NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR would allow some wiggle room on age issue, Helton says

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If the minimum age for driving in the Sprint Cup Series is raised to 21, NASCAR president Mike Helton said Thursday it would likely be implemented so that any drivers current plans to move up would not be affected.

Helton said no decision on increasing the minimum age from 18 to 21 for NASCAR’s top series is imminent. When made and announced, though, Helton consideration would be given to teams, drivers and sponsors who’ve already been working on deals.

Joey Logano’s name comes up in any discussion about a possible age limit. The 2007 Camping World East Series champion turns 18 in May and will immediately begin racing in the Nationwide Series. If he drove another full season there in 2009, he’d still be only 19 at the start of the 2010 and, under a strict minimum age limit of 21, would not be eligible for Cup until May 2011.

"Our concern is that the responsibility that now comes with being a driver in the Cup series, which is the highest it's ever been, requires maybe a better opportunity to be ready for it," Helton said.

“There's certainly no way that NASCAR has a gauge of any sort that can tell you that a 21-year-old is more mature than an 18-year-old. In some cases, we've seen 15- or 16-year-old guys who may be more mature than 30-year-old guys.

"But the ability to pace themselves, get the experience and learn how to handle the responsibility that goes with being a driver in the Sprint Cup Series is what we're looking at across the board.”