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.”