While he’s not the top man on the totem pole at Penske Racing, that spot is reserved for reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, driver Joey Logano feels like he can lead and be move vocal. That sort of confidence is key for a young driver who felt lost in the shuffle of his previous team, Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Way better (comfort with being a leader) and I’m having fun with it. It’s a good time to get to know these guys and figure out how as a driver and as a leader you can make your team stronger. The cool part is I look at Todd Gordon, my crew chief, and he’s got the same mentality as me, and I feel like we’re very similar in a lot of ways, which works out good for us. I feel like our strengths and weaknesses are fairly similar and we’re able to work on those together, and we’re very open about what those are. We’re not trying to put on a show for anybody. If there’s a weak point, I let him know what my weak points are and he lets me know what his are, and we try together as a team to improve on those, and I think you see the results throughout the year,” Logano told media members Friday from the Pocono Raceway.
A key to his confidence and success so far this season has been the pairing with crew chief Todd Gordon. Through the season, minus when Gordon was suspended by NASCAR, they have gelled and that has opened up communication lines that have led to on track results.
“I think it’s working well together. There’s a lot of communication there and whether we’re at the shop or here, like I said, we’re not hiding anything from each other and that’s important to have. I look at even the three weeks of adversity we had to fight with having the penalties and not having Todd there, he was involved as much as he possibly could be and I felt like that built our team even stronger. We use that to our advantage and really raise everybody’s game throughout the whole team a little bit, and now that we’ve got him back, we can be even stronger. It’s been an important thing for us. We’ve been getting better and, like I said, whatever we do we’ve got to do our best at it and be able to keep getting better, and using every situation – even if it looks like it’s something that’s not going our way – to our advantage somehow,” Logano explained.
When it comes to this weekend at Pocono, Logano’s focus will be on that race, but also the race he’s running Saturday. He will be out in Iowa to participate in the Nationwide Series race out there. Something he enjoys doing, but agrees might not be the smartest move.
“I do enjoy running Nationwide races, to be honest with you. Does this race, going to Iowa, make perfect sense to run? No, it doesn’t (laughing). I’m not gonna lie about that, but it was either Brad or me to drive this thing. We’re gonna run into the same situation in the second Iowa race on how we’re gonna do this, so I told them I would do the first one and then we’ll go from there. We would put Ryan Blaney in it if that was a possibility, but he’s off racing his truck, so we can’t do that. The next-best thing is to take one of us from Pocono to go run that race and to give those guys the best shot they can to win. Penske as a team, we want to win races any way we can and give ourselves the best shot, no matter what it is, so I feel like this is the best opportunity we’ve got to go up there and win races as a team and that 22 team and we’ll go have some fun and hopefully bring home a trophy,” commented Logano.
Logano will look to win the Party In The Poconos 400 by Walmart for a second consecutive time Sunday, a race that can be seen at 1 PM EST on TNT.