Who Is the Youngest Driver to Start the NASCAR Daytona 500?

Published 01/11/2022, 1:44 AM EST
A general view of the track taken during the Daytona 500 Speedweeks at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport

The Daytona 500 is regarded as one of the biggest NASCAR races, if not the biggest. There is a lot of history surrounding the event. Additionally, there are several records associated with the iconic race, like the most wins, most starts, and others, that the drivers and the fans revere. Interestingly, there is one record that has stood for more than a decade; that of the youngest driver to compete in the race. As it happens, Joey Logano is the youngest driver to ever start the Daytona 500.


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At that time, the then Joe Gibbs Racing driver was 18 years, 8 months, and 22 days old. Unfortunately, he finished the iconic race classified as 43rd and dead last. On the bright side, he did gain some valuable experience and was able to improve himself from there. In fact, he would later go on to take his maiden Cup Series victory in the same year.

How has Joey Logano performed at the NASCAR Daytona 500 since then?


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Ever since his debut, he has gone from strength to strength. In 2015, the 24-year-old finally triumphed at the iconic race in just his 7th start. He confessed it was an unbelievable feeling, and he was pretty nervous throughout the race. In the process, he held on to become the second-youngest winner after Trevor Bayne in 2011.

Sep 26, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With 13 laps remaining, the Team Penske driver took the lead and stayed there for good. Despite a green-white-checkered restart, courtesy Justin Allgaier’s spin, and a red flag, he persevered. On the restart, Logano was alongside Denny Hamlin and opted to take the outside lane for the restart. It also helped his case that he had Clint Bowyer behind him, as he was “the best pusher.”

Admittedly, there was a looming threat from Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr through the draft. However, they were too late to try and mount a challenge. In the end, Logano stormed to an 8th career victory and his first and only Daytona 500 triumph.


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Dhruv George

12563 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.