Monday, August 10, 2015

Right Sides Only: Notes from Cheez-It 355 at the Glen Winning Crew Chief, Todd Gordon

Give the men their brooms. The one-two punch of Joey Logano and crew chief, Todd Gordon, swept the weekend at Watkins-Glen, scoring their second Sprint Cup win of the season.

That second victory was long overdue for the Daytona 500 winners.

"Yeah, definitely felt we executed well at Daytona to get that first win. I thought as an organization we've executed well. We had a little speed to find in our race cars, and through the first third of the season. Through the last probably six weeks, we've found some more speed, and we've figured out where we're lacking a little, and we've had more speed.
"But we've had a lot of bridesmaids' dresses here the last month with both Joey and Brad finishing second at several places. Good to get back to victory lane and build the momentum going forward into the Chase because we've only got a few races left," Gordon explained.

The win at the Glen was especially poignant for Gordon, who grew up a few hours from the track.
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs

"Yeah, this one is pretty special ... to come here and execute on a Cup level is awesome because it's back home. You know, this is New York State, and this is two-and-a-half hours from where I grew up. I came and watched races here before I moved South to go racing, and I love road course racing, not just because of here, but I think it's a different venue for us. It's a different mindset to what you've got to do with the race car, and it brings out good execution and great race car drivers, and I think we had that today," Gordon said.

Ardent fans know that various tactics come into play at most tracks, and in recent weeks, fuel-mileage strategies have ultimately decided race winners. The same was true of Sunday's race.

"We had strengths and weaknesses today, and I think people had different ones, but it would be a great race, and that's how situations fall out, but as it was, I think there's a lot of strategy tied up and there was a lot of suspense because I was scratching my head wondering how the [No.] 4 car got that far, to be honest with you. They made it, almost, and finished third today. But we did what we had to execution-wise to get back to them to push them to make sure that they couldn't save as much fuel as they needed to," Gordon admitted.

As the pair approaches The Chase, do they feel better prepared for the runoff than they did last year?

"I would say if you look at our statistics, it would say yes. We've got more top fives, top 10s, more poles, same number of wins we had at this point last year. The team as a group, as Joey talked about, I think team chemistry and continuity is at a level that we've not been at. We continue to grow that, and we're knocking on the door. We're building momentum at the right time. We've been top-five contenders every week lately here the last month. We've found some speed in the race cars at the shop. I think as the aero packages have moved, we've been able to react to those very successfully. I think that's a testament to everybody at Team Penske back at the shop, that they give us the information that we need to work forward.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
"I think we're in the right position, obviously continuing to find speed, and continuing to need to find a little more speed. Everybody always needs that.
"To where we're at, yeah, I think every year that we stay together, it's great, because everybody knows what everybody else is thinking. To Joey's point, he drives the race car, I call the race, and we don't argue about that. It's very clear as to what each of us need to do, and the team does a phenomenal job of everybody executing, whether that's pit crew, whether that's engineers, whether that's mechanics in the garage. I've got the greatest support team behind us, and I look forward to what we can do," Gordon said.

It's a safe bet that other teams are also looking at what Logano, Gordon and the rest of Team Penske can do as the season gears up for the championship run. With four more races until The Chase kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway, the No. 22 team now sits second in points and fourth on the Chase grid.


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