The pole winner for this Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is so young, they’ve had to rename the award.
Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano qualified for his first-ever pole, but since he’s only 19 – and therefore not yet legal drinking age -- the Coors Light Pole Award has been renamed the “21 Means 21 Pole Award” for Sunday’s race.
NASCAR has been confronted with such an issue before. In February 2005 at Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch became the youngest pole winner in NASCAR’s top series. Back then, Budweiser sponsored the pole award, and at the time, Busch was also only 19. It’s unclear if the pole award’s name was changed for that race – perhaps it was a less enlightened time.
Busch was no stranger to being underage in racing. According to a Charlotte Observer story from 2005, he’d been at Fontana for a NASCAR Truck Series race in November 2001 when he was just 16. Although he’d been told he had been the fastest in practice, he was barred from competing because there was also a CART race at the same track that weekend being sponsored by cigarette maker, Marlboro.
Six weeks later, the story says, NASCAR set a minimum age requirement of 18 to compete in its top three race series.