Logano, Busch fall short to ‘Su­per­man’ on race’s fi­nal restart

Cecil Whig - - & - By MIKE HEM­BREE

NAS­CAR Wire Ser­vice

— Joey Logano and Kyle Busch raced to­ward the NAS­CAR Sprint Cup Se­ries cham­pi­onship late into the even­ing Sun­day at Homestead-Mi­ami Speed­way, and both saw their shots dis­ap­pear in the clos­ing laps.

Logano took the hard­est hit – lit­er­ally. On a restart with 10 laps to go, Logano chased Carl Ed­wards, who then was the leader of the Cham­pi­onship 4, with all the fi­nesse that Logano has shown on restarts through­out the sea­son. He shot to the inside with the idea of beat­ing Ed­wards into the first turn and per­haps tak­ing the lead for the fi­nal time. In­stead, Ed­wards dropped low to block. They col­lided, caus­ing Ed­wards to crash hard.

On the night’s fi­nal restart, Jim­mie Johnson drove away from Logano, who never had a chance to du­pli­cate his fierce chal­lenge of Ed­wards. Johnson raced on to his record-ty­ing sev­enth ti­tle, and Logano was left to try again.

Busch, who was try­ing to re­peat his 2015 cham­pi­onship, was a fac­tor late in the race, but he fell back af­ter

HOMESTEAD, FLA.

the restart that ended in the Logano-Ed­wards wreck. He was 13th on the night’s fi­nal restart af­ter he pit­ted for tires, and he raced up to sixth but wasn’t a threat to Johnson.

Logano said he wasn’t sur- prised that the race ended in calamity.

“Any time you put so much on the line and you have a late restart, you know it’s go­ing to get crazy, and then you add two or three of them on top of that, it’s go- ing to get cra­zier,” he said.

Logano called the in­ci­dent with Ed­wards “great rac­ing. I un­der­stand why he had to throw the block, and he un­der­stands why I had to make the move be­cause that was for the win. That was the only shot that I had. That was for the race win.

“It’s 10 to go. What do you ex­pect? It’s for a cham­pi­onship. I did that move ear­lier in the race — ac­tu­ally the first start of the race. I knew that was my play. I knew that was what I was go­ing to do as soon as I restarted. We just ran out of real es­tate to the point, it’s like, OK, we’ve got to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“You know, that’s just rac­ing, and it hurt both of us — ul­ti­mately, Carl a lit­tle bit more. But it’s un­for­tu­nate.”

Busch said he was too far back on the night’s fi­nal restart to be a threat. Pit­ting for tires put him in a deep hole.

“In or­der to make up that many spots, we were go­ing to need more than just two laps, but we were go­ing to be able to do it if there were more laps, but that’s the choice we made, and we didn’t feel like we had a shot to win if we didn’t come down [pit road],” he said. “So we were go­ing to just be fight­ing them off from that point.”

Busch called rally re­mark­able.

“Johnson was nowhere all night long,” he said. “He couldn’t even keep up with us, re­ally. We were the thirdbest car, and I never even saw him in my mir­ror. He just came out of nowhere there at the end and did what he needed to do and was Su­per­man and won the cham­pi­onship, so that’s when it mat­ters.” Johnson’s

JOE CAVARETTA

Jim­mie Johnson, right, races dur­ing the Ford Eco­Boost 400 NAS­CAR Sprint Cup Cham­pi­onship race on Sun­day at Homestead­Mi­ami Speed­way in Florida.

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