It turns out the 19th time was the charm.
For Joey Logano, finally winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway was more than just a charm. It was a dream come true, one more than 20 years in the making. Who wouldn’t want to win on the track that literally served as his backyard and playground as a youngster?
“About time, huh?” Logano told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday, one day after he captured the Ambetter 400 in dominant fashion at AMS.
Making the moment sweeter for Logano was that his father, Tom, was a late attendee. The elder Logano, who drove down from North Carolina that morning, greeted him at the start-finish line. It was a place the two had stood many times when Logano was racing here in his youth.
“It was pretty cool,” Logano said. “I actually thought I was by myself when I first got out of the car. I turned around and I got tackled by my old man. … It’s the memories that go along with that. It all comes around full circle. I don’t know how many times I stood in that exact same place, at the start-finish line, winning a Legends race or a Bandolero race as a kid and having fun with my dad. Just racing. Just learning about it. It wasn’t a job. It was just a fun thing to do together. To fast forward 20-plus years later, to where we are today, it’s really cool.”
Both Tom and Joey Logano still vividly remember driving through the tunnel into Atlanta Motor Speedway on a visit in an RV that would serve as a temporary home for the family after moving from Connecticut.
“It was overwhelming,” Tom Logano said. “The place is huge.”
Tom Logano sold his successful garbage company in Connecticut and the family moved south. They were looking for an area for daughter Danielle to ice skate and Joey to race. They would settle in Alpharetta before eventually moving near Charlotte.
It all worked out.
Joey has become a successful NASCAR driver. He has 32 Cup Series wins and 30 Xfinity Series wins. Sunday’s win was the 30th for Logano as a part of Team Penske, which he joined in 2013. The Autotrader car joined Team Penske in 2014 and this was Logano’s first win in a non-Shell or Pennzoil paint scheme. It was Autotrader’s third win at AMS for Penske. The previous two came with Brad Keselowski in 2017 and 2019. Autotrader is a Cox Automotive brand and a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, which owns the AJC.
Danielle went on to become a professional show skater for many years. She now runs the rink the family built near Charlotte.
“You support what they like to do,” Tom Logano said.
While racing at AMS, Tom and Joey lived in a condo on Turn 4 during much of the week. Tom co-owned a race shop south of the track. Joey was homeschooled and they spent their days racing and working on cars. Joey said he liked to go back to that condo one day and take a look around.
“This is my 15th season in Cup, you naturally get used to it and you start taking some of it for granted,” Logano said. “But every time I go to Atlanta, these memories come back and it’s a good reminder of how awesome this job is and how this is my dream to chase. It’s easy to get stuck in the little things, the details of my job that I have because it’s all about winning, it’s all about performing, and sometimes you lose track of the dream that it is. For me, Atlanta always brings back that memory of what the dream is. For it to come full circle yesterday, in victory lane, with my dad there, that was neat. I don’t have a better word. It’s hard to put into words how awesome it really was.”
Logano had come close to winning before. He finished 30th in his first Cup Series race at the track in 2009 with Joe Gibbs Racing. Over the 18 races before Sunday, he finished in the top-10 five times, including a second in 2013.
Logano said he has a “racing education” from his time at AMS.
“I grew up four years of my life, during the weekdays, that’s where we were,” Logano said. “You wake in the morning to Richard Petty ride-along cars on the racetrack. That was the coolest thing in the world. You open up the windows and see a racetrack right there. It was the coolest.”
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com