Joey Logano, NASCAR drivers, team at Jake Leatherman funeral … – Nascar
AVONDALE, Ariz. — Upon his arrival in Phoenix Thursday, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano spent time at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital where he met with kids, handed out NASCAR merchandise and made a $5,000 donation to the hospital through his Joey Logano Foundation.
Such efforts always leave a lasting impression; Thursday’s even more so.
Only one day earlier, Logano and his wife, Brittany, attended the funeral for 5-year-old Jake Leatherman in Hickory, North Carolina. Leukemia claimed the youngster, an avid fan of NASCAR in general and Richard Petty in particular.
The couple were among the many members of the NASCAR community who responded to a grieving family and a mother’s request.
Brittany Logano had learned of the child’s story while in Texas for last weekend’s Sprint Cup race, seeing a Facebook post by Charlotte television reporter Molly Grantham.
“She had just watched the video and told me about him and how he was a big race fan,” Logano said, “and I thought it would be cool if we could do something for his funeral.”
The Loganos provided a small race suit with Leatherman’s name on it, and because he was big fan of Petty, the suit included the seven-time champion’s famous No. 43 car number.
But it didn’t stop there.
“It wasn’t just Brittany and myself,” Logano, driver of the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske, said. “There were around 100 team members there (at the funeral). It was one of the most real moments, one of the proudest moments I have been a part of in this NASCAR community. … We compete against every week out here at the race track and fight the crap out of each other every week. To come together as one team and be NASCAR as a whole for a child that who looked at us as superheroes. That is how his family members described what he thought of NASCAR.”
According to WBTV, fellow drivers Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Ellis and J.J. Yeley were among those in attendance. Crewmen and crew chiefs turned out. Driver firesuits and crewmen uniforms replaced coats and ties.
Logano said he was “bummed” that he never got to meet the youngster.
“We all came together and were all there for him but we didn’t get to meet him and give him his race suit and how cool he would have thought that was,” he said. “To see all his heroes and pit crew members there that day would have been very special.”
It was one of the most difficult things he’s had to do, but Logano said it was “also one of the most impressive things, to see our NASCAR community come together like that. It was definitely eye opening and it puts life into perspective.
“I don’t have a kid yet but I can’t even imagine – watching his mom and dad and sister and grandparents all there it tore my heart out.”
And that was still fresh on his mind when Logano arrived at the Children’s hospital in Phoenix for Thursday’s previously scheduled event.
“It sure made that visit different for me,” he said.