Loudon II: Joey Logano preview

JOEY LOGANO Sprint Cup Debut, Part II HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 10, 2008) -- In the 1988 baseball movie Bull Durham, near the end of the film, Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, (played by Tim Robbins) recites a quote from his mentor, Crash Davis ...

Sprint Cup Debut, Part II

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 10, 2008) -- In the 1988 baseball movie Bull Durham, near the end of the film, Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, (played by Tim Robbins) recites a quote from his mentor, Crash Davis (Kevin Costner).

"A good friend of mine used to say, 'This is a very simple game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.'"

Truer words could not be spoken for Joey Logano, driver of the No. 96 Home Depot/DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing.

Logano was set to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut last weekend at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway driving the No. 02 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, but qualifying was canceled due to rain. And because the No. 02 car did not have enough owner points, Logano and his crew were on the outside looking in when the 43-car field was set.

This came after Logano posted the ninth-fastest time in Friday's practice session.

This weekend's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon will serve as Logano's Sprint Cup debut "Part II," which might make for a more appropriate venue, since Logano grew up in Middletown, Conn., just three hours from NHMS.

Logano has plenty of experience at the "Magic Mile," highlighted by wins in both NASCAR Camping World Series East events in 2007, which was part of a five-win season that culminated with the championship and rookie of the year honors -- the first and only driver to record such a feat since the series' inception in 1989.

As for the disappointment of last week's rain, Logano rebounded quickly with a seventh-place finish in Sunday night's rain-postponed NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond.

The 18-year-old has now scored one win (Kentucky Speedway in Sparta), two poles (Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky) and nine top-10 finishes in just 12 career Nationwide Series starts.

Perhaps a more telling statistic, however, is that Logano has completed all but 43 laps available to him in those 12 races, meaning he is getting valuable seat time with a total of 2,137 laps completed out of 2,180 possible (98 percent).

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 96 Home Depot/DLP HDTV Toyota Camry for Hall of Fame Racing:

You've had a couple of days to think about the disappointment of rain canceling qualifying last Friday at Richmond. Can you reflect on the weekend?

"It's been tough, but it's not the end of the world. I feel bad for all The Home Depot guys. They worked hard getting that car ready. After working that hard and the car being that fast and not being able to race it, it was tough."

Did Joe Gibbs speak with you after qualifying was canceled? And if so, what did he tell you?

"Yeah, we talked. He said not to worry about it and that there will be plenty of other races to run. He told me not to worry about it, so I'm not. I think we'll be okay."

Although last week was disappointing, would it be special for you to make your Sprint Cup debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, near where you grew up?

"It's nice to race at a 'home' track.' It'll be cool. I've got a lot of family and friends there, so it'll be neat. I think another good thing is that the Nationwide Series is off this week, so I'll be focused on the Sprint Cup car and nothing else."

Did you ever attend races at NHMS growing up?

"I went to my first race there. I think it was 1997. I remember Jeff Gordon won. I don't remember much else. I think we watched the Busch East race, too."

You swept both NASCAR Camping World Series East (formerly Busch East) races at New Hampshire last year. What do you remember about those victories?

"It was cool because it is my home track. It's a tough place. A lot of the Camping World East drivers are really good, so it was cool last year to go up and sweep the place. I think it'll probably be a little tougher in the Sprint Cup Series, though."

You had never raced at Richmond before, so is it better that your debut will possibly come at New Hampshire, a track where you have raced before?

"I think that will be a good thing. Although, as fast as the car was at Richmond, I really wish I could have raced it. But it was like Joe (Gibbs) said, they'll be plenty of other ones and Loudon would be a good place to start."

Greg Zipadelli, who will be your crew chief in 2009, called the Nationwide Series race for you from the pit box Sunday night in Richmond. How is your relationship coming along?

"I think we're working together really well. He helps me a lot in the Nationwide car. He called the race Sunday night and I think our relationship is really coming along well. We talk all the time and it's important to make sure we're communicating well. That's half the battle."

The first Home Depot television commercial featuring you aired during Sunday afternoon's Sprint Cup race at Richmond. In it, Tony Stewart shows you the ropes of working with Home Depot. What was the experience like?

"It was fun. It was my first commercial shoot. It was a good time. It took all day. I don't think I'm going to Hollywood anytime soon, but it was a good time. Tony's really good at that stuff. He's done it a few times, so I learned a few things from him for the next time. I think the commercial turned out really well and I hope Home Depot liked it, and I hope the fans enjoy it, too."

-credit: tsc/hofr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Joey Logano
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Hall of Fame Racing