Joey Logano became the second youngest winner of the Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon after holding off drivers in a green-white-checker finish. Logano, a native from Connecticut, captured his ninth Sprint Cup Series win after leading six different times for 31 laps. With the win by Tyler Reddick on Friday and a surprising victory on Saturday with Ryan Reed, Logano’s victory carried Ford to the weekend sweep inside his No. 22 Ford.
“What an amazing moment. Wow. To win this race is just amazing,” said an excited Logano celebrating in victory lane. “I have the best team on pit road for sure. These guys are awesome. My spotter did a great job giving me the information I need to get our front and stay out front before that last caution and be able to have a good restart there at the end. I knew I had the 15 behind me and Clint Bowyer was the best pusher I could find out there and was able to push me to the lead and I knew I wanted the outside to make sure he was behind me to work up there again.”
Kevin Harvick came shy of capturing his second Daytona 500 victory by a margin of 1.006 seconds. Harvick was the only driver to finish inside the top five who did not lead a single lap all afternoon. The 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion earned his seventh top five finish at the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
“I thought we were in good shape with the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) behind us,” said Harvick. I was trying to back up to him to get a run up off of Turn 4. All in all it was a good weekend for our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser team and everyone at Stewart-Haas did a great job. I’m really proud of everyone and we’re looking forward to Atlanta.”
The 2014 Daytona 500 winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will take home a third-place finish in the Daytona 500. Earnhardt came into the weekend looking to join a short list of drivers to score back-to-back Daytona 500 victories. If he would have done so, Earnhardt would be the first driver since Sterling Marlin completed the feat nearly 20-years ago. In 31 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona, Earnhardt holds 18 career top 10 finishes.
“We had a really fast car maybe the best car here,” said Earnhardt. “So I had a lot of confidence to keep digging and we got some of those spots back. Just a little disappointed I let the guys down. We should have won the race. Congratulations to Joey (Logano).”
It was a bittersweet Sunday afternoon for veteran driver Jeff Gordon as he made his last start in the Daytona 500. Gordon, who started the afternoon from the pole, had a great run all afternoon upfront by leading six different times for 87 laps. Gordon finished 33rd after getting into a crash on the back straightaway coming to the checker.
Regan Smith, who piloted the No. 41 Chevrolet Sunday afternoon after Kurt Busch was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR on Friday, came home with a 16th-place finish. Smith battled a really tight car all day that caused it to plow through the corner. A replacement driver is still being determined for Atlanta.
Matt Crafton made his Daytona 500 debut on Sunday after being called to sub for Kyle Busch who got injured in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race the day before. Crafton piloted the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota to a finish of 19th on Sunday. He played the same strategy as he did in the Nextera Energy Resources 250 on Friday by hanging around in the back for most of the laps. Crafton described his day as a learning process.
"It was a learning curve,” said Crafton. “The first half we just rode around and tried to learn, learn, learn. I made a mistake – I had a pretty good surge up top and I tried the bottom and shuffled myself all the way to the back. I should have had a little better finish there at the end, but it is what it is."
The next race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500. Coverage will begin at 12:00 p.m. Et. live on FOX. The Performance Racing Network will supply the radio coverage.