Joey Logano – Inspiring Others to do for Others
By Sigrid Kun
Professional NASCAR driver Joey Logano started his racing career right here in Connecticut racing quarter midget cars and quickly made a name for himself. Starting at the age of six, the Middletown, CT native started winning championship after championship – to the point that, by the time he was 15, he was already on the radar with NASCAR racing legends. Now, he’s always to be reckoned with on the NASCAR racing scene, competing fulltime in the Monster Energy NASCAR series and part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity series.
THE STATS ARE IMPRESSIVE.
• Youngest driver to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series race – winning at Kentucky Speedway in 2008 when he was just 18 years, 21 days old and in only his third Xfinity Series start.
• 2009 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year
• Won the Daytona 500 in 2015 – Second youngest driver to win this race.
• 49 combined wins in NASCAR’s top-three series
There is, of course, the glitz and the glamor that pervades NASCAR as a whole. And there’s the occasional race-action controversy. And there are the ups and downs. After early successes (leading to the nickname, “Sliced Bread”) and nearly winning a championship in 2016, Joey failed to make the playoffs in 2017. This year could mark a turnaround. Joey notched a win at Talladega Superspeedway in April, which ended a nearly year-long winless streak and, as of press time, he is fifth in the NASCAR Championship Point Standings. But there’s more to the 28-year-old than that. Joey and his wife Brittany, whom he married in 2014, welcomed their first child into the world this past January. Joey and Brittany have also been very committed to giving back. In a previous conversation, Joey mentioned, “If we can touch a few people’s lives and help them become contributing members of our community and the world, it’s really going to make a difference and it starts one person at a time.” That’s the crux of the Joey Logano Foundation that invests in organizations offering second chances to children and young adults during times of crisis and works to inspire others to live a life of generosity.
WHY SECOND CHANCES?
First, there was a life-changing visit to Joplin, Missouri in 2011 where Joey helped to rebuild a home for a local family following the tornado that devastated the area. That family needed a second chance. Little did Joey know that he would soon need his own second chance. He had been driving the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing since the 2009 season, but that ended in 2012. He received his second chance when he was picked up by Penske Racing in 2012. The following year, the Joey Logano Foundation was established.
Since 2013, the foundation has invested almost $2.7 million in various organizations across the country. Programs include inviting children who are facing tough situations (whether physically and/or emotionally) annually to a NASCAR race to be part of the crew for the day, supporting non-profit organizations during the 10-week NASCAR playoffs in each playoff race market, assembling and donating comfort care backpacks to foster and/or terminally ill children, and an annual fundraiser in Connecticut, called Driving Hope Home. A portion of the Driving Hope Home proceeds are donated to The Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut with the remaining proceeds donated to reputable charities the foundation supports to offer children in need a first or second chance. In its 5th year, Driving Hope Home will be held at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, CT on July 18th and 19th. “It’s our responsibility. You have to do it. If we we’re not going to do it, who else is going to be an advocate for these kids,” says Brittany, who notes that first chances are important too. “They need a first opportunity in life. If we can shed light to this and inspire others to do the same, we can have a bigger impact than the two of us. That’s our goal.” There is no doubt that Joey is a fierce competitor and a pure NASCAR racing talent. But don’t overlook the other side. “When you are able to make a difference like that, you can see it in that person’s face, how much it affects their lives – there’s no better feeling than that,” he observes. “I can talk about race wins as much as I want and how great that is but there’s nothing better than that win – when you’re are able to affect something. That’s a bigger win than any racetrack can get you.”