Logano Is Honored as Champ at Busch East Banquet by Penny Aicardi
A New Series in Announced for 2008
Joey Logano holds the championship hardware. (51 Photos)
Future development drivers will have a lot to live up to in the Grand National Division. Joey Logano, the 17-year-old racing phenom who took the Busch East Series by storm this season, was honored for his record-setting rookie season this past weekend. Nearly 500 people were on hand to witness Logano, a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, receive his first-ever NASCAR Champions ring and cap off the season with the annual Awards Banquet at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.
Logano’s winning ways quickly added new entries to the record books. He became not only the youngest Busch East Series Champion, but the first driver in the history of the series to win the title in their rookie season. In the 20-year history of the series, no driver has ever had as much success in such a short time.
“I’m probably the only NASCAR Champion that lives at home and doesn’t pay rent,” joked Logano, during his acceptance speech. “It’s been a dream season. I’ve been very grateful to a lot of people who support me: Thanks Mom and Dad, J.D.(Gibbs) and JGR Racing. Thanks for taking a chance on me.”
Logano was able to pad his pockets a little bit with all his success – literally.
Post season awards and bonuses amounted to $233,978 including the $6,000 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award bonus, as well as $5,000 for winning the Aero Exhaust Award – both of which were presented to him on stage. The audience broke out in laughter as Logano a stuffed the envelopes into his pockets with car owner J.D. Gibbs looking on.
Champion Crew Chief, Mike Sibley, was honored and told the crowd how amazing the season had been. Sibley left Dale Quarterley’s team to work at JGR.
“I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into,” he explained. “I started working with him, and he made my job really easy. We won at Phoenix and it was surreal, but I wondered if we could do it again. Then we won at Greenville. It went from being worried about being competitive to being so successful.”
Steve DeSousa accepted the Champion Sponsor award while J.D. Gibbs accepted the Champion’s car owner awards.
“You probably don’t know how much this means to me,” he said. “I came here in 1999 and showed up at Lee Speedway. I parked next to a guy named Billy Penfold. Our equipment was way different than his, but I learned quickly it didn’t matter how much more I had. I couldn’t do it driving so I had to get Marc (Davis) and Joey (Logano) to get me one of these.”
Logano’s remarkable season was marked by five wins, 10 top-10 finishes in 13 starts, and three pole awards. He led the point standings for all but one day (after Elko Speedway during a double-header weekend in the Midwest). So yes, as Mike Helton said in a video statement to Logano, “he has set the standard for future Grand National Division drivers.”
Sean Caisse, who battled with Rogelio Lopez all night over the attentions of the trophy girl, was honored for his runner-up finish. Car owner Andy Santerre was unable to attend due to the recent birth of his daughter and had Steve Griswold accept the car owners trophy on his behalf.
Caisse, who has no set plans for the 2008 season at this time, spoke unassumingly in his acceptance speech.
“It isn’t hard to figure out what my dreams are, but I’ve found out that dreams are not fairy tales. I’ve been lucky that my dream has been coming true the last few years.”
Caisse also was quick to acknowledge the contributions of the series veterans.
Sean Caisse tears up the dance floor.
“Mike Olsen deserves a lot of respect. I will always look up to him and respect him. It took men like him to build up this series. And Matt Kobyluck – he taught me a lot about the bigger picture in racing. He was one of my biggest rivals, but he’s become a good friend to me.”
But it was his words of wisdom to others that brought out the laughter.
“Good luck to all the rookies who put a fender to him (referring to Kobyluck). It’ll be a long road for you.”
The night concluded with NASCAR’s announcement of Camping World as the new series sponsor.
“Tonight concludes 20 years of entitlement by Anheuser-Busch,” began George Silberman, Managing Director of Race Operations at NASCAR. “Tonight is a celebration of 2007, but tonight we’re also releasing the series schedule. The announcement was culminated with the top-10 drivers removing a black drape over a racecar adorned with the new series logo.
Other awards presented during the evening included:
HDNET Performance Award – Sean Caisse
Busch Pole Award – Sean Caisse
Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award – Rogelio Lopez
Powerade Award – Jesus Hernandez
Women’s Auxiliary Award – Billy Ryder
Most Popular Driver Award – Jeffrey Earnhardt
The 2008 Camping World Series, East Schedule was also announced at the banquet:
2008 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD SERIES EAST SCHEDULE
April 19Greenville-Pickens SpeedwayGreenville, S.C. May 18Iowa SpeedwayNewton, Iowa May 31South Boston SpeedwaySouth Boston, Va. June 8Watkins GlenWatkins Glen, N.Y. June 27New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayLoudon, N.H. July 12Thompson International SpeedwayThompson, Conn. July 19Music City MotorplexNashville, Tenn. July 26Adirondack International SpeedwayBeaver Falls, N.Y. Aug. 16Lime Rock ParkLakeville, Conn. Aug. 23Mansfield Motorsports ParkMansfield, Ohio Sept. 12New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayLoudon, N.H. Sept. 19Dover International SpeedwayDover, Del. Sept. 28Stafford Motor SpeedwayStafford Springs, Conn.
Camping World was announced as the new series sponsor.