Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Logano Excited About New Car And Team

Logano and Keselowski: off to a good start
Joey Logano has a lot to adapt to these days; a new ride in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion, a new group of Penske Racing teammates and a switch in manufacturers with Ford. Logano talked about all those issues and more during the midday break on the second day of testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway today.

“There are a lot of new things,” admitted Logano. “Obviously, I’m with a new team, (and) I had never driven the 2013 car yet, so I have some things to learn.  I’m driving a Ford again, so I’m excited about that, but it’s been interesting for sure.  I think (crew chief) Todd Gordon and I are working good together and learning each other.  I think he’s trying to figure out when I say it’s tight, how tight is it?  He’s trying to get a reference on the magnitude of adjustments we need to make, so I think we’re getting there. 
“We’re making some changes on the car,” he said. “We still need a little bit more speed in it -- you’ll never have enough speed because you’re always working on that more and more -- but I think so far, so good.  We’ve had some good direction to go back to the shop and work to try to find some more.”
Logano also talked about his recently completed USO trip to visit troops overseas, saying. “It was
really cool because we got to go to Kuwait and Germany.  Kuwait was definitely an eye-opening experience.  It was actually a lot different than I thought.  I was kind of expecting to go there and see a bunch of mud hut-yype houses and things like that, but it was really nice. There is a huge city there, but then you go out in the desert and meet the troops that are out on the bases and it’s a
different world out there. 
“All of the Kuwaitis were really nice people and welcomed us, so I thought that was really cool. And
obviously to meet the troops and hear some of their stories about what’s going on.  We got to go for a ride in a Humvee and a couple other vehicles out there and check out their toys out there, so I thought it was interesting. It was definitely an eye-opening experience (and) it’s the least I could do for what they do for us. It’s pretty easy for me to just fly over there and say hello, so I should at least do that.”
He also commented on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car for 2013, and on this week’s test that has experimented with different levels of horsepower under the hoods.
“You’ve got a lot more downforce, but these cars have more drag, so you don’t really feel like you’re accelerating that much down the straightaway. When you take the horsepower away, you don’t feel
like you’re accelerating much at all.  But you’re going through the corners a lot faster than what we
did before, because you’re in the gas a lot more. 
Logano says he has learned a lot this week.
“It’s cold out, so there’s a lot of speed in the race track right now.  With it being cooler out today, we’re going even faster, so you take all of that with a grain of a salt.  I think speeds will be up.  I think there is definitely some possibility for track records being broken, but we have to kind of wait and see what the package is going to be when it’s all said and done.”
Logano also gave high marks to his new relationship with teammate Brad Keselowski, saying, “Yesterday was the first time we worked together at the race track driving a race car, then sitting down with him and talking about, ‘What do you think about this?  What’s your car doing?’  It’s been really good.  The lines of communication have been very open between both teams and I’m really excited about that.  I think that’s definitely one of the biggest things I like over there right now.  It’s definitely cool having Brad working with me and vice-versa.  I think it’s going to be good (and) I’m excited about it.  They include me a lot, even with the decisions on personnel, so I like how they include the driver a lot.”
He said Keselowski has already shown him a new approach to the sport. He called the defending series champion, “a student of the sport,” saying Keselowski “really studies it and will push me to do things
differently.  Brad is able to think outside of the box. WAY outside the box!  It’s interesting to see the way his mind works.  I’ve learned a lot the last couple days. The way he thinks through a race car is a little bit different than normal, and I think that’s cool.
“I think it’s good to have a little bit of both on a team,” he said. “I can learn a lot on the way he leads a team, drives a race car and sets up his car.  I seem to be a little bit different (from) the things he looks for.  The way he drives his car is a little bit different than me, too.  Taking some of his techniques, I’ve tried them out there and there are pros and cons to everything, but it gives me a few more tools to work with when I’m out there.”
Logano said the new 2013 car handles much differently than its predecessor, adding, “I think we’ve got to fine tune it still, into being able to race better.  You want to keep the racing as good as possible and the whole reason to get this ’13 car out there is to hopefully improve the racing.  I feel like it was good for us to go out there, run in a pack, and see what it’s like.  I know some of the things I used to use to pass cars, some of the tools I would use, don’t really work anymore. I had to learn and try something else. 
“I think drivers are going to have to do that; find new ways to pass guys and change things up, because these cars are different.  There will be some more fine-tuning to try and help us race around
each other easier throughout the year.
“The cars handle better,” he said. “The big thing that changed the cars a lot is that (NASCAR) took a lot of yaw away, so the cars aren’t sideways anymore.  It doesn’t seem like there’s as much air going down the left side, so sticking your left-front out and trying to get air on your left-front fender (doesn’t seem to produce) the reward you used to get. 
“That’s one of the biggest things that has made these cars drive different in the pack.”
Photos: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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