Rising To The Occasion: Joey Logano Wins NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Title

Joey Logano celebrates winning the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series championship after winning the season ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday (Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Sitting in a garage at his father’s Portland, Connecticut business In October 1997, a 7-year old Quarter Midget driver from Middletown vowed that someday he’d be chasing a championship at the highest level of NASCAR.

Kids dream. Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the dream of that 7-year old kid became real life for Joey Logano.

Logano drove away from the competition late to win the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 at at Homestead-Miami Speedway and in doing so won his first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series title.

“I’ve worked my whole life to get here, to get to the championship,” said Logano, who has been racing in the series full-time since 2009. “I’ve been so close. I spent ten seasons fighting for this.”

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

“It’s just a dream come true to even hear those words, along with my name,” Logano said of being called Monster Energy Cup Series champion. “It’s just crazy.”

It was a dramatic road to championship for the 28-year Logano. At 15 years old he signed a developmental contract with NASCAR powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing.

By the time he was 16 years old he was being touted as NASCAR’s next great talent. At 19 years old he was tabbed to replace NASCAR legend Tony Stewart at Joe Gibbs Racing and in 2009 he became the youngest driver ever to win at the Monster Energy Cup Series level.

But after four seasons of struggles with Joe Gibbs Racing Logano left the organization. Many in NASCAR looked at him as someone who was raced to the top too fast with too many pressures.

And while many around the sport looked at Logano seemingly as damaged goods by 2012, it was legendary team owner Roger Penske who decided to take a chance on him. Logano went to Penske Racing before the start of the 2013 season and found rejuvenation in the organization.

He ended up second in the Monster Cup Series standings in 2016. Sunday he found his way to the top.

“You do change a lot as you grow up and having to grow up in front of a lot of people and witnessing a lot of my mistakes I made in the past, but every one of those mistakes has formed me into who I am today and led me to the people that you see on stage now who surrounds me,” Logano said after winning the title Sunday in Miami. “So just a crazy, crazy feeling right now. Everybody that’s supported me along the way, everybody from Connecticut from the beginning, when I was driving go-karts around my dad’s garbage company and hitting dumpsters to where we are today, with all of our partners at Team Penske and so many people here today.”

Logano was one of four drivers competing for the championship Sunday in Miami. Also in the running for the title were 2017 series champion Martin Truex Jr., 2015 series champion Kyle Busch and 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick.

Logano drove past Truex for the lead on lap 256 and led the final 12 laps.

Truex, Harvick and Busch were dubbed “The Big Three” most of the season for their domination of the series. Logano was considered by many the underdog going into the championship event. But after getting his second win of the season on October 28 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – which locked him into the Final Four field Sunday – Logano proudly boasted that he was the favorite for the title.

“I told you I’m not the underdog,” Logano said Sunday. “We proved why we’re not. This is the favorite, and I told you that before the race started. I’m so proud of everybody. Everyone rose to the occasion, executed under pressure like nobody’s business.”

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.

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Comments

  1. Not one cup driver in the chase congratulated Joey…..sore losers, Joey showed that he is the best driver out there…. Do it again next year,shut those cry babies up …. Joey your the man….

  2. Hillary 2028 says:

    Was Rutledge Wood the NBC guy talking about the CT Manaforts when he told Logano that they could crane the boat he just won into the lake for him?

  3. Congratulations on winning the title Joey.you deserve it.you are the best.you made many people in CT proud.im definitely proud to call you my champion

  4. Congratulations to the winner!!!!!

    And yeah, the other drivers were real jerks. Sportsmanship, folks. Give it a try.

  5. I know he’s a team driver, but I know I saw Kes congradulate him after Logano was out of the car.

  6. Congrats to him as far as nascar it’s so far from its roots it’s really sad the guy who wins the pole gives his pit stall to a teammate I really hope they can make it worth watching again.

  7. Bill D.,
    Just for facts sake. Denny Hamlin did not “give” his pit stall to Kyle Busch. The pit stalls are not assigned, they’re chosen by order of qualifying. Hamlin and his team can choose any stall they want. There’s nothing that says they must take the the first stall. They chose not to take it and made it available to Busch’s team, choosing second. Nobody broke any rules are gave anything away.

  8. Fast Eddie says:

    Nice to see the championship captured by a New England racer! Congrats to Joey and the whole Penske organization!!

  9. Agree with Bob, shame on the 4,18 and 78 . Busch and Harvick have wrecked or moved more cars than anyone else out there.

  10. Seekonk fan says:

    New England racer? don’t remember seeing him much on any of the Ct. tracks. Would you call Kaz Grala a New England racer?

  11. and what division did we see logano race around here on a regular basis
    as far as a ct boy winning big deal never saw him race or even heard of him till he went cup racing
    so I don’t see why the people from new England even care about this guy

  12. open wheel fan says:

    Attending races at Stafford, Thompson, Waterford, Loudon, and many Northern New England Tracks I never once seen Joey Logano in any race car. I congratulate the 22 team for winning the championship. I did not see any other driver congratulate Joey Logano on his championship or his team. Looks like there is a lot of sour grapes this year. Normally the other drivers come over and congratulate the new champion. He may not get much applause at the NASCAR banquet this year. I live 40 miles from his fathers business and hardly ever to you hear about him.

  13. I am from Middletown ,CT and could care less about Logano,and he is from Portland not Middletown as claimed.Logano is not a very popular name in this area if you know what i mean.But he did earn the what he got. Congrats.

  14. He cut his teeth at the little T ……..

  15. Rich Gourley says:

    Lagano got the breaks and he is champion now – no denying that. His reputation (on the track/as driver) is well deserved and no one should’ve expected a lot of congratulations from some of the drivers in the series. Others in past have been the villain and done quite well over the course of their career, time will tell if it works out that way for Joey.

    I was rooting for the former modified guy (Truex).

  16. Fast Eddie says:

    For anyone interested in early Logano stats, try this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Logano#Early_racing_career

  17. There’s only one driver at the cup level from Connecticut that was a local racer and EARNED his ride at the top level. MR. Ryan Preece ladies and gentlemen!!!!!

  18. Pretty sure I saw Joey run Stafford in th KandN SERIES before he ran cup , I know it’s only one race but he chose a different route to the top than what modified fans would like ,but you can’t argue that he made it to the top and he did start in Ct Congratulations

  19. If you are of a certain age you remember our regional guys like Bouchard, Sacks, the Bodines, Spencer and more mixing it up with the best of the best. Wasn’t there a connection because they were modified guys that we watched at local tracks? it was just flat out cool.
    I can’t agree Logano didn’t earn his ride. Seems like if you’re winning a championship you had to do something right. But Slapnuts is right. For many of us Preece is our guy.
    I’ll admit to detaching almost completely from the Monster Series in the new era. Maybe the Connecticut connection is there for some. I want to feel something but it’s just not there.
    For me Logano has always been a quiche and wine guy with a career path that didn’t see the value in local ovals. Thats my perception anyway.
    Nonetheless congratulations to him, his family and sponsors and his Connecticut fans. We don’t have to be a fans to know it’s a big deal.

  20. I don’t think it was a case of “sour grapes”, it’s simply that Joey isn’t well liked in the garage area.

    He won his championship by dumping Truex to win at Martinsville so he could advance.
    Very weak. If Martin had the amount of class that Joey has (that’s NO ClASS), he would’ve dumped Joey when he had the chance on Sunday! That would have received the loudest cheer of the season from the fans and would’ve been loved by 90% of the garage area.
    Joey being a champion is just more proof how bad NASCAR is these days.

  21. Hillary 2028 says:

    Depends how you look at it. Logano is know for racing quarter midgets in CT. At least I had seen Grala race Waterford in the legends division a couple times.

  22. Phil a I guess you don’t remember Dale Earnhardt Sr , Joey would have made him proud and as they say Truex is the first loser and do you think Kyle or Harvick would have been any nicer Championships don’t come easy

  23. Phil, Harvick & Kyle Busch dump cars as if it is standard operating procedure. Busch is notorious.

    Anyways, you gents can go back to yelling at people to get off your lawns.

  24. Shawn I respect your opinion I know it’s not a rule so fed ex giving them millions of dollars should not have that spot with a better chance to win because Kyle needs it. I don’t not like either of them it’s nascar is just about money and how is that working out for them the numbers don’t lie

  25. Bill d I’m not a fan of either,but I think that s what team mates should do , not easy winning a championship so I think you do what ever to help a teammate after you’ve been eliminated, haven’t seen anybody mention about the 2 spinning I believe the 20 to bring out last caution , since the 22 was better on the short run , could have been a case of helping a teammate

  26. Does anyone have the date for the Keyboard Racer 500? I want to mark my calendar,

    Thanks in advance!

  27. Was the 19 I believe. Was wondering when someone would bring this up. My thoughts exactly. Still a great season for the 22 team and Penske.

  28. Jim B I think your right, I think Joey did what he had to do to put himself in position to win a championship and I think his teammate did what he could to help, the kind of teammate I would want And it was a Penske team which may know a thing or two about winning championships in racing

  29. Not many drivers Like him Rember The 20 Matt Kenseth

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