IT’S BRISTOL BABY: Joey Logano and the No. 20 GameStop Toyota will head to Bristol Motor Speedway for Friday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event, the Food City 250. Logano has always run well at the high-banked half-mile, but rarely has the finishes to show for it. Logano has made five trips to Bristol in Nationwide Series competition, with one top-five finish (5th in the 2011 spring race) and three top-10 finishes. On two separate occasions, Logano has found himself leading the field at Bristol. However, in those two races, Logano’s finishes are 14th and 10th (both races in 2010). In each race, Logano was running in the top-five with just a handful of laps remaining before getting taken out in an accident.
2011 STATS SHOW LOGANO A TRUE “GO OR GO HOME” DRIVER: If you just look at Logano’s 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series stats, they might look a little disappointing. In 14 races, Logano has one win, one pole, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes. However, those stats accurately reflect the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 team’s attitude of “we’re not looking for points, we’re just looking for wins.” Logano and the No. 20 team led the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Point Standings early in the year. However, when a lack of sponsorship kept the No. 20 home from Chicagoland Speedway, the team changed their focus from playing it safe and getting solid finishes to doing whatever they needed to do to win races. As a result, Logano and the No. 20 GameStop team have been able to gamble and take chances they otherwise wouldn’t have. Sometimes it has paid off (like Logano’s win at Daytona and his third-place finish in Watkins Glen), but at other times, it has bit the No. 20 JGR team (like at Dover when they were involved in a late-race wreck while racing for the lead, as well as in New Hampshire, where Logano was collected in an accident).
CHASSIS: The JGR team will take a proven race-winning chassis to Bristol this weekend. Chassis #20121 is the same car that Denny Hamlin raced to the victory at Richmond International Raceway back in April. Chassis #20124 will serve as the team’s backup car.
Joey Logano Quotes:
“I love Bristol. It is one of those tracks that most people love, because all of us grew up racing on short tracks, and there isn’t much better than a little high-banked short track racing action. And once they repaved the track, they made it even better because there are now a couple of racing grooves. Before, you never had a shot to be able to race side-by-side with other cars out there. Now, if you have someone good on the inside of you and you can trust them, you could literally race side-by-side with them for 100 laps. It makes for some really good racing. There isn’t quite the beating and banging of the old Bristol, but that’s ok. We want to race and pass people for the spots and not have to just move them out of the way. I’ve been moved out of the way a few times at Bristol by other cars, and it normally doesn’t end very well.
“I feel like I’ve always run a lot better at Bristol than my finishes show. We’ve had a lot of good cars there. We’ve always been strong. But I don’t have the finishes to show for it. In both races in 2010, we were wrecked by other cars at the end of the races. There are two top-five finishes that got away from us. And I think we will be strong this time. We ran well in the spring in the first race at Bristol with these new cars. We’ve got a lot of good notes to go off of. I just really want to survive and be there at the end. Maybe battle side-by-side with Kyle for the win. That would be a great show.
“This is going to be a busy week for me. After the Nationwide race, we’ve got the Cup race. After that Cup race, we are going to head to Kingsport Speedway just up the road and I’m going to race my buddy Coleman’s Late Model. Then, Monday, I’m headed to Vegas for the GameStop convention. That was a lot of fun last year, and I think it will be even better this year. They’ve got a lot of fun activities planned out at the track. It’s always fun to give ride-alongs too. So it should be a blast. Plus, one of the coolest parts is getting to walk around the show floor and see all of the new games that are coming out. They have some killer displays there.”
Adam Stevens Quotes:
“The night race at Bristol is a lot different than the day race there. The track temp is falling rather than rising, which creates a new set of handling issues that you have to deal with as a crew chief. We practice in the morning and we are the first cars on the track, so there is no rubber down from any other cars. That just means that the track will be a lot different when we start the race. The best drivers here are able to change their racing line as the track changes and adapt to the track conditions. There is no way you are going to learn what you need to learn on Friday morning at 9 am during practice on a green race track that is going to make your car perfect for Friday night at 8 pm when it’s race time. It’s all about adapting and adjusting at the night race. The people that do the best at staying ahead of the track are the ones who are going to be fighting for the win at the end of the race.