Logano Continues Sprint Cup Series Education at Kentucky Speedway
Rising Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) star Joey Logano continued his Sprint Cup Series education by turning test laps at Kentucky Speedway today.
The 18-year-old who won the NASCAR Nationwide Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" at the facility on June 14 will replace Tony Stewart in the JGR No. 20 Sprint Cup Series ride next season after the two-time champion departs to drive for the Stewart-Haas Racing team he will own.
"I'm here today in the Cup car just trying different stuff for Joe Gibbs Racing we haven't really tried yet. We're wingin' it to see what we've got and to see if we can learn a thing or two," Logano said.
The 2007 NASCAR Camping World East Series champ moved up three positions in the Nationwide Series standings to 24th with a ninth-place finish at Kansas Speedway Sept. 27. The result marked his third top-10 finish in his past four starts.
Logano will enter the series Oct. 10 event at Lowe's Motor Speedway having secured a win, three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes through 14 series starts this season, but is aiming to improve during the closing five-race stretch of the campaign.
"As far as the Nationwide side, we're trying to figure out what we've got to do to get back running up front again. Whether it's me or the car, whatever it is, we're going to go through and figure out what it is," he said.
Today's Sprint Cup Series test follows yesterday's announcement that Logano will not complete the final three events of a previously-announced five-race Sprint Cup Series stretch with Hall of Fame (HOF) Racing.
He attempted to make his Sprint Cup Series debut with JGR at Richmond International Raceway Sept. 7and was ninth-quickest on the practice chart before rain washed out the session along with race qualifying.
Logano made his official debut on NASCAR's senior circuit in the HOF No. 96 Sept. 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a 32nd-place finish and followed up with a 39th-place run at Kansas Speedway Sept. 28.
While he'll yield the No. 96 seat to veteran Ken Schrader for the Oct. 11 event at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the Oct. 18 race at Martinsville Speedway and the Nov. 2 clash at Texas Motor Speedway, Logano will see Sprint Cup Series action in a No. 02 JGR machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 26.
"When things aren't working right, you've got to make a change. We couldn't pinpoint what was goin' on. In the practice that was rained out at Richmond at least we were fast, so we're going to back to that deal and we'll try to go from there.
"I think I learned a lot in those (two Cup) races, but they were no where near the runs we were looking for. Personally, I'd like to race a lot better, so, we cut a little of those (HOF) races back, but I think it was worth it.
"We're going to run the No. 02 Home Depot Toyota in Atlanta and possibly a couple more races. I feel like I'm going to be in a really good car," Logano said.
With the NASCAR Nationwide Series enjoying a week off, Logano will take on Talladega Superspeedway this week through an ARCA RE/MAX Series / NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series doubleheader.
He'll race with Venturini Motorsports Friday before making his NCTS debut Saturday in the No. 59 HT Motorsports seat left vacant by veteran Ted Musgrave following a practice session for the Sept. 20 Las Vegas Motor Speedway race.
"It's going to be interesting. I've never driven a truck before and never drafted or anything like that. I've got the ARCA race in Venturini's car and the truck race in Harris Trucking's No. 59.
"I think we'll be good. I went to the (Harris) shop Monday, got the seat right in (the truck) and talked to the guys for a while. I'm leaving here and going right down to Talladega to start racing. I think it'll be a good thing. I'll get a lot more drafting experience, so it'll be a big plus for me," Logano said.
The flurry of late-season activity is designed to help Logano prepare for his first full-time Sprint Cup Series season.
He's excited about his future, but focused on performing well in the coming weeks.
"I'm definitely excited (for 2009) with Zippy and all those guys on the No. 20 team. It's going to be awesome. I'm really looking forward to it, but it's something you can't think about at this point in the year.
"We've got to finish out what we've got. I'm 100 percent focused on the Nationwide car, that's priority No. 1. Gaining as much experience as I can is priority No. 2. Obviously, we want to win some races, too."
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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