When NASCAR fans in Kentucky and around the country think of Kentucky Speedway, one name normally pops into mind… Joey Logano. Logano’s history at the 1.5-mile track is impressive to say the least. Prior to last year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut event at Kentucky, the NASCAR Nationwide Series ruled the track and Logano ruled the Nationwide Series at Kentucky. In four career NNS starts there, Logano has raced his way to three poles, three victories and four top-10 finishes.
The first victory back in 2008 put Logano on the map with both competitors and fans. Coming in just his third-career NNS start, Logano became the youngest NASCAR Nationwide Series winner ever at the age of 18 years and 21 days. Logano came back then and won the race again in 2009, leading just 20 laps and passing teammate Kyle Busch late. Then in 2010, he completed the trifecta, dominating the event by leading 106 laps en route to his third-straight victory. And the Nationwide Series isn’t the only series Logano has won in at Kentucky Speedway. Logano raced at the track back when he was just 12 years old in the Young Lions Nationals for Legends cars on the quarter-mile track that utilizes part of the infield and part of pit road. Despite never being at the track before, Logano won the event, becoming the youngest Young Lions Nationals winner ever. In last season’s Sprint Cup Series debut at Kentucky, Logano qualified 15th and finished 14th.
MATCHING LAST YEAR’S NUMBERS ALREADY: With last weekend’s 10th-place finish at Sonoma, Logano has now scored six top-10 finishes in 2012, matching his full-season total from last year. Even more impressive is four of those top-10 finishes have come in the last six races, including a win at Pocono Raceway just a couple of weeks ago. Logano was running in the top-five at Michigan just two weeks ago before getting involved in an accident late. That top-10 finish would have given him seven and possibly put him in a position for one of the Wild Card spots. Logano has also led a total of 51 laps this season which is just seven laps shy of his career-high for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, which came last year.
POINTS UPDATE – STILL IN THE HUNT: Looking at the point standings, Logano still finds himself in a prime position to capture one of the two “wild card” spots for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship and less than 50 points out of the top-10, which would give him an automatic berth. The top 10 drivers will make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and positions 11 and 12 are wild cards and will go to drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, as long as they are ranked in the top 20 in points. Logano is currently 15th in the point standings but third in the wild card standings as four drivers have earned one win that are ranked outside of the top-10. Logano is just 18 points behind JGR teammate Kyle Busch, who leads the Wild Card standings.
A CRAZY “OFF” WEEKEND: This weekend, fans will see something that they are not accustomed to seeing and something Logano himself isn’t accustomed too. Logano will not race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event this weekend at Kentucky despite the series being at the track in conjunction with the Sprint Cup Series event. Logano has only missed one other companion event this year coming at Las Vegas. The missed event might be a blessing in disguise for the other drivers in the field. Logano has won five NASCAR Nationwide Series events this season and four of the last five he’s competed in. He has also won three of his four career starts at Kentucky in the Nationwide Series.
THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Kleenex, Gildan, Colgate, Slim Jim, Degree, Glad, Kraft Singles, Today and Always, STP and Mucinex will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
THE RACE: The Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway (Sparta, KY; 1.5-mile oval) is set for Saturday night, June 30 at 6:30 pm ET. The race will be broadcast on TNT (TV) and PRN (radio).
Joey Logano on Kentucky: “I’m really looking forward to Kentucky. I enjoy the track and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of success there over the last couple of years in the Nationwide Series. It’s one of those places that you just take to. Ever since I ran my first Nationwide race there back in 2008, I’ve just had a pretty good knack for Kentucky. Then when the Sprint Cup Series finally came to the track last year, I thought we’d have a pretty good showing considering our track record there and we ran decent and finished in the top-15. But I’m really looking for bigger and better things this time around. The No. 20 Dollar General team has really been on our game the last few weeks and its showing on the track. Starting at Darlington, we’ve really picked up our performance and we’re starting to get the results all of these guys deserve. Now that we are finding ourselves running in the top-10, we need to keep working on it and make those top-10s top-fives. Once we do that, I think we will be a consistent force. I’m also really looking forward to having Dollar General back on board our car. We were able to get Home Depot a Cup win at Pocono and we’ve won three races with Dollar General in the Nationwide Series this year. Now, we just need to get Dollar General a win in the Cup Series. That would be huge for them and that would be huge for us in the point standings. We will just have to see what this weekend holds for us.”