Joey Logano: Sliced Bread's Debut

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer ISeptember 19, 2008

It was called the most anticipated debut in recent years. An 18-year-old kid with the nickname "Sliced Bread" ready to take on the big boys and prove his worth.

The first time we were supposed to see Joey Logano in action was at the Richmond International Raceway during the September 6-7 weekend. His ride was an inverted Home Depot paint scheme with a No. 02 on the door and Joe Gibbs Racing behind him.

Then it rained, and qualifying was cancelled.

Flash forward a week later to the New Hampshire International Speedway. The paint scheme stayed the same but the car number and team were different. Officials at Joe Gibbs Racing initially wanted Logano's debut to be in a JGR car until finally putting the Home Depot colors on the Hall of Fame Racing's no. 96 car.

Logano went from the top equipment at JGR to the satellite team of Hall of Fame Racing; the results showed.

During practice sessions at Richmond he was in the top five on the charts and very optimistic about the car's handling. At New Hampshire, he was nowhere to be found on the speed charts. Struggling with both handling and horsepower.

His first race didn't exactly go as planned, first by taking the jack with him upon leaving pit road. After that he was in 30th to a 43rd place and three laps down by the end of the race. However, he did bringing the car home in one piece but in the thirty-second position.

"Not what I wanted-that's for sure," Logano said. "It was a tough one. We tried hard, but it just wasn't there the whole time. We started so far back in a hole trying to get this car good, and we just got close to it too late...I enjoyed it. By lap 200, I wanted it to end because we weren't running worth a dang."

Logano has drawn comparisons to Jeff Gordon, among others. It's fair to say that Gordon's debut was a 31st place finish, Jimmie Johnson was a 39th, and Kyle Busch's was a 41st.

But Logano's first race brings up another debate: was the showing more of what Logano is capable of? Or is Hall of Fame Racing just that bad?

Logano has been in very good equipment the past few years, courtesy of JGR, and we all know what he's capable of in the Nationwide Series.

Logano has five races left this season: the 02 car from JGR at Atlanta, and the Hall of Fame car in Kansas, Charlotte, Martinsville and Texas.

Maybe after Texas we'll have a true reading of what this kid is made of.

Whether it's good, bad or ugly.