NASCAR Stars Logano, Stenhouse Jr. Set for USO Tour
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
By Christian Pelusi
NASCAR Sprint Series driver Joey Logano enjoyed his 2011 USO tour so much, he’s ready for another lap.
Logano and fellow NASCAR Sprint Series star Brad Keselowski participated in a USO tour to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, last December. Now, Logano, the 2009 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, will be joined by fellow NASCAR driver and two-time Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for a USO tour to lift the spirits of deployed troops and their families based in Germany and the Middle East. Logano and Stenhouse will also pay a visit to the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to extend their thanks to recovering troops.
Logano’s 2011 trip to Guantanamo Bay gave him a lasting appreciation for what our troops sacrifice in order to protect America’s freedom and liberty.
“I enjoyed just meeting a lot of the troops and hearing their stories and where they’re from and how they got there and where else they’d been,” Logano said. “The thing is, most of the guys out there are my age [22 years old], so it’s kind of cool to relate to them. I respect the heck out of them. I look up to them for what they do. They’re amazing.”
Since the racing circuit requires drivers to live a life on the road in every sense of the word, Logano spends much of his downtime stateside, but he’s looking forward to visiting new countries and cultures because it leads to many cherished memories. Even if those memories were a bit edgy at the time.
“I was a little bit nervous about it because I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into,” Logano said of his first USO tour. “[Flying from Miami via military transportation to Cuba] I’m asking the pilot, ‘So what happens if we break down? Can we in Cuba?’ And he’s like ‘(laughs) No.’ So I’m like, ‘Oh, good to know. Keep it going!’”
The tour experiences also allow Logano to see what support organizations like the USO do for our nation’s military.
“It’s amazing what [the USO] do. I hear a lot about what they do with NASCAR, obviously, since that’s where I am, but the more you look into it, you listen to how they bring other celebrities over and the things they do for their families. These guys are making a huge sacrifice going over there and fighting for our freedom. The least we can do is go over there and say hello. … [The USO] helps those guys kind of have a more homey feeling.”
Now a tour veteran, Logano is excited to show Stenhouse Jr. the way.
“I’ve known Ricky for a few years and we get along, we have no issues,” Logano said, laughing. “With Brad last year, we had a lot of fun and I knew Brad, but got to know him a lot better. Ironically, now we’re teammates so go figure that one out. You never know what life brings you. So it’s fun to hang out with another driver and get to know each other. It’s weird because you’re still competitors and you can never really shut that off. … If there’s anything we can race out there I’m sure we’ll do that.”
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Photo caption: Joey Logano, left, and Brad Keselowski pose for a photo with U. S. Navy MA3 Brock Rowe, 22, during a USO visit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Dec. 13, 2011. (USO photo / Mike Clifton)
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