Nashville II: Joey Logano preview

JOEY LOGANO Out To Prove He's No One-Hit Wonder HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 3, 2008) -- There have been plenty of aspiring musicians who went to Nashville hoping to "make it big." Some sold multi-platinum albums and became mega-stars. Others...

Out To Prove He's No One-Hit Wonder

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 3, 2008) -- There have been plenty of aspiring musicians who went to Nashville hoping to "make it big." Some sold multi-platinum albums and became mega-stars. Others became simply "one-hit wonders." A vast majority strike out completely.

Joey Logano wouldn't mind being compared to Tim McGraw or Alan ackson, Jboth mega-superstars who found success in Nashville.

Logano, driver of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, heads to Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn., for Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the 1.33-mile concrete oval. The EA Sports NASCAR 09' logo will adorn the hood of the rising superstar's car to promote the release of the popular game that will be available at GameStop stores starting June 11.

After much hype, Logano made his NASCAR debut in last week's Helluva Good! 200 Nationwide Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. He didn't disappoint as he piloted the GameStop Toyota to an impressive sixth-place finish and earned the praise of fellow drivers and NASCAR observers. Perhaps most impressive was Logano's recovery from a pit road incident 25 laps into the race. With the patience and precision of drivers twice his age, Logano, who restarted 28th after the incident, never appeared to be rattled as he worked his way into the top-five by lap 132 to set the stage for his strong finish.

Despite the rave reviews after his performance at Dover, Logano wants to be sure he's not tagged a "one-hit wonder" on the outskirts of Nashville, knowing there is plenty of work left to be done. While NASCAR critics might say "you're only as good as your next race," Logano heads to Nashville looking to gain even more experience and put himself in a position to be successful in the eyes of the racing community that continues to have its collective eyes trained on him.

If there is an advantage for Logano, it's that he has plenty of laps at Nashville Superspeedway. He's tested multiple times for Joe Gibbs Racing at Nashville throughout the last year in NASCAR's current Sprint Cup car.

Thus, his knowledge of the ins and outs of the tricky concrete oval should be put to good use as he continues his NASCAR education.

Joey Logano -- Driver, No. 20 GameStop NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry at Nashville

You haven't been to Nashville in a Nationwide Series car, but you have tested there several times in the current Sprint Cup car. What do you expect this weekend at Nashville?

"It's a cool race track. It's pretty flat compared to the Dover concrete mile we were on last week. I certainly have plenty of laps around there, but it's all in a Sprint Cup car. I'm really looking forward to getting there in the GameStop Nationwide Series car that will have a little more downforce, which should make it a lot of fun."

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for you. How much are you looking forward to getting to Nashville and starting into a routine?

"A lot. I'm really excited to get Dover behind me and I'm really looking forward to the rest of these races. I think Nashville will be a strong race for us since Kyle (Busch, teammate) ran well there in March in the 20 car and it's a place that I've had a lot of laps at, even though it's been in a Cup car and not a Nationwide Series car. I'm hoping this weekend I can start working on the chemistry between myself, Dave (Rogers, crew chief), and the rest of the team guys. This weekend will be much quieter and I'm looking forward to being able to just go out and race. It's pretty cool to have EA SPORTS NASCAR '09 on the hood of the GameStop Toyota this week. I just found out that you can actually download my No. 20 GameStop car and use it in the game, which is pretty cool."

What are your goals for this year and what are you hoping to accomplish?

"I'm not the person to set goals for myself. We go out to win every race and I'm not the person who sits down and says I want so many wins, so many top-fives, so many top-10s. Right when I got out of the car at Dover, I was disappointed since I felt I made a mistake on pit road and we gave up the track position. It was still a good run for all the guys on the GameStop team, especially for my first race in the series. Every race is different though, and I think after practice and qualifying you know if you'll be happy with a top-five or a top-10 out of that day. If you have the fastest thing there, then you're going for the win. That's something that you kind of look at as the weekend goes on. I don't think you can look at my season and say that you want specific finishes, especially coming into something cold-turkey like I am -- not knowing where I'm going to stack up. It's kind of tough to set goals on that."

Dave Rogers -- Crew Chief, No. 20 GameStop NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota for JGR

What are your overall thoughts of Joey Logano's Nationwide Series debut at Dover? Were you impressed with the feedback he gave you to make the car better throughout the weekend?

"There was a lot of hype about Joey getting into this car. But now that the weekend is over, I think the story is how much progress we made as a team. We came off the truck really tight and did not have the right setup for the race when we unloaded. Joey did a great job of telling us what he needed. Each time we could give it to him, we went faster on the stopwatch. Throughout the race I thought we got better. I think that was the biggest story of all -- how much improvement we made from our first weekend together. Everyone wanted a top-five or a miraculous win, but the reality of what we did shows the strength of our race team more than any stat could."

Many observers were quite impressed with how patient Joey was battling back through the field after the early pit road incident. What impressed you the most about how he recovered from that?

"That's probably one of the most difficult calls I've had to make on pit road. We had a rookie driver in there and had a really good run going. We qualified respectably and we were going forward and we came down pit road. Joey blames himself for it, but he didn't do anything wrong. He got in his box nice and square, right where he should have. When he was leaving, the 9 car (Kasey Kahne) was jammed in there so he put his car in reverse and drove into us and that damaged our left-front fender. To go and make that call and tell Joey to give up all that track position and restart 28th was gut-wrenching. We have a lot of respect for Joey, but we knew it was an opportunity for him to make a rookie mistake and get frustrated and make a good day turn into a long day. But he didn't. He was really patient and poised like a veteran and took his time driving back up through the field from 28th to fifth place under green-flag conditions. He just did a great job being patient and passing one car at a time."

-credit: jgr

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Drivers Kasey Kahne , Joey Logano
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing