Joey Logano, driving the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford, wins The Great American Race at Daytona International Speedway during the final and only Green-White-Checker, Sunday, Feb. 22. Logano is a first time winner of the Daytona 500 after taking the lead on Lap 191 and held on for the final 13 laps, winning under caution.
Logano has 9 career victories in 221 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, before today’s race Logano’s best finish was 9th. Logano led on 6 occasions for 31 of the 203 laps for the 57th Annual Daytona 500. Logano is the second youngest driver in series history to win the Daytona 500 at the age of 24. This is Team Penske and car owner Roger Penske’s second Daytona 500 win, his first was with driver Ryan Newman in 2008. Logano marks the 6th different winners in the last six years.
“I ca’t believe it, this is absolutely amazing,” Logano said. “This is awesome. The Daytona 500! Oh my God! Are you kidding me? Unbelievable!”
“I was trying to stay relaxed,” said Logano when asked what he was thinking during the red flag period. “You had a red flag and that gave you the opportunity to think of everything. I’m still in complete awe. I can’t believe this.”
Logano bested the 2014 Champion Kevin Harvick on the three-lap G-W-C finish after the final and sixth caution came out, that was inevitable with the drivers going 3-wide as the laps wound down, for a wreck that happened behind the lead pack that had the pole winner Jeff Gordon, in his final Daytona 500, spinning in the middle of the track after being tagged by Austin Dillon in Turn 4.
Thirty-three cars finished on the lead lap with Harvick finishing in second, followed by last year’s 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson to round out the top-5, Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle round out the Top-10. There were 28 lead changes among 12 different drivers.
“I made a mistake on the restart with 20 to go, didn’t do what I needed to do,” Earnhardt Jr. said, about his third place finish. “Got shuffled to the middle there, we had a really fast car, maybe the best car here. I’m just a little disappointed I let the guys down because we should have won the race.”
With three laps remaining in the Daytona 500, Justin Allgaier’s engine starting to go up in a puff of smoke, as Ty Dillon blew a right front, the seven minute red flag was to complete cleanup for the debris left from Allgaier’s car, setting up the G-W-C finish.
Two-time defending Camping World Truck Series champion, Matt Crafton, filled in for the injured Kyle Busch, finishing 19th in his first career Sprint Cup race, driving the #18 M&M’S Crispy Toyota.
Regan Smith, driving the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, finished 16th after Smith replaced Kurt Busch who has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Friday. It marked the first time since 2001 that a Busch brother has not appeared in a Sprint Cup race.
Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series go the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second race of the season the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 broadcast on Fox at 1 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 1. Qualifying for Sunday’s race will be Friday, Feb. 27 at 5:45 p.m. ET.