Joey Logano (wiki commons)
Joseph Thomas Logano was born in Middletown, Connecticut on the 24th of May, 1990, the second and youngest child of Tom and Debbie Logano. Although there were no racing connections in the family it became evident at a very early age that Joey, as he is called, was interested in cars and speed when he was allowed to drive his father’s slow moving water-spraying truck. His father bought Joey an 8hp go-kart, adjusting the pedals so that Joey could reach them and added a roll bar for extra safety. Joey was enthralled with the kart and drove it all day. In 1996, at the age of six, Joey entered his first quarter midget race. He had a natural talent, demonstrated when he won his first Eastern Grand National Championship in the Junior Stock Car Division in 1997, gained another championship in 1998 in a Junior Honda Division and a further three championships in the Senior Stock, Lt. Mod. And the Lt. B. divisions, in 1998, in the New England Regional Championships before the family moved to Georgia the following year.
In 1999 Joey won a Bandolero Bandit Series championship and was delighted to find that the state of Georgia did not have the same restrictions for racing that Connecticut had so he was able to take part in races against teenage competitors including, at the age of nine, a victory in a 2000 Legends Series event. He set a record of fourteen consecutive wins at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 2001, Joey won the Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway Bandolero Bandits division and at the age of 12, he became the youngest driver to compete at the Pro Legends level where he went on to win a national championship. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Mark Martin, noticed Joey and was later to call him “the real deal”, saying about Joey,” I am high on Joey Logano because I am absolutely, 100 per-cent positive, without a doubt that he can be one of the greatest that ever raced in NASCAR. I’m positive. There’s no doubt in mind”. In 2005 Joey competed in one FASCAR (Florida Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing) Pro Truck Series race at the New Smyrna Speedway where he started in first position and finished 2nd and still only fourteen years of age he competed in, and won, in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. The following season he continued in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, competing in twelve Southern Division events, winning twice at South Georgia Motorsports Park and at USA International Speedway. He also ran in one race the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, Northern Division and six Championship Series races. NASCAR relaxed their age ruling in 2007 and allowed drivers to race from the age of sixteen up in the Grand National Division and Joey took part with thirteen starts in the Camping World East Series and won five races, three poles, ten Top 5’s and ten Top 10’s and won the series championship and the “Rookie of the Year Honours.
May 2008, after reaching his eighteenth birthday, saw Joey make his debut in the Nationwide Series, the Heluva Good 200 at Dover International Speedway when he finished a solid 6th, driving for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. On June the 14th Joey won the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway, making him the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race. He won again on June the 14th and drove to victory four more times in the 2008 Nationwide Series. In January 2009 Joey was defending his title in the Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, California, running second after Peyton Sellers when on the last lap he ran the leaser into the wall, he crossed the line first but was disqualified by NASCAR for driving in an unsportsmanlike manner. Tony Stewart left the Joe Gibbs Racing team in 2008 to drive for his own team and it was announced that Joey would race in the #20 Home Depot Toyota Camry in the 2009 Sprint Cup Series, starting the season at Richmond International Raceway. In June 2009 Joey was leading the Lenox Tools 301 at Loudon, New Hampshire in front of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon when the race was called off because of heavy rain, giving him the victory and making him, at nineteen, the official youngest driver ever to win at NASCAR’s top level. On the 22nd of November 2009 Joey received the official “Rookie of the Year honours”. From 2007 to 2011 Joey has taken part in 164 NASCAR’s top three Series races, gaining 9 victories, 48 Top5’s and 85 Top 10 positions showing that Joey has proved that he is more than capable of holding his own in the company of older, more experienced drivers. He is mature but young and impulsive and his fans love him saying he is “sliced bread” (as in the greatest thing since sliced bread). He is learning, not only on the tracks but also with his fellow drivers, he has to earn their respect and in most cases he has. He is still not trusted by all and needs to accept that he can make mistakes and to say sorry to those affected. Only when he does this will he be accepted fully and become one of the boys.