No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 3rd
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 80 (Race-High)
Final Driver Points Standing: 1st
- Joey Logano began his quest for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Sunday afternoon from the fifth position in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Logano topped the speed charts in both of Saturday’s practice sessions and carried the speed into the early laps of the race. Logano moved into the third position by lap 4, all while battling a tight-handling Shell-Pennzoil Ford.
- On the first pit stop at lap 37, the team made a four-tire stop, adding fuel and making no additional adjustments to the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion, despite Logano battling a tight condition early on. The temperatures had already begun to fall from the green flag, and the team anticipated the track taking a swing. Logano communicated at lap 45 that in fact his Ford Fusion was turning better than it had on the previous run.
- During the second run, Logano reported that what he gained following the first pit stop was the ability to move around to different lines. Ultimately, he needed the Shell-Pennzoil Ford to be freer to run the faster line around the bottom. The call on the second pit stop of the day was for air pressure, and, on the stage 2 restart, Logano quickly powered from fourth to second in the opening lap.
- Logano powered to the lead for the first time at lap 91, passing the No. 42 of Kyle Larson, proving the air pressure adjustment went the right direction. During the long runs, Logano continued to battle a lack of forward drive off the corners. On the fourth pit stop of the race, crew chief Todd Gordon called for a four-tire air pressure adjustment and added tape to the nose of the No. 22 Ford Fusion.
- At the end of the second stage, Logano reported that he was battling both loose and tight conditions depending on clean air or dirty air on the nose of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion. The team elected to go back on the left front air pressure adjustment, making no additional changes on the fifth stop of the race. With quick pit work, the Shell-Pennzoil crew sent Logano back out with the race lead.
- While leading at lap 190, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was turning much better in the center, but was slightly free. With a lap 193 caution, Logano reported that the balance of the Ford Fusion was the best it had been all race. A quick pit stop with only tape added to the nose kept Logano in the lead, and on the ensuing restart, maintained the lead and drove off to over a one-second lead.
- In the closing 15 laps, Logano would battle with 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr, making an assertive pass to the outside entering turn 1, Logano would clear Truex Jr and race to his first career NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship and the 21st victory of his career.
- Logano claimed his first Cup championship becoming the 33rd different series champion. The Middletown, Conn. native is the first driver from the state of Connecticut to win a Cup title. Logano is the fifth different driver to win the series championship in the elimination-style Playoff format. He finished the 2018 season with three wins, 13 top fives, 22 top 10s, and a pole. During the Playoffs this season, Logano has produced two wins and six top-five finishes.
- The championship is the second for Team Penske in the Cup series – previous title: 2012 with Brad Keselowski. This is Team Penske’s sixth NASCAR National Series Owners Championship (two in Cup, four in NASCAR XFINITY Series).
- Logano became the eighth different driver to win a MENCS championship with Ford Performance.
- This is crew chief Todd Gordon’s first MENCS championship. Gordon has 19 career Cup series wins, all with Logano.
Quote: “We did it! We won the championship! I can’t believe it. I don’t know what to say. The Shell-Pennzoil team gave me a great Ford Fusion that I needed at the end to do my job. I couldn’t be more proud of them. We were the favorite like I said 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 next season. I worked my whole life to get here and to win a championship and we have been so close. It has been 10 seasons of fighting for this. Todd made a good adjustment at the end and we had that no-quit attitude. 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. It came down to the short run and we are champions.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!