Joey Logano for NEXT: Sports Equivalency

"Jason Mraz? My prom date loves that dude." Getty Images

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Joey Logano is ready to take that massive leap into the sporting subconscience. It's a similar leap that others have had to make in other realms, but the characteristics of the man and the surroundings that will help carry him to another level are distinct. But are they beyond the measure of comparison? Heck no. That's why we're trying to find the people and things in pop culture that fit him perfectly, the mot juste for the Joey poem, as it were. Well, we think we got it.

Joey Logano's Pop Star Equivalent: David Archuleta

First off, these guys are both 18-years old. Second, they both started rolling when they were six. Logano got into midget car racing—those things go up to 45 MPH, so no midget jokes!—and Archuleta got inspired when he watched the video for Les Miserables. Really. They both utilized a Southern strategy to get rolling. Joey moved to Atlanta and started racing at the Speedway, David got a standing '"O" for belting out a Dolly Parton tune. Again, really. Mostly though, they are similar because they got nabbed up by Joe Gibbs and Simon Cowell, dudes who can take any ounce of talent and put a machine behind it.

Joey Logano's Movie Star Equivalent: Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic

When Titanic came out, DiCaprio was a young (23), good-looking actor playing a sensitive role in a blockbuster. We knew he could woo a lady, but the dude also looked like he had never required the use of a razor. He had negative machismo-cred. He'd been in one movie people could really remember him in, when he starred as the developmentally handicapped little brother of Johnny Depp in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. At the time, we could never imagine him becoming a diverse actor who could pull off the tough and tortured Billy Costigan like he did in The Departed, or the brash and nuanced Howard Hughes in The Aviator. One is fascinating, the other will break your head in just to prove he can. Joey also has his one little win on the Nationwide Circuit, but he's just now at the crossroads. The question is whether he can break out of the "sweet, young talent" stage and develop what NASCAR success really requires, which is a cool, handsome public persona mixed with a willingness to wreck a guy if you have to defend your turf. Kyle Busch did it. To paraphrase Vince Vaughn's Mikey from Swingers, we still don't know if Joey is ready to be the kid in the rated-R movie just yet. The guy who'll win, and he doesn't care how he does it.

Joey Logano's Popular Trend Equivalent: The Pet Rock

Let us explain. To be compared to the Pet Rock is no slam. But this is NASCAR in a nut-shell. The difference between Joey Logano and some other 18-year-old driving talent is almost impossible for the common fan to see. It's the difference between looking at two rocks, deciding one could ruin your lawn mower while the other could make you a million dollars in a matter of months. Meaning, Joey needs Joe Gibbs Racing behind him to build a driving and marketing machine to make this thing work. The Pet Rock is incredible because it really is just a rock. But if you can create something out of it, and force it into our subconscious as a nice thing to have around, you're a success. In racing, comparing one talent to another is almost impossible in terms of quanitifying it, but the potency of the team and the finances behind the driver can make all the difference. Whether Joey becomes a rock worth tossing, or a multi-million dollar machine is what we're about to find out.

Joey Logano's Rock Star Equivalent: Jason Mraz

For one, Mraz is from, yes, Mechanicsville, VA, which makes him perfect for our young NASCAR phenom. Mraz was young (24), and the high school girls loved him when in 2002 his song "The Remedy (I Don't Worry)" came out. And frankly, the song is pretty damn catchy. But some of Mraz's appeal from a raw talent standpoint is pretty "NASCAR" in nature. "The Remedy" was actually co-written, and so was another catchy tune, "Curbside Prophet". Bottom line, Mraz looks like a talented solo-act, and he sings songs about traveling and writing, but dude's got some serious help. Logano is also a great talent, but again, signing with Joe Gibbs Racing is a dream for any driver, and he'll have incredible backing from day one. Lastly, liking Mraz is like loving NASCAR. You say, "Hey, this is a good song!" to yourself, then you show up to the concert and the crowd is almost identical to a Jonas Brothers show. NASCAR you love, but you're still unsure if the company is "cool" or not. Are you ready to admit your passion? We are.

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