HOMESTEAD, Fla. — In a race where, at one point or another, all four of the Championship 4 drivers looked in position to take the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship, Joey Logano bested the rest to win his first ever.
Logano, 28, led the most laps at 80 on the day, but the only one that mattered was the final one, where he crossed the line ahead of his Championship 4 competition, the anointed ‘Big 3’ of Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch.
In a race that saw five cautions, it was the final one that made all the difference.
Seemingly out of the fight, Logano ranked fourth out of the four with the laps winding down, seemingly needing a miracle to get back into the mix. Busch had not yet pitted, while Harvick was just in front of Truex, Jr., who was closing the gap.
With just under 20 laps to go, the final caution of the day flew for contact between Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez, which brought all four drivers and the rest of the field to pit road.
Busch won the race off pit road, but lost the lead quickly on the restart to Truex, Jr. with Logano in tow.
Logano didn’t wait long to make his move, as he seemed to have the best short run car out of everyone.
With 12 laps to go, Logano drove around the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota like it was stopped on the track, and never looked back.
“Man, I worked my whole life to get here,” Logano said on the championship stage. “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.”
Since the inception of the four car championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, this was the first time that all four contenders finished 1-2-3-4. It was also the first time in this championship format that the champion led the most laps in the event.
Harvick was the winner of Stage 1, while Kyle Larson, who ultimately finished in 13th, won Stage 2 on a last lap pass on Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Logano collected his third victory of the 2018 season, which was still less than any of the other ‘Big 3’ in the championship hunt. Harvick and Busch led with eight a piece, and Truex, Jr. finished off with four.
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