Joey Logano Dodges Last-Lap Melee To Win The Clash

by February 19, 2017 0 comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Joey Logano took the win in an exciting finish in Sunday’s rain-postponed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway after a final-lap crash took out the leaders. The win was Logano’s first victory in the pre-season exhibition event.

The 75-lap event featured 17 drivers; the field was comprised of 2016 play-off drivers, 2016 pole winners, former Clash winners and former Daytona 500 pole winners.

“It’s cool to win the Clash,” said Logano in Victory Lane. “We came close last year and it’s really neat to be in Victory Lane and a good start to our day.”

Regarding the thrilling events of the final lap, Logano knew the incident gave him the opportunity to pull away to take home the win.

“That was the play,” said Logano. “The Toyotas are so selfless, I guess is the way to look at it. They are able to work together and think of one car of winning, and they’re really good at that. We had to think the same way as Ford and with Stewart-Haas and the Penske cars and we were able to get a good enough run to work together enough to break them up and make the passes and then there at the end was kind of a mess.

“Everything was going really fast. Everything was going on and I was just in the right place at the right time.”

Taking the white flag, Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota held onto the lead with Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 SKF Ford, battling to take the position. In the final lap, the two collided in Turn 2, allowing Logano to surge to the lead.

As the field shuffled when the leaders spun down the track, Alex Bowman and Kyle Busch raced door-to-door in the final turns of the last lap. The two drivers raced hard, but clean, finishing side-by-side as they took the checkered flag. Busch edged Bowman to the finish line for the second position.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Ford drove from 10th to fourth in the final lap to make her mark on the thrilling finish, coming up just shy of taking home a top-three spot. Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five in Sunday’s race.

Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, finished eighth in his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start.

There were three crashes that brought out the caution over the course of the race. On lap 18, Jimmie Johnson got loose and turned Kurt Busch hard into the wall, ending the day for the No. 41 Monster Energy Ford team. Trouble found Johnson once again on lap 50 as he got loose on his own and spun before hitting the inside wall and ending his race early. Johnson, the defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, finished 17th.

“It’s bizarre because it drove really good everywhere else, then off of (Turn) 4 the first time I had a handling problem was when it broke free and I got into the No. 41 (Kurt Busch) and then after that it was really loose,” Johnson said. “After that caution and the last long stretch before I crashed again.  Just off of Turn 4.  The sun certainly sits on that edge of the track a little bit harder than anywhere else.  We will take some notes and learn from those mistakes and apply that to the (Daytona) 500 car.”

The final caution occurred on lap 62, when Martin Truex, Jr. turned low onto the nose of Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet and went spinning before clipping the No. 37 Kroger Click List Chevrolet of Chris Buescher, ending the race for all three drivers.

The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is officially underway at Daytona International Speedway. The green flag will fly for the 59th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 26th with live coverage beginning on FOX and MRN at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images

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