of us expected with cars spinning out and hitting the wall. We’re thinking this is superspeedway qualifying and just keep it pinned all the way around, but the guys gave me a great Autotrader Mustang that seems like it goes fast by itself at least and hopefully handles well when the race starts. Nobody really knows what they have for handling yet, but hopefully we have a little bit of both in this thing and we can control the race. Obviously, Team Penske had a great day today and we’ll try to continue that tomorrow.”
IT SEEMED TODAY WAS MORE DRIVER THAN USUAL WITH DIFFERENT LINES BEING USED. WOULD YOU AGREE WITH THAT EVALUATION?
“There are definitely more options and anytime a car is at its grip limit, it opens up the window for the driver to be more involved than what the driver is at Daytona or Talladega. Obviously, when you’re wide-open all the way around it’s more car than driver today, if I’m being honest, but it still opens up the door to where I can at least be impactful on what the car is doing, on the line that I’m running. It’s just the little details that stack up eventually, so we made some decent changes between runs and able to get the balance a little bit closer for me to where I could have a little bit more of an aggressive line and try to find some more speed that way. A total team effort. I probably put a little bit more weight on the team on this one, but, either way, it’s still cool to get a pole. I’ve never been on the front row of a superspeedway forget a pole, and I don’t think I’ve ever done it in Xfinity or anything, so this is kind of cool, and doing it here in Atlanta is special for me. There are so many memories here. I lived up in one of those condos for five years and raced Legends cars out here for six years and just the memories of walking into Victory Lane a minute ago to get the Pole Award and thinking about driving my Legend’s car in there with my dad and how cool that was and always dreaming about being on the big track when I was running the quarter-mile all the time and how neat it is just to be on the big track. I guess I try to keep those thoughts up front in my mind.”
THE FORDS HAD 8 IN THE TOP 10. WHY SO STRONG AND IS THAT SPEED TRANSFERABLE TO THE RACE?
“I’m hoping it’s transferable to the race. I think it’s pretty obvious at this point throughout the field where certain manufacturers have gone over the offseason with some of their changes to the noses and what-not. It’s pretty obvious that this is kind of our wheelhouse – when you come to superspeedways or bigger racetracks like Fontana, Michigan, Atlanta, Talladega, Daytona. I think those will probably be our strongest racetracks and it kind of showed again today.”
HOW MUCH HAS NOT WINNING A CUP RACE AT THIS TRACK BOTHERED YOU?
“In those races that we’ve been so close and races that we had the dominant race car and had issues happen, that was before they repaved it, but we were capable of winning and you definitely want to say you’ve won. For me, it’s a dream to always win on this racetrack. That’s something that’s always been stuck in my mind. I look at it as kind of a second home track to me. Loudon is always gonna be special because that’s where I’m from, but living down here for the amount of time that I did and the amount of time and the memories on the quarter-mile right there, I can’t come here and not think about growing up as a kid racing. I just saw a couple kids in Victory Lane that race Bandoleros and I just wanted to talk to them for 10 minutes. I don’t know. The memories and hearing them and their dad talk about it and what racing is like now, I just think that’s special. Honestly, it’s the most special times of racing in my career. You don’t realize it when you’re a kid, but you realize it when you get a little bit older how cool that really is, especially now that my son is getting a little bit older. Whatever he ends up doing, who knows what we’ll do, but those memories will be very special as well.”
DID YOU PRACTICE GETTING ON PIT ROAD IN TURN 3 DURING EITHER LAP AND DO YOU HAVE TO BE MORE CONSERVATIVE ON PIT ROAD BECAUSE IF YOU SPEED IT’S PROBABLY A 2-LAP PENALTY?
“At least that. I practiced rolling time around the corner. They had that on for the first run, they had the timing lines on, but the second run they don’t, so we did the rolling time. We didn’t run a hot pit road entry for some reasons that we thought about that made sense not to do, but we’ll go back and look at some of the cars that did and try to find a decent breaking marker if we get to that situation in the race. I think a couple did from what I hear.”