html

ThatsRacin.com


Joey Logano combines youth, experience

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Thursday, Aug. 08, 2013

At age 23, Joey Logano still is one of the up-and-comers in NASCAR.

In his fifth full Cup season and sixth in Nationwide, he also has a lot of experience behind him.

So, when aspiring young drivers seek guidance about their NASCAR career path, Logano has much more relevant and recent experience to draw from.

“What would you say to someone that’s driving a Legends car at 15? At that point, that’s, honestly, the most fun you’re going to have,” said Logano. “You’re going out there as a recreational sport. You’re having fun.

“You’re getting to drive a race car. How cool is that? …

“I make sure every day I wake up and I pinch myself because this is a dream come true for me.”

Certainly there is a lot of work and responsibility driving with the help of millions of dollars of corporate sponsorship. There is enormous pressure.

Logano has changed teams and been through the driver-change rumor mill. Luckily for him, he came out still entrenched with an established and respected NASCAR organization.

While Logano has not won on the Cup level as much as he’d hoped, he has proven to be a consistent threat in the Nationwide series.

“Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of work, and it is very stressful at the same time, but when you run well, it makes all this worth it. This is what I want to do,” Logano said.

“I think as a younger kid, you have such an opportunity to drive a race car and have fun with it. Obviously, you’re going to have to work hard, though, to win.”

Winning early sometimes only makes the career path that much more difficult.

“Just like any 18-year-old kid, I thought I knew everything, and it turns out I didn’t,” Logano said. “I got into a Nationwide car when I was 18, and a really good Nationwide car, we were able to go out there and win races really quick.

“All of a sudden you think, ‘OK, I got this figured out. I’m pretty good. We’re going to be all right.’ And then they put you in a Sprint Cup car, and then you start to struggle.

“That’s an eye-opening experience there, and you don’t know where to even start. You don’t know what you don’t know.”

What Logano knows now is he is driving for a team owner, Roger Penske, and with a teammate in reigning Cup series champion Brad Keselowski who will make him better.

“I’m happy where I am now. I’m not content, though,” he said. “Obviously, I want to be out there and want to be winning races and running up front.

“I see the gains I’ve made throughout the last three years, and I’ve seen the gains that we’ve made at Penske since I’ve started here.”



Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
More racing news, blogs, photos and more at www.ThatsRacin.com.