NASCAR driver and Middletown native Joey Logano has a bright outlook on the 2013 season.
Logano Has High Hopes For 2013

       Joey Logano started his first season with Penske Racing by lining up in 21st spot in NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in his No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion.

       On lap 36, the Middletown native was running in sixth place. Fuel pickup problems set in on lap 138, which necessitated a pit stop to change fuel pumps and put him a lap down. Logano got back onto the lead lap with 20 laps remaining after the caution flags came out and he earned a “Lucky Dog” free pass to pick up the tail of the field.

       Logano took just 10 laps to work his way up to sixth, but without a drafting partner to work with in the closing stages, he fell back to 19th at the checkered flag.

       “I don’t know if I have ever been that frustrated over a three-lap span to finish a race. We had a really fast Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion over the last run. Once we got back on the lead lap we were making huge progress on the bottom. We went from 24th to sixth or seventh in less than 10 laps. Then, with about five to go, we lost every single drafting partner we had. We went from sixth to 19th. That’s about as frustrating as it gets,” Logano said after the race.

       “Overall, it was a great first race. I’m really proud of my guys,” he said. “We were able to race up front all day long. We were just riding and waiting, and then we had fuel pressure problems and had to change the fuel pump. To do that, lose a lap and get it back, is the sign of never giving up. I’m pretty pumped about our team and the outlook of things. I’m ready to get into the heart of the season now.”

       Logano joined Penske Racing after a 2012 season with Joe Gibbs Racing that saw him produce career-best results in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. The 22-year-old driver took 10 wins. He earned his second career Sprint Cup Series win at Pocono and won nine Nationwide Series races " one short of the all-time record.

       In his fourth full season as a Sprint Cup Series driver, Logano tied career bests with one race victory and two pole positions and established a career-best 190 laps leading races. He also recorded two top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. In addition to his success in the Sprint Cup Series, Logano led all Nationwide Series drivers with nine wins, six poles and 1,065 laps led while competing in just 22 of 33 races.

       Logano’s first competitive drive for Penske was on Feb. 16 in the one-off Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona. The starting lineup for the race was chosen by fans and based on the order of pole positions earned during 2012. As Logano earned a pole at the June Pocono race, he started the race in the ninth position.

       In the race’s first segment of 30 laps, Logano ran as high as seventh. He avoided a multi-car accident just 15 laps in and was able to come down pit road to make changes his Ford. Logano finished the segment in the 10th position. In segment two, Logano raced his way into the third position, where he would stay for most of the 25-lap run.

       At the start of segment three, Logano put his No. 22 Ford Fusion in a position to win the race. On the final lap, Logano found himself running in seventh, but he made a bold move to the bottom of the track. With several cars jockeying for position, he was able to drive up to third as the checkered flags flew.