Joey Logano wins wild battle between Gibbs and Penske cars at Daytona
- Author: Larry Hoffman Feb 21, 2017,
Feb 21, 2017, 4:43
The victor of the Clash was Joey Logano, who moved past leaders Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski on the final lap as they were involved in a wreck.
Hamlin was leading when Keselowski came charging on the final lap.
Keselowski interrupted a Joe Gibbs Racing party that led the field late in the race, as Hamlin was followed in first place by teammates Daniel Suarez, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch in the second, third and fourth positions.
Only one driver this season used Daytona 500 pole criteria to qualify for NASCAR's revamped Clash: Danica Patrick. He's happy to have snapped Hamlin's three-year winning streak at the kickoff event. Busch had been running in the 11th position at the time of the crash.
Busch finished second, while rookie Alex Bowman finished in third place. 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 it was kind of a mess.
Denny Hamlin rode the escalator to a stadium concourse and spotted his Daytona 500 championship show vehicle on display and wrapped to resemble its appearance moments after the race. The five Toyota drivers pitted on the final lap of the first segment, didn't pit in the caution between segments, and held their now trademark stranglehold on most of the top five for much of the second segment of the race.
The eight Ford Performance teams don't have the same level of cohesion as their Toyota counterparts, but they were shown a potential solution to prevent another TRD freight train on Sunday in the Daytona 500. With two laps to go, he moved into second.
Keselowski nearly accomplished his goal but Hamlin's block attempt threw both cars off. Hamlin was driving slower than Keselowski in the final moments before the crash. Hamlin, the defending race victor, started on the front row and led for a race-high 48 laps.
One of the reasons why NASCAR returned to a smaller field for this year's Clash was the large amount of accidents from last season's 25-car field. That was the running order on Lap 49 when Johnson took a wild spin to the entrance of pit road, bringing out the third caution of the race. Compare that to previous year, with seven cautions and six being for multi-car accidents. The first time, he got loose on Lap 17 and clipped the rear of Kurt Busch's vehicle, sending Busch hard into the outside wall.
Not thankful was Busch. Four other drivers wrecked in smaller incidents, including Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. "I think we have to reengineer a little bit of what we've already done and try to make it better". Truex, however, didn't quite clear the No. 42 of Kyle Larson and got spun out.
Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano had fresher tires on their Fords in comparison to those on Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, allowing Keselowski to make an aggressive move to the inside of Turn 1 just after taking the white flag.
But the exciting stuff was happening way up front, as this was the 10th time in race history the victor was decided by a last-lap pass. Since the Clash was a non-points race, Larson was ordered to the garage since teams weren't allowed to make any repairs.
Joey Logano crosses the finish line to win.
Team Penske and Ford have now won four in a row at NASCAR's high-banked tracks.
Martin Truex Jr. also ended up with a crashed vehicle.
"I was just minding my own business in the low groove and we got tagged in the right-rear", Busch explained.
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