Solid Start for Logano

Joey Logano

Logano has already hit it off with new Sprint Cup crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who was elevated from the team’s Nationwide Series program to call the shots for the No. 20 team. (Photo: Getty Images)

Joey Logano has started 2012 with a pair of good finishes in Daytona and Phoenix and looks to continue the roll this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has already hit it off with new Sprint Cup crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who was elevated from the team’s Nationwide Series program to call the shots for the No. 20 team.

Logano says so far so good.

“Yeah, I think the big thing is attitude,” Logano said. “I feel like my whole team has the attitude right now to go out there and win races, make the Chase, make this happen right now.

“Everybody has picked up their game a lot. I'm excited about that. And it comes along with a lot of new things. Obviously with a new crew chief with Jason, ended up bringing some new life. Changes things up a lot. It's kind of like a restart button.”

For the first time in his Sprint Cup career Logano does not have veteran Greg Zipadelli as his crew chief. While he has the utmost respect for his former crew chief, Logano is looking at the change as an opportunity for a fresh start as well as a chance to take more of a leadership role with the team.

Although it’s early in the process, Logano says there is a difference around the effort in 2012.

“It's hard to put it in words. But you can just kind of feel the difference,” he said. “My attitude's different. I feel like I walk around with a lot more confidence in myself. That carries through the whole team.

“As soon as the driver is real confident... It goes vice versa, too. When someone loses confidence, it's contagious.”

The positive vibes and attitude will be key for Logano and company to keep heading on the upward trend they’ve started this season. The chemistry and relationship that has already blossomed has Logano feeling confident about the direction.

“Keeping that upbeat mood going is going to be huge,” he said. “Jason is the same way. He's a 'glass is half full' guy. I think that's very important. It's good to have. Got a new spotter this year, too. He's very positive, keeping our heads in the game during the game throughout what happens.

“Now, granted, we're only two races into this deal. But we need to stay focused and keep our eye on the prize like we've been doing.”

Despite heading into the final year of his current contract with JGR, Logano refuses to put any added pressure on himself to perform. It’s an approach he’s used throughout his entire racing career, which started at a young age and has forced Logano to be ready for a variety of challenges as he’s advanced up the NASCAR ladder.

“Yeah, my career obviously went really, really quick,” Logano said. “As I was growing up, got started into a lot of high-pressure situations, make-it-or-break-it things, here is your big shot, make the best of it type thing. That's been like that my whole career. It's really the only way I know it.

“Obviously this year is a really big year for me, too. It's just been part of my career, like I said. It's been fun. I've enjoyed it. The learning curves have been steep. I've been challenged more than I thought I was going to be challenged. But I have fun with it.”

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