DAYTONA BEACH — When Joey Logano made his Sprint Cup debut at New Hampshire in September 2008 at age 18, it seemed like a quick but natural progression. Why wouldn't the teenager nicknamed "Sliced Bread" — as in the greatest thing since — become the youngest driver in series history?
Now 21, Logano says his rise might have been too fast.
"Looking at it now, probably," said Logano, who has one career victory in NASCAR's top series.
Logano knew how to race, but he said he wasn't prepared for the off-track responsibilities, team demands and leadership that came with inheriting Tony Stewart's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car. In three full seasons, Logano hasn't finished higher than 16th in points, and rumors have swirled about his uncertain future with JGR.
Logano said Thursday that no one has job security but he doesn't regret his jump. "I had the opportunity to jump in the Home Depot car. I would do it again. Who wouldn't?"
FAVORED AGAIN: Jimmie Johnson's five-year streak of Cup titles ended last season, but media members believe he will be back on top in 2012.
NASCARmedia.com's preseason poll ranked Johnson as the favorite to win the series. Carl Edwards, Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
"Everybody that covers our sport knows the sport well, and I think they know the (No.) 48 well," Johnson said. "We're highly motivated to get it done in 2012."
Tandem or pack: After tandem racing pushed Trevor Bayne to victory at Daytona last year, NASCAR made communication and mechanical rules changes to cut down on one car pushing another. The changes are designed to limit follow-the-leader driving and encourage pack racing.
In tests, two cars could push each other for somewhere between one and six laps, depending on the setup, before the engines got too hot.
Because the configurations haven't been tested in a race, Jamie McMurray said drivers won't know how much tandem racing the 500 will feature until they get a feel Saturday at the Budweiser Shootout.
Reutimann rooter: Danica Patrick's rise to NASCAR's top series with Stewart-Haas Racing has a tie with Zephyrhills' David Reutimann. Patrick will drive the No. 10 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy for 10 Cup races, including the 500, through a collaborative partnership between the teams. Patrick is in the 500 because of owner's points accumulated last season by Baldwin driver Dave Blaney, who was 33rd. The top 35 in owners points from last season are guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races.
Reutimann will drive the No. 10 for the other 26 Cup races, and will race the No. 93 BK Racing Toyota at Daytona.
The split season means Patrick and Reutimann will have to root for each other to boost the car's owners points.
"I'm definitely going to hope that David has good races and that he finishes well or finishes," Patrick said.
Nothing owed: Edwards has been one of the sport's brightest stars, but he's missing two key accomplishments: a Daytona win and a series title. He was runnerup in both last year, pushing Bayne across at the 500 and battling Stewart for the points title until the final laps at Homestead. Still, Edwards said he doesn't feel as if NASCAR owes him a victory. "I don't ever feel like this sport owes me anything," he said. "I feel that I owe this sport a lot. … I've already surpassed my wildest dreams 100 times over."