Logano poised for 2nd straight win at New Hampshire
Jul. 17, 2015
LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Joey Logano has rocked a victory lobster at New Hampshire, so riding the wave of the "Sharknado" craze and tussling with bloodthirsty sharks should be a drop in the chum bucket for the Team Penske driver.
Logano is set to join the parade of D-list actors making campy cameos in "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" the third movie in the popular "Sharknado" series on the Syfy network. Unlike his co-stars like David Hasselhoff or Tara Reid, Logano could use a crash course on the art of movie promotion.
"It comes out Wednesday? That's good to know," Logano said, laughing. "I've got one big line in that movie. You're going to be impressed."
First up is a bit of racing at New Hampshire, which has seen 11 straight races with a different winner. Logano is as good a bet as any driver to reel in a win on Sunday — he's pretty much a hometown boy and scored two of his nine career wins at New Hampshire — including one last September.
"It's a special place for me considering I started my first Cup race here and watched my first Cup race when I was seven here," Logano said Friday.
Logano won his first Cup race in 2009 at New Hampshire. But that was a rain-shortened win that always gnawed at Logano. Until he became a regular winner, it was considered a bit of a fluke and the rain meant Logano was denied a traditional victory celebration.
This year's winner gets to hoist 20-plus pound Loudon the Lobster in victory lane.
Logano has won a much bigger prize in the sport, opening the season with a Daytona 500 victory. After winning five times last season, Daytona remains Logano's lone triumph in 2015. But the win is enough to earn him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
"We were fighting for top-fives (this year) and I feel like last year we were fighting for wins," Logano said. "So we just need to find a little bit more speed."
Logano was runner-up last week to Kyle Busch at Kentucky and credited a new rules package that included lower downforce as the spark his team needed to get the No. 22 Ford rolling into contention.
"Last week in Kentucky, there were a lot of unknowns and it ended up putting on a great race, I thought," Logano said. "We had a very fast car. Both of our Team Penske cars were fast, so any time there's a rules change it presents a huge opportunity to take advantage of developing something quicker than the rest of the teams out there."
Logano and Penske teammate Brad Keselowski not only have cameos in "Sharknado," they swept the Magic Mile last season. Keselowski won in July and both drivers qualified for the Chase.
They'd each love to taste the lobster, then kiss the bricks for owner Roger Penske.
Juan Pablo Montoya delivered the 16th Indianapolis 500 victory for Penske in May. But The Captain has yet to win at the Brickyard in the Cup series. Aside from Keselowski's 2012 win in the inaugural Nationwide race on the 2.5-mile oval, little has gone right for Penske in Indianapolis.
Logano wanted to be the driver to bring home an Indy victory for his boss.
"We talk a lot at Team Penske about how bad Roger wants it and what we've got to do to try to win that race," he said. "There are a lot of unknowns going into that race with the rules package coming up for that."
Teams will use a higher drag rules package next week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and next month at Michigan International Speedway.
For Indy and Michigan, the aero package will feature a 9-inch spoiler and 1-inch wicker bill; a rear fascia extension panel similar to what is currently used for superspeedway events; a 2-inch leading edge on the splitter; and a 43-inch splitter extension panel. That high drag package could cut speeds by nearly 10 mph.
"I'm going to reserve my opinion until afterward because I don't really think any of us know how it's going to act," driver Greg Biffle said.
Logano has reserved judgment, as well.
But he does know, no matter the race package, with four top fives in the last five races that the No. 22 is again positioned for another run at the championship.
"I feel like our team is in a great spot," Logano said. "Last week was a good morale booster, racing for a win like that and coming to a race track that we've run well at before. The last two times we've been here Team Penske has been great here, so I think it's all good things."