When Joey Logano takes the checkered flag this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it will mark of the end of an era for the 22-year-old. Logano will be making his final start for the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series program this weekend in Miami as the youngster will be moving over to Penske Racing in 2013 to pursue other racing opportunities. Logano has made all of his 109-career Nationwide Series starts behind the wheel of Joe Gibbs Racing cars, his first coming just days after his 18th birthday back in 2008. That day, Logano made his debut and finished sixth after starting ninth.
In just his second-career race, Logano won his first pole and then followed that up with a record setting performance in his third-career start, just three weeks after his 18th birthday, by winning his first Nationwide Series race and becoming the youngest Nationwide Series winner of all time. In addition to leaving JGR, Logano will also make his final start with long-time sponsor GameStop, who has been on the car with Logano since the very start back in 2008. Of Logano’s 18-career Nationwide Series wins, 10 of them have come behind the wheel of the GameStop Toyota.
ONE RACE, ONE SHOT FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP: With Logano’s win last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway behind the wheel of the No. 18 GameStop Toyota, he and the team took one more step towards winning the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship, a feat that Joe Gibbs Racing has accomplished in three of the last four years (2008, 2009, 2010). Heading into this weekend’s season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Logano and the No. 18 JGR team hold a 33-point lead over the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing team of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the Owner’s point standings. According to NASCAR, “the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota guarantees a clinch of the title with a finish of 28th or better; or 29th or better with at least one lap led; or 30th or better with the most laps led.” Logano has won nine races this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, seven of those coming behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota.
PDP AND AFTERGLOW “LIGHT UP” THE HOMESTEAD NIGHT: Performance Designed Products, LCC (PDP) and its Afterglow™ brand of gaming headsets and controllers will ride along with the No. 18 GameStop Toyota this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. PDP is an industry leader in designing and manufacturing products for all major gaming platforms, as well as mobile accessories for the Apple® iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Android-based devices. The new Afterglow™ line of headsets are engineered from the ground up to deliver an unrivaled audio gaming experience across all gaming platforms, and feature the popular illuminated design the world has come to know from the best-selling Afterglow™ controllers. Afterglow™ gaming headsets and controllers are available at GameStop stores nationwide and at www.afterglowgaming.com.
THE WINS JUST KEEP ROLLING ALONG: Last weekend in Phoenix, Logano continued his amazing NASCAR Nationwide Series season by leading 168 of the 204 laps and picking up his ninth Nationwide Series victory of the season. Logano also picked up his series-leading sixth pole award of the year. Logano has now won nine races in 22 starts, giving him an impressive winning percentage of 42.8-percent, the second best all time behind Kyle Busch’s 44.8-percent winning percentage of 2010. If Logano can go out and win at Homestead, a place he has been on the pole but never won at, he will eclipse Busch’s record mark.
HOMESTEAD FEELS LIKE HOME: Even though the NASCAR Nationwide Series races just one time per year at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the track seems to cater to Logano and the stats over the years show this. In four career races at the 1.5-mile speedway, Logano had earned four top-10 finishes and a best finish of fourth. Logano also is a pretty good qualifier at Homestead, with two poles in his four starts at the speedway. In fact, of all of the tracks that Logano has competed on in the Nationwide Series, Homestead ranks as one of five different tracks where Logano has an average starting position of fourth or better.
PRETTY AMAZING STATS: With Logano’s win at Phoenix International Raceway, he now has an impressive 18-career victories in just 109 starts. That means since the beginning of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in 2008, Logano has earned a win on average in every six starts he’s made. Also as impressive is the fact that coming into the season, Logano has won a total of nine-career NASCAR Nationwide Series events over his first four years in the series. This season alone, he has doubled that total, winning another nine in just 21 starts.
THE RACE: The EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Homestead, FL; 1.5-mile oval) is set for Saturday November 17, 2012. The race will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 4:00 p.m. ET, with radio coverage on MRN.
Joey Logano Quotes: “This is both an exciting weekend and a sad weekend for me. First, it’s pretty exciting to continue on doing what we are doing and going for a championship. This has been a career year for me. I never would have guessed in my wildest dreams that we could come out here and win nine races. That’s as many races as I have won throughout my entire Nationwide Series career heading into this season. So to come out here and be able to win that many races and beat guys like Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliot Sadler, Austin Dillon, Brian Scott and all of the Cup drivers that race every weekend is just amazing. I think that says a lot about our organization, our team and my crew chief Adam Stevens. And now to have a shot to win the Owner’s Championship is pretty unbelievable too. I’m excited about the entire weekend and to get to be a part of it.
“On the other hand, it is pretty sad too to say goodbye to this team, to Adam, to GameStop and all of the sponsors that have supported be over the years here on the Nationwide side here at JGR. This has been some of the best times of my life and I’ve got to work with some pretty amazing people. I got a chance to work with Dave Rogers, Kevin Kidd and now Adam since I started here, and each of them are amazing crew chiefs and the stats speak for themselves. My relationship with Adam over the last two years has been like none I’ve ever experienced. We communicate so well. We are always on the same page. He has made me a better driver and has really helped get the racer out in me. I’m really going to miss working with him. He’s the best in the business right now if you ask me. And it will be tough to watch the GameStop car out there in the future and not be in it. I’ve been with them a long time. They took a chance on me when I was young, and we’ve built a great relationship over the years. I’m going to miss Paul, Bob, Jill and everyone associated with that program. It’s been a great ride. Hopefully, we can finish it up with one last win and by celebrating a championship this weekend.”
Crew chief Adam Stevens Quotes: “Homestead is the same tire combination as Texas and Chicago. We typically see big balance changes on this tire combination, so we need to be prepared for that. Homestead is another mile and a half track, but it’s no cookie cutter. The geometry of the track is unusual in that it has progressive banking and there is no tri-oval, so the exit of turn two is quite similar to the exit of turn four. The driver needs a car he can move around with to be good in the race. You can’t be line committed so that is a key to work on in practice.
“This is my final race with Joey, and it is bittersweet to say the least. I have been on a team with him since 2009, the last two years as his Nationwide Series Crew Chief. It’s been fun to watch Joey grow as a driver and as a teammate. I can tell you with complete sincerity that it has been an honor to work with him. His methodical and honest approach to improving himself and our program has been the foundation of our success. He will be an asset to his new team and he will be missed here at JGR. I am not looking forward to racing against him next year. All I can really say to sum it all up is ‘thanks Joey.’”