Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Joey Logano featured in new STEM-inspired campaign with LeBron James, other pro athletes

Leave a comment

He lacks a college degree, so Joey Logano likes joking with people he has an “RCD”, or “Race Car Driver.”

Even though it isn’t a formal education, working among the 50 engineers at Team Penske and crew chief Todd Gordon (a Clemson mechanical engineering graduate) has provided a wealth of knowledge.

“Not only while here at Team Penske but growing up in the sport, you get an education,” Logano said. “Like no other, really. I have an amazing opportunity to work with people like that at a very young age to be able to learn a lot of things.

“I sign everything ‘Joey Logano, RCD,’ but I think it’s an education that is very valuable. I know if something was to happen to me that I couldn’t drive a race car anymore, I’m able to take a lot of these tools that I’ve formed and things I’ve learned over the last 15 to 20 years of my life and be able to apply that to a different job. It may not be the paper degree but it is a hard-earned degree.”

Logano is helping sponsor Verizon promote a new #weneedmore campaign that also features athletes LeBron James, Drew Brees, Karl-Anthony Towns and David Villa.

The goal is to downplay the importance of celebrity and fame, encouraging children to pursue STEM-based careers (science, technology, engineering and math). The Verizon Innovative Learning program highlights that there are more than 4 million science and technology jobs available in the United States.

Logano, 26, said he would encourage anyone getting into racing – even for driving – to pursue a college education as well.

“Today you have to have a degree to get any kind of job,” Logano said. “Everyone is going to college these days. The hardest thing for kids is how do you figure out what you want to be? You’re making your life decisions going into college, and you’re 18 years old and a lot of times, you don’t know. How are you supposed to know without going to work for a little bit and figuring it out and work hard to follow my dream? It’s a challenge for kids these days to go to school and commit to something very, very young.

“You never know what’s going to happen, and it’s smart to have a backup plan. Coming from someone who didn’t have a backup plan. Take it from my experience, I really put all my eggs in one basket. I don’t have a backup plan. There’s good and bad from that. I was able to focus 100% on something and not have a distraction. Also it forced me to make sure it worked. So I guess that’s the positive, but I’ll be the first to say that probably wasn’t the smartest way.”

A 60-second spot featuring James made its debut April 1. Logano is in a digital spot with Brees, Towns, Villa and Adriana Lima.

With Sprint’s title sponsorship no longer precluding doing promotional work with wireless competitor Verizon (which sponsors Penske in IndyCar), Logano is hopeful for more such visibility. “To put your name with those athletes, that’s really cool,” he said. “To say I was in a commercial (campaign) with LeBron James, that on top of something I believe in, makes it a natural fit.”

While for a positive cause benefiting education, Logano also is mindful of the exposure he garnered from being in a series of Home Depot commercials as a Cup rookie several years ago.

“These are the things I’ve learned from the Home Depot days when they played that commercial over and over again,” he said. “It’s so big for your brand as a driver to have a national spot played in places other than a NASCAR race. The value that comes out of that is huge.

“When you can also align with what the mission is of the spot and align with that and feel it’s genuine, that makes this a win. It’s a win for my brand. It’s a win because I believe in it and Team Penske. It’s really good and well done. These guys are Hall of Famers of their sport. It’s cool to be a part of a spot like that.”

NASCAR America: Don’t count out Kyle Busch at Kansas (video)

Leave a comment

Kyle Busch is ranked ninth, seven points below the cut-off line to advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup playoffs, heading into Sunday’s Round of 12 finale at Kansas Speedway.

While many of his fans may fear that with back-to-back poor finishes at Charlotte and Talladega, Busch will be eliminated at Kansas, the NASCAR America crew on Monday felt exactly the opposite.

They’re bullish on the younger Busch’s chances of advancing to the third round of the playoffs – very bullish.

Here’s why:

Dale Jarrett: “Other years, you have two bad races like he’s had, he wouldn’t have a chance of going to Kansas other than winning. I think he’s very capable of winning at Kansas. He has two opportunities here: he runs well in both stages, let’s say he earns 17 to 20 points and he gets himself in a good position and then he runs in the top-five, which he’s done on a regular basis recently. I think he has great opportunity and gets through (to the Round of 8) with no problem.”

Nate Ryan: “At one point, Kansas Speedway was a house of horrors for Kyle Busch. It took him 10 years to get his first win there. Now, he’s had five straight top-fives there. He had 16 stage points in the race there at May. And because Toyotas are running really well on mile-and-a-half speedways, he’s qualifying well, I think you can count on him amassing a significant number of stage points and probably more than the guy he’s below on the cutline right now, Jimmie Johnson.”

Kyle Petty: “I know we’re looking at the points; don’t look at the points. In the first 26 races, he was in contention almost every week. Honestly, I don’t think the stage points are going to matter … Kyle Busch can go there and win this race and all this speculation, all this doubt, can be thrown out the window. He’s still a favorite, as far as I’m concerned.”

NASCAR America: What Talladega win meant to Yates family (video)

Leave a comment

It was a heartwarming day Sunday for engine builder Doug Yates.

While he was happy that Brad Keselowski and his Ford – powered by a Roush-Yates engine under the hood – won the Alabama 500, it was also a strong reminder of his father, Robert, who passed away nearly two weeks ago.

“My dad and I loved racing here together so much, from the time we started with Davey Allison back in 1987 when he won here,” Doug Yates said. “It’s an emotional time.

“It’s a great place, I’m glad I’m here, feels like coming home, and I know he would be so proud of us and all the hard work that everybody at Roush-Yates Engines put in, and Ford Performance and the drive that Brad Keselowski and Team Penske put on was really special.

“We’re really proud to be here and I know my dad’s smiling today.”

Also, check out what Dale Jarrett, Nate Ryan and Kyle Petty had to say about the significance of the Yates family legacy to NASCAR over the years.

 

 

NASCAR AMERICA: How working radio, Joey Logano helped Keselowski win at Talladega

Leave a comment

Sure, Brad Keselowski had to dodge much of the mayhem Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway to win the Alabama 500.

But there was more to it than just Keselowski crossing the finish line.

His win also proved the importance of spotters and radio communications at Talladega. When Keselowski lost an antenna on top of his car, the team was forced to pit and give up track position temporarily to allow his team to fix the radio for the long haul.

That moved proved pivotal as it’s likely Keselowski wouldn’t have won if not for his spotter steering him away from problems and to keep him abreast of all the cars around him on the final laps.

The NASCAR America crew discussed that on Monday’s show. Check out the video above.

And then, check out the video below, where Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano, helped get Keselowski to victory lane.

Sure, Logano wanted to win himself, but when it appeared that wouldn’t happen, Logano helped keep Keselowski at the front of the field all the way to the checkered flag.

Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about how Logano and Keselowski worked together in the video below.

 

NASCAR America: Talladega brings Dale Jr. retirement into focus (video)

Leave a comment

Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans that have been in denial about his retirement at season’s end may have been slapped with a huge sense of reality in Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

There’s no other track that has been as synonymous with Junior and his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Sr., than NASCAR’s largest track, the 2.66-mile facility about 50 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama.

Now that Talladega is in Junior’s rearview mirror, reality is quickly setting in that he has just five races remaining in his NASCAR Cap career: this Sunday at Kansas, followed by Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, our team of analysts explored the reality that Junior’s storied career is indeed coming to a conclusion.

“This weekend really felt like this was it,” said NBCSports.com’s Nate Ryan. “It had the right amount of sentimentality, there were the feel-good moments, and even though he didn’t win, there’s no other track where you can hear the roar of 100,000 people over the engines going down the frontstretch at Talladega.

“I really feel like you had that this weekend. Giving him that No. 2 car his father owned and him being on the pole, this really felt like this was the moment when there was a great appreciation for everything Dale Jr. has done in his career. It felt like this was the race this season where we’re really finally honoring Dale Jr.’s  last year.”

Added Jarrett, “With everything I saw the entire weekend, you could tell just from his voice the appreciation he felt of everything that was being done for him and I think it’s finally setting in to him that this is coming to an end.

“But I think he also realized that realistically, yesterday was going to be their best opportunity to get back to victory lane that one last time. Sure, he has a chance at the rest of these races, they’ve been running better and we know anything can happen, but I think that would have been more special to him if he had been able to do that.”