Connect with us

NASCAR Cup Series

Winner’s Circle: Logano Tallies Sentimental Atlanta Victory

Joey Logano scored a special win on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

Joey Logano scored a special win on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

HAMPTON, Ga. – When Joey Logano was a youngster, he dreamt of competing around the full, 1.54-mile layout at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Living in the condominium adjacent to the track, Logano and his father, Tom, earned an opportunity to compete in Bandolero races held on Thursday night. While the determined boy earned his successes at the track, it was on the 0.25-mile track on the frontstretch.

With hard work, sacrifices and perseverance, Logano went from a talented prospect to one of NASCAR’s top competitors in the Cup Series. With 32 wins and two championships in his name, the possibilities are endless for the Middletown, Connecticut native.

“I guess this win here is for those kids,” Logano said. “I got to meet a lot of them this weekend. I’m sure you saw them around. Just shows you keep working hard, chasing your dreams, the dream of always driving a Cup car into Victory Lane lane came true today. It was really neat.”

Pursuing a dream to race and win in a Cup car requires dedication and courage. Moreover, it requires guile and bravery especially at a speedway that behaves like NASCAR’s infamous superspeedway tracks in Daytona and Talladega.

Perhaps Logano learned a bit about keeping his cool under pressure, especially when asked about his comfort level with superspeedway style racing.

“No!” Logano exclaimed with some laughter. “I don’t think anyone feels comfortable when you line up for a superspeedway ’cause honestly, I mean, I feel like half the races I finish is what it feels like. When you’re strapped in, kind of feel like you got a 50/50 chance of seeing the checkered flag. It’s not the most comforting feeling at all.”

Even successful racers like Logano feel a bit of trepidation with the unpredictable, breathtaking nature of racing at the new Atlanta. However, as he recognized, once the carnage came to a stop, it was about as competitive as any race at the 63-year-old venue.

Logano's car was the NASCAR equivalent of Usain Bolt fast. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

Logano’s car was the NASCAR equivalent of Usain Bolt fast. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“I’m not sure, typically there’s not many drivers that really enjoy speedway racing, but I do get it from a fan’s perspective,” he said. “I sat up there in the FOX booth yesterday. Once everyone was done wrecking each other the first two stages, the last bit of that race was really entertaining. The Xfinity race I’m talking about.”

Although there were a couple of “Big Ones” that eliminated contenders like Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and William Byron, Logano recognized the relatively cleaner race versus Saturday’s Truck and Xfinity showdowns.

“This race, there weren’t very many wrecks at all,” he said. “It was really solid racing. There were some interesting things going on. The stage going green, green flag cycles, interesting to see how that played out. The race in the final stage was super intense.

“Cars were in the fence. Cars were sliding up, making mistakes, all this stuff going on. We just didn’t crash, which was amazing. Much better than what it was last time we were here.”

Walt Czarnecki, Executive Vice President of Team Penske, observed the importance of Ford’s first win of the year after Chevrolet’s dominant start to 2023.

“I think it’s clearly very, very important, particularly when the Chevrolets have been running, starting with Daytona,” Czarnecki said. “We had an opportunity at Daytona. Came up a little bit short there. I won’t say ‘struggled’, that’s too strong a word, but the Chevrolets clearly have had an advantage.

“To come back and perform the way we did, not just Joey, but all the Fords, is a real plus, a real bonus for us. Again, a testimony to the people at Ford we work with, Doug Yates particularly. When I saw him a minute ago, I said, ‘That was a Doug Yates power move that Joey made. Thanks to them.'”

A powerful engine, great pit stops, smooth, confident spotting by Coleman Pressley, and a calm, cool under pressure driver in Logano ensured Ford’s first win of the year. Beyond the obvious level of Ford snapping their rival OEM’s winning ways, it is a potential postseason spot earned in the early moments of the year.

Logano holds Atlanta close to his heart. (Photo: Riley Thompson | The Podium Finish)

Logano holds Atlanta close to his heart. (Photo: Riley Thompson | The Podium Finish)

“I mean, it’s great to get a win for Ford early in the season, get in the Playoffs. That’s huge. You can go race aggressively,” Logano said.

Racing aggressively and in winning style have been embedded in Logano’s racing DNA since his days living in the condominium. The young boy who dreamt of racing at the big 1.54-mile track can take heart knowing that his adult self won a special, sentimental race on Mar. 19, 2023.

Editor’s Notes

Stephen Conley contributed to this feature directly on-site from Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.

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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in NASCAR Cup Series