Joey Logano walked into the Shell Innovation Track area behind his teammate Brad Keselowski. Dressed in a black pull-over and slacks, the NASCAR driver looked like any other young man walking the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. The only nod to his potential role as a driver was the Team Penske logo on his sweater.
The event was highlighting the Shell Eco-Marathon—which will be held in Detroit this year—and Penske brought their NASCAR drivers to give the press a sneak peak of the cars that will be used. The students from Cedarville University brought their car and Shell had their version of an extreme mileage car, which was a media car.
I had never met Joey or Brad and it was nice to do so. They spoke about the Shell Eco-Marathon as well as Penske’s support of the event and what it means to the team to have Shell as a partner:
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We don’t cover NASCAR at F1B but I must say that I used to watch the series a lot back in the 1990’s. The concept of NASCAR is not lost on me nor the players but I had not spent time with Penske and must confess that I am not a student of Joey Logano’s career. After meeting him, I must say that his win at the Daytona 500 on Sunday doesn’t surprise me in the least and here’s why.
The press event ended and there was a limited amount of time for Brad and Joey to take a few laps in the Eco-Marathon cars. Brad was in the Cedarville University car and Joey was in the Shell Media car.
The two drivers then gave members of the press a few rides around the Shell Innovation Track and the time ended much too soon. As Brad left for another Penske event, Joey agreed to stay just a few minutes longer to give some of the students of Cedarville a ride in the Shell car—meaning 10 or so minutes.
Joey didn’t just give a few rides; he gave them a ride of a lifetime! The Shell car is built for slow pace and extreme mileage but Joey Logano revealed something the students had never realized and Shell didn’t even know…the Shell Eco-Marathon media car can go very fast around the track and drift the corners!
Joey stayed until every single student had multiple laps of hair-raising drifting and car-punishing action. The Shell car was never designed for the kind of performance Joey was delivering and it’s a testament to Shell’s engineers, the car never missed a beat. It flew around that track and slid into the corner with tires squealing and Joey applying opposite lock like a champion.
If you’ve ever attended these types of events, Joey’s PR time ended long ago and Penske was under no obligation to keep their driver there for the hour+ he spent giving each student hot laps—which actually weren’t supposed to be “hot laps”—but he was one of the nicest drivers I’ve ever met and understood what it meant to these students who worked so hard to create a car for the Shell Eco-Marathon.
He knew what it meant to them to be hustled around a track by a NASCAR driver and understood that these kids have never had this kind of opportunity before. He spent as much time as was needed for every single student to have multiple laps and I wish I had taken video of the smiles and sheer thrill on the faces of each student that got out of the car after being driven around the track by Joey. The students were thrilled but I must also tell you that the smile of the students was only eclipsed by the ear-to-ear smile on Joey’s face—he positively loved it!
I know that thousands of fans enjoyed the driving of Joey Logano at the Daytona 500 on Sunday but what you may not know about Joey is that he has a heart of gold and does the mundane, tedious work behind the scenes with the same passion, love and kindness he does on race weekends.
Regardless of the Twitter controversy over the G-W-C or Yellow Flag finish, I cannot think of a more deserving champion of the Daytona 500 race than Joey Logano. He is a class act and terrific young man.