Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske, won the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship of his career on Sunday by taking the checkered flag in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at a sold-out Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Logano became the 33rd different driver to win the series title and the fifth consecutive to win both the Ford EcoBoost 400 and MENCS championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. To win the 2018 series title, Logano beat out Championship 4 contenders and past MENCS champions Kevin Harvick (2014), Kyle Busch (2015) and Martin Truex Jr. (2017). The Championship 4 contenders finished one through four with Logano crossing the finish line first, followed by Truex, Harvick then Busch.
The Middletown, Connecticut native led a race-high 80 laps and took the lead for the final time after a late restart. The championship capped off a hot late-season run in which Logano scored two wins, six top-5s and eight top-10s during the ten-race playoffs.
Despite having won the fewest races of any of the Championship 4 drivers entering tonight (2), Logano insisted he was not the underdog.
“No, I told you we weren’t and showed you why were not,” Logano said. “We were the favorite like I told you before the race started. I am so proud of everybody for rising to the occasion. We executed down the stretch like nobody’s business. I have to thank everyone that supports us. Shell and Pennzoil, SKF, Ford. We got Ford not only the driver’s championship but the manufacturers’ championship. I can’t wait to break that Mustang out.”
The 28-year-old is just the fourth driver since 1990 to win a Cup Series championship before turning 30, joining Brad Keselowski (28 in 2012), Kurt Busch (26 in 2004), Jeff Gordon (3 times at ages 24-27 from 1995-98).
Much of Logano’s success Sunday night came as a result of the performance of his pit crew, which he acknowledged during the post-race celebration.
“They are the best,” Logano said. “They did it today. Every one of them. Every individual on that team is the best in their position and they really showed it today. At points we were really good and points we were down for the count. I knew we had a short-run car. I said it before the race started that if it was anything longer than 25 laps we were going to be in trouble. That showed all day. It came down to the short run and we are champions. NASCAR champions.”
On the season, Logano amassed 26 top-10s to help Roger Penske capture his second MENCS owner championship and Ford to win the manufacturers championship.
William Byron, driver of the no. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports, won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
Homestead Miami Speedway PR