Speaking with reporters Friday afternoon, the Team Penske driver said the payout of the track demands a certain degree of aggression. “Speeds are low and you’re trying to pass people into braking zones,” he said. “You’ve got to get right up on them on (corner) exit and then you’ve got to out-brake them. You’re both braking with everything you’ve got (and) you’re trying to go a little further to get him.
“It’s not really there,” he admitted. “It’s not possible. Your tires are wearing and your brakes are getting hot. Everything gets worse throughout the race, so at the end of the race when the intensity level is up and everyone’s car is not handling as well, we run into each other.”
The Shell/Pennzoil Ford driver said that in marked contrast to the Golden Rule, drivers generally want to do unto others at Sonoma before someone does unto them.
“You want to be the guy that’s being aggressive,” he said, “and not the one that’s getting pushed around. That’s important. That’s why you want to make sure you have a fast race car and you’re good in the right areas (of the track). That’s why practice is so important here; to make sure we’re good in the areas that are danger zones on this race track.
“I think everyone has gotten spun out at this race track at some point,” said Logano. “That just happens. When you’re trying to slow down these cars… think about the way you get into (the turn), how fast you’re going (and) how slow you’ve got to get this thing whoa-ed up. There’s a lot of wheel-hopping and you get a lot of issues.”
With so many variables at work, Logano said contract between cars at Sonoma is inevitable. Repeated contact, however, often leads to overheated tempers and rumpled race cars.
“The first (hit) is always an accident,” he laughed. “After that, I don’t know how much is an accident. I think it depends on what’s going on. Usually, we all try to start the race calm, cool and collected. Everyone is just running their deal, then one person gets hit and knocked out of the way. (Now) he’s mad and he hits someone else. Now the next guy is mad, and that just triggers it.
“Everyone starts with the right attitude, (but) at the end, all manners are out the window and it’s about getting those positions. There are four or five people that are pretty calm (and) might not have a mark on their race car, (but) everyone else is going to get beat around. And when you get beat around, you get ticked off. It happens.”
The Connecticut native added that this year’s revised Chase system has added additional fuel to the fire.
“Look at the guys that are good at these road courses and look at the guys that haven’t won yet this season,” he said. “They’re starting to get desperate, I’m sure. They’re starting to get into panic mode at this point in the season, and if this is one of the race tracks you feel you can capitalize on, (you’re) going to be desperate and do some crazy things out there.
“That’s why it’s so important to be on the aggressive side. I want to be the guy pushing. I don’t want to be the guy getting pushed around. If you’re running up front and you look at the top three, four or five cars, they will be the ones that don’t have many marks on them.
“You’ve got to be patient,” he stressed. “You can’t get too fired up, but you’ve got to be the aggressive one. And I think the guys that haven’t had a win are going to get desperate.
“It’s going to be either checkers or wreckers for them. Hopefully, I’m far enough ahead that it’s not a problem.”