Find your $100k business idea in 10 days and get the first clients fast

Penske Teams Eager to Have Full Team Back This Weekend at Dover

The NASCAR issued suspensions have been served by Penske Racing, meaning that Paul Wolfe and Todd Gordon will be back on their respective pit boxes this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Wolfe, Gordon and Joey Logano talked with Ford Racing about what the time off was like for the team, getting back to the track and much more.

PAUL WOLFE, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – WHAT WERE YOU GOING THROUGH THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS BEING HANDS-ON DURING THE WEEK AND THEN BEING THERE BUT NOT THERE ON THE WEEKEND? “For me personally it was tough. It was tougher to deal with then what I thought it would be. I am a hands on kind of guy and for me to be able to watch the car in practice and see how it runs around other cars is important for me, visually, to see that and make decisions on what changes to make. Everyone that stepped up and helped out did a great job and did all that we could ask but obviously it is just not the same.”

WAS IT HARD TO WATCH THE TEAM STRUGGLE? “Absolutely. We have lost a lot of points over the last month and it started a little earlier than before I was gone. We had some issues at Richmond with some engine issues and lost points there. At Darlington we felt like we had a competitive car but we had issues there with a loose wheel and getting caught up in a wreck. It seems like as a team we are going through one of those slumps right now. We aren’t hitting the panic button by any means and Brad has kept a positive attitude through it all. Everyone on this team knows what they are doing. We have won race. We have won a championship. This weekend we are looking forward to buckling down here and getting back on track.”

WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY HAD YOU BEEN AT THE TRACK AS FAR AS THE PERFORMANCE OF THE CAR, WHAT WAS DONE TO THE CAR, WHAT THEY DID DURING PRACTICE? “I can’t say there was. Obviously I guided a lot of the changes and what we did. Maybe I would have made different decisions if I was there than what I did from being afar. Overall it wasn’t like these guys went on their own agenda and did things that we wouldn’t have done. It was guided by me and I feel like overall maybe I would have made different decisions if I was at the race track.”

BRAD SAYS YOU HAVE SPEED IN THE CAR AND HE ISN’T HITTING THE PANIC BUTTON. IS THAT BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE REALLY CLOSE? “Yeah, I think so. Overall you look at the 600 and that has probably been our worst race of the season from a speed standpoint in our racecar. Up to that point I feel like we have had good cars and that is the key. First you have to have the speed and then from there it is executing. I think knowing that he has had good race cars, and that doesn’t always show, and people that aren’t following us closely might not see that we have speed because we don’t have the results. He knows that as a driver, what he feels and what it takes and he has a lot of confidence in where we have been from that standpoint.”

HOW IS BRAD? IS HE CRANKY, TICKED OFF, DOING CARTWHEELS BECAUSE YOU ARE BACK? HOW IS HE MENTALLY? “We spoke for awhile last night and he seems to be strong and in a good place right now. Obviously he seemed a little frustrated last weekend with that car and rightfully so. It wasn’t where it needed to be. He is in a good spot and is motivated to come out here. We won here in the Chase and we have some confidence that we should be close with our car here this weekend.”

SOME FOLKS SAY YOU GUYS ARE STRUGGLING BECAUSE YOU GOT CAUGHT IN TEXAS AND NOW DOWN’T HAVE WHAT YOU HAD GOING BEFORE. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO TALK LIKE THAT? “I think if you look at the Texas race in general after we had to change parts and pieces, both cars went out there and ran really strong and we continued to at Kansas. The 22 has been strong and ran well at Charlotte both weekends. To say that had anything to do with it is not looking at all the facts well enough to see that both cars still had speed.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF NASCAR’S DECISION TO REDUCE THE PENALTIES? DO YOU STILL FEEL YOU WERE IN THE RIGHT? “Obviously if we agreed with them then I don’t feel like we would have been doing our jobs. As we went into this we felt we were working in an undefined area of the rule book and that is why we chose to work there. They didn’t agree with what we thought was right and I think we had a fair appeal process. Our penalties were reduced some and we feel good about that. We are putting that in the rear-view and taking it as a learning experience. It isn’t a situation you want to be in but me personally, and I think as a company in general, we learned from that and are looking forward.”

ARE THERE OTHER TEAMS IN THE GARAGE THAT WERE DOING WHAT YOU WERE DOING? “I feel like there were probably cars working in that area. We feel like we got behind on that area last year leading up to the Chase with some other teams working in that area and we felt like we didn’t want to fall behind this year. I think to answer your question, yes, I feel like there were cars working in that area.”

WHY DO YOU THINK THEY PICKED ON YOU GUYS AND NOBODY ELSE? “I don’t think they were necessarily picking on us. They just happened to find where we were working and didn’t agree with it.”

PEOPLE SAY THAT WITH THE TECHNOLOGY TODAY THAT A CREW CHIEF CAN GET JUST AS MUCH DONE AWAY FROM THE RACE TRACK AS HE CAN BEING THERE. DID YOU FIND THAT TO BE THE CASE? “Leading up to before we got to Darlington I absolutely felt it would be no problem and we could communicate well enough and it shouldn’t hurt us at all. But like I said earlier, I think once we got into the situation I realized it was a little tougher for me to deal with than what I thought it would be. Just not having the car chief and the engineer at the race track is just a big a part as myself. My car chief and I have a lot of confidence in each other and know that when I tell him I wasn’t something a certain way in a car you know it is there. A lot of times it is just the guys working on the car having a different flow of things over the last three weeks that is cause for things to be a little different.”

IS THAT SPECIFIC TO YOU NEEDING TO BE THERE? JOEY’S TEAM SEEM TO HAVE THRIVED WITH TODD GONE. IS IT MORE SPECIFIC TO YOU NEEDING TO BE THERE? “It could be. I think every crew chief has a different style and way they run their race team. For me, I am more of a hands-on guy. I am not a guy that sits behind my computer all week and builds my setup for my race car that way. Maybe for me that is why it was harder not being able to be there and see certain things on the race car to make decisions on changes.”

TODD GORDON, crew chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – HOW HARD WAS IT TO NOT BE AT THE RACE TRACK ON RACE WEEKENDS WITH YOUR GUYS? “It is difficult. I am glad it was three weeks. Everyone did a good job of making the best of the situation and we had decent runs. The learning curve at Darlington, we struggled with that a little bit. I thought we continued to get better and the team showed the strength of pulling together and pulling through it. It was tough to sit there and not see it, smell it and be around it. I am glad to be back at the race track this weekend.”

WAS IT HARDER, EASIER OR ABOUT WHAT YOU EXPECTED AS FAR AS YOUR LEVEL OF CONTACT ON THE WEEKEND? “There is definitely a disconnect. That is why NASCAR implements the penalties they do, to make sure there is a penalty to it. There is a penalty to it. I think it is just a testament to the strength of the people that we have around this race team and their ability to all step up and help the whole situation. We did as much front planning as we could before we left the race shop and I think we had a good implemented plan going forward and fortunately we had good speed to unload with and didn’t have to deviate from the plan too hard.”

THE TEAM HAS DONE PRETTY WELL IN YOUR ABSENCE. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THIS 22 TEAM? “I think it is just a testament that everybody here steps up when they need to. It has gone well. We had good plans going into the race weekends and we implemented them well.”

DID ANYTHING HAPPEN DURING THE RACES YOU WEREN’T AT THAT YOU MAYBE WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? “Obviously you are still connected. You are still involved with how the race call goes and everything else. There were a couple things that I look back and say I wish I had more information quicker and could have piped in more to what was going on. I think everyone did a great job though. I think the guys we brought into the race team all had history here. Steve Reis kind of stepped up to help communicate with everybody and handle the weekends. Jeffrey Thousand was our car chief last year so there was continuity there with him stepping back in and Ben Atkins came out of the shop. He is an engineer I had on the Nationwide side so there was already chemistry there. The guys we brought in did well and I would say for what we had I think guys did a phenomenal job working forward.”

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU MOST LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND? “I would say the biggest thing is being able to actually touch it, feel it, smell it and see it. All the sensory stuff you don’t get from pictures and radios as you are listening to scanners and things like that. You can’t see the splitters and how hard you are wearing on it and what the wear pattern looks like. You can’t see tires. There is so much of that information that I have lost the last three weeks that it will be good to be back and get that info.”

WHAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU THE MOST ABOUT JOEY SO FAR? “I think the greatest thing is his ability to stay focused, stay involved and stay working. He hasn’t gotten frustrated with situations and has always continued to give good feedback and give good effort. There are probably four races this year where we unloaded and started the race not very good. We had some 20th place race cars. But those races we continued to capitalize and make our race cars better and we can’t do that if he doesn’t stay 100-percent invested in it. That has been great. It is easy to give up when things are frustrating but I think his mental endurance has been spot on.”

DOVER IS A TRACK HE HAS HAD SUCCESS AT, DOES THAT BODE WELL FOR A GOOD RETURN FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND? “If you look at Charlotte, Dover and Pocono, they are all places he really gets around and has a good confident feel for where he is at. I think that helped our situation. He knew what he wanted at Charlotte so we did that. He is focused on what he needs here at Dover and next week at Pocono. It is a good stretch to be on right now.”

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THIS SUSPENSION WILL ACTUALLY MAKE YOU GUYS STRONGER GOING FORWARD? “I definitely think so. You have to take bad situations and find the good in them. I think as a group it has helped communication and helped me understand what my vehicle dynamics engineer normally goes through when he is not at the race track and connected to us by email or whatever else. I think it has allowed some people to see the different jobs of what has to happen. Everybody stepped up and it allows everyone to be a little stronger player in the program. It will be a good thing for us in the long run. It was a penalty though.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – YOU HAVE YOUR CREW CHIEF BACK. HOW DOES IT FEEL? “I am pumped. We got ole Todd back and that is good. We are excited about this weekend. This race track is one of my favorite tracks and I am excited about being back. We did the Nationwide test a couple weeks ago. That always helps, even though it was the Nationwide car, it helps to get those extra laps around this place and we played around and tried some things. I can’t wait to get on the track.”

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TODD ADDS TO THE MIX NOW THAT HE IS BACK AT THE TRACK? “It is a lot easier when you have your crew chief here and understands what I am saying and understand by watching your car what I am thinking. I think that helps a lot. I feel like we did a good job the last few weeks not having him. I was very happy with how that went but we feel like there is a lot more potential when he is here and will be able to be even better. I am looking forward to it.”

HOW IS IT THAT YOU GUYS WERE ABLE TO DO SO WELL IN HIS ABSENCE? “The team just being really strong. I am stoked about that. These guys are good. We had some decent finishes while he was gone but we were running well before all this happened too. I feel like we have maintained throughout and that is good. That was the goal, to maintain throughout those three weeks and keep going up now. For the cars we were dealt we did the best that we possibly could do with it and I am proud of that. Now we have everything we need and now we need to win.”

YOU HAVE HAD GOOD SUCCESS HERE AT DOVER. WHAT IS THE KEY FOR MORE THIS WEEKEND? “I think the key here is managing your tires, keeping your balance close and this is one of the tracks that is grueling so you have to stay focused the whole time. It is a heavy focus track. You saw that here in the fall where strategy came into play with the short pit and caution coming out and all that. When that happens, you have to just not get worked up. You are going so fast and there are so many cars that you don’t get a break ever in this race. You have to stay calm and just run your race. It is kind of like Darlington that way. People say to race the race track. It is the same thing here.”

Bucuresti, 01.06.2013
{mosloadposition user9}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *