Friday, October 15, 2021

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NSCS: Joey Logano outlasts Green-White-Checkered to win Daytona 500

Following a restart with 19 laps to go, Joey Logano was able to put himself in position to challenge for the lead in the Daytona 500. He would then take charge of the top lane, bringing it to the front, taking the lead with nine laps to go. The caution would fly five laps later for an incident between Justin Allgaier and Ty Dillon. Logano would then hold off the field in the final charge to the flag, leading the field into turn three as the caution waved for a big wreck on the backstretch.

“I can’t believe it,” Logano commented in victory lane. “This is absolutely amazing. This is awesome. This the Daytona 500 – oh my god! Are you kidding? I was so nervous the whole race pretty much, and may Tad my spotter, the whole team – they worked so hard over the off-season. This is our weakest track last year and hard work equals results everytime.”

For Logano, it marks his first career Daytona 500 victory as he enters his third season with Penske Racing.

Kevin Harvick would make his way up to second after restarting sixth with four to go and was poised to make a run at Logano before the caution came out.

“I really thought everything on our Chevrolet was lined up pretty well coming back down the backstretch,” he commented. “I was really trying to back up to Earnhardt and get the right run to get around him in turn three.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. would finish third after showing his strength as one of the strongest cars in the field throughout the day, though found himself fighting back to the front late in the race after getting shuffled out of line with 15 laps to go.

“I just made a bad decision on that restart,” Earnhardt Jr. commented. “I thought the 48 (Johnson) was my quarter panel and wanted to go up, but got stuck in the sucker hole and got pulled back. I made a bad decision. We had a great car, one of the best here. It gave me a lot of confidence to fight back and get some of those spots back.”

Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson would round out the top-five, followed by Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.

For the most part, the race was clean throughout the day with three-wide action throughout the pack. However, coming down the backstretch on the last lap, Austin Dillon would get into Jeff Gordon, turning him into Kyle Larson and taking out the back half of the field. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Paul Menard, Reed Sorenson, Matt Crafton, and Danica Patrick were among the drivers caught up in the wreck. For Gordon, this marks his last Daytona 500 as the four-time champion has repeatedly said he will not enter another 500 for the rest of his career.

“For some reason, I’m still smiling and enjoying every moment,” he commented. “Obviously, I enjoyed the first half more than the second half. What an amazing car we had in being out front, controlling the lines. Just one restart where we got caught up on the outside and got shuffled back and played catch up from there. I’m upset that we didn’t have a good shot at winning the 500.”

Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart were among the drivers that did not see the finish as Keselowski blew a motor with 40 laps to go, while Tony Stewart got loose and into the outside wall on lap 41.

“When it got three wide that particular lap it got away from me, and I got out of the gas and couldn’t even get the front end caught up when I got out of the gas,” Stewart shared. “I’m not sure if Ryan (Blaney) wasn’t there, I still was going to hit the fence.”

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