Jun 27, 2014, 7:24 PM EDT
Time sure flies in NASCAR annals.
Can you believe that Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway will be the 200th career Sprint Cup start for Team Penske driver Joey Logano?
Logano made his Cup debut at the precocious age of 18 in 2008 at his “home track” of New Hampshire Motor Speedway – while also competing full-time on the Nationwide Series.
The following year, Logano was promoted to Sprint Cup with Joe Gibbs Racing and has become one of the more successful and popular young drivers on the circuit.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 200 races already,” Logano said in a team media release. “It just doesn’t feel like it’s been that many.
“When you add in the Nationwide Series races (129) and the few Truck (five) starts I’ve had, I’ve started well over 300 races in my NASCAR career.”
Hard as it also may seem to believe, Logano is now in his sixth full season on the Sprint Cup circuit.
At the rate he’s going, let’s do the math and extrapolate things a bit (and this is all based upon no missed races due to injury or otherwise):
* Logano is on pace to make 400 starts before he turns 30
* He would hit 600 starts by the time he’s 35
* Would make 800 starts after he turns 40
* Would make 1,000 career Sprint Cup starts as he closes in on 46 years old (of course, that’s provided Logano intends on still be racing at that age)
And if Logano does reach 1,000 starts, he would overtake Ricky Rudd (906 starts) for second place on the all-time Sprint Cup starts list. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty holds the record with 1,185 career starts.
“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,” Logano said. “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.”
Although he earned his first career Cup win as a 19-year-old (at his home track of New Hampshire) Logano endured some dark moments during his time at JGR, including failing to qualify for the Chase in any of his four seasons there.
But since switching to Team Penske in 2013, Logano not only won a race that season as well as made the Chase (finished eightht), and thus far this season he has two wins and is locked into this year’s Chase, as well.
“I learned a lot through my struggles early on and that had taught me a lot that I know today,” Logano said. “I don’t think I would be in the position that I am today without those early struggles.”
To date, Logano, who just turned 24 on May 24th, has earned five wins, 33 top-five and 68 top-10 finishes, as well as eight poles, in 199 starts.
To also extrapolate those numbers further, since joining Team Penske, Logano has three wins, 17 top-fives and 27 top-10s.
“I’m just 24 now and I have six years of Sprint Cup Series experience under my belt,” Logano said. “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.”
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