In anticipation of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, special edition News & Notes will be distributed each day through Wednesday.
Here’s a look at what to expect:
Monday: An in-depth look at the top two seeds in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 – Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson
Tuesday: An in-depth look at the third and fourth seeds in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 – Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch
Today: NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series notes; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship race notes at Homestead-Miami Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Championship Race: Ford EcoBoost 400
The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Nov. 20
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps)
By The Numbers: Homestead-Miami Speedway
1 – Tony Stewart, in his last appearance this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, is the only driver in series history to win at the famed 1.5-mile speedway in his first appearance (1999).
2 – Number of Coors Light poles at Homestead-Miami Speedway by the series leaders: Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne.
3 – Number of times the winner of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway has won the title during the Chase Era; including the last two seasons in the elimination-style format of the Chase (Tony Stewart, 2011; Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015).
9 – Number of Chase races at Homestead-Miami Speedway that were won by Chase contenders; three times a non-Chase contender has won season finale: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013).
11 – Number of different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway; led by Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart with three each.
12 – Number of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races Homestead-Miami Speedway has hosted (2004-2015).
13 – Number of different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
14 – The most cautions in a single NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (11/21/2004; the inaugural Chase race in Miami)
15 – The worst finish by the eventual series champion in a Chase race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (it happened three times: Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012).
17 – Total number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races held at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
18-20 – The degrees of banking in all four turns of Homestead-Miami Speedway.
22 – The age of the youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Joey Logano (11/18/2012 – 22 years, 5 months, 25 days).
24 – The age of the youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Kurt Busch (11/17/2002 – 24 years, 3 months, 13 days).
26 – The most number of lead changes in a single race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (11/20/2011).
38 – The lowest starting position by a race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Denny Hamlin, 2009).
46 – The age of the oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award and race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Bill Elliott set both records in 2001 (11/11/2001 – 46 years, 1 month, 3 days).
64 – Total number of NASCAR national series races held at Homestead-Miami Speedway, second-most by a track in the state of Florida: NSCS (17), NXS (21) and NCWTS (20).
120 – The number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers that have made at least one start at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
150.0 – The highest score in driver rating scale, considered a perfect performance, and has only been accomplished at Homestead-Miami Speedway once, in 2010 by Carl Edwards.
267 – Number of laps scheduled for this weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
568 – Number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by the series leader (Carl Edwards, 12 starts).
Home Sweet Homestead
Homestead-Miami Speedway has become dear to the hearts of several champions who were crowned at the 1.5-mile track. In fact, over the past half-dozen years the championship has been decided under the South Florida sun. Here’s a look at some recent memorable title performances:
2010 – Jimmie Johnson comes from behind to lock up fifth straight title
Entering the season finale, Jimmie Johnson trailed Denny Hamlin by 15 points in the championship battle. However, an early race spin caused damage to Hamlin’s machine and he was only able to recover for a 14th place finish. Kevin Harvick, third in points entering the race, faced his own problems when he was penalized for speeding on pit road and ultimately finished third. Johnson came home second.
The winner of the race? 2016 Championship 4 driver Carl Edwards.
2011 – Tony Stewart wins third championship in dramatic fashion
Not rain nor debris damage nor a tie could keep Tony Stewart from capturing his third, and final, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Trailing points leader Carl Edwards by three points leading into the race, Stewart virtually needed a win to capture the title – especially considering that Edwards ultimately finished second in the race.
The pair finished the season tied in points, but Stewart held the tiebreaker over Edwards of most wins during the season (five to one).
2012 – Brad Keselowski holds off Jimmie Johnson for first championship
Brad Keselowski didn’t have to come from behind in Miami to land atop the final standings, as he entered the race with a 20-point lead over the then five-time champ. But he did have to be at the top of his game to keep Jimmie Johnson at his back.
Problems in the pits for Johnson late in the race helped Keselowski secure the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship for car owner Roger Penske, who is celebrating 50 years of racing in 2016.
The race also happened to mark the best career finish prior to 2015 in Miami for current Championship 4 driver Kyle Busch, who finished fourth.
2013 – Jimmie Johnson edges closer to the legends with sixth title
Jimmie Johnson needed to finish 23rd to capture his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and after an incident on a restart just shy of the 200-lap mark, that’s preciously where Johnson wound up in line when it all sorted itself out.
Ultimately he would rebound to finish ninth, securing car owner and 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rick Hendrick a record 11th championship.
2014 – Kevin Harvick shines as new Chase elimination format makes debut
When the new Chase format was introduced in 2014, Kevin Harvick became the poster child for the phrase “win and you’re in.” Time and time again, Harvick found himself needing a win to advance through the rounds, including in Phoenix the weekend before to secure a spot in the Championship 4. And in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he needed to win the race in order to capture the championship.
Finishing second in the race? Fellow Championship 4 contender Ryan Newman.
The remaining members of the inaugural Championship 4 finished seventh (Denny Hamlin) and 16th (Joey Logano).
2015 – Kyle Busch completes improbable comeback with first championship
In arguably one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history, Kyle Busch edged out Kevin Harvick for the race win and his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Busch missed the first 11 races of the season after breaking his right leg and left foot in a NASCAR XFINITY Series crash at the season-opening race in Daytona, but took advantage of the “win and you’re in” Chase format to stun the NASCAR world at season’s end.
And for the second consecutive season of the new Chase format, the champ had to win the race in order to hoist the trophy as he was followed across the finish line by another Championship 4 contender in second place.
2016 Championship 4 driver Joey Logano finished fourth in the race.
Homestead-Miami Speedway, etc.:
Under the new Chase format, there hasn’t been much room up front for those bounced from championship contention. In each of the first two years of the elimination-style format, the champion won the season finale at Homestead – Kevin Harvick in 2014; Kyle Busch in 2015.
Still, there are a bevy of strong drivers who could make some noise on Sunday:
Kevin Harvick: Harvick became the first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to clinch his championship by winning the season finale at Homestead in the elimination-style format. He’s finished first and second in his last two starts at the 1.5-mile track and has never finished outside the top-20 in 15 career starts in Miami.
Matt Kenseth: After leading 55 laps at Phoenix International Raceway in last weekend’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 8 cutoff race, Kenseth was involved in a wreck in the closing laps – eliminating him from 2016 Chase contention. The incident was enough to leave a bad taste in any driver’s grill. Kenseth won at Homestead in 2007 when he was with Roush Fenway Racing and has five top-10 finishes in his last six races in Miami. He will be looking to finish his 2016 season on a high note.
Denny Hamlin: Hamlin, a two-time winner at Homestead (2009 and 2013), has excelled in 11 career starts there. In addition to his two wins, he has four top fives and seven top 10s, with 213 laps led. His exit in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Round of 8 could have Hamlin motivated to finish his 2016 campaign with a “W.”
NASCAR OEM’s Well Represented At Homestead
Since Homestead-Miami Speedway opened in 1999, the 1.5-mile track has hosted 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
Of the 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead, Ford accounts for seven wins, Chevrolet has won four and Toyota has captured three.
Kevin Harvick last captured a Chevrolet win at Homestead in 2015 when the veteran netted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.
This season, Chevrolet still has its ace in the Chase, as six-time champion Jimmie Johnson attempts to win his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship that would tie him with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
All seven Ford wins have come from active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers; most recently with Carl Edwards (2010 and 2008), Matt Kenseth (2007), Greg Biffle (2004-06) and Kurt Busch (2002). The seven Ford wins account for 42 percent of total NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Homestead since 1999.
With Joey Logano being the only Ford driver among the Championship 4 in the season finale at Homestead, could we see another Ford driver hoist the trophy?
Toyota Two Go
The last time a Toyota visited Victory Lane at Homestead, they were celebrating its first driver championship when Kyle Busch won the Sprint Cup Series title last season.
Busch, as well as teammate Carl Edwards (two career wins at Homestead) look to deliver Toyota its second-consecutive driver championship at Homestead.
Smoke’s Last Ride
Tony Stewart would love nothing more than to end his final full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart was Homestead-Miami Speedway’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner in 1999.
History could be on Stewart’s side as he is tied for most-wins at Homestead with Greg Biffle at three.
Smoke captured his 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead in one of the most thrilling season finales in NASCAR history.
A win at Homestead-Miami Speedway would put an extra exclamation mark on Stewart’s already Hall of Fame-worthy career.