Logano Takes First Laps Around Daytona
Joey Logano is only 18 but is about to attempt a rare Daytona double.
Logano, who has never raced at Daytona International Speedway, will make his first two starts on Saturday, Feb. 7 when he races in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series season opener followed by Budweiser Shootout All-Star race.
On Friday, Logano, who will replace Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, kicked off a three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series test with close to 50 other cars at “The World Center of Racing” as he prepares to pull off the Saturday night doubleheader.
“I’m doing it,” Logano said of his busy DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009 schedule. “I’m running both races and then I’ve got the Nationwide race with the Game Stop Toyota and then running the Cup race with the Home Depot Toyota. Between all that, I’ve got my hands full.”
Toss in the Gatorade Duel At Daytona 150-mile qualifying races, Logano will be racing five events during DIRECTV Speedweeks.
“I’m just getting as many laps as I can and learn as much as I can,” Logano said. “I’ve got a big year ahead on the Cup side . . . whatever I can do to make myself better.”
Logano, who was signed to Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver development program back in 2005, has generated plenty of buzz since he began racing at the age of six. He has already amassed a long list of accomplishments including most recently winning in his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut in May at Rockingham and winning 2007 Camping World East championship.
He’ll next try to add youngest Daytona 500 winner to that list. The current record is owned by Jeff Gordon, who won the Daytona 500 back in 1997 at the age of 25 years, six months and 12 days.
During this weekend’s ARCA RE/MAX Series test, Logano is behind the wheel for Venturini Motorsports and taking his first laps around the legendary motorsports facility.
While waiting out the fog on Friday morning, he was anxious to get on track.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Logano said. “I’ve been here and watched a ton of races, watched the 500 a hundred times probably. I just want to get out there. We’re almost ready to go out there and just go around Daytona with all the history around this place.
“Just to go out there and make laps is going to be really cool. We’re going to learn a lot, as much as we can about the race car and about the track and drafting and see if we can come back with a good race car.”
On the first day of testing, Steve Blackburn was fastest in the first session with a speed of 180.777 mph followed by AJ Henriksen (180.126), Bobby Gerhart (179.978), Jonathan Gomez (179.641 and Daytona Beach’s Alli Owens (179.608).
Logano was sixth fastest in the No. 25 Toyota at 179.569.
In the afternoon session, Blackburn topped the charts again with a speed of 180.955 mph followed by Tom Hessert III (180.462), Patrick Sheltra (180.422) and Bobby Gerhart (180.339)
ARCA RE/MAX Series testing will continue on Saturday and Sunday. Among the other drivers in attendance include five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion Ricky Carmichael, five-time Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 winner Gerhart, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and John Wes Townley.
The test is open to the public. The Oldfield Grandstands are free and guests can purchase a tram-only $10 at Daytona 500 Experience for transportation into the Sprint FANZONE inside the infield of Daytona International Speedway.