Thursday, February 26, 2009

Joey Logano: Give the Kid a Break

Joey Logano is just a kid. But he's playing in a man's world.

At 19 years young, Logano has taken over the coveted ride of one of the most talented drivers in motorsports. He's been profiled, photographed and marketed to within an inch of his life. And his arrival on the Sprint Cup scene has been fraught with words like "boy wonder," "racing phenom" and the infamous "sliced bread."

With such massive hype comes massive expectations. But in this case, such high hopes aren't entirely fair.

Logano is running his first full Sprint Cup season with only 23 races under his belt, and that's counting all of the top three series combined. Not much experience--even if you are a wunderkind. Daytona came to a crashing halt early on. Then, in Fontana, he pulled out a top 20 finish.

Compare that to hotshot uber talent Kyle Busch. In his first full Cup season, Busch had already made 54 starts on the Craftsman, Busch and Nextel circuits. That's a heckuva lot more schooling than Logano. And by year's end, it paid off. Busch finished '05 twentieth in points and never looked back.

I say that if Logano fails to live up to the hype this year, the blame isn't his. After all, as Logano himself has said, who would pass up a ride with Joe Gibbs? Experience comes with time. Opportunity only knocks once. Besides, if he's really got the goods, the results will follow soon enough.

So let's give the kid about 30 more races before we start calling him a disappointment.

And then, let's give the kid a break.

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