Joey Logano wins 2018 NASCAR Cup title in dramatic Homestead finale – NASCAR

Joey Logano won the 2018 NASCAR Cup series title in a dramatic 15-lap shootout following a late caution at Homestead that pitched the final four contenders into a head-to-head battle.

The Penske driver led more laps than any of his other final four rivals – Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick – but each contender had looked set for victory at various points of the race.

The finale’s decisive moment came when Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez – in his final race for the team – picked up a puncture after Brad Keselowski was pitched into the Toyota following contact from Matt DiBenedetto.

The resulting caution late in the third stage was a huge boost to Busch, who had slipped out of contention after two poor pitstops.

Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens left the JGR driver out on track when the other three title contenders pitted in the hope of a late caution to level the playing field.

Pitting under caution, Busch returned to the track in the race lead ahead of Truex, Logano and Harvick.

But a poor restart on lap 253 of 267 allowed Truex to surge past as Logano followed in pursuit.

The pair’s heated rivalry after last-lap contact at Martinsville that put Logano into the final four had threatened to bubble over after Truex nudged Logano’s Ford early on.

This time around it was a clean battle but Truex’s lead was eradicated when the defending champion wrongly took the high line twice, allowing Logano to surge past and storm to the race victory and his first Cup title.

Truex would finish second in his final race for the Furniture Row Racing outfit that will now close its doors after the exit of key sponsors.

The 2017 champion had played a safe strategy, pitting a lap later than his rivals at the first pit window to avoid pitlane chaos and waiting until late in the race to become a factor in the lead battle.

Harvick finished third after looking a likely victor early on, winning the first stage, but a slow stop in the late caution had dropped him to fourth.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver had complained of a poor set-up that hampered his race midway through, but led the second-highest amount of laps with 58.

He would pass Busch following his poor start to make a place back up before the flag.

Busch finished ahead of fifth-placed Keselowski, who had played the role of spoiler in the opening laps, running in the lead battle despite the fact he was not in title contention.

His role was later taken over by Kyle Larson, who won the second stage by running the outside line with great success.

At one point the Chip Ganassi Racing driver was half a second quicker than the leading cars but contact with the wall led to a puncture that resigned him to a finish of 13th in a winless season.

Matt Kenseth’s likely last Cup series race finished with his best result since returning this year with sixth place.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson’s last race with crew chief Chad Knaus ended in 13th aboard his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.

Result – 267 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 3h00m36.s
2 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 1.725s
3 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 21h59m24.s
4 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 21h59m24.s
5 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 21h59m24.s
6 Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Racing Ford 21h59m24.s
7 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 21h59m24.s
8 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 21h59m24.s
9 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 21h59m24.s
10 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 21h59m24.s
11 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 21h59m24.s
12 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 21h59m24.s
13 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 21h59m24.s
14 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 21h59m24.s
15 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 21h59m24.s
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 21h59m24.s
17 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 21h59m24.s
18 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 21h59m24.s
19 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
20 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 1 Lap
21 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 1 Lap
22 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
23 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1 Lap
25 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 2 Laps
26 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 3 Laps
27 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 3 Laps
28 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 4 Laps
29 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 4 Laps
30 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 5 Laps
31 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 5 Laps
32 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Ford 6 Laps
33 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 8 Laps
34 Corey LaJoie TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 8 Laps
35 B.J. McLeod Rick Ware Racing Ford 11 Laps
36 Kyle Weatherman StarCom Racing Chevrolet 11 Laps
37 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 13 Laps
38 Tanner Berryhill Obaika Racing Toyota 13 Laps
39 Regan Smith Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 27 Laps

Drivers’ championship standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Joey Logano 5040
2 Martin Truex Jr. 5035
3 Kevin Harvick 5034
4 Kyle Busch 5033
5 Aric Almirola 2354
6 Chase Elliott 2350
7 Kurt Busch 2350
8 Brad Keselowski 2343
9 Kyle Larson 2299
10 Ryan Blaney 2298
11 Denny Hamlin 2285
12 Clint Bowyer 2272
13 Austin Dillon 2245
14 Jimmie Johnson 2242
15 Erik Jones 2220
16 Alex Bowman 2204
17 Ryan Newman 769
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 701
19 Paul Menard 692
20 Jamie McMurray 683
21 Daniel Suarez 674
22 A.J. Allmendinger 603
23 William Byron 587
24 Chris Buescher 585
25 David Ragan 524
26 Michael McDowell 493
27 Ty Dillon 482
28 Darrell Wallace Jr. 471
29 Matt DiBenedetto 368
30 Kasey Kahne 358
31 Trevor Bayne 287
32 Matt Kenseth 268
33 Regan Smith 157
34 Corey LaJoie 144
35 Cole Whitt 132
36 Gray Gaulding 119
37 Jeffrey Earnhardt 110
38 Kyle Weatherman 33
39 Harrison Rhodes 24
40 Blake Jones 21
41 Mark Thompson 15
42 Cody Ware 11
43 Derrike Cope 8
44 Tanner Berryhill 7
45 Chris Cook 6
46 Tomy Drissi 5
47 Danica Patrick 2
48 Alon Day 1
49 Stanton Barrett 1
50 Hermie Sadler 1
51 Brendan Gaughan 0
52 Justin Marks 0
53 D.J. Kennington 0
54 David Gilliland 0
55 Ray Black Jr. 0
56 J.J. Yeley 0
57 Landon Cassill 0
58 Ross Chastain 0
59 Joey Gase 0
60 Parker Kligerman 0
61 Daniel Hemric 0
62 Timothy Peters 0
63 Cole Custer 0
64 Reed Sorenson 0
65 B.J. McLeod 0
66 Timmy Hill 0
67 Garrett Smithley 0
68 Chad Finchum 0
69 Jeb Burton 0
70 Jesse Little 0
71 Spencer Gallagher 0
72 Josh Bilicki 0
73 David Starr 0

Constructors’ championship standings

Pos Constructor Points
1 Ford 1.304
2 Toyota 1.281
3 Chevrolet 1.187

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