Wednesday afternoon, one of NASCAR’s hottest young rookies got a lesson from one of NASCAR’s best on how to get around the track they call ‘Too Tough To Tame.’ Scheduled to make his first career start at the famed Darlington Raceway in just a few weeks, Joey Logano enlisted the help of the legendary Cale Yarborough.
The two drivers – who could not be any more opposite in appearance and age – took to the track behind the wheel of a Jeff Gordon Driving School car with Yarborough behind the wheel and Logano along for the ride. Hitting the track for the first time in many years, Yarborough gave the young driver pointers on how to get around one of the toughest tracks in the world.
“I doubt if I can show him anything,” Yarborough said prior to getting on the track with Logano. “I’ve been watching him. He’s got a lot of talen. I don’t thing he needs anyone to show him anything, we’ll see what we can do.”
“I wish I was his age,” Yarborough went on to say about the 18-year-old sitting beside him. “Joey and I – coming here – we were almost the same age. I came here at seventeen.”
“He beat me,” Logano quipped.
“You’re an old man now at eighteen,” the three-time Cup Series champion added.
After a brief Q&A with the gathered media, Logano and Yarborough changed into their driving suits and headed out to pit road. The veteran climbed behind the wheel of the car as Logano strapped in on the passenger side.
Yarborough talks it over with Logano after their laps around the 1.366-mile facility
The two took to the track and cruised around the famed Darlington Raceway as Yarborough showed the young rookie the line around the track and offered a bit of advice.
As for the advice, Yarborough explained, “I was telling him to get his car set in the corner and pick his throttle up as soon as possible, don’t wait – don’t drive in so deep that you gotta wait so long to pick your throttle up, because if you pick your throttle up early, you got more control of it through the corners.”
“It’s cool, it’s different sitting on the right side of these cars for sure,” Logano said with a smile after climbing from the car. “Just to make some laps with Cale, get to talk to him a little bit and learn a few things is pretty neat.
“To have one of the best teach you and tell you a few tips about this place is neat,” Logano added. “Not many people can say they did that. Just a couple of tips he said about it, the line around the race track he took, I’ll just put them in my mental bank and come back and try them at least and see what they do.”
Yarborough helped make the sport what it is today and Logano is poised to become the future of the sport, yet Wednesday their paths crossed
“It felt good,” Yarborough said of his laps around the track. “It was just like the old Darlington race track. The old stripes are there like I used to remember and it felt like I was back at home.”
As the pair walked back to the media center, one could not help think about the stark differences between the two drivers. One a veteran driver, short in stature but huge in determination and spirit. The other tall and youthful, full of excitement and eager to learn. A man who helped build the sport and a kid who hopes to one day carry it to future generations.
“It’s special, a fellow like Joey, because he’s destined for stardom,” Yarborough added. “I hope he looks back one day and says, ‘Old Cale taught me a little something.'”