Joey Logano wins at Talladega for first win of ’18

Joey Logano earned his first win of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring the most laps led, at 70 of 188 laps, in the GEICO 500, including the final 42 circuits en-route to the victory. Logano maintained control of the field after a caution flew following a 14-car accident on Lap 166.

Sunday’s victory was Logano’s third at the massive speedway in Alabama and the 19th of his MENCS career. The result also broke a 36 race dry spell for the 22 Roger Penske owned team. Logano won last season at Richmond in April, but lost all benefits of the win due to a post-race penalty.

Back to this past Sunday though. Logano beat runner-up Kurt Bush to the line by .127 seconds. Following the finish, he was excited to be back in Victory Lane after so many gremlins kept his team from victory last year.

“I’m so proud to get this team back in Victory Lane – it’s been a year!” Logano exulted in Victory Lane. “It feels so good to be back in Victory Lane. There is no feeling like this. It feels so good,” he said.

“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been getting consistent.  We’ve been scoring points, and we knew a win was just around the corner. I don’t have to worry about the whole playoff thing anymore.”

With Logano’s win, the win streak by Ford at NASCAR’s biggest track was extended to six consecutive races. Ford drivers claimed six of the top seven places in the running order. Chase Elliott crashed the Blue Oval strangle-hold on the first seven spots with a third-place finish.

Post-race, Logano talked about the speed of his car and teamwork as keys to Sunday’s strong result.

“What a fast Ford,” Logano said of his No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford. “Teamwork is what did it today. And not just the Team Penske Fords but all of the Fords out there – Kevin (Harvick), Kurt (Busch). We worked really well together. We got a blue oval back in Victory Lane, so proud of that.”

Harvick, who earned the Bush Pole Award on Saturday, came home fourth, with defending Talladega Spring winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fifth. David Ragan and Aric Almirola finished out the Fords in the top-10 in sixth and seventh, respectively.

The previously mentioned 14-car incident on Lap 166 was triggered when Jimmie Johnson got too close to William Byron, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate entering Turn 3. Johnson’s car was turned in dirty air, collecting Byron and Paul Menard. 11 other drivers were involved trying to miss those three as holes closed up quickly entering the corner. Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell, A.J. Allmendinger and Austin Dillon ended up being done for the rest of the race. Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr. Brendan Gaughan Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush also sustained damage in the crash, but were able to continue. Johnson was one of the lucky drivers to be able to continue after the accident. He would finish 12th. Kyle Bush, who entered Talladega on a three-race win streak, could only salvage a 13th-place finish.

Next up: NASCAR visits Dover International Speedway.

Take a listen below to Episode 10 of Track Talk.

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