Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fast Lane to Fame: an Interview with Logan Ruffin

Logan Ruffin, a sixteen-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee, began racing Quarter Midgets at the age of eight and quickly moved up to the Semi-Pro division of Legends after turning thirteen.  He then started to run Legends and testing Late Models.  Two short months later, he ran in his first Late Model race.  In September 2007, Logan stopped racing Legends and started racing late models, and in his second start, at Lanier National Speedway, he won his first Late Model race, earning the title of Youngest Race Winner at Lanier Speedway.  In February 2008, Logan was the youngest Late Model Competitor at the World Series of Asphalt – in which he won three back-to-back races – and became the youngest World Series of Asphalt Speedweeks Champion.

Logan was the youngest driver ever signed by Venturini Motorpsorts in 2009, but in 2010, he signed with Turner Motorsports, and after a very successful 2010 year in the USAR Pro Cup Series, he was crowned Rookie of the Year. 

  •  Tell us about yourself. How did you get started racing?   What series do you race in now?
    I got started racing at age eight in quarter midgets. I now race in the USAR Pro Cup series for Turner Motorsports.
  • What do you enjoy most about racing? 
    The thing I enjoy most about racing is the challenge. You have to be mentally and physically tough enough to be able to race and win. Staying focused on getting the car around the track as fast as possible and being able to do that with all of the other competitors challenging for the same piece of real estate is just awesome.  If you are not in great physical condition by the end of the race it is next to impossible to maintain the required focus to bring home the win.
  • What is the hardest part of racing for you? 
    he hardest part of racing for me is simply trying to beat some of these veteran drivers that have been racing longer than I have been alive.  I’m constantly learning on the racetrack.  I guess the biggest issue is just trying to catch up to their level of knowledge and still be very competitive at the same time.  In most cases, they have likely raced many times at whatever track we are racing.  In many cases it may be the first time that I have ever seen the track, much less raced on them.  We still do pretty well in holding our own at the new tracks, but on return visits we are almost always better.
  • Would you like to race in Truck/Nationwide/Cup?
     I would love to get to race in any of the NASCAR series! If that means progressing through all the series or just jumping straight to Nationwide or Cup. I just want to have the opportunity to race on Sundays. I guess really it’s been about racing on Sundays now for about half of my life.

  • What do you like to do during the off season?
     During the off season I enjoy working out in preparation for the next season and I like to be around the shop so that I can learn as much as possible.  I've already mentioned the importance of being in great physical condition.  To me, it’s equally important to know as much about how all of the components on the cars work together to go fast.  The more I know, the better I can communicate with my crew chief to make the car better.

  • Do you have any plans/goals for 2011 season? If so, what are they?
     Really my goals for every season are basically the same. My three main goals each year are to win races, win a championship, and just get seat time.  As for what my plans are for 2011, we are currently working on finalizing my schedule and plans.  I believe I will be racing, but we are not totally sure in what series.

  •  Favorite/ least favorite tracks on the circuit?
     I really have two favorite tracks, Iowa Speedway and Langley Speedway.  Since I actually like the different challenges of all racetracks, I wouldn’t say that I have a least favorite.  What I would say is that I am least satisfied with my results from my two races at Rockingham.  I have led laps there and have had a car capable of winning, but either pit road mistakes or mechanical issues have kept us from finishing where we should.  I really want to improve on my performances there.

  • Do you have a best racing memory?
    My best racing memory is definitely winning the 2008 World Series of Asphalt.  It still makes me shake my head and smile when I think about what we were able to accomplish at the World Series.  We went there for me to get quality seat time in both practice and racing.  The level of competition was very good and deep.  I believe there were 48 different cars that competed in my class during those six races.  We started the week just wanting to bring the car home in one piece and ended up with the three wins and the championship trophy.  You can bet that I will never forget that week of my racing life.  However, equally as important to me now is the 2010 USAR Pro Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

  • How does it feel to be the 2010 USAR Pro Cup Rookie of the Year?

     It feels great! Winning Rookie of the Year was a goal of ours for 2010 and we were extremely happy to have accomplished it.  Raybestos has been a longstanding sponsor of Rookie of the Year programs and winning one of their titles has always been a target for me.  Now that I know that 2010 was their last year to sponsor these titles, I am especially proud to have been one of the members of the last Raybestos Rookie of the Year winning class.  That is something that I will never forget.

If you want to learn more about Logan, be sure to like his page on Facebook , follow him on Twitter, or check out his website.

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