HOMESTEAD, Fla – The “Big 3” said that they’d be okay if any of them won this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. After all, they dominated the show this season. Dating back to the start of the 2017 playoffs and through the month of July, if the series raced on a non restrictor plate track, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. won 89-percent of the time (24-for-27).
We all wondered on who the fourth member would be to challenge them for the championship at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Really, at that point of the year, the only reason we needed a fourth driver was a formality. What would they really accomplish?
Well, over the final 13 races of the season the “Big 3” cooled off and Joey Logano got hot. Logano, had the best average finishing position over the final 13 races of the season and beat the “Big 3” outright in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400. He won fair and square and despite Martin Truex Jr. vowing at Martinsville a month ago that Logano wouldn’t win the “damn war” he won it.
This was the ultimate payback for Team Penske by Logano. In all, if Penske doesn’t take a chance on Logano for the 2013 season, he may not be here today.
Logano, was dubbed “The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread” before he made it to NASCAR’s premiere series. Joe Gibbs Racing signed him early and had him in Cup as an 18 year old. That proved to be a costly mistake too.
Logano, was too inexperienced and just too young. He had 39 total starts before he took over the No. 20 with JGR. That counts ARCA, K&N, Trucks and XFINITY Series competition. That’s it. With such lofty expectations and taking over a ride that Tony Stewart had so much success in for 10 years, it was too much for Logano to handle.
He had two wins, 16 top five finishes and 41 top 10’s in four widely unspectacular seasons with JGR. His best season average finishing position was 16.4. The experiment was over and JGR cut ties with Logano at the young age of 22.
Six years later, he’s a NASCAR champion.
In the six years he’s been with Team Penske, Logano has 19 wins, 88 top fives and 138 top 10’s. He’s led 4,760 laps with Penske and only 337 with JGR.
On Sunday, he won not just the race, not just the championship but won closure over JGR’s snub too. Just think of where JGR would be if they had kept Logano and let him grow.
Unfortunately for them and luckily for Penske, he was allowed to grow and he’s now got a ton of years left in him for more.