START OF A NEW ERA: A new era in the career of 22-year-old Joey Logano will begin this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, as Logano will make his debut with the defending Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Championship team, Penske Racing.
A BUNCH OF FIRSTS: Not only is it the first race of the 2013 season, it will also be the first time Logano has driven a Ford in NASCAR competition (he raced Fords in ASA/Pro Cup). The event also marks the first race with his new crew chief Todd Gordon, behind the wheel of a car numbered 22 and the first time working with his new spotter, Tab Boyd.
AN UNLIMITED VETERAN: Despite starting just his fifth full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, Logano is already a Sprint Unlimited veteran. He’s run in the season-opening exhibition race every year since coming into the series as a rookie in 2009. Logano’s best finish was a seventh-place result back in 2010.
NO PRESSURE: In a unique twist of fate, Logano will be the lone representative from Penske Racing in this year’s Sprint Unlimited. Despite winning the championship, teammate Brad Keselowski didn’t earn a pole in 2012, meaning Logano, who won poles at Pocono and Homestead, will fly solo Saturday in Penske Racing’s debut with Ford.
DAYTONA DARLING: Daytona has always been one of Logano’s better tracks over the course of his NASCAR career. He has earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes in eight NSCS races at the track. He also has one victory (July 2011) and four top-five and five top-10 finishes in eight-career NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Daytona.
The Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile superspeedway, Daytona Beach, FL) – Saturday, February 16th, 8:10pm ET
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Primary Chassis: 651
Last Raced: Brand new chassis for 2013 (did not test at Daytona)
Backup Chassis: 648
Last Raced: Brand new chassis for 2013 (will also serve as Daytona 500 backup)
Race: The Sprint Unlimited
Track: Daytona International Speedway Date: Saturday, February 16
Race Start Time: 8:00 pm ET Radio Broadcast: Live on Motor Racing Network (MRN)
5:00 pm ET, Practice (SPEED)
6:30pm ET, Practice (SPEED)
8:00 pm ET, The Sprint Unlimited (FOX)
THE Q & A
HOW WAS YOUR OFF-SEASON? “Like everyone else, you spend the off-season trying to get away from everything, but all you end up doing is thinking about racing. At least that is all I end up thinking about. I got a chance to go to Kuwait and Germany to visit our troops as part of a USO Tour, but pretty much the rest of the time I was thinking about or working on this coming season. I’ve learned you never stop. If you want to be great, you never stop. And coming over to Penske Racing, there were a lot of things for me to do. I just want to get going. All of us just want to get going. So this weekend couldn’t have gotten here any faster.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW FORMAT FOR THE SPRINT UNLIMITED? IN 2013 THE SPRINT UNLIMITED WILL FEATURE FAN VOTED ELEMENTS, INCLUDING SEGMENT LENGTH, PIT STOPS AND THE CHANCE TO ELIMINATE CARS. “I think it’s a great idea to get the fans more involved. They are the reason we are here. They buy the tickets to watch us race. They support our sponsors and that is why the sponsors want to be involved in the sport. They are the most important people to us and for our sport. So it is an interesting way to do things. I just hope they look at the options and pick what will be the best show. They will want to pick probably what sounds the coolest in their mind, but they need to make sure the show will be the best from a racing standpoint. But in the end, we will race with what they decide. We just have to live with it and make the best choices that we can from what we are given.”
EVERYONE ASKS DRIVERS ABOUT THEIR GOALS, WHAT ARE YOURS FOR 2013? “Your goal coming into every season should be to win every race and win the Championship. But you know that winning every race isn’t realistic. There are too many talented drivers and race teams out there. So in the end, I just want to go out there and be competitive, run up front and have a shot to win races on a regular basis. If you win some races, getting into the Chase and running for the championship will take care of itself. In reality, that is what we all want – a championship.”
-Penske Racing PR