- Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 December 2008 19:09
- Published on Wednesday, 24 December 2008 19:09
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He’s only 18, but Joey Logano is about to attempt a rare Daytona double. Logano, who has never raced at Daytona International Speedway, will make his first two starts on Saturday, Feb. 7th when he races in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, the season opener for the ARCA RE/MAX Series, followed by the Budweiser Shootout All-Star race.
Logano, who will replace Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing/Home Depot Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, kicked off a three-day ARCA RE/MAX test with close to 50 other cars as he prepares to pull off the Saturday night double header.
“I’m doing it,” Logano said of his busy Speedweeks 2009 schedule. “I’m running both races and then I’ve got the Nationwide race with the Game stop Toyota and then running in the Cup race with the Home Depot Toyota. Between all that I’ve got my hands full.”
Toss in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona 150 mile qualifying races and Logano will be racing in five events in the upcoming Speedweeks. ”I’m just getting in as many laps as I can and learn as much as I can,” Logano said. “I’ve got a big year ahead on the Cup side…whatever I can do to make myself better.”
Logano, who was signed by Joe Gibbs drive development program in 2005, has generated plenty of buzz since he began racing at age six. He has already amassed a long list of accomplishments, including most recently winning in his ARCA RE/Max Series debut last May at Rockingham, and winning the 2007 Camping World East Championship.
He’ll next try to add youngest Daytona 500 winner to that list. The current record is owned by Jeff Gordon, who won the Daytona 500 in 1997 at the age of 25 years, six month and 12 days.
During last weekend's ARCA RE/MAX test, Logano was behind the wheel for Venture Motorspoorts and taking his first laps around the legendary motorsports facility. While waiting out the fog Friday morning he was anxious to get on the track. “I’m looking forward to it,” Logano said “I’ve been here and watched a ton of races, watched the 500 a hundred times probably. I just want to get out there and go around Daytona with all the history in this place.
”Just to go out there and make some laps is going to be really cool. We’re going to learn a lot, as much as we can about the race car and about the track and drafting, and see if we can come back with a good race car.”
On the first day of testing last Friday, Steve Blackburn was fastest in the first session with a speed of 180.955 mph, followed by A J Hendrickson 180.126, and Bobby Gerhart 179.978. Joey Logano was sixth fastest in the No. 25 Toyota at 179.569.
Since NASCAR has discontinued Cup series testing at all NASCAR tracks, the opportunity to log some laps and get comfortable with the Speeds and drafting at the massive two and a half mile oval should pay big dividends for the young rookie during the upcoming Speedweeks.
Reigning three-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson will return to GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing for the2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona, reuniting last February's all-star lineup of Johnson and fellow champions Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser. The season-opening Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race takes place at Daytona International Speedway January 24-25.
GAINSCO’s fantastic four led often and finished second in last year's Rolex 24 at Daytona and return in 2009 with the same team and key crew personnel that kept them challenging for the lead throughout the race. The team will be back with the No. 99 Pontiac Riley that finished second in both the Rolex 24, and the Rolex series championship this past season under the leadership of team owner Bob Stallings.
“We were competitive and probably could have won with just a little more luck on our side,” said Stallings “We recovered from a quick Sunday morning gearbox change to finish second and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have the ingredients in place to win our first Rolex 24.
"Continuity is so important said Johnson who met with the GAINSCO team last Thursday at the Teams Dallas shop. “To know the faces, the car, the equipment, the teammates. It makes those four days of the race weekend so much easier.”