Brad Keselowski won for the first time at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday - no small deal for him - and now he's primed for the postseason.
It was a huge upset in winning a race for vehicle owner James Finch. Since his 2013 arrival, Logano and Keselowski have combined for 24 Cup wins. He won on the Alabama track most recently in May.
"I've doubted myself here", said Keselowski, who had just three top-10 finishes in 14 previous starts at Daytona.
"It's definitely the best vehicle I've ever had here at Daytona but I don't know if it was the strongest auto I've ever had", Keselowski said.
Keselowski said his futility at Daytona was "a kick in the you-know-what", but he and his No. 2 Ford crew kept chipping away at it even after he had a disappointing run in the season-opening Daytona 500. "But look, I've got". "We came down here for the 500 and quite honestly we ran like dog crap, but my team worked on it". We were all straight and fine, and they slowed up a little more than I could. "I'm proud we could do that and put this together". His win Saturday night was his first at Daytona. He has six top-5s and 16 top-10s at Talladega Superspeedway.
"We could have had a shot at [Keselowski]", he said. "Dave has that trophy I think".
With frequent multi-car crashes, the plate races often produce big swings in the point standings.
He added: 'I just didn't have any control any more. He now owns four career wins at Talladega and one at Daytona, the most by any driver since 2009.
He easily held off Busch, and challenger Kurt Busch was eliminated when he was knocked out of line as they headed to the checkered flag.
It was appropriate, though, that it did have drama.
BUSCH'S BAD FINISH - Kurt Busch was briefly charging toward Keselowski on the final shootout, couldn't pull off a pass, then found himself turned into the grass when Logano hit him.
Chris Buescher, also involved in the crash, said he was surprised by the sudden nature of the accident. "Penske gave me the auto to win the race". "They win races. They work well with the sponsors, and they're high integrity guys, so move on from there". - Keselowski, on winning at Daytona for the first time.
"Joey was a huge part of it", Keselowski said. But Penske apparently didn't believe he needed to defend Keselowski on Saturday. Busch, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, was using a back-up vehicle, having wrecked his primary ride on Friday during a practice session.
As the field exited Turn 4 and into the tri-oval, Logano and Busch followed eventual race victor Brad Keselowski on the inside lane, while Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne occupied the top.
"I don't know where Logano wanted to go", Busch said. There's not a chance that he had to win it.
"But when we have a great vehicle like we did (Saturday), I feel like I can compete and make a run for it".
Logano indicated it wasn't on objective.
Said Busch: "I just didn't have enough ... no doubt that it was definitely a track position race for sure. At the end of the day, that's racing, as far as I'm concerned".
All the chaos, confusion and what ended as 22 crumpled cars began when McMurray got loose in Turn 1. "But that thing was just so strong that there wasn't much passing him".
Trevor Bayne rallied on the final lap to wind up third, followed by Logano in fourth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell in 10th.
We're hoping you never see up close and personal a highway pile-up, but if you want to experience the thing without putting yourself in harm's way the NASCAR races are usually a pretty good spot. Kyle Busch finished second as Keselowski hung on after the fifth caution of the night with only three laps remaining.