Every race fan knows that in Homestead a champion is crowned for the NASCAR Cup Series. This year and last year NASCAR has been sponsored by Monster Energy which means the Cup Series has been called the Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) for two years. It was a long fight for the 2018 champ, yes during yesterday’s race but also his career. Mark Martin called this driver the greatest thing since Sliced Bread before he’d even turned a lap in the K&N series. That driver is Joey Logano. Logano has been racing in the Cup Series since he was 18 years old. Joe Gibbs Racing picked him up in 2008, and Logano got his first two wins with them before moving to Team Penske in 2013.
Since the move to Penske, Logano has picked up nineteen Cup Series wins, and has a total of eighty-eight top 5’s and one-hundred-thirty-eight top 10’s. This was Logano’s third time being in the championship four. The first time in 2014 Logano finished in 4th, then in 2016 he finished in 2nd. He completely missed the playoffs in 2017 but this year he finally completed his life long dream- he became a champion.
The winning move came with less than ten laps to go when Logano was able to clear Martin Truex Jr. and speed away. Logano managed to hold onto the lead long enough to win both the race and championship. When the race was over Logano did his signature "Logano Loop" burnout.
The new champion was immediately surrounded by his team and people he kept hugging as soon as he climbed out of the car. Teammate and 2012 champ Brad Keselowski was one of them.
Not unlike many of Logano's fans, the driver himself was in tears during the beginning of his interview.
During Logano's interview you could see the moment it all began to set in because he got very excited and playfully shoved Marty Snider who was interviewing him.
It took the NBC group a bit of time to wrestle Logano on stage but he did eventually arrive. There he was awarded the trophy and was able to celebrate with his team and family. His parents, sister Danielle, wife Brittany, and ten month old son Hudson were all there to celebrate. As soon as Brittany was on stage she set Hudson in the trophy, and as it would turn out the young Logano would end up in the cup several more times that night.
Logano is a very family oriented person, and mentioned multiple times during interviews that night just how special it was to him to have his family there with him to celebrate, but in case you're still wary- this picture speaks volumes.
As Logano celebrated he took extra care to make sure it was known that this was not his championship but his entire team's championship. He always said 'we' or 'us' unless talking about something that went down behind the wheel. Logano also made sure to thank the fans for their continuous support as well.
Don't be fooled, when a driver wins the championship they don't get just the trophy and champion honors, they also get a really rad boat. Rutledge Wood was talking about the boat and said that he looked over at one point during the commercial break and Logano was climbing over the side to sit in it. Wood also commented about the new entourage following Logano around the track. He then took the interview a step farther to address how inspiring this all was.
A few days prior to the championship finale Logano was raising money for his charity the Joey Logano Foundation who's mission is to give second chances to those in need. Logano was able to raise 170,000 dollars last week. He then went on to win the Comcast Community Award for his efforts.
During the interview Logano talked about how anyone can donate money, but not everyone can donate time. Before the NBC post coverage ended the always humble Logano was sure to mention how while this championship is huge and amazing, but in the grand scheme of things there are more important things than him winning a championship.
Another MENCS season is in the books, and the Daytona Clash is only eighty-four days away and counting!
It's been a long season, but I think we can all agree that it's over way too soon! Off Season dreads aside, tonight we announced the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Champion! The first thing Logano said when he got out of the car was, "We did it! We won the championship I can't believe it!" Logano was absolutely elated during his interview. "This team, Roger Penske, Todd Gordon, the pit crew- oh my god amazing."
Logano is a first time champion, and the 33rd MENCS Champion. "I couldn’t be more proud of them." Logano said of his team.
"We won the championship Marty [Snider] oh my god!" Logano exclaimed and then lightly shoved him. "What was going through your mind?" Snider asked. "Screaming just a. Lots of screaming. I’ve worked my whole life to get here." Logano's signature smile had been in place since he got of the car. Teammate Keselowski found Logano among the mass of people and told him congrats before he hugged him.
"I knew I was getting past that car no matter what." Logano said about the last few laps when he had to get past Truex for the win. The driver of the 22 went on to compliment his pit crew more. "Each and every individual on that team is the best in their position and they proved that today."
On stage when Logano was announced as the 2018 champion he said, "Its a dream come true to even hear those words along with my name." Then, "I'm not a champion these guys are champions." Logano was lucky enough to have his family with him on stage, his wife Brittany, son Hudson, sister Danielle and his parents. When Brittany came up the first thing she did was put Hudson in the MENCS trophy.
Congratulations to the 2018 MENCS Champion Joey Logano!
Thank you to everyone who followed my articles this season. I hope you all had as much fun as I did, and I will see you in the next article!
"I wanted to know what winning feels like. And it feels really really good."
*Quotes from NBC post race broadcast
This afternoon Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that 2017 K&N East Series Champion Harrison Burton would be driving full time in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2019. Burton will be driving the number 18 Safelight Toyota Tundra and responded to the announcement on Twitter.
Burton's first truck race with this team was in 2016 at the Martinsville Speedway fall race in late October. Since then the young driver has driven the number 51 Dex Imaging Toyota in the select races he's had with KBM. Burton currently has won a pole, and has four Top-5's and seven Top-10's in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
There is still one more Truck Series race on Burton's agenda before he can officially move to the number 18. He will compete in the 2018 Homestead-Miami Speedway race this Friday night.
The race will be on Fox Sports One at 8:00 PM (EST) Friday night.
We had a rough start to the early part of this weekend. What a day, what a race! We got what we needed out of today. ISM's elimination race produced the championship final four. Joey Logano was locked in prior to the start of the race due to his win at Martinsville. Logano was not able to finish the race today after spinning early on in the race. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. were able to get in on points. Kyle Busch won his way to Homestead. Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch were all disqualified.
"This was Kyle Busch's eighth win this season, tying him with Harvick. This was also Busch's one-ninety-fourth NASCAR win. This put Busch at number eleven of all time Cup wins. He has fifty-one Cup, Ninety-two Xfinity and fifty-one Truck wins.
"We had a rough start to the early part of this weekend. What a day, what a race! We got what we needed out of today." Busch said to Rutledge Wood at the start finish line.
Of his Joe Gibbs Racing team, Busch said "This is an awesome team, awesome group of guys."
Kyle Busch went on to thank the veteran's serving the country and making the sacrifices they do.
Busch was asked "How much Miami Mojo does this win give the eighteen team?" "Uh I'd like to think it gives us a lot but talk is cheap." Busch said with a laugh.
The final race of the season is in Homestead next Sunday, where the Championship Four will battle and produce the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion. Don't miss it, and Happy Veteran's Day!
*Quotes from NBC post race broadcast.
The triple A Texas 500 was Kevin Harvick 8th win this season which ties him with Bobby Allison with most wins in one season over the age of forty. This is also Harvick's forty-fifth career MENCS win. Harvick lead one-seventy-seven laps.
"You have locked yourself into the championship four" Rutledge Wood said at the start finish line. "Yeah just really really proud of the guys at Stewart Haas racing… everybody who helps us on this thing (The four car)."
Harvick smiled at the camera. "The expectations are to win. We don’t race for points, we race to win… we aren't here to count fingers and toes. We want to earn it."
At the flag stand Harvick picked a kid up from the grandstands, and brought him onto the track. Then took a picture with him in front of the track. Harvick also gave him the checkered flag. "People always give you grief for not stopping for the fans… but I love stopping for the kids. Sorry adults." Harvick laughed. “Sometimes you forget what it means to sitting in that car for people outside of the sport… That moment is hopefully going to be with that kid forever.” That will definitely be an unforgettable moment for that kid! Its moments such as those that really make me so proud of this sport.
Harvick said it again in Victory Lane, “We don’t come here to count fingers and toes… we come here to win.”
Kevin Harvick and the four team will be racing in Phoenix (ISM Raceway now!) next weekend. Harvick is in the championship four!
*Quotes from NBC Post Race show!
Not a lot of people are gonna be happy with the way that the end of the race went but: fans constantly say they want more action. Well, there's your action. In the post race show Kyle Petty said something I absolutely agree with. "If I can get to his bumper on the last lap, he's mine. That's always been in this sport. That was Richard petty and David Pearson, Lee Petty and Buck Baker that was Dale Sr. and Terry Labonte and Rusty Wallace - and that happened today here. It's no different than anything we've seen. Joey Logano drove a great race... He expected that Martin was gonna turn him around. Somebody was gonna get into him."
Petty then added, "It was very clean until the last lap. But the last lap, is for everything." Like Petty said, this happens in our sport, they raced clean until the very end and it's not new. It's the last lap and at the end of the day the fact is: Logano did not wreck Truex, he only pushed him.
Joey Logano lead a total of three-hundred and nine laps at Martinsville Speedway Sunday afternoon. When asked what was going through his head during the end of the race Logano said, "Miami. Just thinking about Miami."
Logano went on to speak about the 22's condition during the final leg of the race. "Our car wasn’t as good there that last run... just doing everything I could be defensive." Then about the finish, "You're gonna have some bumping and grinding at the end."
On his move at the very end of the race the driver of the 22 said, "That's NASCAR racing that's what the fans come here to see." While reflecting on the year so far Logano mentioned it had been a tough year but he was so glad to have his second win. It just so happened to be at Martinsville, where Logano is now finally the proud owner of a Grandfather clock.
“Like I said, it’s racing.” Logano said. "He raced me clean and I laid my bumper to him, I don’t expect him to be happy but… this is our shot, maybe our only shot we gotta take it.”
Will Logano win again this season? What will happen in Homestead? Continue to tune in to find out!
*Quotes from NBC post race show
Chase Elliott won his third race in the NASCAR Cup Series, and his second since beginning the playoffs. The first 90 some races he was winless, in the last 11 he’s had three. Elliott took the lead from Kevin Harvick and held on to itfor the final laps the race.
When asked about holding off Kyle Busch in the final laps he said, “I just enjoyed racing with (Busch).” And then speaking about the No. 9 “Had a great car today!”
“Been a great couple of months, gotta keep it rolling.” Elliott said with a smile.
Apparently when Elliott wins a race a siren goes off in his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia, which is pretty cool.
“What kind of message are you sending getting two wins this round?” “Yeah we had a good round!" Elliott mentioned several times during his interviews that he wished he could have races Harvick, "Straight up," instead of Harvick getting a speeding penalty on pit road and having to go back.
Next weekend Elliott is going after another win to get a Martinsville Clock! Be sure to tune in, the season is going to start wrapping up soon.
*Quotes from NBC broadcast
Kurt Busch ran out of gas on the last lap of the Talladega race and Aric Almirola took the lead. He held onto it long enough to take the checkered flag. Almirola had been in the top four all day long waiting patiently for his chance to make a move. The Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team had been upfront for almost the entirety of the race.
This is the first win for Aric Almirola in one-hundred and forty some races, his first and only other win came in Daytona. Almirola grabbed the flag from the flag man and danced around with it throwing his fist in the air. At the start finish line Almirola high-fived Rutledge Wood. “Oh man. That was so awesome! At Talladega! You guys are awesome!” He shouted at the fans.
Almirola turned back to the camera, “I’ve been so close so many times the year and this Smithfield team everybody believing in me… four or five times this year I feel like we’ve had a chance… and to come here a place that I love…” Almirola said he came into the race with the mindset of “if we wreck, we wreck and if we win, we win” And since Almirola won a fan wins bacon for life!
The number 10 driver mentioned that over 400 employees are at SHR and around 200 at Roush Yates and to them he said, “Thank you this was incredible.” Almirola never stopped smiling. “I’m just glad to be the one on top today.” Turning to the fans he shouted, “I love you guys! Man this is awesome!”
When asked what he's most excited about in Victory Lane he said, “I can’t wait to go see my guys! I feel like I've let them down more than anyone else more than myself.”
Almirola said he hoped there would be some cold beer and bacon waiting for him in victory lane. On his way to victory lane, Harvick reached in and gave him pat on his head which made Almirola laugh.
When asked about how he came to Talladega after last weekend's race, he said. “I shook it off.” That was when Clint Bowyer ran in to Victory Lane and hugged him.
Almirola said that Paul Menard gave him a push at the end and that he’s his ride home. He joked saying he hoped Menard didn’t leave without him.
Almirola and Chase Elliott are the only two drivers locked into the next round, who’s going to get cut out? Tune in next week to find out in Kansas!
*Quotes from NBC Broadcast
Chase Elliott took the win at Dover International Speedway Sunday evening. A well fought late race restart resulted in a win for Elliott. Elliott has been known in the past to be hard on himself due to mistakes made on late race restarts, he can breathe a little easier today. Elliott talked about his team as well saying, "Thanks for not giving up all day long..." to his team. Elliott was asked at the start/finish line, "How much of this race was about perseverance for the nine team?" "I mean a lot."
He went on to say "What a day, just thanks to those guys- wish my mom and dad were here." and then to the fans “You all are bada** - I love it”
Elliott jumped on pit wall shook Mr. Hendrick and Jeff Gordon's hands before jumping down and giving Hendrick a big hug.
While grabbing the flag, Elliott shook flag man's hand and went back to his car. "We've had a up and down year I feel like- don't have to worry bout Talladega so that's nice!"
"It means a lot," Elliott said, of seeing everyone who comes to congratulate the team in Victory Lane.
Next week is Talladega- buckle up!
*Quotes from NBC Broadcast
Ryan Blaney took the win in an unexpected twist at the Charlotte Roval. We knew the race would be crazy the moment the Roval idea first came up, then it was a playoff race and then a cut off race and we were surprised. But we were really struck dumb after watching tons of cars wreck and spin during practices. The actual race, didn't have nearly as much carnage as expected... well until the end that is.
After a big wreck involving teammate Brad Keselowski and another handful of cars, Ryan Blaney received some damage to the nose of the 12 car and he was running 3rd when the two leading cars spun out, putting Blaney in the lead at the finish line. Blaney received many congratulatory bumps on his way to the Start/Finish Line including one from teammate Joey Logano.
The first thing Blaney said in his interview was, "Yeah um I didn’t expect that..." Not that he wasn't insanely grateful though. When Blaney stepped out of the car he was smiling. "We put ourselves in that spot though." Blaney followed up with. "You hate to see two guys get into it... but that’s racing sometimes." On the final lap Jimmie Johnson went sideways taking out second place Martin Truex Jr. at the same time. "Thank you to all the fans for coming did you guys like it?" Blaney was met with loud cheers and applause.
Blaney always has the fans in mind, especially hen he wins. Blaney gets the flag from the flag man picks a kid in the crowd and hands it over to them. Today it was a toddler with big green headphones.
"This is pretty, pretty cool." Blaney said smiling still.
Blaney as greater in Victory Lane with some praise. “Sometimes the best part to be on the last lap, Ryan, is in 3rd place.” “You hate to see tow if the best cars wreck and... I don’t know... I almost wrecked trying to get back to the gas to get through there... so happy to not only win but to advance.... looking forward to the second round.”
That advances Ryan Blaney into the next round! The four cars out this time are Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.
What an exciting race! Tune in next week to watch the guys 'Send It' in Dover!
*Quotes from NBC Broadcast
Kyle Busch swept the Richmond Cup races this season. This is his 7th win of 2018 so far, and the first 1-2-3 finish for the Big Three of 2018. Busch was pretty far back in the field after starting in the back and not many were sure if he could make it up past 14th place, but a couple of pit stops sent him up to the front row and after a clean battle with the 2 car Busch took the lead and didn’t lose it again.
"Unbelievable win number 50 in the cup car," Rutledge Wood said at the start/finish line. “Yeah that was too close for my comfort... I know thats kind fo Harvick’s specialty.” Busch said of Kevin Harvick, who is known as The Closer. “That's right Rowdy Nation, for you baby!”
Busch said he wasn’t thinking of next week's cut off race at the Roval, when going after the win today. “Hey I finally won. Fall race in Richmond, what do you know?”
Two Richmond wins this year, after starting 32 and 39th the interviewer mentioned. “I don’t know why but I just can’t qualify well here,”
“Its awesome to come out here I saw a lot of 18 gear this weekend”
Busch mentioned his back hurting because he wasn’t relaxing at all this weekend and even joked about being old.
So the Big Three is 'back,' but Keselowski is a big factor in the championship now.
So who wins the championship guys? Lets start a conversation in the comments!
*Quotes from NBC Broadcast
“Cha-ching, baby three in a row!” The first win of the 2018 MENCS playoffs goes to the 2 team at Las Vegas! The odds of Brad Keselowski winning three races in a row were sixty four thousand to one, “Win number 500 buddy,” “Oh yeah I forgot about that,” Keselowski said with a laugh. His previous two wins came at Darlington and the Brickyard.
The Captain, Roger Penske, was watching the Vegas race from the IndyCar championship in Sonoma and was quick to change his hat to a 500th win hat. On the IndyCar broadcast it was said that Roger Penske had raised his fist. They weren't sure what that meant but they said it was pretty cool if it got the Captain to raise his fist.
“First of all Dave, congrats to all the fans that made it the whole race there in the stands” Keselowski said with a laugh. “Huge day for The Captain I know he’s watching ; we did it boss!” Keselowski said into the camera
Keselowski then went on to praise his team’s work, “Its really a testament to this team though they’ve been really strong on pit road… Really really proud of the effort from the team today fun race hot one” and Keselowski wasn’t kidding, temps inside the car reached 188 degrees today, (according to the thermometer in AJ Allmendinger’s car).
There was a wager going on at Penske, whoever got the Captain his 500th race win would get something special. We have yet to know what that something special is, but there was a joke going around that the boys wanted to fly in his private jet.
Big congrats to Roger Penske and the organization he has built, 500 wins is a big deal.
Keselowski and the rest of the Cup team will be back next Saturday in Richmond. As for the IndyCar guys they’ll be back next season.
*Quotes from NBC Broadcast
Brad Keselowski won the rained out Brickyard 400, the first time Penske has never won a Brickyard. This was Penske's 499th win overall. Penske has won the Indy500 17 times, and the last 4 consecutive Indy500s.
"Checked the box thank you!" Was heard over the 2 team radio. Up in the booth Kyle Petty said, "This race track means the most to Rodger Penske."
Keselowski climbed out of the two car waving the American flag and high fived all of his team. "So many years of trying for team Penske, 25 tries. A week ago he'd never won a major event, and now..." The reporter said. This is Keselowski's second win this season, the first coming last weekend at the Southern 500.
"Heck of a call to pit there late in the stage," Keselowski said. "This is the brickyard this is awesome!"
Kyle Petty said "Team Penske is Indianapolis."
The team members and Keselowski climbed the fence and then they headed for Victory Lane. "Man we thought last weeks win was a big one,.... how big is this?" "Its incredible!... I'm so happy for everybody at Team Penske."
"You're about to go kiss the bricks, what do you think thats gonna be like?"
Keselowski smiled, "A little grimmy but good. Grimmy never tasted so good."
Teammate Ryan Blaney ran over to the bricks and congratulated Keselowski. After trophy pictures, Joey Logano joined him too.
*Quotes from NBC Broadcast
Before Saturday Brad Keselowski had never won at Darlington. Keselowski proved that he had it in him though, by winning not only Saturday but also Sunday. What a sweep! Not only that, but it's Keselowski's first win of the season!
On his way to the start/finish line, Keselowski slowed down next to his teammate Joey Logano, and they bumped doors before parting ways.
"Thank you so much for that!" Keselowski said over the radio. "Really, really nice man. Really, really nice!" was the response.
"Labor Day weekend! You're not dreaming Brad not only did you win last night, you won tonight! Penske hasn't won here since 75 and you brought them back." Rutledge said.
Brad was smiling really big as he said, "How cool is this? In Rusty Wallaces throwback car?... The southern 500 has always been a major deal!... (hits the car) Yes! We won it Rutledge!"
Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the booth said, "You could see the pride Brad had to get this win."
Brad did a little burnout in front of Blaney on the way to Victory Lane. "First he enjoyed a handshake from his crew chief," Kelly said before asking, "Where does this [win] rank?" Brad smiled more, "This has to be the biggest... This Rusty Wallace hot rod right here... We were there when it counted."
"We probably should have moved up a couple spots today." Brad said of his playoffs position.
"Really cool Penske could get 1-2... Congrats to those guys [two team]." Logano said in his interview. He spoke of being proud of the Penske performance at Darlington.
Keselowski saw Rusty Wallace walking by and asked him to come join the pictures. Then Wallace was interviewed as well, and Wallace said of Keselowski, "Felt like I was watching my own kid tonight,"
The last time Penske won at Darlington in the Cup series was 1975, Bobby Allison. Tonight, they finish 1-2!
Who's going to be kissing the bricks next week? Tune in to find out!
*Quotes from NBC Broadcast
Julia Laundauer's previous race was in the 25 car for Canada's Best Racing Team, in the K&N West Series at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. This week I was very fortunate to be able to get an interview with Landauer. Enjoy!
Firstly can you tell the story of how you got into racing?
I started racing when I was 10 years old in go-karts because my parents were looking for an activity that my whole family could do together on the weekends, and they wanted something that their girls could do against boys. I fell in love with racing right away!
What is the biggest sacrifice you've had to make for racing?
In high school I missed out on friends’ birthdays and overall didn’t see them as much on weekends because I was racing. But I developed great friendships anyway and they all understood my passion.
How do you get pumped up before a race?
I get really nervous before races, so I actually always sprint to the bathroom and sprint back to expel the negative energy and get some endorphins!
What is the most grueling workout you've done?
This year I started working with Trey Shannon Fitness, and we had one day where we did an awful workout on the rower and I almost threw up. I wasn’t happy, but I’m also very noticeably stronger than I was last year.
What is the most inspirational advice you've been given in your life?
I’ve been very lucky to receive a lot of great advice, but one piece that I really love is to remember to take the time to do the things that bring you pure joy. It’s important to give yourself a break and do something that makes you happy. I believe that can give everyone the new energy to keep persevering when it’s tough!
How well do you sleep the night before a race?
Very poorly :) my last good night’s sleep is always two nights before my race, so I make sure I get that.
What is your biggest strength in racing?
I’m really consistent and methodical when getting faster.
If you could give any advice to a girl who wants to succeed in racing what would you tell her?
Always, always, always believe in yourself. Give yourself pep talks, pump up yourself, whatever you have to do. Because if you don’t believe in yourself, why should other people? Good luck!
I hope you all enjoyed hearing Julia Landauer's strory! Make sure to give her a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! Julia's official website isjulialandauer.com.
I'm a junior in high school but that doesn't stop me from keeping up with and bringing you the latest from NASCAR!