‘We did it!’ Logano’s late surge caps final championship push

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Joey Logano won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship Sunday night, completing his late-season rise to title-winning form for the Team Penske No. 22 team at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Logano outdistanced Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. — 2018’s “Big 3” — in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400. The title marks the 28-year-old driver’s first crown in his 10th season of competition in NASCAR’s top division.

Logano’s triumph came as redemption after a heartbreaking absence from the playoff picture last season. Logano won just once in 2017, and that victory was obscured by a post-race penalty that negated an automatic championship berth.

“We did it! We won the championship! I can’t believe it,” Logano said after emerging from his car. “I don’t know what to say. 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.”

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Among the Championship 4 contenders, Logano was something of an outsider to a show of regular-season dominance from Busch, Harvick and Truex that earned the trio the moniker of the “Big 3.” Logano won once during the regular season (at Talladega Superspeedway), then caught stride as the playoffs neared, sealing his spot among the elite foursome with his first career triumph at Martinsville Speedway late last month. That victory gave him an even 20 wins in his premier series career.

The Team Penske driver made it 21 career wins, and three this year, in Miami. He led a race-high 80 laps, then powered ahead of Martin Truex Jr. following a late restart to pull away for the win.

RELATED: Truex: ‘Hell of an effort’

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

Logano’s first title comes in his sixth season with Team Penske, all of which have been paired with crew chief Todd Gordon. Logano has qualified for the Championship 4 field in even-numbered years, finishing second in 2016 and fourth in 2014.

Logano’s first brush with the title was foiled by a troubling late-race pit stop, when his No. 22 Ford fell off the jack, costing him precious time. In 2016, Logano was involved in a dramatic late-race crash with Carl Edwards and scrapped to a fourth-place finish.

MORE: Logano adds another title for Ford

Logano becomes the 33rd driver to be honored as the champion in NASCAR’s top division. Busch, Harvick and Truex were all vying for their second series crown.

This story will be updated.

The post ‘We did it!’ Logano’s late surge caps final championship push appeared first on Official Site Of NASCAR.

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