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Logano captures first career Daytona 500 victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Joey Logano drove to the checkered flag under caution to win the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.

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Joey Logano celebrates after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday. USA Today Sports

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Joey Logano drove to the checkered flag under caution to win the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
“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.”
It was Logano’s first Daytona 500 victory and ninth career win in his 220th start.
Kevin Harvick finished second and Dale Earnhardt Jr., 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 was able to get out in front on a green-white-checker restart after a wreck involving Justin Allgaier and Ty Dillon.
“I saw that we were single file the first three cars, and I knew that was a good thing, because it would be harder for them to form a run,” Logano said. “Then I saw them crash in the mirror, but I had a distance to go, and I thought that was good because it was still going to be harder for them to catch up without as many cars in the pack.”
Logano took the white flag in the lead to secure the win as cars wrecked behind him. Jeff Gordon, who led a race-high 87 laps, was among the drivers caught up in the last-lap crash. He wound up 33rd.
“For some reason, I’m still smiling and enjoying every moment of it,” Gordon said after his final Daytona 500. “Obviously, I enjoyed the first half a lot more than the second half. 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 remaining by staying out while others pitted to top off their fuel tanks during a caution. Carl Edwards and Harvick both got by on the restart, but Johnson retook the lead a few laps later.
After a three-wide battle just outside the final 10 laps, Logano got out front by himself with nine laps to go.
“My spotter did a great job giving me the information I needed to get out front and stay out front before that last caution and be able to have a good restart there at the end,” Logano said. “I knew I had the 15 (Clint Bowyer) behind me and Clint Bowyer was the best pusher I could find out there and was able to push me to the lead and I knew I wanted the outside to make sure he was behind me to work up there again.”
Roger Penske, Logano’s car owner, won the Daytona 500 for the second time as an owner.
“I think Joey managed the race well,” Penske told ESPN. “It showed what a leader he is.”

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