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Despite being surrounded by Fords and Chevrolets on the final restart, the reigning NASCAR Cup champion still found himself in position to start 2023 with a victory.
Kyle Busch shoved Logano to the lead just after the start of the final lap of the second overtime but Christopher Bell’s push of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – who was short on fuel – allowed him to edge ahead in the inside lane.
Before the two could battle it out to the checkered flag, a wreck behind them brought out another caution, which locked Stenhouse into the win so long as his No. 47 Chevrolet could make it back to the start/finish line, which it did.
Logano’s No. 22 Ford actually crossed the finish line first, which briefly left the scoring monitors showing him as the winner.
“Second is the worst, man. You’re so close,” Logano said. “Leading the white flag lap there, I was up front. Kyle gave me a good push and, yeah, you’re watching in the mirror and you’re three-wide across there.
“I felt like the three-wide was going a hurt a lane; looked like Kyle was getting pushed ahead, and then Ricky started getting pushed ahead.”
Logano said his car’s handling issues in the race prevented him from going to the bottom lane.
“I already got pushed off the bottom once and I thought if I go down there I’m probably going to get wrecked, and I don’t know if I can get down there in time to throw the block and so I didn’t want to wreck my car either,” he said.
“You think you’re racing to the checkered flag and you put yourself in the best position to try to win at the start-finish line, and just (a) caution came out.
“You wish you could race to the end. Obviously, you can’t when they wreck that much.”
While Logano led just 12 laps, he was among the group of Ford drivers that controlled much of the race, which featured 52 lead changes among 21 drivers.
“Congratulations to Ricky. There’s nothing like winning the Daytona 500. That’s why it stings so much finishing second,” he said.
“Still proud of the team, still proud of the effort coming off the championship last year and bringing this (car) back toward the front and getting a Ford close to the front. Wish it was in Victory Lane, though.”