DARLINGTON, S.C. — Before this year, Joey Logano was barely old enough to drive, let alone drive at Darlington Raceway. So it didn't hurt having one of NASCAR's all-time greats in Cale Yarborough show him around.
Logano is the 18-year-old phenom settling into the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing seat given up this season by Tony Stewart. On Wednesday, Logano toured the track "Too Tough To Tame" with five-time Southern 500 winner Yarborough.
"This is one of the track's where I wonder what's going to happen," Logano said. "So to have one of the greats in Cale show me is really neat."
The 70-year-old Yarborough has certainly mastered NASCAR's oldest superspeedway, succeeding when the Southern 500 was among the sport's crown jewels.
Only David Pearson (10), the late Dale Earnhardt (9) and Jeff Gordon (7) own more Darlington victories than Yarborough (5).
That's one reason Logano was all ears listening to Yarborough.
Yarborough drove a Jeff Gordon racing school car with Logano in the passenger seat as the car edged closer and closer to Darlington's famed wall.
"This is one of my secrets," Yarborough told Logano. "You got to get as much power as fast as you can coming out of turn two. Now, I don't tell that to everybody."
Hopefully the rest of the Sprint Cup field is too busy preparing for this week's Aaron's 499 in Talladega, Ala., to pay attention.
LABONTE'S NEW CHIEF — Ben Leslie is taking over for Todd Parrott as crew cheif for Bobby Labonte's No. 96 team. Labonte is 28th in points. He has a season-best finish of fifth at Las Vegas in March.
CHILDRESS CREW SWAP — Richard Childress Racing will swap the crews for slumping drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears following this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Both teams have underperformed this season, the first in which RCR is fielding four full-time cars.
IndyCar Racing League
Dario Franchitti wasn't around American open-wheel racing when it finally became one series again last year.
But the 2007 IndyCar Series champion, once a star in the rival CART series, can certainly see the difference now that he is back.
"The competition level has gone up, even since 2007. It's just so deep now," Franchitti said Sunday after winning in Long Beach in just his second race back in IndyCar after an aborted shot at NASCAR in 2008. "Just about everybody is here and it really makes winning tougher and even more special when you do it."
Franchetti spent a year in NASCAR because he said he needed a change.
Lola is considering a return to Formula One in 2010 now that the teams have been ordered to cut their budgets.
Lola, a familiar name in F1 from the 1960s, provided cars for top line drivers such as Graham Hill, John Surtees and Alan Jones.