ES: Dover: Joey Logano earns championship

Logano Makes it Official Joe Gibbs Racing's 17-Year-Old Development Driver the 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series Champion DOVER, Del. (Sept. 21, 2007) -- All Joey Logano had to do was start Friday's season-ending Sunoco 150 NASCAR Busch East...

Logano Makes it Official

Joe Gibbs Racing's 17-Year-Old Development Driver the 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series Champion

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 21, 2007) -- All Joey Logano had to do was start Friday's season-ending Sunoco 150 NASCAR Busch East Series race at Dover International Speedway to clinch the 2007 Busch East championship. He did that and more by leading three times for a race-high 79 laps before finishing second in the 150-lap race on the 1-mile oval.

"We set a goal at the beginning of the year to win the championship," said Logano, who is the series' first rookie champion since the inception of Busch East in 1989. "Whether we're rookies or not, we go into every race thinking we can win, and that's what you have to do to win races and a championship. This was our goal all year, and this is what we expected out of ourselves."

Logano's ninth podium finish capped a season that saw the Middletown, Conn., take six checkered flags -- five in Busch East and one in the NASCAR Grand National West Series, where Logano made his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) debut at Phoenix International Raceway.

His win at Phoenix, where JGR teammate and fellow development driver Marc Davis finished second, sparked Logano's Busch East campaign. The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Chevrolet never went more than two consecutive races without a victory, as Logano won the Busch East season-opener at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway April 28, Iowa Speedway in Newton May 20, New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon June 29, Adirondack Speedway in Beaver Falls, N.Y., July 29 and New Hampshire International Speedway Sept. 14.

Logano's championship is the fourth for JGR, with the company's three previous titles coming in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series via Bobby Labonte in 2000 and Tony Stewart in 2002 and 2005.

"Winning the championship is what we've been trying to do all year, and to finally get it is pretty neat," Logano said. "It's one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do in racing.

"I'll get in a Busch car next year. I've got to wait until I turn 18, which is May 24. I'll probably get some Busch East Series races in at the beginning of the year, and then we'll see what we have when I turn 18. I'm just learning all I can right now so that when I turn 18 I'm ready to go Busch racing."

Logano's ascent to Busch East Series champion and soon-to-be NASCAR Busch Series regular began at age six when he started his racing career in quarter-midgets. By age seven, he'd picked up his first Eastern Grand National Championship in the junior stock quarter-midget division. He followed that first title up with Eastern Grand National Championships in 1998 and 1999 in the Stock and Modified divisions, respectively.

By age nine, Logano was racing Bandoleros, winning the Summer Shootouts at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., to earn another national championship.

From there, it was onto Legend cars, where a 12-year-old Logano set a track record of 14 consecutive wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, along with winning the Young Lions National Championship in 2002. Logano also won the Pro National Championship in 2002, making him the youngest champion in Legends history.

After conquering his opponents in Legends, Logano made a successful transition to Late Model stock cars. At 13, Logano competed in the Georgia Late Model Series and the Southern All-Stars, winning three times.

Winning meant another step up the racing ladder. In 2004, Logano participated in the American Speed Association (ASA) and the ASA Late Model Series, where he earned five top-five and eight top-10 finishes.

Logano's rapid climb toward a career in NASCAR got a boost when JGR signed the youngster to its driver development program in 2005. Just days after turning 15, Logano made his debut in the Hooters Pro Cup Series. Less than a month later on June 11, Logano scored his first Hooters Pro Cup win at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway.

The 2006 season saw continued success in Hooters Pro Cup, with Logano winning two races and a pole en route to a solid fifth-place finish in the Southern Division point standings. It was a precursor of the success Logano would attain in Busch East.

"We couldn't be more proud of Joey for this huge accomplishment," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "He's got such a wonderful family that has sacrificed so much. I know this means the world to them. Joey's five Busch East wins and one NASCAR West Series win prove that he's one of those rare talents in racing. We look forward to many more victories and championships together with Joey and his family for years to come."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Joey Logano , Marc Davis
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing