Joey Logano Victorious in the Carolina 500 ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (May 4, 2008) -- Joey Logano made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut and reopened 'The Rock' Sunday in stellar fashion, dominating the Carolina 500 to emerge victorious over...
Joey Logano Victorious in the Carolina 500
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (May 4, 2008) -- Joey Logano made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut and reopened 'The Rock' Sunday in stellar fashion, dominating the Carolina 500 to emerge victorious over NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader at Rockingham Speedway.
Logano, driving a Chevrolet, led five times for 257 laps, but had to battle Schrader and third-place finisher Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the closing laps. In the end, however, Logano's car was too strong for Schrader's Dodge and Stenhouse's Ford.
"We put on new tires and Joey didn't and I ran about four laps and saw what was coming and I just got out of the way," said Schrader, who finished 4.164 seconds behind Logano.
Matt Hawkins took fourth driving a Dodge, while fifth went to Michael Annett in a Toyota.
Logano, who will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing next month, said he had a "really good car" all day.
"I was driving with a smile on my face the whole time," said Logano, who averaged 95.380 mph in the race slowed by 13 caution flags for 92 laps. "I was driving with a smile on my face the whole time. I could go from the top to the bottom, and just found a place the car liked and just drove there the whole (race)."
Logano wasn't the only person smiling after the 312-lap event on the 1-mile track. Track owner Andy Hillenburg also wore a grin after the event that was put together in just six months after the former driver obtained the facility from Speedway Motorsports Inc.
"It was a great race, a safe race," Hillenburg told the media. "The fans that were here ... it was tremendous.
"We moved into the (speedway) offices, after the auction, the first week in November and here we are six months later and we've just put on a major event and put Rockingham Speedway back on the racing map. I am really proud."
Schrader, who finished second, said he had forgotten "how much fun this place is. This is a fun race track."
"I was glad to see it back open for sure," Schrader continued. "My biggest part of the deal is just knowing who owns it -- Andy and Michelle Hillenburg -- because Andy moved down and he lived on a hide-a-bed in the office for about a month. That kid's just a hard worker. He's done good and he's got a passion for the sport, and to see him run this race and the people come out and support it ... he'll eventually have his school down here and keep this thing alive."
CAROLINA 500 POST RACE NOTES
Michael Annett (No. 28 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota) 5th place
"We had a really good car going in to it, but got caught up in that wreck on the backstretch early in the race and got some left front fender damage. That just put us off sequence for a while but the guys repaired the damage as best they could, made sure we had no fender rubs and with good strategy we got back on sequence with the leaders. The car got a little tight towards the end of the race and got in to the wall a little bit. That made our handling even worse but all in all it was a really good day for us. This track is a lot of fun and my guys did a great job in the pits. We're just looking forward to Kentucky and try to keep some momentum going."
Matt Hawkins (No. 23 Janiking-Black's Tire Dodge) 4th place
"This place is one of the most fun places I have ever been on racing. Just never could get the car perfect, we were decent. Everybody did a great job, we got it pretty good there in the middle and I got in to the wall off turn two and that pretty much ruined our day. It was a decent day."
Matt Carter (No. 46 Stine Seed --NuSouth Lemonade Ford) 8th place
"We started off good, the car was pretty decent. It was like every other race we've run this year, the car was real tight and wouldn't turn. We adjusted on it and it wouldn't respond to anything. We test and the cars are good, they respond to the changes and then in the race they don't. I can't figure that one out so it's very frustrating; I'm tired of finishing 8th and 11th and all that. That's not very good but, oh well, we got to race at Rockingham. I said before I came down here that if the car wasn't good it would be a long day and it was a long day. We didn't finish on the lead lap and that's not good. Anyways, we'll go on to the next race."
Owner Andy Hillenburg- Post Race
Q. Whats your general impression of today, your thoughts about the crowd. Do you have a crowd count and how did things go as far as what you expected?
A. "I am very excited; it was a great race, a safe race. The fans that were here, it was tremendous. Quite honestly, Mike, I very rarely, you've know me for a while, I very rarely pat myself on the back but I must pat myself and the team that works here on the back. We put this together in six months, that's all. We moved in to the offices up in the Speedway, after the auction, the first week in November and here we are six months later and we've just put on a major event and put Rockingham Speedway back on the racing map. I am really proud. The crowd estimates, this is the first time I've ever had to guess and I could probably give you a better answer this week. I can tell you that we did sell every suite out and they were all full. So I know we had over 4,500 people in the suites and I would have to say, based on our advanced ticket sales, we were well over 15 on the stands. We were close to 20, plus or minus two. Please don't hold that against me if I am wrong because it's my first time guessing."
Q. What about the future, what about the short term future? Are you looking at "Soft Walls"
"Oh yeah, definitely. We're gonna improve the speedway. I can't give you a time-table of course because basically I have invested as much as I can in the facility. There's a lot of improvements, I have a vision of what Rockingham Speedway can be and what it should have been all along and I don't know if it's going to take me two years, four years, six years or 10 years to make it. I am going to work very hard on making that a reality.
CAUTION LAP 11
AJ Henriksen (No. 7 Engineered Components Company Ford) -- "Pretty sure we lost a clutch. It started slipping right from the beginning and it just got worse and worse. I finally lost it -- I think I spun out in some oil or something. I smelled gear oil and stuff like that."
Justin Lofton (No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge) -- "Basically we were just burning laps, saving tires and came up on a couple of lapped cars and I guess one in front of them spun and checked up and I just got in the back of 'em. It was real unfortunate for the Lofton Cattle Dodge and Eddie Sharp Motorsports. We're going to do everything we can and get back out there."
CAUTION LAP 47 -- Turns 3 & 4
Ricky Sanders (No. 35 RaceFanSpnsored.com-Flagship RV Chevrolet) -- "I broke a right front brake rotor. Went into the corner and the pedal went down to the floor and vibrated. Then I hit the wall. That's the best we can tell right now."
CAUTION LAP 62 - Debris
Jesse Smith (No. 30 Lloyd's Barbeque-Spam Hormel Dodge) -- "We just blew up the engine there. We were really good we just came in on that pit stop to try and cool it off a little bit. You know, we ran in the top five there and thought we could stay up there and have a good weekend."
CAROLINA 500 RACE NOTES
Bobby Gerhart (No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet) -- "I don't know what happened. I ruptured an oil line. That's it."
Michael Phelps (No. 45 Bowen Family Homes Dodge) -- "The car's running good. We had it up on the top line and we were motoring around here pretty good. We just got up on some lapped traffic who was trying to race the leaders and got everybody sideways and we ended up being the one that wrecked."
Ken Butler III (No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Dream Machine Toyota) -- "There at the beginning we got caught up in that wreck and it really tore up the front end and tore up the downforce. We had the left front tire happen in Three and Four and we got four laps down under green, so that kind of put a damper to things. After that we were just riding around, you know, just making laps and had a restart on the inside on that last caution and I didn't get a 'clear' -- I mean I didn't get an 'outside, outside' -- I just got hit from the outside and got torn up pretty bad... It's a shame because those guys work so hard and Aaron's helps us out so much and I wanted to run well for them so I just hate it."
Billy Leslie (No. 18 Titan Tire Ford) -- "We just broke a motor but we were running good and strong all day. Things happen but it was awesome out there. Here at Rockingham Speedway and Darlington is two places I've always wanted to race so this is a dream come true, coming here and I just want to thank everybody -- Andy for letting us race here and Titan Tire, my dad and mom for helping get this deal together. It just started pushing water out and we didn't want to do any further damage. Strong motor all day, we just didn't want to break it."
Dominick Casola (No. 32 A. Casola Farms Dodge) -- "The car was running really good today. I was a lot faster than the 20 car, he gave me the inside and I took it. Then going into three he decided to chop me off, wrecked himself and wrecked me. I don't know, it's just an unfortunate day."