We recently had the opportunity interview 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano about the Joey Logano Foundation and more.
Team Penske’s Joey Logano was nominated as one of the three finalists for the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. This award is an annual award that was created to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry.
Logano is the founder of the Joey Logano Foundation, which supports organizations across the United States that provide aid to children and young adults who are going through times of crisis and are in need of second chances.
Through many charitable programs, the Joey Logano Foundation has invested more than $2.7 million to hundreds of organizations since its inception in 2013.
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Logano ended up winning the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award before the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series championship was decided at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 28-year-old Middletown, Connecticut also went on to win the championship, which is the first title of his Cup Series career.
Sonoma Raceway president and general manager Steve Page, who we also had the opportunity to interview, was one of the two finalists for this award. The other finalist was Ryan Newman, who drove full-time for Richard Childress Racing in each of the last five seasons but is set to drive full-time for Roush Fenway Racing in the 2019 season.
We recently had the opportunity to ask Logano several questions, some pertaining to his philanthropic efforts, some pertaining to his racing career and one pertaining to his Super Bowl LIII pick.
Here is what Logano had to say in this Q&A interview.
NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the 2018 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Beyond the Flag: When an average race fan hears the name Joey Logano, he/she inevitably thinks of NASCAR. Do you feel that having that kind of household name connection with the public has been one of the ways that has contributed to the growth of the Joey Logano Foundation?
Joey Logano: Absolutely. We have an amazing platform as NASCAR Drivers and professional athletes and it would be a shame to waste that. Using the power of NASCAR and the reach we can generate from our fan base we can turn that to a positive for the Joey Logano Foundation because NASCAR fans are extremely generous with their resources, whether it’s money, time or special skills.
BTF: What inspired you to start the Joey Logano Foundation, and what has inspired you to continue growing this foundation to the extent that you have grown it?
Logano: Honestly, my wife Brittany played a key role in starting the foundation. She asked me, when I’m on my death bed, what do I want. Do I want people around me or trophies? Naturally I said both, but her message certainly hit home with me. Now it’s incredible to see the lives the foundation has been able to impact, the second chances we’ve been able to provide people who were innocently caught in their situations.
BTF: I’m sure that your primary goal in running the Joey Logano Foundation isn’t to win the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. But how special is it to be a finalist for an award that means so much on a NASCAR level and on a community level?
Logano: It means a lot. Being a finalist for the Comcast Community Champion of the Year means we’re achieving the goal of the Joey Logano Foundation. Being a finalist means we’ve made positive impacts and given enough second chances to be noticed by Comcast and the industry. But it’s never enough, we can’t stop. We’ve got to use the recognition of this nomination to continue to grow the reach of the foundation for years to come.
BTF: As a relatively new father who now has a child of his own, does the Joey Logano Foundation take on any kind of a deeper meaning for you considering the fact that you do so much for underprivileged, foster and terminally ill children?
Logano: I think you get a sense of how painful that would be as a parent if it were your child going through that, or how frustrating it would be to be in a situation where you were struggling to provide for your child. Those are the parents and children we really want to be here for with the foundation. The ones who are fighting to improve their life and they just need a leg up or a second chance to get everything right and head in the right direction. I think being a parent has strengthened my drive in wanting to see the foundation do more and make an even bigger impact in the years to come.
BTF: What are some of the non-profit organizations that the Joey Logano Foundation aids or has aided in the 10 different NASCAR markets throughout this year’s playoffs?
Logano: We’ve partnered this year with the High Fives Foundation, Nurse-Family Partnership, Michael’s Way, B+ Foundation, Youth Villages, Pinky Swear, Crossroads Medical Mission, World Vision, Phoenix Dream Center and Start Off Smart.
BTF: What have you gained or learned from running the Joey Logano Foundation since it started that you never would have expected to gain or learn when you first started it?
Logano: Perspective. I tell people this all the time, it’s so easy to get caught up in this life that we live as professional athletes we can lose sight of the people out there who are really struggling. We’re tremendously blessed, but through the foundation, it makes for a great way to keep myself grounded and in touch with the needs of people everywhere.
BTF: As a New England Patriots fan, which do you believe will happen first: Joey Logano wins his first NASCAR Cup Series championship, or Tom Brady wins his sixth Super Bowl?
Logano: Joey Logano winning his first NASCAR Cup Series Championship. They don’t play the Super Bowl until February next year, and we settle our championship in November this year. But I think both will happen this year.
BTF: How did you start racing of any kind, and at what age did you start?
Logano: I started racing quarter midgets at Silver City Raceway in Meriden, Connecticut when I was five years old. I fell in love right away and from that point on, all I wanted to do was race.
BTF: What have been some of the highlights and lowlights of your NASCAR career so far?
Logano: Obviously winning the Daytona 500 in 2015 is a really high point, I count making the Championship 4 three times in six seasons is a big accomplishment as well. As a team we’ve been able to win a lot of races, elevate and win some elimination races in the playoffs so those are all huge moments. Honestly, the lowlight was losing my job at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. I was looking at the idea of being 22 years old and out of the sport because I hadn’t achieved. But that moment set me up for the opportunity to move to Team Penske and get a fresh start at my career and I took the lessons learned early on and approached my new opportunity with a winning attitude. So I would argue that some of my greatest growth came from the lowest moment of my career.
BTF: As a Team Penske driver, have you ever considered attempting the Memorial Day Double and competing in the Indianapolis 500 in one of Roger’s cars before flying down to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600?
Logano: I have so much respect for the job the guys do on our IndyCar team, but I don’t have a desire, at least at this point in my career to go compete in the Indianapolis 500 or do the Indy-Charlotte double. I want to give as much effort and focus to my Shell-Pennzoil team on the Cup side as I can and that just takes priority for me. If I were to run the Indianapolis 500, I’d want to be able to give that team that same high-level focus.
BTF: I know you’re only 28 and probably haven’t given this much thought yet. But aside of continuing to run the Joey Logano Foundation, what else do you see yourself doing when you’re no longer competing in NASCAR on a full-time basis?
Logano: I still want to be part of the sport. I’ve really enjoyed the work I’ve done on the TV side with FOX Sports so that might be a direction to go. I don’t see myself wanting to own a race team, but we’ve got some other business ventures and so forth, but I’d love to be involved with NASCAR for a long time to come.
Thank you to Joey Logano for being willing to do this interview, and keep up the good work in the NASCAR Cup Series and with all you do for the good of the community!