Joey Logano, who was predicted to become a great racer when he was 15, won the 57th running of the Daytona 500.
“A frenetic final few laps as most of the 43-car field barreled around the 2.5-mile superspeedway three-wide, injected some life into what had been a snoozer for most of the first three-quarters of the race,” Yahoo! describes.
“Justin Allgaier wrecked with three laps to go, setting up a two-lap sprint to the finish. They restarted with Logano in the lead, followed by Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. Logano got a great restart, held off a late charge from Kevin Harvick (2nd) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3rd) before a wreck behind them on the final lap brought out a caution, ending the race.”
For the 24-year-old Logano, it became his first Daytona 500 win.
“I can’t believe it,” Logano said as he got out of his car, still gripping his steering wheel as he celebrated. “This is absolutely amazing. Daytona 500, oh my God. Are you kidding me? I was so nervous the whole race.”
During the finish, the Chevrolets of Harvick and Earnhardt appeared to be poised to team up and draft past Logano, but a huge crash behind them brought out a caution and froze the field. That gave Logano the victory in the first and biggest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.
“I thought we were in good shape with the 88 (Earnhardt) behind us,” said Harvick, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
“I should have won the race,” said Earnhardt. “… I thought I had a good opportunity there. It just didn’t work out.”
In his first five Cup seasons, Logano notched three wins. Last season he won five times and finished fourth in the championship run. Now he starts 2015 with a victory in NASCAR’s biggest race.
“He’s a different driver really,” said former teammate Denny Hamlin, who finished fourth. “He’s really become one of the elite drivers in our sport. Every single weekend you know you’re going to have beat the 22. That’s something we didn’t say 3 years ago.”
It should be noted that Daytona 500 2013 was conquered by Danica Patrick, the first woman to secure the top spot for any race in NASCAR’s premier circuit.
I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl,” she said. “That was instilled in me from very young, from the beginning. Then I feel like thriving in those moments, where the pressure’s on, has also been a help for me.”
She added: “I also feel like I’ve been lucky in my career to be with good teams and have good people around me. I don’t think any of it would have been possible without that.”
“For those reasons, I’ve been lucky enough to make history, be the first woman to do many things. I really just hope that I don’t stop doing that. We have a lot more history to make. We are excited to do it.”