A lot of people look at Kentucky Speedway as the best track for Joey Logano in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. But stats show that Talladega Superspeedway might just be even better for the 21-year-old. Logano has three-career NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway and has come away with top-five finishes in all three events. The only thing missing from Logano’s resume at Talladega is that elusive victory, which nearly came last season when Logano pushed his JGR teammate Kyle Busch to the victory, coming home second. Logano also finished second in the event in 2010 and third in the race in 2009. With an average career-finish of 2.3 at Talladega, he leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Logano also leads all drivers in Driver Rating at Talladega (a formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish) with a 108.3 rating.
LOGANO HOPES TO BRING THE “PAYNE” IN ‘DEGA: Max Payne 3 will be the featured game on the No. 18 GameStop Toyota this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Max Payne 3 is a seamless, highly detailed, cinematic action shooter from Rockstar Games. Featuring cutting edge shooting mechanics for precision gunplay, advanced new Bullet Time® and Shootdodge™ effects, a dark and twisted story and all new story-based multiplayer modes, Max 3 is shaping up to be yet another blockbuster from Rockstar Games, the creators of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. Max Payne 3 releases May 15th for the Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 system, May 29th for the PC.
18 THE LUCKY NUMBER?: Logano will return to the seat of the No. 18 GameStop Toyota this weekend after spending the last couple of races in the No. 20. The last time Logano was in the No. 18, he went to Victory Lane at California Speedway in what many people called the most entertaining NNS race of the season. Logano, along with Denny Hamlin, have the No. 18 fourth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s point standings just 19 points out of the top spot. Joe Gibbs Racing has won three of the last four owner’s championships in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (No. 20 in 2008, No. 18 in 2009 and 2010).
LOGANO AGAIN HELPING AIDB: Logano will once again be supporting the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and their annual “Race Fever” program this Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. AIDB is the official charity of the Talladega Superspeedway and every year, Race Fever is held at the SPEED Channel Dome at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Race Fever proceeds benefit the AIDB Foundation with over 1,200 fans from across the United States enjoying a Southern barbeque dinner, the opportunity to bid on distinct items in the live and silent auctions, and vying for the chance to meet their favorite drivers. Despite missing last year’s event due to the severe storms that went through Alabama the night of Race Fever, Logano plans to be present this year from 6:30 – 7:15pm. For more information on the event, visit www.racefever.org.
MAGIC CAR IN TALLADEGA?: Logano and the GameStop team will be taking the same chassis to Talladega that has run the last three restrictor plate races, including last year’s second-place finish at Talladega and win at Daytona. The car also ran in this year’s event at Daytona and was leading the race before getting involved in a multi-car accident coming to the checkers. As crew chief Adam Stevens pointed out, “this car has been running either first or second on the final lap of the last three races it’s been in.”
Joey Logano on Talladega: “Talladega is one of those tracks where you never really know what is going to happen. You could be just riding around and get involved in someone else’s mess at the snap of a finger for sure. Or, you could go all day long and not have any major accidents. It is just how it goes with this race at some point. You just work all race to try and stay out of trouble and put yourself in a position to win the race at the end of the day. If you are not running at the end, you can’t win the race, so the name of the game is to survive and then race for the win.
“We’ve been fortunate to be pretty strong in the Nationwide Series races at Talladega, and we’ve got a pretty good track record going as of recent in the restrictor-plate races. We finished second last year at Talladega and then came back and won the race at Daytona in July. In the opening race this season at Daytona, we were leading the race coming off of turn four and got wrecked by someone that was trying to put the block on us so we should have probably won that race as well. I’ve always been pretty good at the restrictor-plate tracks and taken to drafting well. I’ve always been pretty fortunate to have someone to hook up with me at the end of the race too. I really think we’ll have a shot at winning the race this weekend which would be huge for GameStop. That is one of my biggest goals right now is to get GameStop back in Victory Lane.”
Crew chief Adam Stevens on Talladega: “I’m thinking the race should be no different than last year other than you will see more pack style racing and less two-by-two tandems because of the new rules packages they put into effect before Daytona this year. With the new rules, you can’t keep the trailing car as cool and can’t push as long so you automatically get big pack races. A lot of people don’t think you do quite as much to the cars as crew chiefs at these tracks but we really had to work hard the last couple of years to get out cars where they need to be as far as stability and drivability and speed. Once we go them to that point and they are pretty good, and we just work on maintaining that during the weekend. We don’t qualify very well at these plate races and we can’t quite figure that out, but it’s no big deal because we will race well when it comes down to it. In the end, it only takes two cars to win the race so that’s what we will do. It’s just a matter of finding the right guy to work with at the end and I’ve already been talking to Joey about who we are going to work with. We are already making deals at this stage in the game. You never know who you are going to work when once the chaos of the race plays out, but it’s good to have a game plan.”