The last several months for Joey Logano have shifted a bit in terms of priorities.
The focus had been pit stops, debriefs and victory lane speeches. But lately, it’s been about wedding vows, a honeymoon, classic cars and antiques.
“I have enjoyed it a ton,” Logano told MotorSportsTalk. “It’s been so hectic, with the racing thing, going for a championship, and then the wedding was going.
“I’ve still had plenty of stuff going on. Now we’re getting to all the projects. I got married. We had the honeymoon. There was the Christmas break to enjoy some things, and soon we’re back to work.”
Such is the life of the breakout star of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, who comes off the back of his long-awaited first “big” season in Cup into the domestic world full-bore.
Logano is now married, and teammate Brad Keselowski kept us all informed on how the reception was going on social media.
Post-the honeymoon, Logano’s embracing his classic car hobby, getting wife Brittany up to speed on that and also trying to keep pace with her in the antique world.
This is the 2014-’15 NASCAR offseason, where testing has been all but reduced and the Cup field actually has time off.
“Basically, all the stuff I put off during the season is coming off the to-do list now,” Logano said. “We’re getting there.”
“Getting there” could, of course, also describe how close Logano came to scoring his first career series championship. The rare pit road disaster at Homestead put a damper on the season finale and dropped him from first to fourth in points, but it did not defeat Logano nor his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Team Penske crew’s spirits.
Logano discussed his growth in his second year with Team Penske.
“As a driver, sometimes it becomes harder to be one of the team guys,” Logano explained. “The more time we spend with them, the better the relationships built, and the more they’re in tune.”
One area where Logano has really capitalized is in his transport to and from races, flying with his crew on commercial air travel rather than on his own jet as some in the NASCAR world often do.
“That’s one step I feel like is worth it for me,” Logano said. “Yeah I’m married now, but not having kids, getting home 30 minutes earlier doesn’t do too much for me. When you’re with the team traveling, it’s all still especially fresh after the race. You talk about the race sooner and get your debrief in quicker.”
Logano had an impressive run of races early in the season, with four top-four finishes in a six-race stretch from Phoenix through Texas, the last of which was his first of a career-high five wins during the year.
With the schedule shakeup at the early portion of the year – Atlanta moves to the first race after the Daytona 500, followed by the revised west coast swing of Las Vegas, Phoenix and California – Logano is keen to repeat if not improve upon his 2014 performance at the opening stretch of races.
“I don’t think (that change) will change too much, or be an advantage to us,” Logano said. “Atlanta has been a great track for us. We have had some great cars capable of winning. That is where we’ll really see how the new rules package is.
“The first downforce tracks, I will be interested to see where people stack up. With Vegas, Phoenix, California, we’ll know where we stack up and what our weak points are. That’s where we’ll see the hard work over the offseason, and see in each area where we will be better as a team or as individuals.”
Given his prowess in the XFINITY (then-Nationwide) Series with lower horsepower cars both with Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing, Logano may take better to the horsepower adjustment than most in 2015.
“They’re basically going to be Nationwide cars with the less horsepower,” Logano said. “It will still be more than a Nationwide, but we lost quite a bit of downforce. This brings it more in line with a Nationwide car, in that direction.
“Will the changes be good or bad for me? I don’t think that will make a difference. Last year with the high downforce and high horsepower, it worked. Nationwide worked as well. We’ll still have to figure it out! Being able to drive it once (in testing), I’m glad I did, and we’ll understand where we go from here.”
Lastly, Logano still feels confident in the shop work and preparation done by the Team Penske crew even despite the testing ban to build on 2014 before the 2015 season kicks off.
“We can’t go testing obviously, so it’s hard to make huge gains on the race car,” Logano said. “So we have to be able to find gains without going to the track, and sometimes you need to get creative.
“Teamwork becomes more important. When you can’t test there’s no huge gains, so it’s small things here and there. You stack pennies and make a dollar. We’re looking at little things in every area to improve.”