Thursday, September 22, 2011
NASCAR's Logano visits Gillette Stadium
By Mike Rodak
Mike Rodak/ESPN BostonPatriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski and NASCAR's Joey Logano exchange helmets at Gillette Stadium.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For a NASCAR driver used to 200-mph speeds and nerve-rattling finishes, who would have thought kicking a 20-yard field goal in an empty NFL stadium would be so tough?
Visiting Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, in advance of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Loudon, New Hampshire (2 p.m., ESPN), driver Joey Logano got a few expert pointers on how to do just that from veteran Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
The 21-year old Logano is a native of Middletown, Conn. and was raised a Patriots fan. Logano races for the NASCAR team owned by three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Joe Gibbs, and has attended NFL games with the former Redskins coach in the past.
"I watched football, but I wasn't a huge fan until I signed with Joe Gibbs Racing. I've learned a lot about the sport because he talks a lot about it," Logano explained. "I've become a fan of it, and from being up in the New England area, being in Connecticut, obviously you're a Patriots fan."
In addition to receiving a tour of the Patriots' facilities on Thursday, Logano tried his hand at field goal kicking with Gostkowski, sending it through the uprights on his final attempt.
"Steve is an awesome guy. I had fun with that," Logano said. "I've never really kicked a football before. I'm not very athletic when it comes to every sport. I've figured out how to drive a race car pretty good.
"I played hockey growing up. [But] kicking a football, I had no technique," Logano joked. "I'm not very flexible -- I can't even touch my toes -- so it was definitely interesting. I'm sure I didn't look too coordinated out there."
The Patriots may not be calling up Logano to placekick for them anytime soon, but could Gostkowski be headed for a career in racing?
"I get scared when my truck goes over 75 mph," Gostkowski joked. "You have a lot of respect for these guys. Something like driving is a lot like kicking. People think anybody can go out and do that. But there's definitely a lot of skill... People who have never done it, and have never been to game or a race, probably can't appreciate it as much."