Feb 22, 2015; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrate with Harley J. Earl Trophy after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
As cars wrecked behind him, including Jeff Gordon, who led a race-high 87 laps, Joey Logano drove to the checkered flag under caution on Sunday to claim his first Daytona 500 win on Sunday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It was Logano’s ninth-carer NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in his 220th race.
"“What an amazing moment,” Logano said. “Wow. To win this race is just amazing. I have the best team on pit road, for sure. These guys are awesome.”"
Gordon wound up 33rd after crashing on the final lap.
"“For some reason, I’m still smiling and enjoying every moment of it,” Gordon said after his final Daytona 500."
Kevin Harvick finished second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third and Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five.
"“I thought we were in good shape with the 88 (Earnhardt) behind us,” Harvick said. “I was trying to back up to him to get a run up off of turn four. All in all, it was a good weekend for our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser team, and everyone at Stewart-Haas did a great job. I’m really proud of everyone, and we’re looking forward to Atlanta.”"
Logano got out front with nine laps to go after a three-wide battle with Hamlin and Johnson and was up front when Justin Allgaier and Ty Dillon crashed with three laps remaining, resulting in a green-white-checker restart. He was able to get out front again on the final restart.
Gordon dominated the first half of the race. After starting on the pole, he lost the lead to Johnson on lap 2, but was back up front on lap 13.
Early in the race, Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Earnhardt and Johnson, were also in the mix up front, but Johnson eventually got shuffled back and was then penalized when his pit crew went over the wall too soon during a cycle of green-flag stops on lap 87.
Gordon got shuffled back after losing spots to Hamlin and Logano just past the halfway point of the race. Earnhardt then carried the flag for HMS up front, taking the lead from Logano with 86 laps to go. Logano remained in contention up front, and Johnson made his way back into the top-five by 55 laps to go.
"“Obviously, I enjoyed the first half a lot more than the second half,” Gordon said. “What an amazing car we had, just out there in the front with our Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, just controlling the race.”"
Johnson restarted with the lead with 35 laps to go after staying out during a caution. Earnhardt quickly joined his teammate in second, but a few laps later, Earnhardt got stuck in the middle lane and was shuffled back.
"“I made a really bad decision on that restart with 19 to go,” Earnhardt said. “I made a poor choice, and you can’t afford to do that. I got shuffled back and lost a ton of spots. I had one of the best cars out there, and that gave me a ton of confidence to keep digging. We were able to get back up to third place.”"
Johnson battled Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. in a late-race three-wide battle before Logano replaced Truex in that battle and took the lead.
Finishing sixth through 10th were Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Truex, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle. Full-field rundown may be viewed, here.
Feb 22, 2015; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) puts his hands in concrete after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2015; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2015; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports