Logano says he felt a whole lot safer on that spread than on, say, a football field—which seemed to him like a far more dangerous patch of ground than a racetrack. Still does. "In football you take a big hit, you've got to not only get back up, but you may take a big hit again," Logano explained to SI.com, six days before starting on the grid in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. "And then you've got to do it again next week. [NASCAR drivers] don't crash every single week—and if we do, we're out of the race. We have time to recover."
There is likely to be closer to the place that Mark Martin foresaw nine years. Getting there hasn't been easy, but the kid is well on his way.