The 18-year-old kid replacing Tony Stewart was no Tony Stewart.
He owned a résumé that included plenty of wins but only one in 19 races of Xfinity Series experience. He joined a team on which the former driver knew what he wanted in a car, and if not, he carried the car on his shoulder with an attitude that won dozens of races and a couple of championships.
This new kid with all the hype didn’t know what he wanted. As he likes to say, he didn’t even know what he didn’t know. He struggled, and the veterans pounced on his insecurity. He was fresh meat to the competition, which devoured him, intimidated him and pushed him around. His team lost confidence in him.
“I got humbled pretty quick,” Logano said Sunday after winning the NASCAR Cup Series title. “I guess ‘humbled’ is the word. I don’t know, I got beat up. I got pushed around a lot. I wasn’t fast. I didn’t have no respect. I think that beats up on your confidence pretty quickly, and you have to kind of dig back inside.
“Every sport is a mental sport, so you have to really figure out how to be strong again and dig out of holes.”
The only saving grace during those merciless growing-pain years came in that Xfinity Series, where he won 17 races over four years.
But that Cup Series? Gosh, was that a different story. He had a couple of wins but never finished higher than 16th in points.
Joey Logano, after four years at Joe Gibbs Racing, knew he was out of a ride in 2012, and there was a time he didn’t even know if he would find another seat in the Cup garage.
“I expected to go out there and win … and just got my butt handed to me on a platter,” Logano said. “It was hard. There’s a lot of times that I felt really weak and I’d break down, and it was just hard.
“You know, when you’re confused, you don’t know how to be better. You’re 18 years old or 19 or 20, and this is some pretty big stuff for a teenager to be able to go through, sitting up here, talking to you guys [in the media], trying to handle all those situations. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
He found a new home at Team Penske in 2013, in part just by luck when AJ Allmendinger was fired after failing a NASCAR drug test. And with the new life in his career, he changed. That meek, weak driver? They didn’t see that in the halls at Penske.
“When he walked in at Team Penske, he owned the opportunity,” Logano crew chief Todd Gordon said. “He walked in, and I think Roger [Penske] believed in him, as I did, and I looked at it and said, ‘Here’s a kid who wins more races in the Gibbs Busch cars at the time than Kyle [Busch] did, so he’s capable.’
“He just needed an opportunity. So he came in and believed in himself, and we believed in him, and at that point, he was not weak.”
Just five races into his Penske life, he went face-to-face with that Stewart guy, arms swinging, after Stewart took issue with Logano’s aggressiveness on restarts.
“I’m going to bust his ass,” Stewart said after their confrontation.
Logano didn’t seem all that worried and put it behind him. He won a race that first year and finished eighth in the standings. He then won 11 races over the next two years, learning how to use his bumper when needed to move someone with the hopes of not wrecking them.
“Honestly, I guess I just felt like I’m back to where I was growing up,” Logano said. “As the kid growing up, I was an aggressive racer and I was able to win a lot of races.”
Sure, he made more mistakes along the way. His lack of contrition for previous incidents likely led at least in part to Matt Kenseth’s dumping him at Martinsville in 2015, which eventually eliminated Logano from the playoffs and earned Kenseth a two-week suspension.
In those duels with Kenseth, Logano in some ways changed the rules of the NASCAR playoffs. NASCAR chairman Brian France, to the chagrin of many, called Logano’s roughing up Kenseth for a win at Kansas “quintessential NASCAR,” and it appeared all was fair game.
In that atmosphere, the fearless Logano continued to thrive, and that fearless attitude won him more races, as well as allowed him to handle missing the playoffs entirely last year. As the 2018 season made the turn from summer to fall and Logano saw his cars improve, he combined his aggressiveness with an attitude, a swagger that he rode to the 2018 Cup title.
It seemed appropriate that he won the championship with a strong short-run car at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It rewarded him for doing a lot more taking than giving on restarts. On the restart with 15 laps to go, Logano was in third but really was the favorite.
He didn’t have to worry about Martin Truex Jr. retaliating for their Martinsville dustup as he drove by — once Logano got past Truex, he was too strong for Truex to even get close to make a move.
All those years of getting beat up, all those years of struggles when it appeared he might not win another Cup race, let alone a championship, rode with him in those final 12 laps as he drove to the biggest victory — the 21st of his Cup career — of his 28-year-old life.
“The opportunity to make mistakes is one of the best things that can ever happen to you,” Logano said. “I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes in front of all of you, things I shouldn’t say or whatever it was, but there’s no regrets, either, because that’s formed me into the man I am today.
“And if it wasn’t for each and every one of those mistakes, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. … God teaches you many lessons, sometimes the hard way. But I wouldn’t take any of them back. Even if we didn’t win today, I wouldn’t.”
Obituary for Robert Judkins Sr.
Robert L. Judkins Sr, age 83, beloved husband of Angela M. (Gorneau) Judkins, died on Thursday, October 25, 2018, at Apple Rehab Center in Middletown, CT after a lengthy illness. He was born in South Paris, Maine on September 12, 1935, he was the son of the late Herman and Eva (Learned) Judkins. He had resided in Meriden, CT and in Edgewater, FL, returning to Connecticut in 2017.
Mr. Judkins was the owner and operator of Judkins Garage in Berlin, CT. Bob was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, having served from July 1958 to July 1960. Bob was most notable for his on-the-track achievements in the New England area, running the famed number 2x modified race car. In the sixties, Judkin’s ’37 Ford Coupe dominated the track with drivers Jerry Wheeler, Tony Mordino, Billy Harmon, Mario “Fats” Caruso, Rene Charland, Gene Bergin, Kenny Shoemaker and legendary driver Ed Flemke. Then in 1971, Judkins introduced a new style of race car, hanging a Ford Pinto body on the famous 2x. Stafford Motor Speedway’s Jack Arute tried to convince NASCAR to allow the 2x to run, telling Bill France, Sr that the new body style was the “future of racing”. Once cleared by NASCAR, the Judkins 2x Pinto Revolution began. In the seventies, eighties and nineties, Judkins continued to compete and took the famed 2x into victory lane. Drivers Ed Flemke, Ron Bouchard, Reggie Ruggerio, Brett Bodine, Jerry Marquis – with three consecutive track championships at Riverside Park Speedway – and Dave Caruso helmed the 2x. In Bob’s fifth decade of fielding a race car, Judkins continued to be highly competitive and won track championships at both the Orlando Speedworld and New Smyrna Speedway with driver Jason Boyd. However, Bob’s last win in 2009 would be one he would not forget, when his grandson Ryan Preece took his famed 2x into victory lane to complete Bob’s illustrious racing career. Bob was inducted in N.E.A.R (New England Auto Racers) Class of 2003 Hall of Fame.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his six daughters, Tanya Griffin (Martin), Brenda Judkins, Jodie Preece (Jeffrey) Loretta Judkins, Laura Leith (Jeffrey) Jessica Judkins (Blaine Gaudette); his son, Robert Judkins Jr (Vanessa); his 10 grandchildren, Michael and Alissa Ferraro, Sean Preece, Matthew Preece (Tara), Ryan Preece (Heather), Joshua, Zachary and Erica Guidobono, Jarret Leith and Emily Gaudette; and his two sisters, Winona G. Farrington and Pamela Judkins. He was pre-deceased by his sister Gloria Carro.
A celebration of life service will be held on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 East Main St., Meriden, CT 06450. Family and friends may call at the funeral home prior to the service from 3:30 to 7:30. Burial will follow at a later date. For online condolences and directions, please visit jferryfh.com.
Tickets for the 2018 NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 are selling briskly. With Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik leading a fine group into the Hall, friends, family, and fans want to be there to see the induction.
Jump on board and get yours now! Also available for promoting your business or team is the Hall of Fame Program, with very reasonable rates. See below for the links to download both forms. See you at the banquet!!!!
This past weekend’s stop on the NEAR schedule was at the Ron Bouchard Museum in Fitchburg, Ma. A very nice turnout of cars both modified and cruise style alike gathered for the yearly visit. An awesome cookout was provided, with a live band, as all enjoyed the hot but beautiful weather. This is a must see destination for any race fan. Many thanks for the hospitality shown by Paula Bouchard, Bergie, volunteers, and staff who ran the event flawlessly. Thanks also to the participants who brought together a fine assortment of cars.
The entire NEAR Membership offers it’s deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ed Clark. Ed was one of the original founding members of our club. New England Racing will be forever indebted to Ed for his efforts to preserve and publicize it’s rich history. R.I. P. good sir.
Mr. Clark was a longtime resident of East Hartford, CT, prior to moving to Palm Coast, FL, in 1983. In East Hartford, he was active in the community serving as president of the East Hartford Little League in the 1970s and was a member of the East Hartford Elks Lodge #2063. Mr. Clark worked for Mashkin Freightlines from 1964 to 1983 where he was a member of Teamsters Local 559. In Palm Coast, he served as a volunteer firefighter in the mid-1980s, and over the years continued to be active in the Flagler County community as a member of the Italian American Club and Palm Coast Elks Lodge #2709. He also worked with the Flagler County Kiwanis. When first moving to Palm Coast, Mr. Clark worked for ITT Community Development Corporation at Palm Coast Home Realty as a property manager, and in 1992, worked with his wife to open Budget Property Management in 1992 until 2017.
Mr. Clark was an avid NASCAR fan and was a racing pioneer in his own right as he was a founder of the New England Antique Racers Association (NEAR) with the original vision of preserving New England stock car racing history. He followed his father George Clark’s footsteps by serving as a NASCAR technical inspector and official from 1960 to 1982. Mr. Clark was also a Navy veteran who served onboard the USS Tarawa CV-40 from 1956 to 1958.
Along with his wife of 53 years, he is survived by his son, Jeffrey Clark and his wife Missy of Naples, FL; his daughter, Kelly Brandt, and daughter, Amy Bowes and her husband William of Palm Coast, FL. He also leaves his eight grandchildren, Adrianna Brandt, Jacob Brandt, Trevor Brandt, Samuel Bowes, and John Bowes of Palm Coast, FL, and Nicolette Clark, Madelaine Clark, and Charles Clark of Naples, FL. He also leaves his brother, George H. Clark, Jr., and his wife Rosemary of East Hartford, CT, and many nephews and nieces.
Friends and relatives are respectfully invited to a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Palm Coast, FL, on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at 11 a.m. A visitation will be held before mass from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. in the memorial room.
Mr. Clark was an avid animal lover and the family requests in lieu of flowers for any memorial donations to be made in his name to the Flagler County Humane Society, 1 Shelter Drive, Palm Coast, FL 32137.
The family of Mr. Clark entrusted the arrangements to Clymer Funeral Home & Cremations
Saturday August 25, 2018 , 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
Click for Map and Directions
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL
Saturday August 25, 2018 , 11:00 AM at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
Click for Map and Directions
By Bones Bourcier
8/8/18 ……. Sad day today. The first time I ever set foot in a race shop, on a night more than 45 years ago, it was Tom Ormsby’s little garage in Bristol, CT. His black coupe, shown here, was being attended to by Tom and a few other men. They were all blue-collar guys, and, after they had put in a full day’s work someplace, they were spending their evening hours helping get the #60 ready for Saturday night’s race at nearby Plainville Stadium. I’d been to a bunch of races by then, and I’d already fallen in love with the sport. But that visit to Ormsby’s shop showed me, for the first time, that racing was more about people than about machines, something that is true at every level of the sport. I lost track of Tom for a while after Plainville closed in 1981, but decades later he was at the forefront of the racing nostalgia movement in New England, and I’d sometimes see him when I returned home. In recent years he moved to Florida, and last night he died there after a long illness. Racers like him, those thousands of weekend journeymen, never completely understand how many lives they touch. RIP, Tom. — Bones
Article courtesy of author Justin St. Louis/Rutland, Vt. Herald
The New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2018 with a decidedly northern flavor. The class has the highest percentage of new inductees from north of Massachusetts in the NEAR Hall’s 21-year history: Six out of the eight have strong ties to Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine.
Though his name may not be familiar to many stock car fans, Colchester’s John Buffum is the most high-profile inductee from the class. The driver, team owner and car builder is the most accomplished American in the history of rally racing, winning 118 events at the national level in the United States and Canada, three events internationally, and a pair of Pikes Peak Hill Climbs. Buffum was born and raised in Connecticut but has called Vermont home for more than 50 years. He can claim 23 national rally championships and one road racing title as a driver, and another 31 titles as a team owner and constructor.
All three active Vermont stock car tracks find representation in the newly announced class.
North Ferrisburgh native Jamie Aube rose from humble beginnings at Barre’s Thunder Road and Milton’s Catamount Stadium to become a household name in the short track world. Aube won the nationally-respected Oxford 250 in 1987 and ’89 and also won three consecutive championships on the former NASCAR Busch North Series.
C.V. “Butch” Elms III is one of two dirt track stars to be named to the NEAR Hall of Fame. The North Haverhill, New Hampshire native is undeniably one of the most accomplished dirt drivers in the Northeast, taking 136 documented wins and 11 track championships. Elms is best known these days as the owner and promoter of Bradford’s Bear Ridge Speedway — where the bulk of his success came in his driving days — which he has owned since 1989.
Ken Tremont Sr. also represents the dirt world, and is the only non-New Englander in the Class of 2018. The all-time greatest car owner and engine builder at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Tremont has 93 wins and 10 track titles (and counting) within the borders of New England, and he remains active with both his son, Ken Jr., and grandson, Montgomery, driving his cars. Tremont’s accomplishments in his native New York State — though they were not factored into his nomination by NEAR — bring his career totals to well above 350 race wins and nearly 50 championships.
As a driver, New Hampshire native Dick Glines won a championship in the highly-competitive Oxford Open Series and was a winner at several Maine tracks. As a crew chief, he was responsible for the rise and dominance of Robbie Crouch in the 1980s, winning 49 touring series races and five championships including three-straight on the American-Canadian Tour, and was Aube’s crew chief during his 1990 Busch North title run. As a fabricator, Glines built cars for eight additional Busch North championship teams, and his cars also won NASCAR Busch Series (now Xfinity) races.
Maine’s Pete Silva won more than 120 races on paved short tracks up and down the East Coast, and is considered to be one of the Southeast’s most legendary drivers. After winning Late Model Sportsman races in his native New England, Silva relocated to the Carolinas and won many races and track championships at places like Greenville-Pickens, Hickory and Asheville, racing against many drivers who went on to national prominence in NASCAR.
Finally, two giants of New England stock car racing will highlight the Hall: Mike Stefanik and the late Ted Christopher.
Stefanik, a Rhode Island racer and one of asphalt Modified racing’s very best, is a seven-time champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the series’ all-time winner with 74 victories. He was an outstanding driver in full-fendered equipment as well, winning Busch North Series and Modified Tour titles in 1997 and 1998. He was the 1999 Rookie of the Year on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and has hundreds of victories in weekly short track competition.
Christopher, who was killed in an airplane crash last fall in his native Connecticut, owns more than 370 victories in his career in an almost immeasurable variety of race cars, from Modifieds to Midgets to Super Late Models and more. Christopher was the 2001 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion and the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. He is the all-time winner at both Stafford Motor Speedway (131 victories) and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (99).
The New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Nov. 11 at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall in South Windsor, Connecticut. The ticket order form can be printed by following the link below this story.
The NEAR Event at Seekonk has been postponed due to weather. We will be working on a re-scheduled date!
Saturday, August 11th, 2018, the vintage racing cars of NEAR take to the high banks of the Seekonk Raceway. The Hall of Fame Truck will be on the midway, and the stars of NEAR will race heats and a feature during the racing program. Pit gate opens at 3 p.m. with practice to follow. Come down and see some of the best examples of New England Racing history compete just like in years past.