The 2016 NASCAR season will be here soon, and Athlon Sports is helping you prep for the season with a scouting report and fantasy preview for each of the top 16 drivers. The Athlon Sports 2016 Racing Preview, available on newsstands now, includes previews and stats for every driver and every track.
Joey Logano checks in at No. 1 in our countdown. Here’s what his season could look like on the track and on your fantasy team:
“Joey’s really a nice kid when you get down to it,” an industry insider says. “But he got over to Team Penske and his ‘role model’ was Brad Keselowski, a talented but younger driver himself who doesn’t always think before he makes a move on the track — or opens his mouth, for that matter. I think it’s rubbed off on Joey in a way that maybe has helped him be more aggressive, sometimes, obviously too aggressive, on the track, and in a way that’s sometimes hurt him with what he says off the track. What he’s said and done recently has made a lot of veteran drivers dislike him.”
“Listen, this is what young kids do. They run their mouths and make mistakes and usually pay a price for it. It’s totally normal for young people,” a former driver says. “I didn’t see it coming with Joey. But Joey learned, ‘Look, it’s an eye for an eye, man.’ He thought what he did at Kansas was cool. But we all said he’s going to get wrecked back. I think he will become a better driver in the long run because of what he’s now gone through. Joey Logano, for me, is right up there with the talent to become one of the next champions. We all learn lessons along the way. He’s very young. He’s only 25, you know?”
Victory Lane or bust: Logano has more wins (11) than any driver on the Sprint Cup circuit since the start of the 2014 season. They’ve come on each of NASCAR’s four major types: short tracks, intermediates, superspeedways and road courses — variety that makes him a “must have” for your roster.
Restrictor plate roller coaster: Logano’s recent plate track record shows the difficulty in trying to pick drivers for Daytona and Talladega. In four starts last year, he had two victories, including the sport’s Super Bowl (Daytona 500), but was 22nd and 33rd, respectively, in the other two events. Select at your own risk.
No senior citizen here: Logano, just age 25 was the lone twenty-something to make the 16-driver Chase. Tops among NASCAR’s next generation, he possesses upside potential in drafting that is far greater than many of the 40-ish drivers who’ve already reached their peak.