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Guy Noir's Post-race teardown: Hey, this Logano kid is going to shake things up!


Joey Logano (R) and car chief Jason Shapiro (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)


   By Mike Mulhern

   Joey Logano may be smooth and cool out there on the track, just like Mark Martin has promised us for so many years.
   Heck, the kid, only 18, was within a move or two of beating Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart the last lap of Thursday's 150. And that's something.
   Though it's obviously hard to judge at this point in his career, Logano seems to have a little David Pearson in him, a little bit of Silver Fox….rather than Kyle Busch's more animated action.
   And it's too early to tell if Busch and Logano can play well together. Plus, the third teammate in the mix is Denny Hamlin, and he's not pleased with his own overall performance the past two seasons and figures he's got to start making things happen.
   Could be an interesting spring for chief babysitter J. D. Gibbs here with these guys.
  Logano himself may be cool on the track, but he seems to be somewhat intimidated by the media frenzy he's facing.
  Like Jeff Gordon says, no one has ever come into this sport with so much hype to have to live up to.
  The stretch charge in his 150?
  "We came out of nowhere in that one, so that was cool," Logano says.
    "I just stayed out of the wrecks, like we needed to, and then got those new tires at the end -- and new tires here are like gold. So we were able to drive it to the front.
   "We were digging hard, I was sitting toward the back near the end and was like 'We've got to get up there somehow.'
   "The only place I passed a car all day was on the top-side. So I said 'Apparently I've got to be on the top.'
    "So no matter what happened, whether I checked up or not, I just stayed in the top lane. And it just started going.
    "I was able to get close to it, and then with a last-ditch effort going into turn three (the last lap) I was hoping some guys would go with me. I guess I should have known better on that one."
   Well, the guy behind him was Chevy's Jimmie Johnson, probably not the guy to make hand-signals with to try to get a run on his own Hendrick teammates Gordon and Stewart.
   But Logano, to his credit, when the others decided just to stay in line and keep what they had, he made a move for it.
   To the high side.
   Now let's see if he goes low when it's crunch-time in the 500, and throws them all a curve ball.
   "It's cool, and I had fun with it…and this is what we needed -- We needed to finish the race, have a good run, and gain respect from these guys by racing them. 
    "I feel like we accomplished what we needed to."

    Actually Logano may have gained more respect than he anticipated: Whether that will help him or hurt him in the 500 – will rivals now work with him in the draft, or fear him enough to hang him out to dry? 


So will J. D. Gibbs have his hands full this season keeping Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin all playing well together? (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)



J. D. Gibbs, who runs Logano's team for his father Joe, was impressed with Logano: "The reality of Daytona is if you haven't been here before, it's difficult.  
   "It takes years to figure this place out.  
   "Our goal for him -- just finish.
    "If you finish, you've got a shot to run up front."
   So how well will Logano be able to work with his two veteran teammates?
   "Denny and I are good friends, and we can work together, but we weren't sure how Joey was going to be," Kyle Busch says.
   "But Joey is fine.  
    "He wants to learn, he wants to be better.  He'll come around and ask questions.  
    "That's what he needs to do  --  He needs to feel he can come to us any time and pick our brain.
    "This is a place where it's hard to learn in your first year.  I came here, and I was all over the place. I was hitting the pit wall, the outside wall, driving through everybody.
    "My first couple years here I was bouncing off everything."

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