Logano spoils party to win NASCAR title

Joey Logano, second from right, holds the trophy with Steve Phelps, president of NASCAR after winning the Cup Series Championship race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Homestead, Fla.

The 21st NASCAR Cup Series win of Joey Logano's racing career was his biggest. He was 18, dubbed "Sliced Bread" because of all the hype, and in way over his head.

Now he's a NASCAR champion.

Team owner Roger Penske paid tribute to Joey Logano after the 28-year-old delivered Team Penske's second NASCAR Cup Series championship last Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Logano is the 33rd different NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion dating back to 1949 and the first CT native to win the title.

The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2018 Championship Four Drivers [L to R] Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick answer press questions in Miami on November 15, 2018.

Logano finished the season with three wins, 12 top fives and 25 top 10s. Wheeler became Hamlin's crew chief in 2016 and the duo won their first race together when Hamlin beat Martin Truex Jr. by inches in the Daytona 500.

"We were the favorite. Everyone rose to the occasion, executed under pressure like nobody's business". You honestly need to preach to yourself sometimes, and I do that as much as I can and to our race team, because we didn't have a reason to not feel confident. That showed all day. Even if we didn't win today, I know how blessed I am. It has been 10 seasons of fighting for this.

Sunday's race, like the ones in the few years prior, was fascinating from a strategy and tire wear perspective. "I don't even know what to say".

"It's been so hard and such a long road to get here and been so close and had that feeling of defeat, and man, it stings", Logano said. "Great kid, great family". I'm not a champion.

The season championship was Logano's first after 363 starts.

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He passed Truex with 12 laps remaining and pulled away to win for Roger Penske, the vehicle owner who celebrated this year his election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a 17th victory in the Indianapolis 500 and now a second title in NASCAR's top series.

"The things that go through your mind, and you think about that moment Christmas morning when I walked out into the garage and saw a go-kart in there, and that was the beginning".

NASCAR's final weekend concluded with three new champions from three different teams representing all three manufacturers. Brett Moffitt won the Camping World Truck Series title Friday. It was like a reverse scenario from past year. That was it. All I wanted to do was drive from there out. "Not a lot of kids in CT say that".

Truex said goodbye to his championship hopes and farewell to Furniture Row Racing.

"Everything about it has been great", Truex said on NBC. I think that gives him more value over Truex, the defending champion. That's just the way it goes. I don't know what else I could've done. "It hurts a little, and I'm going to miss all of the guys".

The four drivers vying for the title ended up taking the first four spots in the event with Truex finishing second, Harvick third and Busch fourth. "But if you don't lead the last lap, it doesn't matter what you got". It marked the first time since 1999 the blue oval won both championships in the same season.

Kyle Busch was one of the dominant drivers of the season with eight wins during the season to his credit and an incredible number of bonus points as the playoffs began.

"He won, certainly", Penske said. "Forget about it now, move on".

"You can always have stops where things don't go your way", Gibbs said.

Logano was the favorite to win the 2015 title but missed the finale because a feud with Matt Kenseth cost him on the track.

In his time with Furniture Row, Truex Jr. won 17 Cup Series races, eight in his championship season a year ago. Logano pulled away from there and won for Penske. First, a parachuter participating in pre-race ceremonies got his chute tangled on the front stretch catch fence and it took a while to get him down from the fence. Truex jeered Logano after the aggressive pass at Martinsville and promised to prevent Logano from winning the title. He's NASCAR's 33rd champion and first from CT.

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