Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gibbs Garage Special Edition: Joey Logano hopes for Pocono sweep

Logano leads at Pocono in June 2012
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
Just past the halfway mark of the season, Joey Logano feels less like just ”a third guy” in the Gibbs garage and more like an equal. He was flattered during today’s teleconference when told about recent compliments from teammate Denny Hamlin. Logano feels his new confidence comes from his improved performance and the chemistry among his teammates.

“It seems like we are definitely all working together very well,” Logano said. “I think Kyle and Denny and myself are able to definitely transfer notes better. We are able to relate about some things that are going on with our cars, and try to grow the team as one, better.”

Logano’s record for 2012 includes one win, two top fives, seven top tens and one pole. “I think this year, I have a lot more confidence in myself and my abilities in what we are doing out there. You know, the results show on the racetrack.”

Logano sits 17th in the Sprint Cup points standings in the fourth wild card spot, making another win crucial to his Chase hopes. But because so many drivers have one win, or could get one, he knows points are critical as well. 

“If there's three people with two wins, which I think there's a good chance that could happen, you're going to have to be the guy that is up there with the points, too,” Logano said. “Points are super close and it's going to come down to probably the last lap at Richmond.”

Logano celebrates in Victory Lane
Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images
He tries not to think about it too much, but instead puts his energy into being competitive on the track. “I think that's one thing I've done this year is be more aggressive than I've been in the past,” he said. “You've got to risk it to get the biscuit. You've got to go for it and you have to be aggressive on restarts and pass cars if that's your shot.”

Being aggressive at Pocono paid off in the past for Logano. He won this year’s June race plus earned the pole for the last two races, both before and after the repave. 

“It's a little bit trickier place to qualify, because you have one more turn to either get it right or screw up real fast.”

Teammate Denny Hamlin has an impressive record at Pocono with a four Sprint Cup wins, eight top fives, two poles and an average finish of ninth place. Logano believes sharing information has helped all the JGR teams, even after the repave.

“It’s definitely a track that's a lot different than what it used to be, but it's still Pocono. So a lot of the things that you did before to make the car go faster are still the same. Setups could be way, way, way different but Denny has definitely helped both Kyle and I out there a lot.”


Pocono June 10, 2012
Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images 
When thinking back on childhood, some drivers remember a clear moment in time when they decided to make racing their career, but Logano doesn’t.

“I think it was always the game plan from the get go for me,” he said. “I had a little go-kart ... and I drove the thing all around the yard all afternoon and had a blast. It was just always that way, that's what I wanted to do, and I was going to do whatever it takes.”

The driver of the No. 20 car heads into this weekend at Pocono with that same do-whatever-it-takes attitude, hoping for a sweep. 

“To win anywhere means a lot ... but to be able to sweep two races in a season like that at one racetrack, definitely extra cool.”
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Beth Bence Reinke writes "Gibbs Garage," Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup team recaps, for the 2012 season. Her Skirts and Scuffs column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. Follow Beth on Twitter at @bbreinke or reach her at bbreinke@skirtsandScuffs.com

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