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NASCAR Cup: Joey Logano wins at Homestead for 2018 title

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2018 in Homestead, Florida.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Joey Logano was the only driver among the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Championship Four — also including Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. — without a Cup Series championship. He claimed his championship Sunday when he won the Ford EcoBoost 400 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We did it! We won the championship! I can’t believe it! I don’t know what to say,” Logano said. “This team, Roger Penske, Todd Gordon, the pit crew. Oh my God, they gave me the car I needed at the end to do my job. Put me in position to do my job. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Logano’s title is the second in the Cup Series for Team Penske and the second drivers’ title for a Ford driver since Kurt Busch in 2004. Logano’s win also cemented the first manufacturers’ title for Ford since 1999.

“It means a lot to me personally to have both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship,” Ford’s Edsel B. Ford said. “It has been since 1999, and I was there with Robert Yates and Dale Jarrett. Doing it again, 19 years later, it is absolutely indescribable to me.”

The four championship contenders finished first through fourth at Homestead. Last year’s champion, Martin Truex Jr. took runner-up honors in the last race for his Furniture Row Racing team after battling Logano late in the race.

“I just needed time. That’s all I needed,” Truex said. “They (Logano’s team) were faster than us for 15 or 20 laps all day long. It was like a reverse scenario from last year. Last year we took advantage of the short run car at the end – the 18 (Busch) car should’ve won the race, and tonight, we should’ve won the race, and they took advantage of the short-run car. I don’t know what else we could’ve done. Honestly, we worked our guts out all weekend and just to get here. I told you earlier we shut a lot of people up and made them eat crow, and that felt good. To come here and almost upset the field and almost win it back to back was really awesome. I just wish that last caution hadn’t come out. Other than that, I don’t know what we could’ve done.”

Harvick finished third, and Busch was fourth.

“I don’t know, just not at all what we wanted, obviously, and not what we expected, either,” Busch said. “We knew the 22 (Logano) was fast, but man, I thought we were way closer than that. We kind of held up the first half of the race, but after that, we were just never close. I don’t know what happened, just didn’t have the feel in the race car that I needed tonight. Just all night long, as soon as we got out of the gas and into the corner, we were just sideways, just turning to the right and trying to save it. You do that for 50 or 60 laps, whatever it is, on tires and you just can’t hang on. I couldn’t hang after eight laps, let alone the 50. Bummed for all of our guys, Adam Stevens [crew chief] and my guys did a phenomenal job. This M&Ms Camry team was really, really good, just not good enough on the night we wanted the most. We finished fourth, last of the playoff guys. That’s not what it takes these days.”

Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five.

Logano led a race-high 80 laps in the 267-lap race, but Harvick was up front for stage wins on lap 80 and lap 160. He passed pole sitter Denny Hamlin for the lead on lap 43 for his first stage win. After Kyle Larson led most of the second stage, Harvick retook the lead on lap 148.

Larson ran at or near the front among the championship contenders until he hit the wall, resulting in the fourth of five cautions on lap 193.

“I didn’t push it too early, because I ran up there (top of the race track) every lap, but I don’t know,” Larson said. “I guess lost focus or whatever and hit the wall. I’m pretty mad at myself about that, because I felt like we had a really good shot to win there, and I just gave it away.”

Logano was up front at early in the final 107-lap stage of the race. He and Truex battled closely for the lead until the final cycle of green-flag pit stops began on lap 229. Busch, after a few problematic pit stops, stayed out during the cycle, hoping to get a caution. That caution came when his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez spun on lap 248.

Busch got off pit road first to retain his lead, but when the race restarted, he lost the lead to Truex. Truex and Logano resumed their battle up front, and Logano took his race-winning lead on lap 255.

Finishing the race sixth through 10th were Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch.

Below, is the complete finishing order for the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway:

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Posted by on November 19, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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