WINNING STRATEGY: Logan Misuraca Is Putting In the Mileage to Earn Her NASCAR Dream

Muscle & Fitness

WINNING STRATEGY: Logan Misuraca Is Putting In the Mileage to Earn Her NASCAR Dream

It may not be Logan Misuraca’s turn just yet to become the next Daytona 500 winner. However, the 23-year-old auto racing phenom’s path toward earning a spot one day in the Great American Race—and having a chance to become the next female face of auto racing—may have motored another step closer with her biggest win so far in her young career—earning company sponsorship.

Misuraca will be driving the Celsius No. 63 Chevrolet in this Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series Daytona 200 (Saturday at 1:30 on FS1), one of the preliminary events at Daytona weekend prior to Sunday’s Daytona 500 (Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on Fox). It’s a huge move forward for the former dancer toward one day making the NASCAR circuit.

It wasn’t luck that earned Misuraca this opportunity. She’s put in the mileage on the track, compiling a stellar record on smaller circuits while also spending countless hours off the track building a personal brand that she could market to potential partners. Knowing she’s put in the work is partially why she remains relatively calm before her big race.

“I have no nerves setting in yet,” she laughs. “I’m more nervous to make sure that everything goes smoothly. Maybe it’ll hit me like the day right before the race.”

Even though it’s her first official race at Daytona, Misuraca, who grew up in an auto racing family (her father and grandfather both competed on the local sprint car circuits), is more than familiar with Daytona Speedway, having driven more than 22,000 miles on the 2.5-mile course as a driver for NASCAR’s Racing Experience, in which fans get to experience a backseat three-lap run in a race car.

In addition, Misuraca also had been tearing it up on the small-circuit division. In 2020, she was named New Smyrna (FL) Racetrack rookie of the year, where she finished second in the overall standings, earning three top-five finishes in the Pro Late Model Division.

Still, victory laps aren’t a surefire ticket to catching NASCAR’s attention—it takes a bit of funding to keep driving in a sport in which car costs could go from $50,000 to $150,000 each race. Misuraca for years has spent the majority of her off-track time working her portfolio to attract potential partners. She says she’s sent thousands of inquiries—all rejections, at least from those who bothered to reply at all.

Until Celsius took notice.

The fitness drink brand recently signed Misuraca to drive its No. 63 car for Sunday’s Daytona 200. She’s the first female driver to be sponsored by Celsius. And so far, she says, it’s been a perfect match.

“We’ve created such a strong foundation, and I already loved Celsius prior to the partnership with the brand,” she says. I loved the apple cherry flavor—tastes like Jolly Ranchers. I get to show something that I’m actually passionate about within my sport. So it just made even more of a perfect link.”

No matter Saturday’s finish, her job is just getting started, but Misuraca already has a Winning Strategy set up. Fitness plays a big role. Misuraca doubles up on her workouts, starting with a 6 a.m. cycling class, followed by a gym session in which Misuraca and her trainer hit the weights as well as go over reactionary drills to keep her sharp for 500 miles. By putting in the all-out effort, Misuraca can feel confident about her future. If she goes on to make it to NASCAR, history may see her achievements as groundbreaking, but for now she’s satisfied as being the driver of the No. 63.

“As we put the helmet on, we’re all drivers, we’re not male and female. Obviously, outside of the car, the way we represent ourselves is a little bit different,” she says. “So we’re definitely gaining that respect in the NASCAR world to where we’re just another driver.”

 

Logan Misuraca holding a can of Celsius
Logan Misuraca

Self Confidence Is a Success Requirement

If you even for a second doubt yourself, other people are going to doubt you too. Doubting yourself is going to reflect on your stress level, how you’re going to perform, and how you’re going to mentally think about it. You’re going to overstress yourself, overexert your energy. You have to acquire that confidence, especially with something that you love, even if it’s not in your everyday life.

When it comes to your sport or your place of work, you have to have full confidence in what you’re doing to actually be successful. As soon as you lack confidence, you’re gonna cause yourself stress, which is going to cause a job stress, which is going to create a huge line of issues. So confidence is definitely key.

I had to learn this for like, the past three or four years on how to stay confident. And with all the experiences that I’ve had, confidence is 100% key, especially when you’re going into [the Daytona 500 weekend]. So many things can happen.

There hasn’t been a single race in the past 26 years at Daytona International Speedway where there wasn’t a big wreck—so you know, it’s coming. But you also have to have that confidence in yourself because the second you say, “Oh, my God, I’m so nervous that I’m going to be in that wreck,” you’re going to be in that wreck.

Manifestation is real—you’re going to manifest yourself into that wreck if you don’t start thinking positive. You need to be like, no, I’m gonna be  ahead of that wreck. It’s gonna happen behind me.

Win the Mind Games, Win the Race

It’s not as physically draining as people think it is, especially with Daytona being so big. You’re using such minute movement, that’s it’s not physically draining, it’s more mentally straining.

You’re trying to just stay alert as long as you can. So once your brain tires, it’s not the car that’s going to affect it, it’s just going to affect your next move, especially when drafting plays such a big —one wrong move, and there’s a six or seven car pileup.

It’s just staying on edge that long for the three hours that you’re in the car for 500 miles to get it done.

Obviously, it takes some physical aspect, but the cars are super easy to run. They’re super smooth. If they’re not, you’ve got a problem. You want your car to be as smooth as possible. But it’s 100% mental when it comes to super speedways like this. My simulation training usually helps me more with the mental side of things.

I’ll usually do low-impact training, some cardio just to train my brain that when my body wants to shut off and my brain is tired, I physically have to keep going. So that helps me in situations like, your body’s done, but you’re stronger than this. You still have 30 more minutes on the clock. You have to keep going.

Rowing’s a good one because in five minutes you’re already dead winded. Rowing and StairMaster are my top two where it’s all mental. Your body can physically do it, but you’re doing the same thing over and over and you feel the slight soreness in your legs and you’re just like, oh, I want to give up. But then you’re like, well, I just set a goal for 40 minutes and it’s just the total discipline of sitting there and trying to get through it.

NASCAR driver Logan Misuraca in her race car
Logan Misuraca

1 Celsius Yes Is Worth 100,000 rejections

Everyone’s thinks [as a woman], that it must’ve been so simple to get a sponsor. The truth is I had at least 100,000 nos till I finally got one yes.

For three or four years I would sit at my computer working on this email spreadsheet that I had worked on for six months to perfect. It had a pitch deck, a full bio about myself, photos, everything that I can do for their business, and just mailed to everybody. And I would get no response or a big fat no. I had no received one yes for at least three years.

And then Celsius came along…

You physically can’t do this sport without funding, so I couldn’t just go and win a bunch or races and keep going because you still needed the funding. So all the no mean another week of no racing.  Then another. it definitely held us back for about two or three years. So we would just stick to late model racing. We’d run in small shows, anything that we could afford, just like in house funding like little partnerships here and there. Nothing like massive that could like reach to the NASCAR level.

Then I got really, really lucky to have the connection that I did with Celsius. And they’re amazing. They came around to me as other people were saying, Logan’s done this. Logan does this and she raised for us for this and then the NASCAR racing experience. But I think it was kind of just my personality is what brought them in the most.

Father Does Know Best

Jimmy Kitchens has been my spotter and coach with Ben Kennedy racing. He’s an amazing, incredible person and incredible human being. I look at him like a father figure now like he’s just like a second grandpa to me at this point. He gives me life advice, racing advice, everything.

But coming up in this sport, obviously, my father was the biggest [influence] because he got me into racing. He raced 360s burning cars, late models back in the day, like he’s raced his entire life. My dad was my only link I had to the racing world—I knew nothing about it. I was raised at a racetrack my entire life but I didn’t know how to drive successfully. And like he taught me from the ground up—from go kart tracks to all the way up to late models. So he was definitely a huge asset to have in my life with his skill level and his experience in the sport. So shout out to Dad.

When I was 17, he told me that I would make it in racing through marketing and advertising. I thought it was baloney. At the time I kept thinking a scout was going to come to the racetrack and pick me up, just like any other sport. And then it took me like, six years to realize that he was 100 % right.

He knew way before a lot of people knew that that’s what it was really going to take unless you were actually in the sport. Those at the grassroots level think it’s about lap time, but it all comes down to how you market yourself. Obviously skill matters, but it’s also more of a marketing thing. So that always stuck with me, because he was right, and I hate telling him he’s always right. But he usually is.

Surround Yourself with Those You Trust

I think the biggest mistake I made in racing was well was learning that you really have to be careful with who you trust.  It’s especially true when it’s comes to your personal life. You have to realize who has your best interest at heart and who doesn’t.

Those have been my biggest setbacks. It was never on the racetrack. I was confident every time I put my helmet on, that I’m going to do well. That’s not the part, it’s the people who question you and break you down—I’m not even talking about fans or followers, nothing like that.

It’s more people who actually make an impact—it’s why I took such a step back to where I’m just a one-man band, I don’t want anyone’s assistance with anything. I’m my own PR.

There’s a lot of money in NASCAR, everyone knows that, just like other sports. There’s also some bad people who don’t have your interests at heart. That so far, has been my biggest “crash.” I’ve never crashed on the track yet, but this is something that made a huge dent on me.

It’s about who you can and can’t trust and being a really good judge of character, because it’s going to affect everything  that you do moving forward and your reputation.

Now I do the opposite at a time where I need to probably start delegating and asking for assistance because I still do everything myself. But you got to find that happy medium.

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