By Doug Gorman
Calling 13-year-old Joey Logano a veteran race car driver might seem a little absurd.
After all, the home-schooled student from Alpharetta is another three-years away from even getting a driver's license.
Still, at an age when many youngsters were racing Hot Wheels collectibles down a plastic track, Logano was experiencing racing for real as one of the country's best midget-car drivers.
Now, nearly six years later, veteran is the only term that fits for the driver who has become as much of a household name at Atlanta Motor Speedway as those who compete twice a year on the Winston Cup circuit.
Logano has practically owned the Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder racing series since arriving on the scene for four races in 1999.
"It never gets old," said Logano, who moves up to the Pro Division this season. "The competition should be really strong this year."
At one stretch Logano was unbeatable at AMS, winning 14 straight races. That is still a track record for any racing series.
Logano cut his racing teeth sitting behind the wheel of midget racers.
Along the way he collected a junior stock Midget National Championship in 1997, and Honda Midget National Title in 1998 and a Modified National Title in 1999.
In 2000, the national titles continued to roll in for Logano has he won the honor in the Bandolero Division.
The scaled-down version of a stockcar is part of the Legends racing series and it's the car Logano was in for his early success in the Thursday Thunder Series.
Logano won the Bandolero Bandits Division in 2001 winning five of the 10 races during the summer series.
A year ago, Logano moved into the Legends car jumping into the Semi-Pro Division.
The move didn't hurt the young driver who captured the points title competing against older drivers.
This year, Logano moves up again?this time to the Pro Division-one of Legends' most challenging and competitive divisions.
This time, Logano only plans on racing in a handful of Thursday Thunder Series events.
He will race the full Legend's series in Charlotte and compete in other events.
Down the road, Logano hopes to definitely move into a full fledge stock car.
"Oh, of course, my goal is to race on the Winston Cup Circuit," he said. "I am doing everything I can to prepare for that goal."