I stood beside a proud mother as her son was introduced as the newest driver to the Joe Gibbs Racing organization in Atlanta several years ago. Little did I know that her son would soon be a Cup Series Championship contender.
Joey Logano made his debut in Cup Series racing with the Gibbs organization but his full potential didn't show up till he moved to Penske last season. The win Saturday night at Bristol made a loud statement to the rest of the field that he should not be overlooked as a legitimate championship threat.
"I don't care what they think of us," said Logano after the race. "We're going to do what we've got to do. They can underestimate us. They can overestimate us. I don't really care. We're going to go out there and do the best we can, do what we've been doing.
It was Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon that paced the field in qualifying but Gordon fell back with mechanical issues and Harvick was caught up in several accidents that kept him from victory lane.
Once the action settled down, it was Logano that gained speed throughout the evening and took the lead for good from Matt Kenseth in the closing laps.
"It took patience, you know, because if I didn't do it, I was going to go back to third and that kind of takes your shot at winning away," continued Joey on his winning move.
The young driver might have suffered from a lack of confidence in recent years but with three wins now to his credit, those issues are far behind him.
"As you start building that confidence up slowly, you start thinking, yeah, I can win everything," explained Logano. "As a driver, you have to have that confidence in yourself to race well."
Now that he is tied atop the championship standings in wins, Logano knows that championship talk will heat up. However, the young driver knows that it takes a lot of perseverance to become a Cup Series Champion.
"You never know what's going to happen, and it's new for everybody, what's going to happen," observed the race winner. "Obviously fast race cars and being able to capitalize right now is what we need to do when we get into this Chase."
Regardless of what happens in the Chase, Joey Logano has established himself as a great NASCAR driver and one that will certainly make his mother very proud.
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