After taking a weekend off as the NASCAR Nationwide Series competed in a standalone event at Iowa Speedway, Joey Logano will be back at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he takes the wheel of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota for the History 300. Logano is riding a huge wave of momentum in the Nationwide Series, winning his last two starts and coming home first in three of his last five races in the series.
Logano started off by nearly winning at Daytona in February and then finally took the checkers to grab his first victory of the season at California in March. In Talladega, Logano drove the No. 18 GameStop Toyota to Victory Lane with a last-lap pass of Sprint Cup teammate Kyle Busch, giving GameStop its first victory since the 2010 season at Kentucky. Then, he followed up the Talladega win by making it back-to-back victories a week later, taking the checkers and his first-career Nationwide Series win at Darlington. The three wins ties Logano with Nationwide Series points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the most in the series this season.
LOGANO LOOKING TO BE A HITMAN IN CHARLOTTE: HITMAN®: ABSOLUTION will ride on the side of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. HITMAN®: ABSOLUTION follows The Original Assassin undertaking his most personal contract to date. Betrayed by the Agency and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself pursuing redemption in a corrupt and twisted world. And when you pre-order HITMAN®: ABSOLUTION at your local GameStop retailer you will be able to download and play the Hitman: Sniper Challenge instantly for a chance to win monthly prizes. In addition to the paint scheme on the GameStop Toyota this weekend, Logano will also have a special suit that is sure to make people take notice.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME: Logano came into the NASCAR world as soon as age let him. Just days after his 18th birthday, Logano made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut, driving the No. 20 GameStop Toyota, at Dover International Speedway and won just a couple of weeks later in Kentucky, giving Joey and GameStop their first Nationwide Series wins. Later that same year, he made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut, still at the age of 18. He became the youngest to compete in the Daytona 500, the youngest Sprint Cup Series winner and Rookie of the Year. Now, Logano can look back on that and say “man, that was some time ago” as Logano will be turning 22 years old on Thursday, May 24.
SPENDING SOME MORE TIME WITH GAVIN: Just over two years ago, Joey helped make one of his biggest fan’s days. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Logano surprised then 8-year-old Gavin Grubb with a visit to his school and an invitation to the Daytona 500. Gavin, who often wheels around in his motorized wheelchair with Joey Logano attire on, got surprised by Logano in person after the two talked via Skype and the connection was lost. They spent a lot of time together and Joey not only made an impact on Gavin, but Gavin made an impact on Joey. And now, two years later, the two still love getting to see each other. Gavin came to town this week as a special guest of NASCAR Illustrated and part of that, Logano gave the youngster a private tour of the JGR facility on Monday. Look for a story of the two in an upcoming issue of NASCAR Illustrated.
STILL CLIMBING IN THE HISTORY BOOKS: With his win at Darlington Raceway, Logano continued his move up the pages of the NASCAR Nationwide Series history books. Logano now has 12-career Nationwide Series victories, putting him in a tie with Jimmy Spencer for 24th on the all-time wins list in the Nationwide Series. When Logano wins race number 13, he will then move into a tie for 22nd with Darrell Waltrip and Martin Truex Jr. Logano’s 18-career Nationwide Series poles already have him tied for ninth all time with Tommy Houston and Joe Nemecheck. Of Logano’s 12 wins, the 21-year-old has won at eight different tracks. Logano has picked up victories as Daytona, Talladega, Kentucky (three), Kansas (two), Darlington, California (two), Chicago and Nashville.
FEAST OR FAMINE AT CLT: Logano’s career runs as Charlotte Motor Speedway have been, what most call, feast or famine. Logano has raced at the track seven times and three times finished in the top-five. When he hasn’t been in the top five, Logano has struggled and finished outside of the top 10. Logano’s best-career finish is third, and he also has a fourth and a fifth.
THE RACE: The History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Concord, NC; 1.5-mile tri-oval) is set for Saturday afternoon, May 26, 2012. The race will be broadcast on ABC at 2:30 p.m. ET, with radio coverage on PRN.
Joey Logano on Charlotte: “It wasn’t a lot of fun to watch the Nationwide race last weekend at Iowa because we’ve really got a lot of momentum going over on that side, and I’m hoping that is something we can continue here in Charlotte. I’ve always run really good at Charlotte in the Cup Series, but I’ve been hit or miss in the Nationwide Series. We’ve had some really good runs, and we’ve had some struggles. The entire team worked really hard over the off-season, and I think that has paid off this year and we are seeing that with being competitive and winning these races. I think we will have a shot this weekend. I would love to make it four wins this year and three-in-a-row. Charlotte is a place that I’ve always loved racing at and it is right here in the heart of all the NASCAR world, so to win right here would be huge. I’ve got to knock Daytona, Talladega and Darlington off my list of places I really want to win at. Right now, Charlotte might just be at the top of that list.
“I’m really looking forward to this week too. Being at home, and able to stay in your own bed at nights, even though there are a few where I’ll stay at the track, it just so nice and relaxing. But for all the relaxing being at home gets you, Charlotte’s races are extremely busy. There are always a lot of guys from the shop who come out to this race who don’t normally travel, family members of some of your team guys and a lot of sponsors and appearances. So you stay plenty busy during the week. But in the end, it’s a lot of fun and makes you really enjoy your job of being a racecar driver.
Crew chief Adam Stevens on Charlotte: “There is one word to describe Charlotte and that would be ‘fast.’ This place always turns into a track position race. You want to have the track position at the end and you will change you strategy to do what you can to make sure you get that track position. Looking at the weather, it’s going to be hot so the grip level will be down. The best cars can get into the corners the hardest. Like everyone though, it will be good to be home for the week. We are looking to continue our momentum with Joey. He’s been on fire the last few races he’s run and that is what we want to do – go out there and win races. Heat cycles (on the tires) tend to mask the balance of the car in practice. That is a big challenge in getting the race balance close. In the end, we are looking for a good run with a new car. Hopefully, we can get win number four.”