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Logano Wins Daytona 500 With Yellow Flapping

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, February 22 2015

Joey Logano of Team Penske won his first Daytona 500 on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Joey Logano won Sunday’s Daytona 500 when a wreck brought out a caution just after “The Kid” had taken the white flag on a green/white/checkered restart at Daytona International Speedway.

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “The Daytona 500. Oh my God. Are you kidding me?”

The victory was the first for Logano in Sprint Cup’s biggest race. In fact, the finish was his first in the top five.

“To be able to pull that car into Victory Lane and see my team there and see my family and my friends. Everyone was here, so it couldn’t be any better,” the 24-year-old Team Penske driver said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I can’t really put it into words. It’s something you can’t describe. I keep re-living over and over again what it was like down the back straightaway when I came off of turn two and I was looking in the mirror. I saw them crashing and I’m like, ‘OK, keep my foot in it here,’ and you hope there’s a caution but I think even not they weren’t close enough to really be able to make a run. You have a split-second after the caution came out and you think about it and you’re like, ‘Did we win?’ And then it’s straight chaos after that. It’s an amazing feeling.

Reigning Cup champion Kevin Harvick finished second and Dale Earnhardt Jr., last year’s 500 champion, was third.

“Yeah, definitely, for us it was a good, solid day to start the season,” Harvick said. “Obviously, you want to try to win the race. But sometimes you’re just happy to keep rolling and going out of here and head to Atlanta (next Sunday) with a solid day.

“I thought we were going to have at least a chance, back up to the 88 (Earnhardt) there, come up to the 22 (Logano) coming off of Turn 4. But in the end, that didn’t all pan out with the caution. Still, a good weekend for us.”

Denny Hamlin was fourth and six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.

Jeff Gordon, running what is most likely final 500, was involved in the final wreck and finished 33rd after leading a race-best 87 laps.

Gordon spent large chunks of the first … at, or within whispering distance, of the lead. At the half way point – 100 laps – Gordon had led 77 laps.

“This was an amazing week and an amazing day,” Gordon, who started from the pole, said. “I’m just in a different place that is so foreign to me, but so incredible–to just be taking it all in and enjoying every moment.

“Yeah, right now I’m a little bit sad this is my final Daytona 500, but I’m more upset we didn’t have a shot at winning there at the end.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammate Johnson led most of the remaining laps but during a green flag stop just before half way, he was penalized for having pit crew members over the wall too soon.

On Lap 113, Gordon lost the lead to Hamlin.

A lap later, Earnhardt Jr. took the lead for the first time in the race and was able to keep it until he was passed by Logano, who had led seven laps earlier, on Lap 146.

With 47 laps to go, the leaders began to head to pit road for their final green flag stops. When the field cycled through, Logano had the lead, Johnson was second and Brad Keselowski. Gordon had dropped to seventh and Earnhardt Jr. to 12th.

But five laps later, Johnson completed his comeback from his pit road penalty to pass Logano for the lead.

Three laps later, Keselowski, Logano’s Team Penske teammate, blew an engine to bring out a caution. Among those pitting to top off with fuel were Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne.

“We just got to the top five and we broke,” Keselowski said.

On the restart with 35 laps to go, Johnson had the lead while Carl Edwards was second and Bowyer third.

On the restart, Edwards, in his first points-race start for Joe Gibbs Racing, shot to the lead.

Two laps later, Johnson came back to take the lead. Behind him, the field was running three- and four-wide.

With 27 laps to go, Earnhardt pulled along side of Johnson and briefly led but Johnson had the lead when they crossed the start/finish line.

Two laps later, Ryan Blaney blew an engine in his Wood Brothers Racing Ford to bring out a yellow with Johnson leading, Logano second and Earnhardt third.

The race restarted with 19 laps to go. Earnhardt, caught in the middle lane all alone, fell back to 15th.

With 12 laps to go, Johnson, Truex and Hamlin went around the track three-wide with each taking brief leads. Logano  and Bowyer joined in with 10 to go. With nine to go, Logano blew to a three-length lead. Behind him the lead pack of 18 cars was running three-wide.

With six to go, Logano, Hamlin and Truex were running in a single line in that order.

With four to go, Johnson moved to second. With just three to go, a caution – and then red flag –came out when Justin Allgaier blew and engine and spun. That set up the green/white/checkered finish.

Logano was P1 on the restart with Hamlin second, Johnson third, Truex fourth, Bowyer fifth, Harvick sixth, Kahne seventh, Earnhardt eighth and Gordon ninth.

Logano had a clean restart but had Bowyer right behind.

Havrick moved to second at the white flag.

But just after that, a crash back in the pack brought out a caution and ended the race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Daytona 500

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Sunday, February 22, 2015

1. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 203, $1581453.

2. (11) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 203, $1157470.

3. (3) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 203, $857245.

4. (42) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 203, $680758.

5. (2) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 203, $616232.

6. (41) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 203, $470640.

7. (9) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 203, $437870.

8. (10) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 203, $405297.

9. (13) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 203, $375045.

10. (8) Greg Biffle, Ford, 203, $389308.

11. (26) David Gilliland, Ford, 203, $348458.

12. (38) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 203, $361953.

13. (27) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 203, $330945.

14. (30) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 203, $365219.

15. (33) Aric Almirola, Ford, 203, $363381.

16. (24) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 203, $340558.

17. (28) David Ragan, Ford, 203, $324908.

18. (4) Matt Crafton(i), Toyota, 203, $383124.

19. (36) Johnny Sauter(i), Toyota, 203, $318970.

20. (40) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 203, $337420.

21. (20) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 203, $331628.

22. (19) Cole Whitt, Ford, 203, $318065.

23. (6) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 203, $335603.

24. (43) Bobby Labonte, Ford, 203, $326103.

25. (21) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 203, $327840.

26. (34) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 203, $347217.

27. (15) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 203, $349398.

28. (31) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 203, $317190.

29. (32) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 203, $325778.

30. (37) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 203, $313240.

31. (23) Michael McDowell, Ford, 203, $313590.

32. (14) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 203, $314228.

33. (1) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 203, $594801.

34. (29) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 202, $344381.

35. (35) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 202, $350826.

36. (16) Mike Wallace, Toyota, 199, $313883.

37. (18) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 197, $319158.

38. (22) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 184, $317261.

39. (12) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, Engine, 175, $281003.

40. (25) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 161, $273790.

41. (39) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Engine, 160, $318331.

42. (7) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, Accident, 72, $300598.

43. (17) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Engine, 18, $262390.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 161.939 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 08 Mins, 02 Secs. Margin of Victory: Caution.

Caution Flags: 7 for 26 laps.

Lead Changes: 27 among 12 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Gordon 1; J. Johnson 2-13; J. Gordon 14-19; J. Yeley(i) 20; M. Annett 21; C. Mears 22; J. Gordon 23-45; J. Logano 46-51; J. Gordon 52-86; C. Edwards 87; D. Hamlin 88; J. Gordon 89-107; A. Allmendinger 108; J. Gordon 109-111; D. Hamlin 112; J. Logano 113; D. Earnhardt Jr. 114-145; J. Logano 146-153; G. Biffle 154-155; J. Logano 156-157; J. Johnson 158-165; C. Edwards 166-167; J. Johnson 168-180; J. Logano 181; J. Johnson 182-187; M. Truex Jr. 188; D. Hamlin 189-190; J. Logano 191-203.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Gordon 6 times for 87 laps; J. Johnson 4 times for 39 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 1 time for 32 laps; J. Logano 6 times for 31 laps; D. Hamlin 3 times for 4 laps; C. Edwards 2 times for 3 laps; G. Biffle 1 time for 2 laps; C. Mears 1 time for 1 lap; J. Yeley(i) 1 time for 1 lap; M. Annett 1 time for 1 lap; A. Allmendinger 1 time for 1 lap; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: J. Logano – 47; K. Harvick – 42; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 42; D. Hamlin – 41; J. Johnson – 40; C. Mears – 39; C. Bowyer – 37; M. Truex Jr. – 37; K. Kahne – 35; G. Biffle – 35; D. Gilliland – 33; S. Hornish Jr. – 32; M. Annett – 32; A. Dillon – 30; A. Almirola – 29; D. Ragan – 27.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, February 22 2015
One Comment

One Comment »

  • Lucas says:

    Harvick is an abject whiner, he started Speedweeks off whining, while having no chance at a win, but brought his car the checkers, while holding up the outside line. Others were not so lucky but extremely gracious as it was a exhibition race.

    Logano was the rightful winner, they race to the checkers despite what happened..nobody had anything for him, and extremely doubtful what little real estate was left to cover despite the checkers anybody would have caught him. He did not in his interview acknowledge the win by Logano..Everybody else did, including Tony Stewart. Kevin (the one race champ) is showing class, lots of it (sarcasm!) Congrats Ford for the Daytona Sweep and congrats to Team Penske. Methinks Harvick is obsessed with Logano and Kes, based on last year and starting this year. He has always been and always will be a tool.