Logano, with 29 Cup wins, cruising into 500th start
Sunday, September 18, 2022

Joey Logano has reached that middle ground between the teenager we knew in Connecticut, who reached out to make his mark behind the wheel of fast cars, and the grizzled veteran. In fact, he’s only 32, but he’s now a father of three and he is about to reach a racing milestone.

He will make his 500th start in the NASCAR’s premier series when the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee gets going Sunday. Where have the years and the miles gone?

“Some times the days are long, but the years are quick,” Logano said this week. “Someone said that about being a parent, the days are long but the years are quick, so enjoy every one of them. You have good days, long days, hard days, but it seems the years go by quickly.”

Logano is 14 years past his first race at Loudon, N.H., and he isn’t slowing down. He has three wins this year, though he walked away from a frightening crash at Talladega, including The Clash at the LA Coliseum. Longevity is not its own reward.

“At this point in my career I’m so tuned into winning,” he said. “I just want to win and the amount of starts doesn’t stand out. With so many of them with Team Penske, there is a loyalty in it and that part of it is special to me. It’s the longevity and consistency that’s special.”

Born in Middletown, he won his first race in at age 6. and was winning championship races at 7 and 8. Logano was 18 when he won his first grown-up race, the Meijer 300, and 19 when he won at Loudon. As this 500th start comes, he has 29 wins, 253 top-10 finishes and 24 poles in the NASCAR cup series.

“The experience at each race track, you go back and say, ‘Yeah, this track is typically like this, the track has always gone in this direction,’ ” Logano said. “You just have a bigger notebook that you can go back on. Knowing how to handle your race team, there have been so many lessons learned for me, from Day One at Loudon to my 500th start in Bristol, I am not the same person, not the same driver.”

Logano and his wife, Brittany, and their children get back to Connecticut for holidays and special occasions, such as last February, when he came back to the Silver City Club where he started to help put down a fresh coat of asphalt. “We prettied it up,” Logano said. “And more important, they have a program there now that gives kids the opportunity to go racing in a much more affordable way, to try it out for a year.”

Logano dusted off his old midget car, put his son, Hudson, in it and took a picture with his dad, a moment he cherishes.

So the years and the races keep coming fast at Logano, but the enjoyment is in the grind, and so long as that’s the case, he’s likely to chase down 1,000.

“There is never been a moment when you’re satisfied during a season, and you shouldn’t be,” he said. “This year, with the Next Gen car, so many unknowns. It’s the most unique year I’ve been a part of. There is always something pushing, always something more to get, and the big piece of it, I still enjoy it. Five hundred starts later, I still just want to make laps. Here in the shop, I’m the one who runs the most laps every day, because I like it. When I get in a car, I enjoy it still.”