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Joey & Skip: A conversation...

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In 2007, Middletown, Conn.’s Joey Logano was racing in the NASCAR Busch East Series – it’s now the Xfinity Series – and the 10th race of the season’s 13 was the Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park. Just a week before, Logano had graduated from his Skip Barber Three Day Racing School. Not only did Logano win the Mohegan Sun 200, he went on to take the 2007 title, winning five races. (Photo: Joey Logano in Lime Rock's Lefthander, 2007)

A couple years later, Skip Barber caught up with Logano and they had a nice conversation about road racing. Motorsports writer Shawn Courchesne, who now runs racedayct.com, wrote up the transcript.

Following you'll find some very interesting reading... and congratulations, Joey, on winning the Daytona 500, from all your followers at Lime Rock Park!

Logano-Daytona-2015-500

Skip Barber: You didn't do go karts. What do you think about that?
Joey Logano: I don't know, I go back and forth on that. I did the quarter-midgets because my mom wouldn't let me do karts. You don't do any road courses with quarter-midgets. Only did asphalt, not dirt.

SB: When it came time to do the road racing, was school first?
JL: Yes, I did a few things. Went to Bondurant first. And then ran Camping World in Sonoma, then did the Skip Barber School here... I wrecked! (LOL). Then the Lime Rock Camping World race. Then the Watkins Glen Nationwide race. Then Sears Point in Sprint Cup this year.

SB: How do you think you are as a road racer if you put yourself up against a Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Boris Said?
JL: I'm not where I need to be yet. I don't expect to be there. They have been doing it a lot longer. I felt like at Sears Point, I was closer to where I needed to be. Watkins Glen was ok, but I didn't run so great. Need to figure out the different tracks. Going to the Glen tonight to figure out the course...

SB: What do you need most? Knowledge? Set-up? Driving?
JL: There are differences between. Some of its tires, some of its drivers. The biggest thing is knowing what you want when you get to the track. Same thing applies to a road course. Where are you getting beat? What corners do you need to focus on? That's a big deal. A driver needs to know where you want to be, figure out the tricks of the track.

SB: Who can you talk to about all that?
JL: Watch old tapes, talk to Denny [Hamlin], Kyle [Busch], [Mike McLaughlin]. Ask a lot of questions. I play track video games. All the little things add up. It makes a big difference to be prepared. You must be on you're A Game.

SB: When you get to the Glen, try to do a couple of laps on the long course. It's great, it's complicated... So what are you doing tomorrow at the Glen?
JL: Not sure what I'm driving, maybe a Miata. It's all about learning the race track. I have to figure something out. Didn't run well there before.

SB: It's great that you ended up with Gibbs. Did that fall out of the sky?
JL: I was with Roush almost, trying to make a deal work. Looked around, talked to a few teams. Went to Gibbs, had a video, got his father involved, and thought it was great. A week later, had a contract signed, that was it. No agent, just me and my dad. That's how we still do it.

SB: That's great....What would you tell a new kid, you a couple of years ago, coming here to Lime Rock with no road racing experience?
JL: If you've never seen a road course, the Skip Barber Racing School helped; the biggest thing is the cars are so different. Indy-type car to a big stock car. Talking to a lot of different people. Learning different techniques on a road course. Then try to learn the race track. Take in good and bad advice. Sort through and take what you can use and apply to your main game plan. It's not easy and it makes it tougher for an oval driver to come over and do that especially when it's not often on the schedule.

SB: In the School, a long time ago, we saw the difficulty wasn't oval to road course. It was dirt to asphalt. What do you think the biggest surprise is on a road course? Do you get in trouble if it's a slow corner?
JL: If you're a short track racer, you will be used to it. I relate road course racing to short track racing. You're always right up on each other. Swinging the car back and forth. Different feeling then a speedway. I ran dirt a few times and it's completely backwards from everything else I've done. I'm sure that's difficult.

SB: Those guys are all about car control, not thinking about the line. Example: I saw Tony Bettenhausen going down the Downhill. It was great seeing him going sideways, but he wasn't even near the apex!... Where is NASCAR now about racing in the rain. Is there going to be any road racing in the rain?
JL: I did the one in Canada, Montreal. That was in the rain. Nationwide car. I was at the Nationwide shop today and they were getting ready for the rain, putting on wipers.

SB: You know Joey, there are guys that actually like running in the rain!
JL: I don't want to say it was fun, it was wet, odd and crazy. Every lap the track was different. You can't let your confidence build up. Being able to see, that was a big deal. It's hard when you're not ready. Wipers didn't do anything. And the rain line is different from regular line.

SB: Yep, you have to avoid the puddles... One time at Watkins Glen, on the front straight, I didn't see a puddle. I hit it with one side of a sports car, completely spun and ended up going in the direction I was supposed to go, like nothing happened...
JL: Oh yeah, it's nuts. What happened to me in Canada, I was running third. Rain was so bad, the car in front of me had no brake light and I couldn't see it. Finally saw it going at 55-60 and ran right into the back of him – running third! – and finished 20-something.

SB: Joey, in the Montreal race, did you talk to someone about the rain line? Or did you have to fend for yourself?
JL: The only thing I heard, if you run in the rubber where the typical line is, it's too slippery and there is not a lot of grip.

Shawn Courchesne: Joey, if you could ask one question of Skip...
JL: If we were at the race track, I would ask you a million questions. You wouldn't be able to get away from me! All that is on my mind is about racing.

SB: Yeah, join the crowd...
JL: Lime Rock is really fun. The Uphill was great. I enjoyed that area of the track.

SB: We're fancy here at Lime Rock. We have clever names. The Uphill. And that's before the Downhill...

-end

In 2007, Middletown, Conn.’s Joey Logano was racing in the NASCAR Busch East Series – it’s now the Xfinity Series – and the 10th race of the season’s 13 was the Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park. Just a week before, Logano had graduated from his Skip Barber Three Day Racing School. Not only did Logano win the Mohegan Sun 200, he went on to take the 2007 title, winning five races.

 

A couple years later, Skip Barber caught up with Logano and they had a nice conversation about road racing. Motorsports writer Shawn Courchesne, who now runs racedayct.com, wrote up the transcript.

 

This is some interesting reading... and congratulations, Joey, on winning the Daytona 500, from all your followers at Lime Rock Park!

 

Skip Barber: You didn't do go karts. What do you think about that? 

Joey Logano: I don't know, I go back and forth on that. I did the quarter-midgets because my mom wouldn't let me do karts. You don't do any road courses with quarter-midgets. Only did asphalt, not dirt.

 

SB: When it came time to do the road racing, was school first? 

JL: Yes, I did a few things. Went to Bondurant first. And then ran Camping World in Sonoma, then did the Skip Barber School here... I wrecked! (LOL). Then the Lime Rock Camping World race. Then the Watkins Glen Nationwide race. Then Sears Point in Sprint Cup this year.

 

SB: How do you think you are as a road racer if you put yourself up against a Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Boris Said?

JL: I'm not where I need to be yet. I don't expect to be there. They have been doing it a lot longer. I felt like at Sears Point, I was closer to where I needed to be. Watkins Glen was ok, but I didn't run so great. Need to figure out the different tracks. Going to the Glen tonight to figure out the course...

 

SB: What do you need most? Knowledge? Set-up? Driving? 

JL: There are differences between. Some of its tires, some of its drivers. The biggest thing is knowing what you want when you get to the track. Same thing applies to a road course. Where are you getting beat? What corners do you need to focus on? That's a big deal. A driver needs to know where you want to be, figure out the tricks of the track.

SB: Who can you talk to about all that?

JL: Watch old tapes, talk to Denny [Hamlin], Kyle [Busch], [Mike McLaughlin]. Ask a lot of questions. I play track video games. All the little things add up. It makes a big difference to be prepared. You must be on you're A Game.

 

SB: When you get to the Glen, try to do a couple of laps on the long course. It's great, it's complicated... So what are you doing tomorrow at the Glen? 

JL: Not sure what I'm driving, maybe a Miata. It's all about learning the race track. I have to figure something out. Didn't run well there before.

 

SB: It's great that you ended up with Gibbs. Did that fall out of the sky?

JL: I was with Roush almost, trying to make a deal work. Looked around, talked to a few teams. Went to Gibbs, had a video, got his father involved, and thought it was great. A week later, had a contract signed, that was it. No agent, just me and my dad. That's how we still do it.

 

SB: That's great....What would you tell a new kid, you a couple of years ago, coming here to Lime Rock with no road racing experience?

JL: If you've never seen a road course, the Skip Barber Racing School helped; the biggest thing is the cars are so different. Indy-type car to a big stock car. Talking to a lot of different people. Learning different techniques on a road course. Then try to learn the race track. Take in good and bad advice. Sort through and take what you can use and apply to your main game plan. It's not easy and it makes it tougher for an oval driver to come over and do that especially when it's not often on the schedule.

 

SB: In the School, a long time ago, we saw the difficulty wasn't oval to road course. It was dirt to asphalt. What do you think the biggest surprise is on a road course? Do you get in trouble if it's a slow corner?

JL: If you're a short track racer, you will be used to it. I relate road course racing to short track racing. You're always right up on each other. Swinging the car back and forth. Different feeling then a speedway. I ran dirt a few times and it's completely backwards from everything else I've done. I'm sure that's difficult.

 

SB: Those guys are all about car control, not thinking about the line. Example: I saw Tony Bettenhausen going down the Downhill. It was great seeing him going sideways, but he wasn't even near the apex!... Where is NASCAR now about racing in the rain. Is there going to be any road racing in the rain? 

JL: I did the one in Canada, Montreal. That was in the rain. Nationwide car. I was at the Nationwide shop today and they were getting ready for the rain, putting on wipers.

 

SB: You know Joey, there are guys that actually like running in the rain!

JL: I don't want to say it was fun, it was wet, odd and crazy. Every lap the track was different. You can't let your confidence build up. Being able to see, that was a big deal. It's hard when you're not ready. Wipers didn't do anything. And the rain line is different from regular line.

 

SB: Yep, you have to avoid the puddles... One time at Watkins Glen, on the front straight, I didn't see a puddle. I hit it with one side of a sports car, completely spun and ended up going in the direction I was supposed to go, like nothing happened...

JL: Oh yeah, it's nuts. What happened to me in Canada, I was running third. Rain was so bad, the car in front of me had no brake light and I couldn't see it. Finally saw it going at 55-60 and ran right into the back of him – running third! – and finished 20-something.

 

SB: Joey, in the Montreal race, did you talk to someone about the rain line? Or did you have to fend for yourself?

JL: The only thing I heard, if you run in the rubber where the typical line is, it's too slippery and there is not a lot of grip.

 

Shawn Courchesne: Joey, if you could ask one question of Skip...

JL: If we were at the race track, I would ask you a million questions. You wouldn't be able to get away from me! All that is on my mind is about racing.

 

SB: Yeah, join the crowd...

JL: Lime Rock is really fun. The Uphill was great. I enjoyed that area of the track.

 

SB: We're fancy here at Lime Rock. We have clever names. The Uphill. And that is before the Downhill...

 

-end
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WFSB-TV Also Gets Slideways

ZZZZ-WFSB

Hartford’s CBS network affiliate, WFSB-TV, broadcast its take on Lime Rock’s Winter Autocross Days Monday, February 9. Here’s the link to anchor Dennis House’s news segment.

 Dennis also uploaded a slightly different take on his blog...

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Fox TV's Winter Autocross Segment

Reporter Jim Altman says, "It wasn’t just fun to shoot, I actually drove away learning some tricks of the trade!"

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 “Daytrippers,” the popular feature news segment on Connecticut’s Fox TV (ch. 61), aired a Lime Rock Winter Autocross piece produced and hosted by Emmy Award-winning reporter Jim Altman.

The broadcast was Thursday, January 29, on “News at 10.”

We now have the website link. Click here to watch!

(Above and below): Jim Altman hooning a Miata (provided by Eric Ives Motorsport) for the "Daytrippers" segment

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-end

 

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Get ‘Slideways’ on the Winter Autocross

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Get ‘Slideways’ on the Winter Autocross Course!

You folks ready for this?

In what is a first for a Northeast U.S. motorsports venue, starting this month Lime Rock Park is offering Winter Autocross Days. Lime Rock now has large-capacity snowmaking and grooming equipment and has scheduled Friday and Saturday winter autocross events open to any licensed driver.

“First and foremost, driving hard and getting ‘slideways’ in the snow is simply a whole bunch of fun,” said Lime Rock's Walter Irvine, business development director. “Who hasn’t booted the tail out or hand-braked their car in a snowy parking lot somewhere?

“You don’t have to have any previous experience. Doing this under the watchful eyes of our instructors on Lime Rock’s autocross course, not only is it fun, thrilling and very safe, but you cannot believe what you learn with regard to what we call ‘car control skills’ which will make you a much better, safer driver, whether on snow, ice, in the rain or in the dry,” Irvine continued.

“Any vehicle – all-wheel-, rear-wheel- or front-wheel drive – can be driven quickly in the snow. We’ll teach those uninitiated in the fun of snow driving some specialized techniques appropriate to each vehicle type.”

The Winter Autocross events – some people call them “snowcross” – are held on Lime Rock’s 1,200-foot autocross course in the upper infield area. Three or so cars are sent out at a time, with appropriate spacing between each vehicle. There is no racing involved.

A luxury chalet provides a warm respite for restroom breaks as well as snacks, coffee, hot chocolate and beverages. We keep a bonfire going at the autocross staging area, too.

Lime Rock’s Winter Autocross facility is the direct result of requests by the members of the private Lime Rock Drivers Club (LRDC). One of its newest members, realizing he could help bring this to fruition, connected us with the right experts and equipment to make it happen. The Winter Autocross facility was created primarily for the Lime Rock Drivers Club, which has graciously opened it up for non-members between the private LRDC days.

The winter autocross developed out of the huge success of Lime Rock's Open Autocross Days (including a season-long Series Championship) held April through November. The 2013 and 2014 Open Autocross seasons saw more than 500 drivers -- from teens, track-day enthusiasts, race car drivers and seniors -- experience the fun and excitement of driving as fast as they can in a fun, safe environment. Now you can do it all winter long thanks to schedulable, weather-independent snowmaking at Lime Rock Park.

The cost is $300 per driver and includes coaching from professional winter driving instructors.

Lime Rock Winter Open Enrollment Autocross Days:
Friday, January 9
Saturday, January 10
Friday, January 23
Saturday, January 24
Friday, January 30
Saturday, January 31
Friday, February 6
Saturday, February 7
Friday, February 20
Saturday, February 21
Tuesday, February 24
Saturday, February 28
Wednesday, March 4
Thursday, March 5
Friday, March 6

Saturday, March 7

You can make your online reservation and purchase your Open Enrollment Winter Autocross starting now. If you have questions, call our Winter Autocross Specialists at 860.435.5000. Click here!


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We Have the New AxIS Champion

Ladies and gentleman, your 2014 champion of the Lime Rock Autocross Series presented by Wells Fargo Advisors is... Tom Venturino, of Weston, Conn. Tom drove his 2012 Honda FF to the win in the AxIS Shootout with a best-lap of 18.100 on Lime Rock’s 1,220-foot original autocross course.

A new electronic timing system, courtesy of track partner Spectro Oils, provided timing to the one-thousandth, and .199 behind Tom was Plainville, Conn.’s, Quinn Kizis in his 1999 Mazda Miata. Quinn’s 18.299 bested Ryan King’s 18.660, who drove his Gen III Toyota MR2 down from Florence, Mass. Fourth was John McGrath (Woodstock, Conn.) and his 2012 Mustang Boss 302 (18.893), while fifth was 2013 Autocross Series champion Dean Cusano (Farmington, Conn.) and his race-prepped 1984 Jaguar XJS, putting in an 18.903.

This year’s Shootout saw a terrific mix of cars, from a formula car and a Birel Rotax kart to an AMG wagon, three Corvettes, a Mini Cooper, an M3, a Honda S2000, a Lotus Elise, an Audi TTRS – and no less than five Miatas.

The first 18 cars were separated by just 2.329 seconds; seventh through 18th were jammed together, with only .803 of a second separating those 12 cars.

Chris Benjamin of Wells Fargo Advisors was the master of ceremonies for the awards banquet, and presented the from-now-on permanent AxIS Wells Fargo Advisors trophy; like Indy’s Borg-Warner Trophy, each champion keeps it for a year and will then present it to the next champion.

2014 Autocross Invitational Shootout (AxIS) presented by Wells Fargo Advisors
Final Results
Photos below

1. Tom Venturino, 2012 Wyvern-Honda Formula F, 18.100
2. Quinn Kizis, 1999 Mazda Miata, 18.299
3. Ryan King, 2000 Toyota MR2, 18.660
4. John McGrath, 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca, 18.893
5. Dean Cusano, 1984 Jaguar XJS, 18.903
6. Gordy Wagner, Birel-Rotax kart, 19.208
7. Steve Katz, 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon, 19.526
8. Steve Constable, 2005 BMW M3, 19.625
9. Eric LaCore, 2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed Miata, 19.648
10. Joe Wall, 1994 Mazda Miata, 19.822
11. Eric Vondwingelo, 1994 Mazda Miata, 19.833
12. Ryan Burrell, 2006 Chevy Corvette Z06, 19.864
13. Keanna Chang, 2013 Audi TTRS, 19.898
14. Matthew Dunham, 2004 Chevy Corvette Z06, 20.004
15. Kevin O’Neill, 2007 Chevy Corvette Z06, 20.010
16. Jason Levine, 2001 Honda S2000, 20.045
17. Matt Persanis, 2006 Lotus Elise, 20.263
18. Andrew Chang, SCCA Spec Miata, 20.429
19. Gary Friedman, 2005 Mini Cooper S, 21.150

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-Photos by Rick Roso

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