Joey Logano beats Truex to win 2018 NASCAR Cup Series title

Move over “Big 3” – you have to add a fourth: Joey Logano is the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.

Joey Logano beats Truex to win 2018 NASCAR Cup Series title
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil, celebrates after winning the 2018 Nascar Monster Cup Series Championship.
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil celebrates his championship win with a burnout
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil, celebrates after winning the 2018 Nascar Monster Cup Series Championship.
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil celebrates his championship win
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil celebrates
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil and team celebrate
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Jimmy John's
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Jimmy John's
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Jimmy John's, Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's, Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Discount Tire, Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY

Logano passed leader Martin Truex Jr. with 12 of 267 laps remaining and held on to win Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, capturing his first career series championship.

The win was the third of the season for Logano, who was overshadowed much of the year by his fellow title contenders Truex, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch (who combined for 20 wins).

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"We did it! We won the championship! I can’t believe it," Logano said. "I don't know what to say. This team, (owner) Roger Penske, (crew chief) 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. We won the championship! Oh my God!”

Logano, as he had said all week, repeated that he never considered himself the underdog in the championship race.

"I told you we weren’t and showed you why were not. We were the favorite like I told you before the race started. I am so proud of everybody for rising to the occasion. We executed down the stretch like nobody’s business," he said.

"We got Ford not only the drivers championship but the manufacturers’ championship. I can’t wait to break that Mustang out.”

Asked to describe he emotions when he came to the checkered flag, Logano said: "Just a lot of screaming. I think I pulled a muscle. Man, I worked my whole life to get here. To win a championship. We have been so close.

"It has been 10 seasons of fighting for this. I wasn’t sure we were going to get it but Todd made a good adjustment at the end and we had that no quit attitude.”

Truex ended up second in the race, Harvick was third and Kyle Busch fourth and the Championship 4 swept the top four positions.

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

The championship is also the first for Ford Motor Co. in the Cup series since 2004 (Kurt Busch won with Roush Fenway Racing).

“This means so much for Ford Motor Company and all of our employees that work so hard. I just can’t believe this right now," said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance. "We have worked so hard for the last three years to build up the program and to have this 2018 season and have 19 wins, the manufacturers’ championship and the drivers championship. 
 
"It is incredible to have the company achieve this with the help of our partners, Team Penske and Roush Yates Engines. It is incredible.” 

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, Logano was first off pit road followed by Harvick, Truex, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. The final stage went green on Lap 167.

Logano went to the inside of Harvick and reclaimed the lead exiting Turn 4 on the restart. Truex moved into second and Harvick dropped to third.

With 77 laps left in the race, Logano held a small lead over Larson, with Truex in third, Harvick fourth and Kyle Busch running fifth.

With 74 to go, Larson – while running in second – hit the wall twice and fell off the pace, doing significance damage to his No. 42 Chevrolet.

All of the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Logano once again the first off pit road, followed by Truex, Harvick and Hamlin. Kyle Busch had another slow stop and lined up ninth on the restart with 68 to go.

With 65 to go, Logano held a small advantage over Truex with Harvick in third. Kyle Busch moved up to fifth.

All four title contenders ran in the top four with 60 laps remaining in the season finale as Logano maintain a 1.2-second lead over Truex.

With 49 laps remaining, Truex got around Logano to take the lead for the first time in the race. Harvick ran third and Kyle Busch was fifth.

Truex opened up a 1.7-second lead over Loganp with 40 laps left in the race. Harvick remained in third while Kyle Busch ran fifth.

A final round of green-flag pit stops kicked off with Harvick heading to pit road with 37 laps remaining. Truex and Logano soon followed on the next lap. Kyle Busch remained on the track.

Truex had a slow pit stop as his No. 78 Toyota fell off the jack before the tire was on.

Before Bush elected to pit, Brad Keselowski got into Daniel Suarez and sent him spinning into the infield and brought out a caution.

All of the lead-lap cars pit with Kyle Busch first off pit road, followed by fellow title contenders Truex, Logano and Harvick. The race returned to green with 15 to go.

Logano powered into the lead with 12 to go.

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Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 267   80
2 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 267 1.725 20
3 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 267 3.735 58
4 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 267 5.566 21
5 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 267 6.174  
6 6 United States Matt Kenseth  Ford 267 7.150  
7 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 267 8.140  
8 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 267 8.155  
9 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 267 9.227  
10 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 267 9.744  
11 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 267 11.313  
12 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 267 11.983 41
13 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 267 12.223 45
14 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 267 12.803  
15 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 267 13.283  
16 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 267 14.241  
17 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 267 16.264  
18 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 267 18.744  
19 47 United States A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 266 1 lap  
20 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 266 1 lap  
21 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 266 1 lap  
22 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 266 1 lap  
23 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 266 1 lap  
24 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 266 1 lap  
25 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 265 2 laps  
26 32 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 264 3 laps  
27 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 264 3 laps  
28 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 263 4 laps 2
29 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 263 4 laps  
30 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 262 5 laps  
31 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 262 5 laps  
32 23 United States J.J. Yeley  Ford 261 6 laps  
33 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 259 8 laps  
34 72 United States Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 259 8 laps  
35 51 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 256 11 laps  
36 99 United States Kyle Weatherman  Chevrolet 256 11 laps  
37 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 254 13 laps  
38 97 Tanner Berryhill  Toyota 254 13 laps  
39 95 United States Regan Smith  Chevrolet 240 27 laps  
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