Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
OBSERVATIONS: Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Whether or not Joey Logano is the driver you would’ve preferred to see as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion for 2018, you have to admit – the Ford EcoBoost 400 produced a fitting end to the season.
After traveling across the country since February, and going through three playoff rounds, the title was decided by all the Championship 4 running in the top-five throughout the event, and ending the race in the top-four positions. Over the course of the night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, none of them were easily able to run away from the field and stay there, with advantages being shined in each of their directions at one time or another. Everybody in the thick of the action, combined with pit road miscues and strategy, kept you guessing until the final laps.
Does it get any better than that?
It always seems in these races that you get a late caution, and Sunday night was no different. Todd Gordon put his money in the right spot with the No. 22 Ford’s set-up as Logano was fast on the short run, before fading after 20 laps. With only 15 circuits making up the final run to the checkered, it worked perfectly in their favor. Simply put, the move by Logano to get by Martin Truex Jr. was a thing of beauty, too.
What a power move by Joey Logano!
The championship on the line, he takes the lead away from Martin Truex Jr.! pic.twitter.com/6R1hoykbxu
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 18, 2018
From there, it was game over as he drove away, taking the race victory and championship. Not bad for a driver that was written off near the beginning of his career due to a rough start.
Truex Jr. would close the doors on Furniture Row Racing with a runner-up, once again showcasing what was built by him and Cole Pearn together over the years. Kevin Harvick finished third after showing speed on the long run under the sun, while Kyle Busch rounded out the four-some after struggling with the car’s handling.
Although the caution came out to set up the final run to the checkered, there was drama brewing before then.
Busch was awaiting an incident to make his stop under the yellow flag and keep the track position, but ultimately that didn’t play out as he wasn’t strong on the restarts. So therefore, he would’ve fallen out of contention once pitting with 10 laps to go.
Though at the time, Harvick held a steady advantage over Truex which appeared to be shrinking. Would Truex had enough to catch Harvick? What would the final laps been like with them battling for the title and win?
Instead, there was an incident and we got the ending that played out, which wasn’t that bad either. Admittedly, there was some irony with the caution as a Team Penske driver (Brad Keselowski) spins a Gibbs driver (Daniel Suarez) which kept a Penske driver (Logano) and Gibbs (Busch) in the title running. However, going four-wide, contact was certainly inevitable.
Just a racing deal. @ClintBowyer and I were racing hard for position with 5th place points battle on the line.
We Came up on 2 lap cars and neither of us 4 gave an inch. Hate that it caused a yellow but the racing was legit. https://t.co/mE2oqZcji4
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) November 19, 2018
The broadcast, by the way, was lacking just like the Camping World Truck Series on Friday night. The focus was on the Championship 4 all night, except when Kyle Larson was leading and a brief through the field. Being the season-ending race, the storylines that were missed are ultimately sickening. From Lowe’s final race with Jimmie Johnson, to Johnson and Knaus parting ways at season’s end, to the drivers stepping away from the sport that included Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, and A.J. Allmendinger. Thanks to Lowe’s, and those competitors – along with Kasey Kahne, for their contributions to the sport.
As for the rest of you, we look forward to seeing you once again in February at Daytona International Speedway.
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