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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nationwide win an important confidence booster for Logano

18-year-old Joey Logano shot into the spotlight like a rocket less than one year ago, debuting in the Nationwide series and winning in only his third start. He ran solidly in Nationwide most of 2008, then was tapped by Joe Gibbs to run Cup in 2009 and replace the departing Tony Stewart.

2009 has been a different story. It’s been a tough year for Logano, the first real bobble in his rocket to stardom that started when he was just a young teenager. His Cup season has been unimpressive, to be kind. And he hadn’t been to Victory Lane since his lone Nationwide win last spring.

By picking up the win at Nashville, Logano may have indirectly helped his Cup aspirations, as this win could give Logano the confidence he needs to get his Cup career headed in the right direction. I recognize the competition is much stronger in Cup, but confidence can take you a long way in sports – and NASCAR is no exception.

I think everyone in Nashville became a Joey Logano fan at the end of Saturday’s race. Even though he was in another Gibbs car and was also a Cup driver, he had one big thing going for him: He wasn’t Kyle Busch.

I’m pretty sure most of the race fans out there, even those who root for Kyle Busch, don’t like it when one guy wins all the time, and would have rooted for any driver racing against Busch.

Often, winning breeds winning. Though a Cup win is still a pipe dream, Logano could get energized in the Nationwide series and slow down the Kyle Busch express on a regular basis. And down the line, the effect could be that he starts to get solid top-20 finishes or better in Cup, and improves from there.

It’s no guarantee, as they are two completely different cars and series, but all I’m saying is that a Joey Logano who is winning in the Nationwide series is much more likely to be a Joey Logano who finishes respectably in the Cup series.


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