You gotta believe

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford,  participates in NASCAR Chase Media Day, September 11, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 11: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, participates in NASCAR Chase Media Day, September 11, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

CHICAGO—At the end of the 2012 season, Joey Logano was 17th in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings and out of a full-time job he had held since 2009, when he was 19.

Logano lost his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing to Matt Kenseth, a veteran with a championship on his resume. But Logano found a comfortable home at Team Penske, where, two years after his ouster at JGR, he is considered one of a handful of favorites to win the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which starts on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.

“(It’s) pretty sweet,” Logano said of the rapid resurrection of his career. “I tell you, my career has been a roller coaster for sure, but I’ve loved every second of it. I’ve been through some harder times and trying to figure out where I was going to race, if I was going to race. … Now to be in a position to feel like I have a legit shot at winning a championship, that is cool.

“That’s awesome for me. I’m excited about that, and my whole team is very excited about that, and we want to do that. Man, it has been fun. I’m glad I went through all that, because I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.

Whether he wins the title or not, Logano feels that being included in the same conversation with former champions Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski (his Penske teammate) is a source of pride.

“It’s definitely a little sense of accomplishment already, feeling that I have a shot at this,” Logano said. “People were talking (that) we’re one of the top contenders at this thing—and I believe that. My whole team believes that. We are going to fight to the end here to make this a dream season the best we can.”

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