LOUDON, N.H. - Joey Logano isn't apologizing for getting a lucky win.
Especially when it's his first one - and it made him the youngest winner in the history of the Sprint Cup series.
"Obviously, it's not the way you want to win your first race, in the rain," Logano said after taking Sunday's shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "But 20 years down the road, when you look in the record books, no one will know the difference. I'll take them any way I can."
For team owner Joe Gibbs, it was a little vindication for putting a raw, if talented rookie in the car that had been driven the previous 10 seasons by two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.
"We were really looking for just constant improvement, and that's really what we've seen," Gibbs said.
The teenager overcame a crash and a lost lap, then saved just enough fuel to earn his first Cup victory in only his 20th start.
Logano, not even allowed to begin his NASCAR career until he turned 18 in May 2008, added his latest victory to three wins in the second tier Nationwide Series.
"Well, I figured out this sport is a rollercoaster," Logano said. "I go up and down, up and down, up and down. ... One week you can win and the next week you can be 43rd."
He was among a group of drivers who moved to the front of the field after getting out of sequence on fuel stops. He took the lead when Ryan Newman, trying to stay out as long as possible with rain threatening, ran out of gas on lap 264 of a scheduled 301.
Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon moved into second and was steadily cutting into the lead as Logano, with a nearly empty tank, conserved as much fuel as possible. But the rain began falling three laps later.
The competitors ran six more under caution before NASCAR put out a red flag in hopes of drying the track. But the rain began falling harder and the race was called after 273 laps.
Logano credited to crew chief Greg Zipadelli, who worked with Stewart throughout the years he spent at JGR and stayed when Stewart left this season to become an owner-driver.
"He went for it and I was just lucky enough to be in the seat," Logano said. "He said to just stay out, rain's in the area. So we started saving a little bit of fuel ... It's a dream come true, that's for sure."
Zipadelli, who guided Stewart to 33 Cup victories, seemed a little stunned.
"It's crazy," he said. "Obviously, everything at the end of the day went our way. You can't control the weather. The only thing you can do is try to play it to our hand."
Logano, 19 years, 1 month and 4 days old, broke the record set by Kyle Busch for the youngest winner. Busch, now 24, was 20 years, 4 months and 2 days when he won for the first time at California in September 2005.
Logano was first spotted as a 15-year-old by NASCAR star Mark Martin, who predicted greatness for the youngster. He been on the fast track ever since, winning races at every level and beating some of NASCAR's top developmental drivers along the way.
To his embarrassment, Logano was dubbed "Sliced Bread," as in, the greatest thing since.
The kid has struggled at times this season, but he has shown flashes of the kind of talent that gave Gibbs the confidence to put him in the No. 20 Toyota.
"We know today we were fortunate," Gibbs said. "And we know there will probably be some tough days out there for us. But I'm absolutely thrilled for Joey and his family and for us, all of us at Joe Gibbs Racing. We figure we can keep this going, ride this thing for about 20 years."
It was a virtual home victory for Logano, who was raised in Middletown, Conn., and who made his first Cup start on the same 1.058-mile oval last September, struggling throughout the race and finishing 32nd.
But that was just a distant memory after Sunday.
"Today, this is cool," Logano said. "This is where I watched my first Cup race, where I ran my first Cup race and where I won my first Cup race, so I could not have picked a better place."
Gordon said Zipadelli made "a gutsy call" leaving Logano on track.
"I was trying to get him to use as much fuel on the caution laps as I could," Gordon said, grinning. "I thought for sure he was going to run out of gas. But we're here on pit road and it's raining hard, so I guess it worked out for him."
Kurt Busch, who won a rain-shortened event here last June, finished third, followed by David Reutimann and Stewart, the series leader by 69 points over Gordon.
The race was slowed by 11 caution flags for 47 laps. The ninth one was brought out when Logano spun in heavy traffic, hitting the wall in turn four on the 1.058-mile oval.
That cost Logano a lap, but he got it back on the next caution flag, earning the free pass as the first car a lap down.
"We got lucky, obviously," he said. "The rain came at just the right time. But, yeah, it's cool. A win's a win in my book."