By Team Ford Racing Correspondent
Instead of Sliced Bread, Joey Logano’s nickname could have been Sliced Ice.
Logano’s sister, Danielle, grew up as a competitive ice skater, and that interest also drew Logano to the ice as a kid. He skated and played hockey, pastimes that paralleled his interest in auto racing for a time.
But the two paths forked. Danielle continued to excel on the ice, training with Olympic and other international-level coaches and performing with touring ice shows.
While she twirled in circles, Joey chose the vehicular route.
“I played hockey for a while,” said Logano, who has driven the Team Penske Ford Fusions into a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year. “But it got to the point that I’d miss a lot of hockey games because I was racing or practicing at the track. I liked racing more and was a lot better at it.
“I had to pick one or the other, and I got away from the ice. I still love the sport of hockey and go to games when I can.”
Logano filled several positions, including goalie, while playing youth hockey.
“I was probably one of the better skaters on my team, but I wasn’t very good with the puck,” he said. “I just wasn’t a good stick handler.”
While watching his sister compete, Logano quickly gained an appreciation for figure skating and the hours of practice and pain that go into it.
“It’s a tough sport,” he said. “It’s hard. It’s kind of funny that I know as much about figure skating as I do. The ice is hard. I know that for sure. It’s a tough field. Your body gets beaten up pretty hard.”
Danielle’s ice adventures led the Logano family to open the Extreme Ice Center, a public skating rink in Indian Trail, N.C., near Charlotte. The rink hosts skating and hockey and offers various classes. Danielle Logano is the director of figure skating.
Before Joey Logano’s NASCAR schedule became so crowded, his job at the center was one many hockey fans would envy – Zamboni driver. The Zamboni ice resurfacing machine isn’t quite as fast as a stock car, but it’s nevertheless fun. Hockey fans line up for rides at National Hockey League arenas.
Beyond that, the center is a special place for Logano for a much more significant reason. It’s where he met Brittany, his fiancé. She was working in the center cafeteria (“Selling French fries,” Logano said), and he was the Zamboni pilot when they met.
Logano said he is able to visit the ice center only about once a month these days. His time schedule is crowded with racing, testing and personal appearances as the weeks wind down toward the start of the Chase.
Logano sits in excellent position to make a strong challenge for the championship. He has had top-six finishes in each of the past three races, and he has a total of 12 top 10s (only three drivers have more) for the season.
“I think we’re going to be in good shape for it,” Logano said of the Chase. “The last three weeks, we’ve been very consistent. We’re doing what we have to do. We’re proud of that.
“We need some more wins (he has two), and we’re close to it. We just have to take it to the next level for the Chase. Everybody’s really busy. The intensity level is picking up a little bit.”
Things are going much faster, for example, than the Zamboni.