By: Adam Niemeyer (FOX 19 Sports)
Joey Logano celebrated his 20th birthday on Monday, and when he rolls into Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 12th, he'll be looking for his third straight NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the track in Sparta.
"Kentucky's cool," he said. "It holds a special place in my heart because that's where I got my first Nationwide win, and that was a big deal to me."
Logano has been perfect in two trips to Kentucky Speedway. He's sat on the pole twice and won both races. Last year he beat his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by 1.6 seconds. He's optimistic about doing the same thing this year. "We're going to try to go up there and keep the perfect record going—we've got two poles, two wins, so we've got to get a couple more here," he said.
Since the previous owners of Kentucky Speedway dropped their lawsuit against NASCAR, many fans think that as soon as 2011 the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series could be running at the 1.5-mile track that sits about halfway between Cincinnati and Louisville. Logano wouldn't be opposed to that. He's got plenty of experience at Kentucky, and he loves the track.
"It puts on good racing. In the Nationwide cars it's pretty much a two groove racetrack, maybe a third groove, and it makes it pretty fun," he said. "You can move around a little bit, the top lane works good, and the track has a lot of character."
Even though he lost his winning crew chief Dave Rogers to Kyle Busch's Sprint Cup team, he has no doubts that he can put new crew chief Kevin Kidd in victory lane a few weeks from now. He's also not worried about the travel back and forth to Michigan International Speedway for the Sprint Cup race in the same weekend as Kentucky's Nationwide race.
"Last year was the first year I actually traveled back and forth to two racetracks in the same weekend. It's pretty tough to be honest," he noted. And the 20-year-old hasn't traveled to two locations for racing in the same weekend since the Kentucky/Michigan weekend last year.
He plans on flying to Kentucky for Nationwide Series practice on Friday evening after Cup Series qualifying gets over in Michigan, then flying back to Michigan on Friday evening. He'll practice all day Saturday in his Sprint Cup car and then fly back to Sparta for qualifying and racing in the Nationwide Series.
"I'm not that old so I can handle the travel and everything really well," he said. "It just makes it hard because you have less time to debrief with your crew chief after practice at either racetrack."
But given the success that Logano has had at Kentucky over the past two years, I'm not sure he needs much time.