FOLLOW
US:




11/19 2018

JOEY LOGANO WINS THE RACE AND THE 2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP AT HOMESTEAD

Joey Logano

Joey Logano won the first Cup title for Ford since 2003.PHOTO BY MOTORSPORT IMAGES-LAT

 

 

With 12 laps to go, Logano takes the lead and holds off Martin Truex Jr. to become 33rd NASCAR Cup champion

BY:  AL PEARCE

For the fifth consecutive year, the winner of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. The championship format wasn’t designed like that, but it happened again Sunday night when Ford driver Joey Logano won the race and the championship. That happened last year with Martin Truex Jr., in 2016 with Jimmie Johnson, in 2015 with Kyle Busch, and in 2014 with Kevin Harvick.

Logano was among the drivers eligible for the Cup going into the season finale at Homestead. He didn’t need to win to be the champion; he merely had to finish ahead of Truex, Harvick and Busch, regardless of their relative positions. Theoretically, the champion could have finished 36th if his rivals had finished behind him.

There was none of that Sunday night. Regardless of their overall positions within the field, Busch led Harvick, Logano and Truex near the top of the scoreboard with 30 laps remaining. With 20 remaining it was Busch, Harvick, Truex, and Logano still near the front. After a short caution and pit stops with 15 laps remaining, the Championship 4 restarted 1-2-3-4: Busch, Truex, Logano, and Harvick.

Logano settled the issue in dominating fashion. He passed Busch with ease, then drove off to easily beat Truex, Harvick and Busch for his first NASCAR title. (It was the first time the Championship 4 had finished 1-2-3-4). Former champions Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth were fifth and sixth, Chase Elliott was seventh, Clint Bowyer eighth, Aric Almirola ninth and Kurt Busch 10th.

Logano and Keselowski drove Fords for Roger Penske; Truex a Toyota for lame-duck owner Barney Visser; Kenseth a Ford for Jack Roush; Elliott a Chevrolet for Rick Hendrick; Harvick, Bowyer, Almirola and Kurt Busch drove Fords for Tony Stewart; and Busch drove a Toyota for Joe Gibbs.

Logano, Truex, Harvick, and Busch advanced through the three-round, nine-race elimination series to reach the Championship 4. Logano qualified for the Homestead finale by winning three weeks ago at Martinsville Speedway. Harvick won the next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, a victory subsequently vacated because of a post-race inspection violation. Busch qualified by winning at ISM/Phoenix Raceway the weekend before Homestead. Like Harvick, Truex was 0-for-3 in the final qualifying series, but still advanced via points.

From the opening of the track on Friday, those four showed they belonged in the spotlight. With isolated exceptions, they were among the fastest in each of the four practice sessions on Friday and Saturday. They qualified 2-3-5-12 on Friday (Busch, Truex, Logano and Harvick). And they ran much of the 247-lap, 400-mile race within the top-10, occasionally jammed together among the top five, even 1-2-3-4 at times. It was about as close to a one-on-one championship battle as anyone could want.

They finished the first 80-lap stage 1-3-4-5: Harvick, Busch, Logano, and Truex. They then proceeded to stay closely bunched for most of the second 80-lap stage, finishing 2-3-4-6: Harvick, Logano, Truex, and Busch. In a preview of what might have been: Kyle Larson was second to Harvick in the first stage and won the second stage ahead of Harvick. But contact-related issues with his right-rear tire with 65 laps remaining eliminated him as a series race challenger. Until then, he had been the only true threat to win the race and steal the thunder from the Championship 4.

Combined, those four led 179 of the 267 laps, often with another championship rival right behind. Logano led 80 laps, Harvick 58, Busch 21, and Truex 20. Larson led 45 until fading to 13th after his issues and pole-winner Denny Hamlin led 41 before slipping back to 12th. It was the first winless season of his 13 full seasons; seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson was also winless for the first time in his 17 full seasons.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Ford EcoBoost 400

Homestead-Miami Speedway – Homestead, Florida

Sunday, November 18, 2018

1. (5) Joey Logano (P), Ford, 267.

2. (3) Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 267.

3. (12) Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 267.

4. (2) Kyle Busch (P), Toyota, 267.

5. (4) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267.

6. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 267.

7. (14) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 267.

8. (26) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 267.

9. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 267.

10. (6) Kurt Busch, Ford, 267.

11. (16) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267.

12. (1) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267.

13. (11) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267.

14. (19) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267.

15. (8) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267.

16. (9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 267.

17. (15) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 267.

18. (21) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 267.

19. (20) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 266.

20. (25) David Ragan, Ford, 266.

21. (23) Bubba Wallace #, Chevrolet, 266.

22. (31) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 266.

23. (27) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 266.

24. (28) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 266.

25. (22) Paul Menard, Ford, 265.

26. (29) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 264.

27. (7) Erik Jones, Toyota, 264.

28. (24) Michael McDowell, Ford, 263.

29. (13) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 263.

30. (18) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 262.

31. (32) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 262.

32. (33) JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 261.

33. (39) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 259.

34. (34) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 259.

35. (36) BJ McLeod(i), Ford, 256.

36. (35) * Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 256.

37. (38) * Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 254.

38. (37) * Tanner Berryhill, Toyota, 254.

39. (30) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 240.