Saturday, July 16, 2011

One-on-one with Joey Logano

    Joey Logano talked candidly this weekend about the two years since his career-first Sprint Cup Series race win at New Hampshire in his rookie season.
   You can read the full story here.
   In addition to the story, Logano and I covered a vast array of topics in our discussion, including his take on how difficult the transition has been to Cup, why he decided on racing as a career, where he would most like to win and who he thinks is NASCAR’s best driver.

   Q: What was it like when you first arrived in the Cup series?
   Logano: I had a rude awakening as soon as I jumped into one of these things for the first time. I was like, ‘Oh wow, this is a little harder than I thought it was going to be.’ I think that was a big deal then. It goes to show how good these guys are. They have the natural talent out there – the guys that work real hard with that natural talent are the guys that run really well. Had to figure out what you need to work on – that’s one big thing and a struggle. There’s always something different you can’t work on every week that’s different. It’s what we do every week and it’s part of it. It’s part of the normal deal now. Before we would go to the race track and work 18 hours and there is a lot more to it, you focus a lot more during the week and you don’t really get a break from it anymore. You race these guys that are that good.
   Q: Why did you decide racing was what you wanted to do in your life?
   Logano: Because I sucked at everything else. That was one of the main reasons. I enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun for me. I tried baseball when I was little. I didn’t give it a great effort, but I didn’t enjoy it because I wasn’t good at it. Racing for me was something that came to me naturally, pretty quick when I was little. You go to the quarter midget track or whatever and I won all the races and I loved it. You find something that you win at, you’re going to love it. That’s the way I look at it. I’m so competitive that if it’s something I’m not good at then I’m not going to like it. When I start to get better at things, I enjoy it a lot more. That’s kind of where I stand with this sport.
    Q: If you were promised a fast car and the best circumstances to win, where would you like to win?
   Logano: I think Indy or Daytona for sure. I think those are pretty equal. I think those in my eyes are the two biggest that we run. I think either of them are equally as cool to win. I know after winning in Daytona in the Nationwide car, how cool that was and I thought that was the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. I was pretty pumped up so I can imagine what it would be like in the 500.
   Q: Who do you think the best driver in NASCAR is or was?
   Logano: That's hard to say, there’s a lot of good ones. Especially since these guys are the best. You think about back in the day and there are a lot of guys that were just amazing. David Pearson and stuff like that and they were just great or Richard Petty winning 200 races. That is unbelievable. It’s hard to pick one. These guys are great and I wasn’t alive back then so I didn’t get to watch them race. All I watch is the highlight videos of them making these bad ass moves. It’s hard to pick one guy, but I would say it’s between those guys. You just look at stats and numbers and you can figure out who was good, but those guys stick out the most.
   Q: If you could run every Cup race on one track, which would it be?
   Logano: Charlotte. I love it, I think it’s cool and I think it has a lot of speed. It puts on good races. I think that would be fun.
   Q: What will you be doing five years from now?
   Logano: Five years from now I will be 26. Still won’t be that old. Hopefully, I’m still sitting here talking to Jim Utter. I’ve never looked down the road further than a week. I get home every Sunday and then Monday morning I look at my schedule and see what I’m doing this week. That’s how my life goes. I’ve never looked that far out and set huge goals for myself. Five years down the road – it’s more like what is my goal for this weekend. What am I going to do this weekend. It’s hard for me to set a goal for a year. Forget five years ahead. It’s something personally that I don’t know how to do. I think it would be big because I don’t know how to set a goal that far away. I can tell you one thing, five years ago I didn’t think I would be sitting here. You never know what life is going to bring you.
   Q: Who is the ‘next Joey Logano?”
   Logano: I think Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) is doing a good job and I think he has big things coming up and he already has. I would say he is the next big one. I don’t follow Late Model racing as much as I used to. A lot of my friends are good. I think Coleman Pressley, Corey Lajoie and those guys are really good. It’s just hard for them to get a break. It’s hard to break in right now. I watched them run those East cars. Corey to me is really, really good. He shows it every time he gets in that car. He works on his own stuff. He’s an old school racer. It’s so hard to get a sponsor these days and when Kyle Busch can’t get a sponsor for a Nationwide race or I can’t in a Nationwide race, how is someone going to come in here that hasn’t raced one of these cars before and expect to get a sponsor? How is that even possible? I explained that to them that it is hard. Keep trying, but what are you supposed to do?