Joey Logano is a Cup Series champion.
Logano took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with 12 laps to go with a banzai move into turns 1 and 2. Logano sailed his car around Truex’s and drove away by over a second in just four laps. He kept the cushion for the rest of the race and easily cruised to the win Sunday at Homestead to become the 2018 Cup Series champion.
Logano, 28, had raced for the title two previous times in NASCAR’s final race winner-take-all format. He hadn’t won either time. He had his best shot in 2016 but was caught up in a late restart wreck with Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson ended up winning the title.
It looked for a long time like the race was going to come down to the final set of green flag pit stops.
Kevin Harvick pitted first during that time and hit pit road with 38 laps to go ahead of Truex and Logano, who followed Truex to pit road a lap after Harvick. That first lap on fresher tires was enough for Harvick to be ahead of Logano and Truex when they rejoined the race.
Logano was ahead of Truex because the No. 78 team had a slow stop due to a falling jack. He was able to run within a couple of car lengths of Harvick but unable to make a meaningful attempt at a pass.
That all didn’t matter as much as we all thought it would. Because he was so far behind everyone else and needed to try something different. Busch didn’t pit during the cycle and stayed out on track in the hope of getting a caution. That felt like a distant hope over the weekend even though the final race of the season typically has a late caution. There were no cautions that weren’t for stage breaks in any of the three races at Homestead this weekend until a debris caution midway through the second stage on Sunday.
Until Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez made contact with less than 20 laps to go. Suarez went spinning before Busch was forced to pit. That meant he was able to lead the entire field to green under yellow with Truex, Logano and Harvick trailing.
Truex passed Busch on the restart and then Logano passed Truex laps later. Logano extended his lead over the closing laps, and Truex and the rest of the challengers weren’t able to get anywhere close. The race ended with Logano exultant and the Big Three in the rear-view mirror.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Browns reportedly want to interview Condoleezza Rice for head coaching job
• Updated college football bowl picture: Who could wind up where?
• Report: Le’Veon Bell seeking $17 million a year
• Week 11 fantasy rankings to maximize your lineup