News & Media


Six Pack of Pop: Patriots punter kicks Logano's tires

July 17, 2012, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Zoltan Mesko (left) was disappointed when he visited Kyle Busch's motor home because he didn't have a hot tub. (Toyota Racing)

Patriots punter becomes a fan of Logano, who represents on the football field

Zoltan Mesko, the punter for the New England Patriots in the National Football League, is an unabashed fan of the No. 20 Toyota driven by Joey Logano for Joe Gibbs Racing. He answers this week's six questions.

1. How did you get to be such a fan of the No. 20 car and NASCAR?

"Drivers are definitely in a different mentality and mindset before a race than we are before a game. They've got to take care of sponsors and everything."

--ZOLTAN MESKO

Mesko: Actually, Home Depot is one of my favorite stores. My dad used to take me there all the time when I was a kid. So I liked Tony Stewart for a little bit. Then, getting to meet Joey and hang out with his team [last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway} was really cool. Now I want to go to Talladega and Daytona and some of the other tracks. This is just unbelievable.

I actually ended up buying a NASCAR video game to get familiar with it. It's tough. It's pretty cool. You have to make adjustments according to the different tracks you're at, and it amazed me how many adjustments you have to make on a track like [New Hampshire] versus one like Talladega.

2. Were you on the practice field when Logano attempted a few short kicks he described as of "about extra-point distance" at the Patriots' facility a while back?

Mesko: I was actually in the locker room. I guess he struggled at first, but then he got it down. He hit a couple. He's a quick learner. He's got to be a quick learner to do what he does.

3. In addition to visiting with Logano, you also got to see Kyle Busch's motor home. What did you think of that?

Mesko: It's not bad. I asked him if he had a hot tub, though, and he said no. That was disappointing to me. We've got to get that set up.

4. Could you imagine reporters and even fans being able to go up and talk to coaches or players in the NFL right before a game, even the Super Bowl, like they're able to with drivers, crew chiefs and car owners right before a NASCAR race?

Mesko: Yeah, that's not going to happen. Drivers are definitely in a different mentality and mindset before a race than we are before a game. They've got to take care of sponsors and everything. Joey said you only get about 30 minutes to yourself before a race to mentally prepare for it.

It's a little different, but I think you get used to whatever environment you're in. We like to get to the stadium like four hours before a game and mostly mope around and be lazy. ... We don't have to take care of sponsors. That's a different world we live in.

5. What kind of name is Zoltan anyway?

Mesko: It's Hungarian. We came over to the States when I was 11 through a green-card lottery. My dad won it. Twenty million contestants, and there were 55,000 families that won it.

6. And how did you find football?

Mesko: It was an eighth-grade accident. In gym class, we were playing kickball. I knocked one of the lights out playing kickball, trying to go for a home run. And the gym teacher grabbed me by the collar and said, "Hey, you'd better play for the football team or you're paying for that light."