Texas Motor Speedway will be home to NASCAR’s biggest stars next weekend.
The track is hosting the sport’s All-Star Race for the first time at 5 p.m. Sunday and there’s plenty on the line. Similar to the Daytona 500 or the Southern 500, the All-Star Race is on every driver’s bucket list as a race they’d like to win at some point in their career.
Arguably more important, there’s $1 million going to the winner.
The Star-Telegram talked at length with Logano about the All-Star Race and TMS. Logano has a history of success at Texas, winning the 2014 spring race and posting 14 top-10s in 25 career starts. Logano also has won an All-Star Race in 2016 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
What does the All-Star Race mean to drivers? “The All-Star Race is something you want to have on your resume. You think about unique, special races — the Daytona 500, Coke 600, Southern 500, Brickyard 400 — the All-Star Race is in there. Those races are unique. They’re special. I think that’s one you want to check off when you look at our sport. It’s definitely a bucket-list type of race.”
You’ve had a lot of success at TMS. How does the track suit you? “It’s a unique facility now with two completely different ends. Turns 1 and 2, which are flat now, and then Turns 3 and 4, which have a bunch of banking. So you’re making a run through 1-2, wide open into 3-4, and it ends up being the longest straightaway in NASCAR. It becomes an interesting race track when you see it that way. It presents it’s own unique challenges.”
You’re in your 13th season of full-time Cup racing but only 31 years old. Some still see you as the young up-and-comer, but do you feel like the old guy now? “I’m in a unique position. I started so young in Cup racing, started at 19 years old and even raced a few as an 18-year-old. That experience has really helped me in my career. It made it hard at the start, but I believe in pushing yourself past your limits. Early in my career, I wasn’t even close to being ready to go Cup racing and got my butt handed to me a few times, but it made me stronger. It made me the man I am today. I have no regrets about it.
“You’re not going to win right off the bat. You push yourself a little further than you should, but you’re going to grow quicker. Because of that, I’m in a unique spot now because I’ve got some good experience that makes me a threat on any type of race track and I’ve still got a solid 10, 15 years left in me. It’s kind of a unique spot to be in. I like that. I like being different. I don’t want to be the same as everybody else.”
Finally, this is Eddie Gossage’s final race as TMS president. Any good stories you can share? “I’ve gotten to know Eddie fairly well, but he said drivers didn’t do enough for him. I didn’t understand that. I actually took it personally [laughs] … but I’ve always looked up to Eddie and the stuff he’s able to do. He’s always thought outside the box when it comes to things at the speedway and it was always cool to see him be different and try things. He always found something unique about his facility.”