Ford fiesta! Blue oval claims NASCAR titles after droughts

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — Ford slammed the door on NASCAR’s longest championship drought when Joey Logano drove a Fusion to victory in its final race.

Logano won Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway to give the American automaker its eighth drivers’ title, but first since Kurt Busch in 2004. Ford also won the manufacturers’ title, the first time it has won the top two prizes in NASCAR in a season since 1999.

Ford had two of the four entries in the championship field, one each from Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing, the teams it recruited to end its championship slide. The crown went to Roger Penske, a longtime Ford supporter and friend of Edsel Ford II, grandson of Henry Ford.

“Delivering the manufacturers’ championship and the driver’s championship, where it’s been a drought for them and for Edsel,” Penske said, “and all the people that have done so much at Ford, and they’ve stayed committed with us. This is part of building a brand.”

Penkse and Edsel Ford shared the championship moment in victory lane. Team Penske returned to the Ford brand in 2013 and has been the cornerstone of the blue oval groups bid to challenge Chevrolet and Toyota for tops in NASCAR.

“It means a lot to me personally to have both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship,” 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.”

Ford led all three manufacturers with 19 wins in 2018, including eight by Kevin Harvick, four by Brad Keselowski, three by Logano, two by Clint Bowyer and one from Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch.

“This means so much for Ford Motor Company and all of our employees that work so hard,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director for Ford Performance. “I just can’t believe this right now. 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.”

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