Logano All But Clinches NASCAR Busch East Series Championship Win at New Hampshire Means Title is Secured with Start in Season Finale at Dover LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 15, 2007) -- In 2005 at just 15 years of age, Joey Logano was called "the real...
Logano All But Clinches NASCAR Busch East Series Championship
Win at New Hampshire Means Title is Secured with Start in Season Finale at Dover
LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 15, 2007) -- In 2005 at just 15 years of age, Joey Logano was called "the real deal" by respected NASCAR veteran Mark Martin. Now that Logano has essentially clinched the 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series championship, the 17-year-old development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing is a step closer to joining Martin in the elite NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
Logano campaigns the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Chevrolet in Busch East -- a regional NASCAR touring series that features a 14-race schedule at tracks throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic.
In preparation for his rookie season in Busch East, Logano made two NASCAR Busch West Series starts -- the West Coast cousin of Busch East -- at Phoenix International Raceway in April and at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., in June. Logano won in his debut at Phoenix, where his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and fellow development driver Marc Davis finished second.
Logano has gone on to win five Busch East Series races in his rookie season, including a sweep of the two races at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon. And in his second New Hampshire win on Sept. 14, Logano all but clinched the Busch East Series championship with still one race remaining. To collect the 2007 Busch East Series championship, Logano needs only to start the season finale Sept. 21 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. When he does, Logano will become the first rookie champion since the inception of the Busch East Series in 1989.
"I knew we were definitely a championship contender as soon as we started with Joe Gibbs Racing," said Logano, who came to Busch East from the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Series, where he was the division's youngest competitor. "It's a great organization. Getting all of that help there and the experience I had from Hooter's Pro Cup last year, all of that stuff helped us coming into this season. And after winning so many races this year, it's just been great."
So, how does a kid from Middletown, Conn., get to compete in NASCAR's stepping-stone divisions when he's only had a driver's license for a little over a year? Easy, Logano started racing cars when most other kids were still playing with toy cars.
Logano began racing quarter-midgets when he was six, and 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 ascent toward a career in NASCAR got a boost when Joe Gibbs Racing 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."