[media-credit id=62 align=”alignright” width=”227″][/media-credit]With his trademark smile in place, Joey Logano said he was “pumped up, upbeat and ready to go”, not only for the weekend racing at Dover, but for the next step in his career and life as well.
Logano had an exciting start to his Monster Mile weekend as he was on one of the planes impacted in the incident on the runway at the Charlotte airport on the way to Dover, Delaware.
“We were in our plane about to get ready to go and the other plane drove off the runway a little bit,” Logano said. “I figured the runway was the easy part, but I don’t know I never drove one.”
In spite of being delayed, Logano finally made it to the race track, one where he has admittedly had his share of ups and downs. Logano’s high at Dover was winning his K&N Pro Series East championship in 2007 and his low at the Monster Mile was barrel-rolling his No. 20 Cup car seven times down the banking of one of the turns.
But for the ever-upbeat Logano, he only remembers the ‘ups’ from all of his experiences at Dover.
“I love this track,” Logano said passionately. “I think it’s mainly up when it comes to Dover.”
“I think it’s a great track and a great place to race,” Logano continued. “It’s just fast.”
“It’s one of those tracks where you really feel like you’re hauling the mail,” Logano said. “It puts on great racing and I’ve had great cars most every time I’ve been here.”
Logano will certainly see his fair share of the Monster Mile this weekend as he is doing double duty in the No. 18 Sports Clip Toyota in the Nationwide race and his familiar No. 20 Home Depot Toyota ride on the Cup side.
How does the young driver balance all of that racing? Logano acknowledged the challenges but also expressed that there are great rewards in doing the Dover double.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Logano said. “Today’s the biggest challenge, running back and forth from car to car.”
“The hardest part is when you practice the Cup car, qualify the Nationwide car and then come back and qualify the Cup car because they’re so different,” Logano continued. “You’ll run around a lot.”
Logano said it is almost like having to keep a score card on each car in his head. And just so he does not get too confused by it all, he debriefs just as quickly as he can after each run in the two cars.
“You have to keep track of what you did in this car and what changed in each car and then debrief with both of them,” Logano said. “That’s the challenging part.”
“I try to debrief right then, so that way I did it and I can move on,” Logano continued. “But there are also great rewards in driving both cars because you can learn a lot in the Nationwide car that can come over and help your Cup program.”
Logano definitely agreed with his Nationwide crew chief, Adam Stevens, in that the Monster Mile requires great aggression but can also prove most punishing if any mistakes are made.
“Dover is an intense track,” Logano said. “You’ve got to take every opportunity you can.”
“But when you start overheating your tires and overworking your car, it’s also a finesse track,” Logano said. “So, it’s a combination of both.”
“It’s hard to do both but that’s what makes it fun and a cool track to race.”
Logano said that he truly has learned from his racing experience at the Monster Mile, especially from his runs that did not go so well.
“You learn that throughout your career, being put in certain situations,” Logano said. “You learn from your mistakes and you try to use them the best you can to make those changes.”
“This is one of those tracks where you use a lot of your tools.”
For Logano, Dover also feels a bit like coming home, which may just contribute to his comfort level at the Monster Mile.
“The northeast tracks are a lot of fun for me,” Logano said. “This is where I’m from and I like being able to see everyone.”
“I just like these tracks,” Logano said. “Dover is one of my favorites, and it might actually be my favorite.”
“It feels like home.”
Although Logano is feeling at home at Dover, he only has a few more races, eight to be exact, before he makes the next major change in his life. He will move from his home at Joe Gibbs Racing to his new home at Penske Racing in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford.
“We plan to finish off as hard as we can,” Logano said. “I got a really great team where I’m at and I’m going to a really great team.”
“I’m fortunate to have two situations like that,” Logano continued. “But my life has become very busy lately, trying to learn a new team and get to know those guys and trying to finish off this year the best you can and try to get eight more wins.”
“It’s definitely difficult but I’m very lucky and fortunate to be in a position like this.”
Whether lucky or busy, do not call Joey Logano a ‘lame duck’.
“There is no such thing as that at this level,” Logano said. “Each one of these races is equally as important as before Penske came along.”
“This is all very, very important to me,” Logano continued. “This is all we work for.”
Logano also admitted, with all of these changes, that this is probably the most interesting time in his young life and in his racing career.
“It is interesting for sure,” Logano admitted. “There are a lot of new things and I look at things in a different way for sure.”
“I don’t know if I can sum it up in one word, but it is exciting,” Logano said. “I’m pretty upbeat about it all.”
“I’m ready for it,” Logano continued. “I’m pumped up to go do it and make a new step in my life.”