Joey Logano Not Out of the Woods Yet

Clayton CaldwellCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2009

BRISTOL, TN - MARCH 20: Joey Logano, driver of the #20 Home Depot Toyota, walks on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 20, 2009 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

For all the fans out there who think Joey Logano is out of the woods right now, you have another thing coming.

Yes, Joey will race at Martinsville Speedway this week, but that's all he is guaranteed for. He is still barely in the top 35 and will have to work extra hard at a tough track he has never seen before, expect maybe on XBox.

The 18-year-old, has had a learning curve in his first five races in his rookie season in 2009, and has not been "Sliced Bread" as his fellow competitors called him throughout his racing career.

Logano and crew chief Greg Zippadelli would admit that this week at Martinsville is just as or even more important than Bristol.

Aric Almirola qualified third at Martinsville last season and is sitting 36th in owner points, just out of the top 35.

If Logano makes one mistake at this track it could cost him a race at a tough track at Texas the following week.

The fast, small little over track in Fort Worth, could give Joey some trouble in the new car. Don't forget he finished a dismal 40th in the fall race there last season.

Then another tough track at Phoenix could play trouble for the Connecticut native.

It's going to be a battle for Joey and the top 35 all year, and I feel bad for him, because this could have been prevented.

Bobby Labonte was without a ride for most of the offseason, before settling in with the No. 96 Ford for Hall of Fame Racing.

However, Bobby would have gladly went back to Joe Gibbs Racing.

Gibbs could have put him in the No. 20 for a season, and then have Joey start scot-free with the car in the top 35 with a lot of experience under his belt for 2010. Bobby could have moved to a fourth Joe Gibbs Racing entry.

Instead, Gibbs took a risk, a risk a lot of car owners do. In my opinion, confidence is one of the most important things in NASCAR.

Joey's finishes haven't been good at all in 2009 and you have to wonder where his confidence is.

His Nationwide finishes haven't been that good this season, and it's Greg Zippadelli's job to make sure Joey maintains his confidence.

That could be easier said then done. If it's not done, it could be a disaster altogether.