Joey Logano’s Family Had No Interest in Racing Before He Started Winning: ‘You Call This a Sport?’

Joey Logano is somewhat of a prodigy in NASCAR racing. He was just 18 when he became a rookie in NASCAR and his career has only gone up from there. If you knew his family before his career began, you might not have expected racing to be Logan’s sport of choice.

His family is filled with athletes, but none of them have a racing background. In fact, before Logano became a NASCAR star, his family members had no interest in racing, even going so far as to wonder why it was considered a sport.

Joey Logano’s athletic family

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Logano’s hometown paper, the Middletown Press, profiled the then-teenager’s family when he first started racing in NASCAR. And it showed that he has a lineage filled with athletes. Grandfather Sal was such a good baseball player that the then-New York Giants signed him to a professional contract after giving him a tryout.

Both Joey’s mother Deborah and older sister Danielle are accomplished figure skaters. And his father, Tom, was an athlete in high school, playing soccer, basketball, and baseball. Tom has also served as a coach for youth baseball and basketball leagues, and he tried to push Joey into those sports.

Logano develops an interest in racing

JockBio details Logano’s interest in racing and how it developed during his childhood. He became interested in cars and trucks as a 4-year-old, and Tom bought an 8hp go-kart, moving its pedals up so his son could reach them.

Logano quickly fell in love with racing and drove the go-kart as much as he could. When he was 5, the youngster entered his first race. In 1997, as a 7-year-old, he won a quarter-midget race on the Eastern Grand National circuit. Two years later, the Loganos moved to Georgia to get Joey better competition.

Grandpa Sal remains unconvinced

As Logano continued to move up the racing ranks as a teenager, Grandpa Sal was unconvinced that it was the right decision. He recalls asking Tom “you call this a sport?” and saying “all the kid does is go round and round and never get anywhere. That’s no sport.”

Sal admits that Tom would always ask him and his wife to go to young Joey’s races to see him compete but, he recalls, “He kept on putting it off, but finally one Sunday, we decided to go over to Meriden to watch. Joey won that day … and I thought it was great. That put me on the bandwagon and I’ve been his No. 1 rooter since then.”

Logano finds NASCAR success

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When he was 18 Logano became a full-fledged NASCAR driver, and he became the youngest driver to ever race in the vaunted Daytona 500. He crashed on the 80th lap of that race in 2009, but he would go on to cement his name in NASCAR history six years later when he won the 2015 edition of the event. Topping the field at the iconic race is probably the highlight of Logano’s career to date, but it’s not the only success he has had.

To date, Logano has driven in 428 races in NASCAR’s top series over his 13-year career. He’s finished in the top 10 just over half of the time, with 216 such finishes. Logano has held the pole 22 times in races in what’s known as the NASCAR Cup Series, and he has 25 wins in the top series. He also has 30 career wins in 176 races at the second-tier level. Logano also has one win in the truck series, in which he has competed in just seven events.