Editor's note: Yahoo! Sports is counting down the top 20 drivers of the 2011 season. The order was determined by a survey, which asked five NASCAR journalists – Jay Busbee and Jay Hart (Yahoo! Sports), Jenna Fryer (Associated Press), Dustin Long (Landmark Newspapers) and Nate Ryan (USA Today) – to predict the final standings for the 2011 season. The countdown will conclude on Feb. 11 with the unveiling of the No. 1 driver.
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2010 finish: 16th
Our 2011 predictions:
• Jay Busbee: 20th
• Jay Hart: 14th
• Jenna Fryer: 11th
• Dustin Long: 9th
• Nate Ryan: 20th
2011 outlook: To this point, Joey Logano has been biding his time, waiting for his experience to match up with his purported potential. Well, that time has come.
In the final weeks of the 2010 season, Logano was as consistent as anyone, ending his sophomore campaign with five top 10 finishes in the final six races – a string made more impressive by the fact that he did so on small (Martinsville and Phoenix), medium (Charlotte and Texas) and large (Talladega) tracks.
Entering last season, Logano insisted his goal was to make the Chase. That was a bit ambitious for the then-19-year-old. It won't be this season. In fact, if Logano (who turns 21 in May) doesn't make the Chase, he'll be rightfully disappointed.
That he's not in the Yahoo! Sports top 12 is more of a commentary on how tough making the Chase is than it is on Logano's ability. Expect him to lead his share of laps in 2011, win a race or two and be in contention for the Chase right up to Richmond.
And if he does get in, give the kid credit. Considering the hype surrounding him coming in, there was nowhere for him to go but down – and so far he's holding his own.
- Joey Logano