Joey Logano is having a pretty good season so far. The 23 year old is well on his way to having a career best season. Outside of his two DNFs and two pretty bad runs at Phoenix and Darlington, he has finished in the top 20 in every race, has a higher average finish then any of his other seasons, and “coulda,” “shoulda,” won Fontana.
But this article is less about this season and more what happened before it. If you look back, you can find some crazy similarities to his former teammate, one Kyle Busch.
Both Busch and Logano came up to Cup amazingly early after an incredible season in the Nationwide/Busch series (albeit Joey’s was a part time season). They succeeded a long term driver who had made the car famous in one of the best teams in the sport (Terry Labonte and the 5 for Hendrick, Tony Stewart and the 20 for Gibbs).
After such an early start, both drivers played third bananas on their teams, and thus didn’t receive the same kind of treatment and attention as their teammates. In Kyle’s case, it really didn’t matter, as he still won 4 races in 3 seasons and had a highest points finish of 5th. In Logano’s case, he only had 2 wins in 4 seasons and a highest points finish of 16th.
After under-performing (relatively in Kyle’s case), both were replaced (not fired) for a driver from the 2000 Winston Cup rookie class and former Daytona 500 winners (Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth). Both left to join a team with championship winning teammates (Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski) and young like minded teammates (Denny Hamlin and Keselowski), on teams that left their long term make for a new one (Toyota and Ford)
Joey’s season isn’t as great as Kyle’s first season with Gibbs was so far (Kyle already had 4 wins by this point), but its been arguably just as colorful. Both had incidents at short tracks with a driver from their former team (Dale Jr. at Richmond and Denny Hamlin at Bristol), but in Joey’s case, Hamlin came right back the very next race for the infamous Fontana Fumble.
Time will tell if Joey will become the next Kyle Busch, but he’s already well on his way.