A highlight from Phoenix: Joey Logano on a supremely confident championship run; what happened with Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain; whats 2023 hold for NASCAR and Next Gen Year 2

NASCAR on NBC
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NASCAR Nancy podcast. I'm your host Nate Ryan. Here on the Wednesday after the season finale, I'm on camera, but not on camera in the traditional way. Parker Kligerman has joined me on YouTube. Yeah, go check out Parker Clinton's YouTube channel for some exciting V logging. Unexpectedly. We're avoiding maybe calling it a vlog. Yeah, vlog. So normally this would be on camera before NASCAR America, known as car American motormouth today, so instead, Parker and I are doing this old school. I'm recording solely the audio version of the NASCAR on NBC podcast, which I normally do as a simulcast sort of thing, but in this case, there will be no on camera version just me and Parker in the studio talking it out Phoenix raceway, the season finale Parker was there. I was there. Joey Logano wins the 2022 championship. And this worked out well, Parker because you had Joey Logano's pit as one of the NASCAR NBC pit reporters this past weekend. And you noticed it too as well, I'm sure the swagger, the confidence he had pretty much all weekend, even before he won the pole position. When did you first notice it? When did you see it? I noticed it when I talked to Paul that Wednesday. Before the weekend. And once I got assigned, I talked to Paul, and I know Paul really well. I was test driver for him on the Xfinity program when he was at Penske with Brad when they first came in together. I was like the back of driver I did all the practice and qualifying and Brad couldn't make it with Paul. So I've known Paul really well. And I was their test driver when they won the championship in 2012 on the two car, their light car. So I know Paul, and I know how on edge he can be. And when I spoke to him for 30 minutes on Wednesday, it was just like, when we won Vegas, we went to work on Phoenix the next day. And I'm telling you partner, we are prepared. And he just kept saying, we are prepared. And I'm just like, all right, he doesn't usually say that, right? He just kept really leaning into that. And then I saw Joey's comments at media day. And it was like, oh, these guys are. They've beaten everyone before, you know, they've shown up. And it just meant that you could tell that they were just in a different space than the others. And their confidence was booming. And so I just thought that continued until I interviewed Joey for qualifying. And well, actually, I'm going to go back to practice. I saw they weren't as good, maybe they were good on the long run. You could see it, but they weren't as good maybe as the 9 or the one. And then the 12 car though was a rocket ship in practice if you remember. And I thought, huh, they talk about being prepared, doing all the stuff, the 12 cars been knocked out. I wonder if the 12 cars got something different. So of course, it did a little bit. And then on the next day, I interviewed Joey before he goes and qualified. I said, what would you be satisfied with? What helps you towards win this championship? And he said first, I'm going to win the poll. I'm like, okay. That's confidence. What does he do? He wins the poll. And then I was told that the two setups between the 12 and the 22 were almost very similar. And I have to think that was a little bit of the 12 was set up in a way. This trying something in practice that they saw and liked because Joey and him, Paul talked about it forever. After practice and I saw. And so it just kept building until I was like, and I think it was in most of my reports before the race. And when we did reports during the race, I was like, this team has mentally been the champion since, you know, since Tuesday and it's up to everyone else to take this championship from them and no one rose up. I noticed it right away on media day as well. I was in the NBC room and asking questions of each of the four championship contenders as they came in. And no disrespect to chase Elliott Christopher Bell Ross Chastain. But the demeanor, the body language, the way he answered the question. Joey Logano just, he was in a different plane than these guys. It's hard to explain, but just the first question we asked each of these guys was what does it mean to be here and have this opportunity in the race for the championship? Something you'd normally expect a driver to answer. It means the world, you know, this is what we're all building for. Everybody gave that answer except for Joey, who's Joey's answer was, it means nothing. And that was how he started the interview. And they were like 5 other people in the interview. And everybody's like, ears perked up and it's just like, what's happening here? And he just continued to parlay this. And I don't think he was playing mind games the way we've seen Tony Stewart do with Carl Edwards in 2011 or Kevin Harvick has done it with several drivers, not just in the playoffs, but just in general. But he definitely took advantage of the fact. I mean, he said Sunday Night after he won the race and the championship that I could tell that some guys were just happy to be here. And obviously there are two guys who would have been making their first appearance Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain. How did you, I mean, because you're aware of that your driver, you're going to be a full time expanding series driver again next year where those mental games get played. How do you think Joey Logano kind of used those edges? Because he doesn't do it in a real overt way, like other guys do, but clearly he took some confidence from it. Yeah, I think he just leaned into like, I know exactly what to do. I've been here before. I've done it. I've got two of them beat on that fact. And I believe I have a faster, better car than the 9, which Penske also believed that short tracks had been a strength for them this year. And that Paul mentioned that and that he and Joey were really confident about their package on the short tracks, which they consider Phoenix, maybe is a little bit of a hybrid, but they consider a short track package. So I think it wasn't you put it. It wasn't mental games. It wasn't like, you know, ribbing of the others and like poking fun or even folks. It was like they don't even exist. That was the other thing. It was like, it was just, I'm so confident, there is not three others here. I don't even know who you're talking about. You could put Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson Bobby Allison there. I'm still gonna win the championship. Wouldn't matter. That doesn't matter to me. We're here. We're gonna be the best. We are the best team. They made the pit crew change, replacing their Jackman, Braxton Brandon, who had been with Paul since he been in cup. Braxton, I have no Braxton forever. He Graham stoddard was put in that position. They did that right before Martinsville.

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