How Time Flies For Logano

Joey Logano

Joey Logano is looking to recapture the dominance he once had at Kentucky Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

Joey Logano is hoping his 200th career Sprint Cup Series start ends with a victory in Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

The Team Penske driver began his Sprint Cup career in 2008 when he took the green flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He went full-time in NASCAR’s top division the next year and promptly scored his first win on his way to becoming the youngest Rookie of the Year in history at age 19.

Fast forward to 2014 and Logano comes to Kentucky this weekend with five Sprint Cup wins to his credit and in the middle of his best season on the tour.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 200 races already,” said Logano. “It just doesn’t feel like it’s been that many. When you add in the Nationwide Series races and the few Truck starts I’ve had, I started well over 300 races in my NASCAR career.

“I’ve often answered the question of what I think about my career up to this point.  And I will always say the same thing about it. I did start early. And did I start earlier that I should have?  Was I ready?  Probably not.  But it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I would do it all again the same way.”

Logano faced much criticism and scrutiny when he moved to the Cup Series as Tony Stewart’s replacement at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Although Logano faced challenging times those first seasons behind the wheel of the No. 20 car, Logano learned valuable lessons.

“I don’t think I would be in the position that I am today without those early struggles,’’ he said. “I’m just 24 now and I have six years of Sprint Cup Series experience under my belt. There isn’t a lot of people who can say something like that.

“It’s been a fun ride, so I’m pretty excited to get a chance to continue it on until 600 or 800 starts.”

So far 2014 has been a fun ride for Logano and his team. He’s won twice this season and has locked up a spot in the Chase.

His success this year, along with Logano’s Kentucky track record, makes him a favorite in Saturday night’s visit to the 1.5-mile track. He won three straight Nationwide Series races at Kentucky and was in contention to win last year’s Quaker State 400 until a late race restart foiled his chances and he was forced to settle for a fourth-place finish.

The way he sees it, rattling off consecutive Kentucky wins in any division is a lofty ambition.

“We were close last year,” Logano said. “But the track is so much different now than it was even when I won all those Nationwide Series races. It’s a lot bumpier now. And the competition in the Sprint Cup Series is just so much better, so it would be tough. I like to think we could do it, but that’s tough to go to a track and win two in a row, let alone three in a row.  Especially all of them from the pole.

“You just don’t see that kind of stuff in the Sprint Cup Series anymore, because the competition has gotten so tough. When there are 20 guys that can win on any given weekend, you can’t expect people to go out there and win two or three races in-a-row anymore at one track.”

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