JOLIET, Ill. – You can debate whether Joey Logano made the move to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing too soon.
After all, before he turned 19, Logano stepped into the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota vacated by Tony Stewart. In his first three full-time seasons, Logano won one race, a rain-shortened event at New Hampshire in 2009.
But since moving to Team Penske in 2013, Logano has blossomed, posting eight victories in his last 62 starts and establishing himself as a championship contender. Logano made it to the Championship 4 of the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Homestead-Miami Speedway before a late-race snafu on pit road cost him a chance at the title.
Now, at 25, Logano already is a veteran driver—with a huge advantage over the 20-somethings who have only recently graduated to NASCAR’s premier series, which will kick off its 2015 playoff opener Sunday with the MyAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
“When I started, I was really young and really green and put in this whole thing,” Logano said. “I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into at the time. I look at a lot of rookies that come in, and it takes a while to get going and understand what you need at each race track.
“Experience at this level outweighs any advantage you have as a younger person with reflexes and all that. The experience is much larger than that. What I like about my position is that I am in my seventh year and still only 25. Hopefully I have both going for me and just have to keep growing. We haven’t won a championship yet. We have to keep growing and doing what we’re doing, but I like the position that I’m in.”
Daytona 150-mile qualifiers get new sponsor
Roughly 12-hours after BRP’s Can-Am brand announced a major sponsorship deal with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III announced Can-Am also will lend its name to February’s two 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500, collectively to be known at the Can-Am Duel at Daytona.
“We’re pleased to announce that BRP, manufacturer of iconic brands like Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo, Evinrude, Rotax and Can-Am, will serve as the title sponsor of the 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona,” Chitwood said during a Saturday morning press conference at Chicagoland Speedway.
“I can’t think of a better time in terms of the opening of Daytona Rising (the massive capital project currently nearing completion at Daytona) for a new partner to jump on board with an iconic race of ours.”
On Friday night in Nashville, Tenn., BRP revealed the Can-Am brand as major sponsor of the Sprint Cup effort of GoFAS Racing, owned by Archie St. Hilaire. Can-Am will sponsor the No. 32 Ford of Jeffrey Earnhardt for 11 races next year and will take on an associate’s role for the balance of the events.
In addition, Can-Am will sponsor the car for two of 2000 premier series champion Bobby Labonte’s four restrictor-plate races next year.
“To be able to make this step into the Sprint Cup Series is a dream come true,” said Earnhardt, Chase driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s nephew. “This is what I’ve been working for my whole entire life, and now to actually be here, it’s pretty unbelievable…
“With Bobby being my mentor and co-driver of the No. 32 Can-Am car, it’s going to help me a lot. He’s a champion, and he’s been in the sport for a long time.”