Joey Logano beat “the Big Three” at Homestead / Miami Speedway by winning the Ford Eco-Boost 400 while becoming the NASCAR Cup Series Champion at the same time. The other Championship Four drivers often called the “Big Three” over the course of the season, fell in line behind him as Martin Truex, Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch finished second – forth with Brad Keselowski rounding out the top-five.
Logano started off the weekend by calling himself the “favorite” while many others were looking for Harvick or Busch to grab the Championship. Instead, Busch struggled to stay towards the front during much of the race while Harvick’s car faded when the track transitioned from daylight to dark.
Truex jumped out front during the final restart but Logano made a big run on the 2017 Champion and completed the pass for the lead. The driver of the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske drove away as the laps wound down. Logano was serious about proclaiming himself as the favored driver to win. According to Logano, he told his interior crew member, Daniel Lynch, what the outcome would be as he was strapping in prior to starting the race.
“I’m getting in as a driver and I’m getting out as a Champion.”
The big move came on the final restart following the caution where Logano powered his car to the front during a short-run. It was something his car was good at all evening long.
“I knew we had a short run car,” Logano said. “I said it before the race started. Our car is a short run car. If it’s anything longer than 25 laps, we’re going to be in trouble, and that really showed today.”
The End of Furniture Row Racing
Early in the season, the announcement was made that last year’s championship team would be folding. Furniture Row Racing (FRR) is shuttering following the Homestead / Miami race which sends Truex to a new team in 2019. The past Champion will be taking the ride currently occupied by Daniel Suarez. JGR made the move public a few weeks ago following speculation that the driver from Mexico would not return to the car that he inherited when Carl Edwards unexpectedly retired.
Truex said during the week that he was happy to have plans for 2019 and especially excited to have landed in a Gibbs car. However, he was emotional following the race on Sunday as he talked about the hard work his team had put in knowing the finality of the situation.
“It sucks… yeah, it sucks,” Truex said shortly after exiting his Furniture Row Racing Toyota for the final time. “It sucks. It hurts. It’s terrible. I hate it. I wish we could go on and race 10 more years together, but we can’t.”
Championship Weekend Notes
• Joey Logano won his first Cup Series Championship for Team Penske after ten years as a Cup Series driver. • First time in the history of the Cup Series Playoffs that the final Championship Four drivers have finished in the top-four positions. • This was Ford’s first manufactures title since Kurt Busch won the Cup Series Championship in 2004 while driving for Jack Roush Racing. When Brad Keselowski won the Championship for Team Penske the team was under the Dodge brand. • The Ford Fusion will be replaced by the Ford Mustang in the Cup Series in 2019. • Brett Moffitt won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship on Friday night. • Tyler Reddick won the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship on Saturday. • Each manufacturer claimed a title. Ford won the Cup Series, Toyota won the Camping World Truck Series title, Chevrolet won the Xfinity Series Championship.
Ford Ecoboost 400 Finishing Order
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
• Time of race: 3:00:36 • Average speed: 133.056 mph • Pole speed: 173.863 mph • Cautions: 5 for 26 laps • Margin of victory: 1.725 sec • Lead changes: 22 • 267 laps on a 1.5 mile paved track (400.5 miles)