NASCAR at Homestead-Miami recap, results: Joey Logano wins first career championship

Joey Logano took the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway to win his first NASCAR Cup Series championship on Sunday, beating out “The Big Three” of Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

The 28-year-old embraced the underdog mentality all season long, rebounding from missing the playoffs in 2017 and going on to take down the top three drivers in the sport all season on the final day of the season.

Logano won only two races during the regular season, and had the worst odds out of the Championship 4 drivers for Homestead. Harvick, Truex and Busch combined for 20 races this season. Logano only had 2 wins prior to Homestead and clinched his spot in the Championship 4 by winning the opening race in the Round of 8 at Martinsville in controversial fashion, wrecking Truex at the end of the race. 

The Championship 4 finished the race in order, with Truex, Harvick and Busch trailing Logano when the checkered flag flew. For Truex, it was his final race behind the wheel of the Furniture Row Racing No. 78, as the team will not field a car next season with Truex migrating to Busch’s team Joe Gibbs Racing.

Ford EcoBoost 400 results

Here’s how it went down at the end: 

Kyle Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens opted to keep the No. 18 on the track when Logano, Truex and Harvick pit with 30 to go. The move nearly backfired as Busch was about to get passed by Harvick with 20 to go, but Busch’s departing teammate Daniel Suarez went spinning and brought out the much needed caution for the No. 18 team.

The caution allowed Busch to come down pit road and get fresh tires for the end of the race, but more importantly, after a fast restart in the top stall (given to him by teammate Denny Hamlin), Busch emerged from pit road head of the other Championship 4 drivers with less than 20 to go.

Truex took the lead from Busch on the restart as Logano shot into second place. Logano then proceeded to take the lead from Truex with 12 to go. While we could have scripted a battle between Logano and Truex coming to the checkered flag, it never happened. Logano drove on unchallenged once passing Truex with 12 to go to win his first career Cup Series title.

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