Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sports

A year later, Joey Logano's Daytona 500 win still seems special

DAYTONA BEACH — Joey Logano still can't articulate his feelings in moments like Tuesday morning, when he was introduced at media day as the reigning Daytona 500 winner.

"Even a year later, I still can't put it in words," Logano said during Tuesday's NASCAR media day at Daytona International Speedway. "I was just screaming on the radio. It's still the way I'd explain it now."

Logano said winning the Great American Race changed his career, most notably in the month or so after that when he was bombarded with media and sponsor requests. The accolades threw off his routine.

While some professional athletes might try to recreate his pre-race run Sunday to try to equal the result, Logano said he's not that superstitious.

"It doesn't work," Logano said, "and it's kind of disgusting if you start wearing the same underwear and stuff like that."

A few other notes from Tuesday morning's media day:

• The track's $400 million renovation is nearly finished, so speedway officials are spending their final few days focused on what president Joie Chitwood III called the final 2 percent.

The track announced Tuesday that its 101,500 permanent seats sold out, although infield passes remain available. The renovation includes wider seats, WiFi and other aesthetic upgrades. One of the special entrances features a waterfall. Fox Sports analyst Michael Waltrip approved of the new bar his employer opened.

"What I liked most when I left that is, a fan is going to come and have the best time they've ever had," Waltrip said.

• Chase Elliott said the past few days have been busy since the 20-year-old rookie became the youngest driver to win the pole in race history. But the driver of Jeff Gordon's former No. 24 Chevrolet is mature enough to know that his work is unfinished.

"I think realizing that's one lap. There's 500 miles..." Elliott said. "I've got lots to learn before Sunday."

• This May's 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will bring some extra buzz, but don't expect Danica Patrick to get back into it.

Patrick, who raced in IndyCar from 2005-11, said the historic mark is "thought-provoking," but NASCAR commands her full attention.

"I have things I want to accomplish over here," Patrick said. "I had a great time in IndyCar, and I was given a great opportunity. I'm okay with not doing it, is what I'm saying."

• With Tony Stewart injured and Jeff Gordon retired, NASCAR's youth movement is underway. Elliott's career is already off to a strong start — he'll start Sunday's race from the pole — but veteran Waltrip offered another name to remember: 19-year-old Erik Jones, last season's Truck Series champion.

"I believe Erik Jones is the next superstar," said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion. "He is so good and so fast and has been since the day he showed up."

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