Over the last few months we’ve seen and heard about the great talent that Joe Gibbs Racer Joey Logano has. Last year he took the Camping World Series East Championship and in May he won the inaugural Carolina 500 in the ARCA Series, all before his 18th birthday. In his third nationwide series start he took victory at the Kentucky Speedway becoming the youngest victory winner in any of NASCAR’s three big series. Now there are plans that young Joey Logano will inherit Tony Stewart’s vacant Sprint Cup seat next year. Which leaves me to wonder, is he ready for this big ride?
We’ve seen in the past how drivers that started racing in the Cup Series with very little seat time behind the wheel of a stock car have failed miserably. A notable example would include Casey Atwood who drove started driving in Sprint Cup with Ray Evernham at the young age of 19. After a ho-hum rookie season in 2001, he was moved over to a new ride that Evernham had teamed with Jim Smith, but the partnership dissolved and left Atwood with out a ride. Atwood has never found a new full time ride he still gets the occasional ride here or there.
A more current example would include Michael McDowell. McDowell finshed 2nd in the ARCA/Remax Championship last year and was tapped by Micheal Waltrip to drive his 00 car starting at the 6th race of the year in Martinsville. How was McDowell prepared for this big opportunity? He had one Nationwide start at Daytona. McDowell is now out of the 00 while hired gun Mike Skinner now tries to get the team back in the top 35 in points.
Even the new onslaught of open wheel drivers has had trouble getting adjusted to getting adjusted. Names like Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr, Patrick Carpentier and A.J. Allmendinger have all struggled getting adjusted to the Sprint Cup series and all have few starts in the Nationwide Series or the Truck Series. More starts would have helped them get used to handling these heavy beasts of a car.
So is Logano ready for prime time? Maybe. Being with an experienced team like Joe Gibbs Racing will help. All the other drivers listed in this little rant are not on the best of times. But certainly more track time could help and lets hope JGR has the horse sense to keep him in the Nationwide Series a little longer.