DELAWARE, Ohio (Jan 10) — Seventeen-year-old racing sensation Joey Logano, the most highly-touted driver to hit the NASCAR ranks in a decade, is dying for a chance to take a spin in Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt after a visit to Victor Cagnazzi’s race shop in Mooresville, N.C.
Logano and Coughlin met at last weekend’s Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge charity race in Lake Placid, N.Y., and became fast friends while competing on the Olympic course. In between runs, they naturally talked about their respective forms of racing and Coughlin suggested Logano stop by VCR shop, which is near Logano’s adopted hometown, to familiarize himself with straight-line racing.
“Joey mentioned that he’d never been to a drag race before, or seen one of our cars for that matter, so I invited him to the races,” four-time world champion Coughlin said. “When I found out he lives in Huntersville (N.C.), I set-up a visit for him to tour the shop. He jumped at the chance.”
The reigning NASCAR Busch East Series champion and Rookie of the Year, Logano, who drives the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Chevrolet Monte Carlo, is awaiting his chance to move up to NASCAR’s Nationwide Series in May when he turns 18. By rule, NASCAR racers in the Nationwide and/or Sprint Cup series must be 18 years of age to compete. Logano, dubbed “Sliced Bread” by other NASCAR drivers since he appears to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, became the youngest NASCAR Busch East Series champion in history with six wins to his credit.
He hopes the down-time he has before his Nationwide debut will allow him a chance to attend a POWERade Drag Racing Series event. He’d also like to join Coughlin for a test session if his schedule allows.
“If a chance came up for me to drive Jeg’s car, I’d be all for it,” Logano said. “Those cars are awesome and after taking a tour of their shop I’m just in awe of what they get those cars to do. It’s a whole different game from what I’m used to and Jeg would have to give me lessons before I’d ever try to drive his car, but I’d do it in a heartbeat. Maybe he has an old junker test car I could drive to practice in.
“Mr. Cagnazzi’s shop is really something. I had no idea drag racing was so big-time and sophisticated like his organization. They treated me really well when I went by there for a visit and Jeg’s crew chief, Roy Simmons, took a lot of time to show me around. He even let me get in one of the cars and check it out. Everyone was awesome to me.”
Given his experience, Logano would probably be a natural in a 1,300-horsepower Pro Stock car. Although he’s only 17, Logano has been wheeling hot rods for 13 years, winning at each step along the way in his rise to stardom.
“I’m looking forward to watching Joey move up to NASCAR and becoming the next generation star I know he’s going to be,” Coughlin said. “Everyone was just raving about this kid and I made sure to get his autograph now before he’s too famous. I hope he makes it out to a race real soon so we can show him our world.”
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