From staff reports
He looks like your typical 14-year-old. And he likes the same things that a typical 14-year-old likes; music, movies, girls. And he isn't the only 14-year-old aspiring racer in the country today. But there is one major difference between 14-year-old Joey Logano and all other 14-year-olds out there. He's already driven a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car at over 190 mph around Atlanta Motor Speedway
That practice session at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway was just one of the things that will make 2005 the biggest season in the young Logano's racing career. Later this year, once he turns 15 on May 24, he'll make his USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series debut at Jennerstown Speedway. By that time, he and his family will be moved up to North Carolina from their home state of Georgia. He also recently signed a developmental contract with Roush Racing.
"We're going to run Hooters Pro Cup this year," said Logano. "We are going to try and run as many races as we can. I can't run the cars until I turn 15 so I'll miss a good portion of the series, but I'll get some good experience in the car. I don't know if we'll be able to get in the points championship this year since we will miss so many races, but we are going to see if we can get some sponsorship and run as many races as we can. If we can't line up sponsors, we might run just five and keep our rookie status for next year."
The Pro Cup Series was the best option for the racing phenom to venture towards in 2005.
"I ran ASA last year (and the team was going to run full-time there in 2005), but they went under. So I'm looking to race where I can. ARCA won't let me race on the short tracks until I'm 16, so Hooters Pro Cup is one of the few places that will let me race with 250-lap races and live pit stops and all. It is a good organization and definitely the best step for me right now."
But until that day comes in late May, Logano will have plenty of stuff to do in the meantime. The entire family is in the process of moving from just outside Atlanta to the Charlotte, N.C., area, which is long been known as the stock car racing capital of the country. In addition, Logano is continuing to get his education in and out of the shop.
"I probably know more people up here than I do down in Georgia, so it won't be that big of a transition now. I get to come up here every other week. I have to bring my school work up. I do it here every morning. When I'm done, I come out here and work on the car. I learn a whole bunch of stuff doing that."
The Logano Motorsports team is also working on putting the finishing touches on their Pro Cup car for the 2005 season. Once they do, they'll start testing.
"That way I'll be ready when I can race," he said. "I wanna run up front with this thing every opportunity that I have."
The team recently also got a NASCAR Nextel Cup car from Roush Racing to test and Logano, who stands just a bit taller than the car, has already practiced with the car at Peach State Speedway and the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"It was a lot of fun," added Logano. "It's really heavy and has a lot of horsepower. We went to Peach State and ran pretty good. We went to Atlanta Motor Speedway with it and that was awesome. I got to run race speeds with it. It is a short track car. Mark Martin ran it at Martinsville and Richmond last year, but it was great.
"Running at Atlanta was a different feeling. The biggest track I'd been on before was the Milwaukee Mile (in an ASA car). It was awesome. I really can't explain. It makes me want to race the car soon. I can't run ARCA with it, so I am just practicing and when I can race it, we'll be ready with it."
However, just because Logano got the Cup car from Roush Racing, he and his father point out that the young Logano is not yet signed to a Driver Development deal with the powerhouse organization.
"We really appreciated the help that Roush Racing has given us," said Tom Logano. "Mark Martin is one of our friends and he really believes in Joey and they have guided us along the way, but we are keeping our options open for the future."
Logano raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder summer racing series from 1999-2003.
He won the Bandits points title in 2001 and the Semi-Pro championship in 2001. He holds the Thursday Thunder record for most consecutive victories with 14 from 2000-01.