NASCAR’s Joey Logano talks racing with and without family

With one race to go in the season and a second NASCAR championship in sight, driver Joey Logano is having a banner year, even by his standards. The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion got off to a brisk start to the season in February winning the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before returning home to North Carolina in time to be alongside his wife Brittany for the birth of their daughter. Emilie two days later.

Logano may be quick, but with a grueling NASCAR schedule, he’s still missing a lot at home. In March, races took him from Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami and Austin on successive weekends. Every Friday, he flies from his home in North Carolina to this week’s race site, returns late Sunday evening for four days with his family, and then it’s on to the next track.

Between his weekends hitting the trails across the country, Logano makes a concerted effort to slow down at home so he can spend time with Emilia, Brittany, and her two boys Jameson (2) and Hudson (4). He can’t totally quit track work, but he does his best to spend a lot of time with his family.

“During the week, I like to work in the morning, so I’m done around two o’clock, which gives me six or seven hours with my family,” says Logano. “I want to enjoy watching my kids grow up, so when I’m home I try to put my phone down and just be a dad. But when I go to work, I have to go to work, right? It’s hard to balance.”

Paternal met Logano while preparing for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series championship race to be held at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday, November 5, 2022.

What were the conversations with your wife like when you were trying to decide whether or not you should travel across the country on an errand so close to her due date?

It was a very difficult conversation to have because you feel like you’re letting your race team down or letting your family down. The easiest thing to say is, “Hey, it’s the birth of my child, so of course I’m going to miss work that day. Well, okay, I miss work, but it also affects the entire race team and their families in many ways. A lot of people get performance bonuses for my performances. And if I’m not here to do my job, now I’m affecting everyone’s family.

What contingency plans do you have in place?

We have just fully committed. And that was my wife’s idea. This is the most important part. It wasn’t my idea. She said, “Go ahead, you’ll be fine.” Because the worst thing that can happen is that I missed both, right? If I was trying to get home because she gave birth in North Carolina while I was in California, I’d probably miss both things. So I committed to go run the race. It went perfectly. We won the race. And then we came back the next day. Emilia came out and everything went perfectly.

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What word would you use to describe the past eight months?

It’s definitely been an interesting year. I can’t say I’ve taken a moment to step back and see it any other way yet. I’m so in the moment still right now. We’re still in our championship races this weekend, so I’m focusing on that. My wife is an absolute Rockstar at home, keeping it all together. I mean, we still have the normal difficulties of having three children under five.

Someone is always up in the middle of the night. Our youngest, Jameson, he gets up at five in the morning, ready to tear. There’s a lot on the plate right now. But we’re doing pretty well even if it’s sometimes difficult.

As your kids get older, do you make family racing an option?

I take them to races that we can drive to from home. We go to Talladega, we drive to Darlington and we go to other tracks which are about six hours away. Apart from that we start to push a bit and travel on a plane with all the car seats and all that is too much. It’s just easier to pack the car and get the family out. Since that’s what I do for a living, that’s fine with me. Although our family grew, we realized that there was almost no more space in our vehicles.

Do you see yourself driving a minivan soon?

I always say that now that we have three children, it’s fine. Because after that, I can’t have a van anymore. But I can still fit three car seats in the back row.

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What time of day are you and your wife most likely to find time to hang out or even talk?

What we’re trying to do is start bedtime at eight and get everyone to sleep at 9:30. So there’s an hour and a half there, where we can hang out and we connect. And then we try to go on a date every week. It actually only happens once every three weeks these days, but the attempt is there. There is usually something that happens at the last second. Or one of the children gets sick. You know how it is.

Do you have a system for knowing who gets up in the middle of the night or who wakes up at 5am when the kids are ready to start the day?

Listen. To be honest, I sleep on the racetrack because I’m often alone there. At home, I’m usually pretty tired from the Monday morning run. So Brittany gets up with the kids on Monday, then I get up on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. As I leave on the weekend, I try to give him a break during these three days.

Your eldest is almost five years old. Has he ever driven with you or alone? It seems that children whose fathers are professional basketball players or baseball players have a ball in their hands almost immediately, which is not entirely possible for children whose parents drive race cars.

Oh man, I’m going to be in trouble here. Hudson is exactly me. Like, I know what he’s thinking before he does. I know how it is. And so he loves cars. Did I push it on him? I don’t know if I pushed him or not. But he has a lot of exposure and sees his dad driving cars all the time.

And they’re really cool cars, too.

Exactly. At night we read AutaBuy, which is a real automotive magazine. He likes to look at all the vintage cars and he knows them all. So, like, I had my boyfriend with me.

But to answer your question, he has a little garden car driving around the garden. He’s going way too fast in there now. And he has a little outlaw car that we can take to a track near our house so he can do a few laps. He took a great interest in driving. He’s not running yet. But he likes to drive.

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How are his driving skills?

He’s really good. He gets a little nervous if we go to the race track and there are other kids around. But I see a lot of ability in him and it’s fun to watch.

Has he ever had his first fender bender?

So he flipped it the other day. It’s a classic to see you in your childhood moment. Happened to me as a kid all the time. He destroys the lean, breaks the axle, a wheel flies off. It’s a good size accident. So I ask him to fix it with me. We order parts and reassemble them.

Next time he’s in the garden, I’ll check a bit to make sure he doesn’t get too crazy, will he? Next thing I know I see the wheels in the air again. I’m like, damn! Here we go again. But this time, he lands on his tires. And he hits the accelerator and I’m like, OK. He has this.

When he’s finished, I ask him how it went. He said, “That was good. That’s good.” I’m like, “Yeah, did you go for a ride? Did you freak out?” “No.”

I didn’t say anything, but I think, OK, I saw you [chuckles]. Lots of memories came flooding back – times like this when I tried to hide my accidents in the woods from my parents.

Do you have a favorite moment on the track with your family?

There are weekends now where I take Hudson with me, and it’s just him and me. He’s riding his bike after a race, and we go out onto pit road and collect all the old nuts from the cars. It’s a really fun time for me to watch him grow on the track. And, you know, obviously, there’s no better time than winning with your whole family there. Having a moment together in victory lane and getting that photo definitely makes wins that much more special.

Catch Joey Logano in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship on NBC starting at 3 p.m. ET on November 6, 2022.

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