Thursday, January 22, 2009

NASCAR rookies: Joey Logano and Scott Speed

Joey Logano is already getting a lot of attention mainly because he will be driving the car that yielded two Cup championships for Tony Stewart. The rookie driver will be joining the powerful Joe Gibbs Racing team with high expectations.
Another rookie who will probably surprise a few this year is Scott Speed. The 25-year-old who was born in Manteca will be driving the No. 82 Toyota for the two-car Red Bull Racing team. Speed is coming from a Formula One background, but made the transition to stock cars and NASCAR last year. He won a race in the Truck Series after a disappointing stint with Toro Rosso in Formula One.
Brian Vickers, Speed's teammate at Red Bull Racing, was asked about the two rookies, Logano and Speed and how they will perform in their first full year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.
“The thing about a race team -- we’re not golfers. There are 200 people involved in our team," Vickers said. "To always just point the finger at the driver -- whether it’s good or bad, it goes both ways. Just because you win a race, doesn’t mean he’s a great driver. Just because you lose one, doesn’t mean he’s a bad one. I think it’s a team effort. Although Joey struggled last year, to be honest with you, unless you’re involved, it’s hard to say why. He’s obviously proved himself. He deserves to be here. He’s a talented driver.”
Speed said he has a lot to learn about stock cars and racing in NASCAR. He says he's about half way up the learning curve and will need some time to get comfortable in Cup.
"We won a race in a truck at Dover (Del.). Were we the best truck driver out there? By no means," Speed said. "I am way better now than when I won that. Because of the way things worked out, we were in good equipment the whole time and we had really good results. We had really good equipment in the ARCA championship, we won some races, but it really doesn’t account for how much I’ve learned or how good I am. I’m certainly better now than I was at the end of last year. I’m improving every time by a fair step and that’s got to be said. I think some things have come easier to learn and some things have been more difficult.”

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