HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Joe Gibbs remembers being a little hesitant the first time he met Joey Logano, days before he was to sign the phenom driver to a development contract with his race team.

"I come from football," the former Washington Redskins coach said Monday. "I'm used to seeing these great big guys, so when you sign them I'm getting my money's worth.

"I looked across the table and there was Joey, maybe 5-10, 5-9. I said, 'He's 15. We're going to sign him?"'

Three years later, a few of inches taller and only a few pounds heavier, Gibbs is convinced the rail thin, 18-year-old Logano can effectively replace Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing next season.

"The farther you go the more you become convinced you've got somebody special," Gibbs said.

With Stewart, a two-time Sprint Cup points champion, set to leave JGR after 10 years to become driver-owner of what is now called Haas-CNC racing, Logano next season will inherit Stewart's sponsor, Home Depot, and his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli.