The 12 Questions series of interviews returns for 2019 — its 10th season — with a new slate of questions. Up first: Defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano of Team Penske. This interview was recorded as a podcast but is also transcribed below for those who prefer to read.
1. Are you an iPhone person or an Android person, and why?
I am an iPhone person, just because I’ve always had one. And it’s funny because the Android people are like, “Oh my God, it’s so much better than the iPhone” and they’ve got to tell you why and all these reasons. And I just go, “I don’t need all that.” I just want a phone. I want to do emails. I want to text and occasionally take a picture and do social media. That’s all I want. I don’t need anything more fancy. Like all these new phones come out and…eh. But the waterproof piece? Big deal. I just tested it this week, by the way.
And it worked out OK?
You have time for a quick story?
Me and (wife) Brittany were with (son) Hudson at the beach, and he’s loving it. So I have my phone in the back pocket of my swim trucks and apparently my phone falls out of my pocket when we’re walking through the ocean.
Five, six minutes go by, we’re back up by the pool area and I can’t find my phone. I’ve got Brittany’s phone, I keep calling it and calling it. Boom, somebody answers it. And I’m like, “Hey, I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, I lost my phone.” They’re like, “Yeah, we just found it in the ocean.” I’m like, “In the ocean?” They said, “Yeah, we were walking looking for sand dollars and it was knee deep.” And it’s like, “You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s working!”
So I run back down there, I meet them, I’m like, “Thank you so much, that’s amazing.” And the speakers were kind of drowning out, but eventually, it dried out, and it’s working fine. I’ve got it right here, and it works. Isn’t that amazing?
Yeah. It really is. I have been too afraid to even remotely test it, but yeah.
So how can you switch after that?
I mean that fact that he found it, and it wasn’t underneath the sand at that point. The waves usually kind of wash things underneath the sand. That’s what I thought would have happened. I’m lucky.
Did they recognize you as Joey Logano, the NASCAR driver?
They just thought “guy who lost his phone?”
Yeah, that was it. That’s me. I was just some dumb guy that dropped his phone into the ocean.
2. If a fan meets you in the garage, they might only have a brief moment with you. So between an autograph, a selfie or quick comment, what is your advice on the best way to maximize that interaction?
I’m not a big autograph person myself. I don’t really understand the autograph as much, because I’d rather talk to somebody. If I want to meet somebody, I’d rather have some kind of interaction where you can know the person. I feel like a picture says a thousand words, so I would go with a picture.
With that being said, if you’re going to take a selfie, just know how to use your phone, because we’re in a hurry. And I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t want to take a picture, but sometimes you’re trying to go to the driver’s meeting, trying to get to your race car, it’s a time of work, and it’s hard to do everything at the level I want to do it at. So sometimes it’s hard and it comes across the wrong way. It’s like that for a lot of drivers in our sport.
That’s why I feel like autograph session, if we go to a Walmart or we go to a Planet Fitness, wherever it may be, it gives me more time to talk to the person. And I have more fun doing that, because keeping your head down and just signing an autograph, it’s boring, there’s nothing really there. But if you look up and talk to the person that’s there and ask them where they’re from and why they root for a certain person or whatever it maybe, that’s more fun for me.
Yeah. And they remember that.
It’s just a better experience for both of us, and I think that’s good.
3. When someone pulls a jerk move on the road when you’re driving down the highway, does that feeling compare at all to when someone pulls a jerk move on the track?
It’s pretty similar. (Laughs) It’s probably worse on the racetrack because you have more on the line, but when you’re going down the road and someone cuts you off…well, I guess it’s not as bad. You’re kind of like, “Do what you gotta do.”
So you’re more like, “OK. That’s great that you’re doing that. Fantastic for you,” more than like, “Screw you!”
Yeah, it’s not that bad. I’m OK with it.
4. Has there ever been a time where you’ve had a sketchy situation with your safety equipment?
Yes, actually. I was actually here in Daytona when we did the tandem drafting stuff and I was in the Xfinity car. Brad (Keselowski) and I were out there tandeming — and this is when I still drove for Gibbs, but we tandemed out there a lot because we worked together well, even then. So he’s pushing me, and like Lap 2, my belts came undone. And I was like, “Get off the back of me!” (Imitates himself waving frantically) Immediately I’m like, “I’m coming in!” Especially in practice, when your belts come loose, you’ve got to come in. I guess that part was a little scary to me. But that was really it. At least I didn’t hit anything, but yeah, it was a little sketchy.
5. If your crew chief put a super secret illegal part on your car that made it way faster, would you want to know about it?
It was illegal? Yeah, I’d want to know about it. I feel like as a competitor, if you’re pushing the line, that’s one thing, but if you’re straight-up black and white out of the lines, I want to know about it for one, and two, I probably wouldn’t be OK with it.
I agree with pushing it — we have to. All of us as competitors have to push that line and interpret the rules the right way and play within that gray area that everyone talks about. But when it’s black and white and you’re outside of it, I want to know and I don’t want to do it.
Interesting. I didn’t anticipate that. So you’d be like, “Dude, don’t put me in that position. I don’t want you to.”
It’s not worth it. And Roger (Penske) is the same way. He says all the time if we’re going to rob a bank, he’s driving the car. Which means basically, “run everything by me.” If you feel like it’s in the gray area, we’ve all got to be in the same boat together, whether it’s me, Roger, Todd (Gordon), Travis (Geisler), whoever it may be, we want to make sure that we all understand the risk — if it is a risk — that we’re taking.
6. What is a food you would not recommend eating right before a race and are you speaking with personal experience with this recommendation?
I love grapes. I love raisins. But for some reason, they do not sit well in my stomach. So about four days before a race, you’ve got to cut that out.
Four days? That’s a long time.
It takes awhile. I don’t know why, but it’s something that just, I don’t mess with it. It is what it is. I don’t really need to get into more detail than that. (Laughs)
7. Is there life in outer space, and if so, do they race?
I don’t know. That is a really random question you’ve got there.
It’s the 10th year, this is like the 120th question, I’m scraping the bottom…
You’ve been watching Star Wars or something. (Ryan) Blaney might have an interesting answer for you there.
I don’t care. How does that sound? I don’t care. (Laughs)
8. What do drivers talk about when they’re standing around at driver intros before a race?
It’s usually pretty random. It depends on who you’re talking to. Most of the time it’s about kids a lot of times, or a previous race. If you’re around (Paul) Menard, he’s usually talking about hunting, which I don’t, so that’s an interesting conversation for me. I learn a lot just listening. They’re very random, just like it would be if you’re talking to anybody else.
You’re put there, right before you jump into battle. It’s an awkward spot. You go up there, you’re getting ready to race the car against each other, and now you’re standing next to the guy and you’re like, “Oh, hey.” What are you going to say?
So it just kind of depends. A lot of the times you ask about their car and how they are, try to get a little insight on what they think is going to happen, that’s usually about it.
9. What makes you happy right now?
A lot of things. I’m a happy person. To me, when I get home, it usually makes me happy because I see Brit and Hudson there. I guess that’s always the most exciting piece for me, is to see them when I get home at the end of the day a lot of times. It’s probably like that for everybody, right? You get home from work and you see your family and your little man lights up, he smiles or whatever it may be, or reach out for you and say, “Da da.” That’s the coolest part.
10. Let’s say a sponsor comes to you and says, “We are going to fully fund the entire rest of your racing career on the condition that you wear a clown nose and an 80’s rocker wig in every interview you do forever.” Would you accept that offer?
See, this is a scary question to answer because if you answer yes, your sponsor may be listening and go, “Well, guess we can do that.” (Laughs)
I would say no. I would like to say I can keep a sponsor without doing that. I feel like that’s a very desperate move, and Shell is with us for a long time, and I think that’s a great spot to be in. I think it just depends on how desperate you are. Right now it’s OK, so I’ll say no. But later on in my career, things may change.
11. This is the 10th year of the 12 questions. There has never been a repeat question until now. Pick a number between 1 and 100, and I’m going to pull up a random question from a past interview.
Well 22 just makes sense, so we’ll go with 22. I bet most drivers pick their car number.
This question is from 2011 and is definitely dating itself here: “Imagine for a second you could be the healthy version of Brian Vickers in 2010. So basically taking a year off in the middle of your career, knowing you have a ride waiting for you when you came back. Minus the blood clots, would you do it?”
Would I take year off?
Would you take a year off in the middle of your career, knowing you had a ride waiting?
So funny enough, I just pulled up the interview you did for this question back then, you had already answered this in 2011.
What did I say?
You said, “No, uh-uh, I haven’t been doing it long enough to say I want to say that. I can barely go through an offseason when people are going crazy, so forget half a year. While other people are racing? No way.” You actually said, “No way.” You’re very consistent.
And honestly, I still feel the same way before we get down to Daytona, when you’re still stoked to get back in the race car. I can’t stand the offseason. So nothing has changed in the last nine years. That’s nuts.
12. The last interview was with Landon Cassill. He wanted to know: Are you brave enough to share your Screen Time on the iPhone to see how much screen time you averaged last week?
(Navigates through settings and looks up his Screen Time.) Two hours and 26 minutes.
Two hours and 26 minutes for you! That’s not very good for me. I have six hours 47 minutes.
A lot of your job has to do with your phone.
Yeah. I’ve got Twitter on there for 12 hours, so yeah.
Social networking. But I am down 40 percent from last week.
OK. So that’s pretty good!
Most of that screen time is texting. There’s two hours of maps, and there’s an hour and 51 minutes on Instagram, and an hour and 20 minutes on emails. That’s the biggest things. And 41 minutes on the phone.
Why would the phone count for screen time?
I don’t know.
I guess if you just had it on speakerphone or something?
Yeah. Everything’s on speakerphone. I hate holding my phone.
But that’s a cool thing to try. I didn’t know my phone could do that. Another piece about the iPhone. See, why would you switch? It’s waterproof and it checks how much you look at it!
Do you have the question I can ask the next driver? I don’t know who it is.
Hmm. We were talking about this earlier, and Kyle (Zimmerman, his public relations representative) had a good question. Actually, I’m going to go with it. What is your plan to help our sport and community in the next year? What are your goals to make what we do better outside of the race car?
It’s a good question for all of us to ask ourselves before the season starts, I think, all the time, just to take a step back and say, “OK.” There’s obviously our little world and what we do, just driving a race car or writing great stories, whatever it may be. But if you take a larger scale and take a step back to really look at things, how do we help all of us together? I think that’s a fun question to ask.
Previous 12 Questions interviews with Joey Logano: