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In the Hot Seat with Logan Misuraca (Part II)

Logan Misuraca's got a bright future in racing. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Logan Misuraca’s got a bright future in racing. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Make no mistake that Logan Misuraca has the makings to be a bona fide, superstar stock car racer.

The 22-year-old Sanford, Florida native ardently works on making her way into the NASCAR ladder system. On Feb. 15, Misuraca maximized on her opportunity as she drove JW Motorsports’ No. 60 Chevrolet entry to a seventh place finish for this year’s ARCA Menards Series East season opener at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Misuraca, “The Warrior,” has a winning personality and a disciplined mindset when she’s in racer’s mode. As chronicled in Part I, Misuraca became the latest in her family to partake in motorsports.

The athletic and savvy driver learned to trust herself, build confidence and the value of hard work when it comes to pursuing lifelong ambitions and passions. While Misuraca is focused on achieving her goals, she’s enjoying her journey and building relationships with her associates, fans and those supporting her through the ups and downs.

With a smile as bright as Florida sunshine and the determination of a driver pursuing a Daytona 500 win, Misuraca is a breath of fresh air with her approach and personality.

Moreover, she could give Daniel Ricciardo a run for his money in terms of a racer who has a fervent love of competition while approaching her pursuits with a personable, authentic sense of gratitude and humility.

I interviewed Misuraca a few weeks after her sensational top 10 finish at New Smyrna Beach, Florida. After diving into that fateful race weekend and her career beginnings, we focus on her thoughts with NASCAR’s diversity efforts, how she’d describe herself and the importance of being true to herself.

Suffice to say, Misuraca has many chapters awaiting her in her racing journey. So, let’s head over to our racecar and get “In the Hot Seat with Logan Misuraca” now on The Podium Finish!

Rob Tiongson : As someone who is trying to make her way into the top NASCAR ladder racing series, I’m sure you follow what goes on in the Drive for Diversity program and NASCAR’s diversity efforts. But what have you liked so far with their progress, and what are some things you feel they could improve upon?

Misuraca likes the direction of NASCAR's diversity efforts. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Misuraca likes the direction of NASCAR’s diversity efforts. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Logan Misuraca : Well, especially when it comes to females, I think they definitely shifted the stage light towards the females a lot more to where it’s not just like, “Oh, okay. She’s come, she’s gone. She’s come, she’s gone.” It’s like, “She’s here. Let’s focus on her and what she has to say before she goes.” And especially with the Busch Light deal being announced, love that for the girls.

That’ll definitely help all females in the industry a lot. And especially upcoming, that maybe didn’t think… it’s like, “Okay, I don’t know if I can afford to go up the ladder or whatever.” Maybe that’ll give them the extra jump. Like, “OK, I have the backing from Busch Light to depend on if I go into this deal.”

So hopefully, that’ll bring a lot more attention and females into the sport. And then even with… I loved… I had Fortress Water as a sponsor last year. They’re a fully people of color organization. And I brought them into the sport when the sport was trying to bring more diversity in, and they had such a warm welcome. And I was like, “Awesome!”

So just like the female, and then the colored organization coming together. So it was awesome for us, and we were this whole diversity deal of its own. And we just looked at it that way always. And we’re close still, me and Fortress Water, so. And they’re great.

Tiongson : That’s excellent. And I think that’s the best of both worlds when everybody can work together to hopefully improve on NASCAR’s inclusive environment, because I’m starting to see a lot more women, a lot more people of color, not only as pit crew members, but as drivers.

And I have to say, that’s pretty awesome for someone like me who is obviously a person of color that covers NASCAR. To see more people like myself…. it’s the 21st century American dream of NASCAR.

And I hope we see more of that just because I think when we are more reticent to discuss that, to actually implement such, the lifeline and talent pool of racing drivers and pit crew members, journalists, whatever you want to be in racing, it’s going to be so healthy.

As engineers keep evolving these cars, hopefully the cost factor goes down. We’re going to have such a healthy sport economically and just business-wise, because I want to see it prosper, for sure.

Misuraca : Yeah, definitely. It’ll definitely build a foundation better, too, where just everyone’s involved in the sport somehow. It’ll be good for NASCAR’s sake, but also everyone in the world’s sake. So, hopefully it keeps building.

Tiongson : Absolutely. I’m all here for that, for sure. I’ve got a couple more questions for you before I wrap things up here. Kind of a unique question that I do want to ask. If you had to be a journalist and you had to describe yourself as a racecar driver, what three words would you choose, and why?

No doubt, Misuraca has a balanced approach with life. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)Misuraca likes the direction of NASCAR's diversity efforts. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

No doubt, Misuraca has a balanced approach with life. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)Misuraca likes the direction of NASCAR’s diversity efforts. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Misuraca : Competitive. I am way overly competitive and self-critical, to a good point and a bad point. Overly competitive.

Disciplined. I’ve always been good about that. And actually, high school dance team taught me that, because I was on a drill dance team in high school, and discipline was key.

We would do drill downs and just a whole bunch of bandside oriented things, and it was a kit team. And we won all national championships. So I took that along with me, discipline.

And I’m really goofy. So, goofy would be my last word. And I think anyone who’s seen me at the track can account for that. I’m always hugging everybody, jumping around, skipping around, riding jackstands down pit road.

But it’s OK. I can’t control it. That’s just who I am. I’ll get in a hyper mood and I’m like, “Whatever. Goofy Logan, just jumping around pit road.”

Tiongson : Why not? You have to have a little fun.

Misuraca : Yeah, I know.

Tiongson : Exactly. You don’t want to just be like a Chips Ahoy cookie that’s down the plant, and boom, it’s manufactured to the next store. You should stand out and be yourself and authentic. And if I ever get to cover a race that you’re at, I hope to see that, because that would be a pretty cool sight to see.

Misuraca : Yeah, that’s me. Everyone looks at me, like, “What is she doing?” Or laughs at me, or laughs with me. And I’m just like, “It’s OK. You do whatever you need to do, because I don’t know what I’m doing.” It just happens.

Tiongson : It’s good to have a personality. I mean, that’s the thing I think a lot of fans want to see with new drivers. It’s not just to be Suzy B., and talented, but the personality of a cell phone without applications.

You should be yourself, and I think that is going to be key if someone does want to put you in their car as you advance the ladder. And I hope you do, just because I’m really enjoying our conversation so far, to say the least.

Another sort of thought-provoking question I often ask drivers is this. If someone from Hollywood approached you and they were like, “All right, we want to make a biopic about your racing career and life,” which current actor would you choose from Hollywood to play you?

Misuraca : Can it be a male?

Tiongson : I don’t care what you want to pick. Go for it.

Misuraca : Let me think. Oh, Blake Lively, of course.

Tiongson : Oh, yeah.

Alright, alright, alright. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Alright, alright, alright. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Misuraca : Oh, yeah. She’s just got all different sides of… any role she plays. She could either be the stern, mean one in some of her roles, but then also the goofy self that’s full of personality. So, she’s kind of got the best of both worlds, which is like my two flavors of the day. So, her.

Plus, people say I look like her, but I don’t see it. If I had a little freckle here, maybe. Who knows?

Tiongson : Actually, I see it a little bit, to be honest. More like when she was on Gossip Girl, because yes, I used to watch that show, unfortunately.

Misuraca : (goofy tone, imagining how fan would react) But you look like Gossip Girl (version of) Blake Lively! I’ve never watched Gossip Girl. Two, I don’t see it. I’m like, OK, but if that means Ryan (Reynolds) is there, that’s fine.

Tiongson : (laughs) Let’s say he is there, just to give you some incentive. And that’s a good comparison, to say the least. She’s one of the few actors these days that I actually really like, because I’m a little bit more old school, to say the least.

Misuraca : But if it was a man, Matthew McConaughey. He would play my male counterpart, 1000%. Not because of the looks, but he’s just… I literally will lit there and sit there. Lit there? Yeah. See? I can’t even speak when I talk about him.

Interstellar is my favorite movie of all time. I’m an aerospace engineer major, and he has a lot of involvement with space. So, love that.

I’ve listened to… he has this speech. It’s called the 13 Truths. I literally listen to that right before every single race. You’ve got to listen to it. It’s amazing.

And he just has such good mindfulness behind him of like, what step is going to be next. He just has his whole life under control. I need his life.

Tiongson : And I think, just like you, he’s himself. He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.

Misuraca : No, not at all.

Tiongson : When I watched him do the command for the COTA race last year, I think he was still in Hawaii, and probably in his pajamas, and his hair was all frazzled, and he was just like his usual trademarked self. And I was like, no one else can really do that. Only he could do that.

And I don’t think there’s a lot of people in the world who could have the audacity to even dare a thing like that.

Misuraca : Yeah. He’s like, “All right. All right, all right, all right.”

Tiongson : When you are leading a race later this year, and your spotter’s going to try to tell you the green flag’s out there, you should tell him or her to tell you that.

Misuraca : “All right, all right, all right.” I will. That’ll be good.

Tiongson : Just gotta get MAVTV or FloSport Racing, whoever’s covering the race, to air that radio on the race telecast like they do with NASCAR, with Radioactive, to hear all those driver, crew chief, and spotter banters that all of us at home like to hear.

Misuraca : Oh, yeah.

Tiongson : I’m sure you watch a little bit of that. For me, I laugh, because I’m used to hearing it. But the fans at home are like, “How dare Ryan Blaney say such a word! Oh, my God!”

It’s like, y’all don’t understand. It’s their job. And at my day job, I probably cuss more times than I really want to. Not out loud, but in my head.

Misuraca : In my head.

Tiongson : Yeah, because if I say it out loud…

Perhaps Misuraca can relate to how Dale Earnhardt Jr. felt during the 2001 Southern 500 at Darlington. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Perhaps Misuraca can relate to how Dale Earnhardt Jr. felt during the 2001 Southern 500 at Darlington. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

Misuraca : Quiet as possible when it comes to pushing the button, because I will catch myself either singing to myself to keep myself calm, or saying some kind of words to myself.

Like, I will start talking to myself. So I try not to push the button, because I don’t want them to hear that. But I’ll be in my helmet just talking to myself, like, “Okay, left turn. And, okay, we’re going to start to push it.” I will speak out loud of what my body is doing.

Tiongson : I think that’s pretty healthy, honestly, instead of having to press the button and let the whole world or your team know what’s going on, because I think all of us do that at some point.

Misuraca : Well, it gets lonely in there, and so I’m like, I might as well talk to myself. I can hear myself. And then my spotter’s just telling me things to do. So I’m like, “I’m going to tell myself what to do right now.” Have a full-on conversation.

Tiongson : That is fair to me. I don’t think anything less of you of that. I think that’s really cool that you do that. And it makes me think of what Dale Earnhardt, Jr., did 21 years ago after a race in Darlington when he told his crew, “Hey, guys, I’m really lonely out here.”

So for the next race, they put a volleyball with Wilson’s face on it from the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks, and he won the next race with that volleyball in his car. So, just saying.

Misuraca : That’s so great. Never heard that.

Tiongson : It’s really funny. And I think the next race, people actually bought volleyballs, painted it like Wilson, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., signed all of those volleyballs. So you might have something going on there with the whole talking to yourself, feeling like it’s a lonely island type of experience.

Misuraca : That’s awesome. That’s funny.

Tiongson : My last question for you, kind of taking it a little bit more serious, more because I want to get your name out there and kind of let people know what’s up for you.

But ideally, what does your future look like, not only for this year, but ideally in the next few years, as you’re looking at the top three series?

"The Warrior" has a great game plan she hopes to realize in the coming years. (Photo: Logan Misuraca)

it gets lonely in there, and so I’m like, I might as well talk to myself.

Misuraca : Yeah. So I mean, we’re focusing on just really getting this year covered first. I mean, of course, I have goals for the next few years. But sponsorship opportunities is the utmost importance right now to make all that possible.

Ideally, I would love to run a full ARCA East series this year, a full ARCA Menards series next year, and then go straight to Xfinity. That’s the goal. So we’ll see. And then two, three years in Xfinity, and then move me up to Cup.

So, we’ll see how that goes. But right now, I’m solely just focusing on East series. Next year, the full series. And then we’ll see where it goes from there.

Tiongson : And for those sponsorship opportunities or for any partnerships that are out there possibly listening to this interview or reading on TPF, how can these opportunities contact you?

Misuraca : They can go to my website, www.loganmisuraca.com, or go to my Facebook page, my Instagram page. Just give me a shout. Let me know. Or give me your email, and I’ll send them over a bunch of information.

I have a bunch of information. I’ve got videos. I’ve got picture wheels. I’ve got presentations. I’ve got everything made to try to make it work.

Tiongson : I love it. You have this Daniel Ricciardo-like energy about you that I think, if I actually was a company, I would think about wanting to sponsor you already. But hopefully, you get some opportunities, because I think your story is so unique, and so fresh, so different from other drivers I’ve talked to.

I hope that this is just the first of many interviews I do with you, this year and in the future. So, do you have anything else you want to say to your fans, Logan, before I wrap things up with you?

Misuraca : I love you all. Thank you for all the fans supporting me.

And I love you too. Thank you for doing this.

Tiongson : Aw, thank you.

Misuraca : Just watch out. Keep watching out for this year. You never know what will come your way, especially last minute. Something may work in your favor. So, just keep fighting. Love you guys.

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Logan for taking the time for our great, heartfelt conversation for TPF! Also, special thanks to Michael Lira for the great story recommendation!

Look for more content about Logan on TPF and follow her social media channels on FacebookTwitterTikTokSnapchat and Instagram! Also, if you are interested in assisting Logan’s racing efforts, donate today via PayPal!

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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