Avondale, Arizona (AP) – Joey Lugano won his second NASCAR Championship to give Roger Pinsky two titles in the same season with a win in the Phoenix GP final on Sunday.
It was the fourth win of the season for Lugano, who opened the year with a victory in January at an exhibition race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the debut of NASCAR’s new next-generation car. Less than a month later, fellow rookie Austin Sendrick won the Daytona 500 on Penske’s 85th birthday.
Will Power added the IndyCar Championship to the Team Penske Cup issue in September, and Logano’s dominant run on Sunday marked the first time Penske won both the NASCAR and IndyCar championships in the same season.
“I knew going into this thing we were going to win the championship. I told the guys we were the favorites from Daytona, and we really believed it, and that’s the difference,” Lugano said. To be sure. I was never really ready for a championship race, and yes, we did, man. I do not believe that “.
Lugano was met after the win by his wife and 4-year-old son, Hudson, the oldest of his three children and only one who made the trip to Phoenix. He took Lugano by the hand and ran to the banks to collect the checkered flag.
His son jumped backwards on the track, waving the flag and holding the hand of his hero father. Lugano had promised Hudson that he would win the championship.
said Lugano, who also got a ride inside the #22 Ford to the championship stage.
“I’ve always wanted to do that with Hudson. He’s a little car guy, so it was a special moment to ride together.”
It’s the third Cup Championship for Penske, who won with Brad Keselowski in 2012 and his first Lugano title in 2018. Lugano joined Kyle Busch as the only active driver to hold multiple Cup titles.
Lugano won the pole and faced no challenge on Sunday, driving his Ford 186 out of 312 laps, not the top contender for the title on just one lap.
Ross Chastain finished third on his championship racing debut, while Christopher Bell finished 10th. bell He raced hours after Joe Gibbs Racing learned that Vice Chairman Coy Gibbs, the son of the Hall of Fame owner, had died in his sleep at the age of 49.
“You wake up this morning racing for a championship, you’re happy, you’re cheerful, and then your world falls apart,” Bell said. “Whenever I get news like this, it definitely puts it in perspective that there is a lot more to this outside of the race.”
Woven by Chastain early in the final, Chase Elliott smashed his Chevrolet into a wall and was immediately out of competition. Hendrick Motorsports snapped a back-to-back streak of two consecutive Cup titles.
NASCAR’s most famous driver won five races this year and the regular season championship, but Elliott lost his shot in a second championship when he cut off Chastain’s front and Chastain refused to lift. The call sent Elliot spinning the wall, dropping to 30th and landing a lap during repairs, finishing 28th.
Lugano, who started his career with JGR and spent five seasons there before being fired after the 2012 season, paid his respects to the Gibbs family after the win.
“I don’t know what to think,” Lugano said, “but obviously my condolences to the Gibbs family.” “But just a great day for us, and kind of mixed feelings at the moment.”
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