Logano is Voted “Racer of the Year” By Speed51.com Fans
Teen Racer Comes Up Big in Annual 51 Short Track Awards
When you look at the best short track racers of the 2007 season, you see proven names like Bobby Gill, Ben Rowe, Jean Paul Cyr, Gary St. Amant, Frank Kimmel, Brett Hearn and Steve Carlson; guys who have won too many races to keep count of and many, many championships as well.
You also see some break-out drivers like Donny Lia, Augie Grill, Nathan Haseleu, Casey Smith and L.W. Miller; guys who have been knocking at the door of greatness for a few years, but became a common name in short track households this past season.
And then there is a 17-year-old upstart named Joey Logano, who basically just adapted to anything new in racing on his first try at it. He won in his first NASCAR West Series start, his first NASCAR East Series start and his first race at the tricky New Hampshire International Speedway. He won in his first NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. He won the championship during his rookie Busch East Series season.
And on his first try on the ballot for the Racer of the Year in the 51 Awards, he was the fans choice in that category as well. Logano won the fan vote by nearly 100 votes over Haseleu.
“That’s pretty cool. What a way to top off the year. This is something that I hadn’t even been involved with before, so to win is great.”
Logano was humbled by the company that he kept in just being nominated for the award.
“That is really good company. Just to be mentioned with those drivers is an honor. To be able to win it is something else. I think that all of those drivers are really great.”
It might be tough for Logano to defend his award this season, though. His fast track career path in racing calls for him to graduate from the short tracks to a Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series ride starting soon after his 18th birthday in May.
“With moving up this year, it is good to get an award like this,” said Logano. “Now, I just have to go out there this year and….wait, I guess that I won’t be eligible to win any of these awards next year will I?”
Well…maybe. Logano might actually be eligible if he can make some big headlines in a short amount of time. Before his racing schedule in the big leagues starts, he is planning to run a pair of Blizzard Series Late Model events at Five Flags Speedway (FL) and an ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Rockingham Speedway (NC).
“Well, hopefully then I can do it again,” said Logano.
Racer of the Year wasn’t the only 51 Award that Logano earned on the basis of fan voting. He was also selected as the Short Track Rookie of the Year and the Most Promising Driver Under the Age of 21 by a wide margin in each category.
“We’re sweeping up,” said Logano. “I really have to thank the fans for that one.”
In all, there were 36 categories where short track racing fans voted 51 Awards to various drivers, tracks, promoters and other people involved in the sport. Other stars of this year’s awards were Corey Williams, who won two 51s (Most Promising Driver Over the Age of 21 and Most Improved Driver), and the team of Andy Santerre Motorsports, who were also double winners in the categories of Best Team and Best Development Team. Other big winners included Bobby Gill, Nathan Haseleu, Frank Kimmel and Gary St. Amant.
East....West....it didn't matter. Joey Logano won everywhere it seemed this past season. Like at New Hampshire (Top) or Phoenix (Bottom).