Logano edges Martin in battle of ages - NASCAR Notes by Lugnut - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

NASCAR NOTES: Logano edges Martin in battle of ages

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Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"
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LONG POND, PA (RNN) - The lady standing next to me in the media center at Atlanta Motorspeedway turned and said, "I'm so proud of him" as Joey Logano was introduced as the newest driver for Joe Gibbs Racing.

That was his mom. His second-biggest supporter was Roush Racing driver Mark Martin.

Sunday, Logano had to move his mentor out of the way to take his second Cup Series career victory in the Pocono 400.

The age difference between race winner Logano and second-place finisher Mark Martin is 31 years. That's a lot of experience to overcome, but a strategically placed bump with just a handful of laps to go was the ploy that allowed the 22-year-old Logano to finish in front of his friend.

Martin called the unexpected move "a bump and run."

"It has been acceptable in this racing for a long time," Martin said. "It's not how I would have done it, but certainly if I'd had a fast-enough car, he would have gotten a return. But I couldn't quite keep up with him."

Martin was disappointed he couldn't close the win for his new team at Michael Waltrip Racing, but he was happy to see Logano's newfound confidence.

"He's been kind of in a stall in his career or in his progression with the Cup Series," Martin said after the race. "It looks like the last couple of weeks that maybe that's starting to turn. I've always known since I saw him drive at 11 years old that he could be a Cup champion. I knew it then."

Logano had a dominant car Sunday for most of the day. But Martin jumped to the lead on the last restart and it looked like the young driver was going to settle for second place.

The only thing he could hope for was a mistake by his mentor and that happened with three laps to go.

"Joey was just stronger than we were," Martin said. "I was pushing as hard as I could push and had a little slip there off of (Turn) 3, and he was able to get up on me and get by. We certainly would have got back up there and raced for the win after the pass if we'd had the car. But he was able to pull away."

In a contract renewal year, Logano has been hearing all the rumors that he was not ready for Cup Series racing and that he would be replaced next season in the No. 20 car at JGR.

Logano hoped that the win would silence his critics and give him a chance to stay with the team that brought him up so quickly.

"My hope is to obviously stay with what I've got and keep working with Jason," Logano said. "All I can do is stay focused on my job, and that's driving the race car. Whatever happens from there happens. I did my job today with winning the race, and my team did a great job, too, and all the puzzle pieces will fall together eventually."

The relationship between Martin and Logano has not changed over the years and Logano frequently reaches out to the veteran for advice.

The win won't change that dynamic but Logano won't deny this is an important year for his career.

"Whether it's a contract year or not, you're always out there to do the same thing,"  Logano said. "So for me, I'm out there to win every race and that doesn't change from what it was this year or three years ago. Is there something extra in your mind? Yeah, there's something extra on your mind that you have to figure out before the season is over. But at the same time, you go out there and focus on your job."

Whether Logano continues to pilot the No. 20 car next season will be worked out over the remainder of the year. The relationship between the student and the mentor will most certainly continue.

As for the proud mother sitting on the sideline trying to help promote her son, I only have one comment.

Yes mom, I'm proud of your son as well.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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