Almost three years ago, Joey Logano was mired in a subpar Sprint Cup race in a very mediocre rookie season. Sitting 24th in points, Logano spun after the halfway point at New Hampshire, which allowed him to play pit strategy when the weather began to look threatening.
The rest is history: Logano became the youngest winner in series history, and it looked like the "Sliced Bread" dynasty was about to begin.
Then, a funny thing happened ... it didn't happen. Logano's 2010 started in a very blah fashion, but he was one of the hottest drivers to finish the season. Then 2011 was a letdown, and the beginning of this year didn't look much better.
Sunday, Logano finally picked up a win in which he got to cross the finish line, checkered flag waving, and do the burnout.
Now 182 drivers have won Cup series races, but about a third of those have never won a second race. Logano now is among the fortunate two-thirds who have. And not only does Logano have a more "legitimate" win, he did it by outdueling Mark Martin (more on him later).
We now can fairly ask: Is this Joe Gibbs Racing's best three-car tandem (with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush)? If Logano continues to show this strength, you can make a very strong case.
This is the third time Gibbs has had three teams win Cup races in a season, but this is the earliest it has happened, just 14 races into a season. Now Gibbs will try to put all three teams in the Chase for just the second time, after pulling it off in 2008.
Trivia break! Who has the most Cup series wins for Joe Gibbs Racing?
Always a bridesmaid
Martin was 31 years old when Logano was born. Let that one sink in.
Logano got the upper hand on Martin at the end of Sunday's race at Pocono, getting Martin all wiggly with four to go then pulling away from the 55.
That marked the seventh time Martin has finished second at Pocono, a track where he has never won. That's the most second-place finishes a driver has had at a track without a win in Cup series history.
Martin broke a tie with Bobby Allison, who was second six times at Martinsville without a win.
Trivia break! Martin has 40 career wins and 60 second-place finishes for a differential of minus-20. Who is the only driver in Cup history with a worse differential?
Usually in NASCAR, speed is a good thing. Except when you're on pit road.
Fourteen drivers were busted 22 times for speeding in Sunday's race, which, according to our friends at Racing Resources, is the most that have been recorded since they began documenting infractions in the summer of 2006.
Five drivers were tagged multiple times, and no driver was busted more than Travis Kvapil, who was ticketed four times. I imagine his insurance premiums will go up.
Trivia break! Before Logano, who was the last driver to go more than 100 starts between wins?
Trivia break answers
2. Buddy Baker had 19 wins and 42 second-places for a minus-23.
3. Juan Pablo Montoya went 113 starts between wins from 2007-10.