JOEY LOGANO Business as Usual HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 17, 2008) -- While winning a NASCAR Nationwide Series race just 21 days after your 18th birthday had never been done before, for Joey Logano, it's just business as usual. Logano, ...
Business as Usual
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 17, 2008) -- While winning a NASCAR Nationwide Series race just 21 days after your 18th birthday had never been done before, for Joey Logano, it's just business as usual.
Logano, driver of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), made history last Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta by becoming the youngest winner in series history, besting previous record-holder Casey Atwood, who drove to his first Nationwide Series victory at The Milwaukee Mile in 1999 at the age of 18 years, 10 months and nine days.
While Logano did rewrite the record books by winning in just his third Nationwide Series start, the Middletown, Conn., native has proven that he's a quick study as he steadily climbs his way up the racing ladder.
At age seven, Logano won his first Eastern Grand National Championship in Junior Stock Quarter Midgets. At age nine, Logano won the Summer Shootout Series in both Atlanta and Charlotte in his first year racing Bandolero cars. At age 12, Logano moved on to Legends cars, where he became the youngest driver to win the Pro National Championship. At age 13, he moved up to Late Models in Georgia, where he also won in his first season. At age 15, Logano made his debut in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, where he found victory lane in his second career Pro Cup start at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park in June 2005.
Last season, Logano ran a slate of NASCAR Camping World Series races for JGR where, again, it didn't take him long to find victory lane. He won in his first start in the Camping World Series West race at Phoenix International Raceway on April 19. The JGR development driver never went more than two consecutive races without a victory, winning the Camping World Series East season-opener at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway April 28, Iowa Speedway in Newton May 20, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon June 29, Adirondack Speedway in Beaver Falls, N.Y., July 29 and New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sept. 14.
So as Logano heads to the Milwaukee Mile for this weekend's Camping World RV Rental 250 Nationwide Series race, he and the No. 20 GameStop Toyota team, led by crew chief Dave Rogers, will hope to add to the gaudy stats Logano has already amassed in just his first three starts.
While some might see a win at Milwaukee as high expectations for Logano, finding victory lane for the second week in a row would, again, be business as usual for the 18-year-old who has never failed to live up to his billing at each and every level.
Joey Logano -- Driver, No. 20 GameStop NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry at Milwaukee
Are you surprised to get your first win so quickly with all of the expectations that have been placed upon you?
"I expected to win Dover, but didn't know if that was realistic. It was cool to get our first win in my third start. Obviously, I was getting in one of the best cars out there, which has won seven races. I have to win races. It's not even an option. To get our first win and second pole at Kentucky, I feel like we can keep rolling as a team. I'm kind of used to all of the pressure. I think I like all of the pressure. I feel weird without it. I don't think it took any pressure off of me to win at Kentucky because I'm still expected to keep winning. It shows that I'm here and we're running up front right off the bat. With the cars that Dave Rogers and the whole team have given me, I expect that we'll be in contention every week."
While there are several tracks that you'll visit later in the season that you haven't seen before, do you feel fortunate to have at least a little bit of track time at Milwaukee in the past?
"I tested at Milwaukee a really long time ago in a Sprint Cup car. I also raced there in the ASA Series (American Speed Association) when I was 14 years old. In the ASA race, we were fast and had a chance to win before we broke an upper A-arm and dropped out of the race. At the time, it was the biggest race track I had ever been on. It's kind of like New Hampshire because it's got long straightaways, but with a little more grip than New Hampshire. It's a fun place and you'll see some passing. It's a short track, but you still have a little bit of speed, too."
What is your mindset going into Milwaukee on a flat track versus the high-banked ovals you've been on the past three weeks?
"It's a little bit of a different approach, but wherever you go, you try to get the most out of the car. Aero is still going to make a difference at Milwaukee even though it's flat. You aren't at a short track like Martinsville, so you are still going to have some speed. At the same time, you aren't going to have the aero push as bad, or the aero loose in, or loose off the corner. It's the size of race track I like, anyway -- somewhere where you are still going fast but you don't have to worry about all the aero stuff and you can race someone really hard without having to get three car lengths back and have to battle aero tight all day."
Is it nice to have your first four Nationwide Series races on race tracks that you've been on before?
"These are tracks I've seen before. It had been a while since I had gone to Kentucky. Still, it's been in different cars and you run such different lines in the Nationwide Series car versus the Cup car that it doesn't really help you that much. But, at least you know what the track looks like and that never hurts. You can learn little bits and pieces about the race track -- bumps here, other things there -- but the cars are so different. You can take a little bit. It's not like the old days when you had two cars that were similar to each other. It's just way different now."