Homestead. That is where dreams are made or, more likely, where they die. That is if they have not already been snuffed for another year before even reaching the season finale. One thing about that track in Miami is that some of the best just do not seem to do their best there.
For example, try as you may, you will not find some familiar names listed among the Hot 20 at Homestead. If your average finish is 20th or worse, you will fail to make the cut. Among them are Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Paul Menard. That trio of eliminated Chasers has, between them, raced at Homestead thirty times. None has won there and combined they boast just a couple of Top Fives and four Top Tens. Even if they had remained in contention, one would have to be hard pressed to consider any of them a favorite to win this Sunday.
Yet, as bad as they are, there is one notable driver who is worse. Kyle Busch has failed to even make the Top Twenty in half of his 10 starts. He has won none at Homestead, with an average finish of 23rd place. His best result was fourth in 2012. Last year, he was 39th. If Kyle emerges with the championship after this weekend, he would have delivered the race of his life.
As for the other three contenders, all have a shot, with defending champion Kevin Harvick leading the way. Last year, he did just that to take the race and the crown. Jeff Gordon won there in 2012 while Martin Truex, Jr. has seven Top Tens in 10 attempts to be right in the mix. All have an average finish of no worse than 11th.
One may well come away with the race win on Sunday though I believe we can expect some heat from others among Homestead’s Hot 20…
1. Kevin Harvick – 14 races – 1 Win – 12 Top Tens – 7.6 Average Finish
A repeat as winner guarantees a repeat as Cup champion.
2. Carl Edwards – 11 races – 2 Wins – 7 Top Tens – 9.1 AveFin.
His track record at Homestead makes him a fav to win a title some day. It just won’t be Sunday.
3. Martin Truex Jr. – 10 races – 7 Top Tens – 10.0 AveFin.
It is time for a Rocky Mountain high to visit Florida.
4. Jeff Gordon – 16 races – 1 Win – 12 Top Tens – 10.6 AveFin
This would be a good time to become known as Five-Time.
5. Denny Hamlin – 10 races – 2 Wins – 6 Top Tens – 10.8 AveFin
If what Hamlin is selling is his “starter” home, what in hell does he live in now?
6. Clint Bowyer – 9 races – 6 Top Tens – 10.9 AveFin
Still a chance he could leave Michael Waltrip Racing with a final win before the sun sets.
7. Tony Stewart – 15 races – 3 Wins – 7 Top Tens – 14.0 AveFin
Oh, how the mighty have fallen…and so quickly.
8. Kyle Larson – 2 races – 14.0 AveFin
15th one year, 14th last year. You could say he is improving here each time out. Well, you can.
9. Jimmie Johnson – 14 races – 9 Top Tens – 14.4 AveFin
A six-time champion under the previous formats, but not so sure about a seventh under this one.
10. Kasey Kahne – 11 races – 4 Top Tens – 14.9 AveFin
Number 5 will be as mellow yellow as the number 24 on Sunday.
11. Brad Keselowski – 7 races – 2 Top Tens – 15.0 AveFin
Over the past two events at Homestead, his average finish has been 4.5.
12. Justin Allgaier – 1 race – 15.0 AveFin
A Top Fifteen finish would match…well…what he did last year.
13. Matt Kenseth – 15 races – 1 Win – 7 Top Tens – 15.8 AveFin
He is back. Will he and Joey meet at high noon, or will peace and harmony reign supreme?
14. Ryan Newman – 13 races – 5 Top Tens – 15.8 AveFin
Can drive a dozer from 150 miles away. Let him try that in a race car.
15. Aric Almirola – 5 races – 2 Top Tens – 16.2 AveFin
I am thinking that Richard Petty likes him best. At least he gets to return next season.
16. Jamie McMurray – 13 races – 4 Top Tens – 16.6 AveFin
Once had problems with Kenseth, but now are best buds. Is there hope for Matt and Joey? Right.
17. Greg Biffle – 13 races – 3 wins – 5 Top Tens – 17.2 AveFin
Best damn Roush driver this season, but when your teammates are Stenhouse and Bayne…
18. Danica Patrick – 2 races – 19.0 AveFin
It is sad when one thinks of this as one of her better tracks.
19. Kurt Busch – 14 races – 1 Win – 5 Top Tens – 19.2 AveFin
Hasn’t won in Miami since 2002, but it was the crashes in 2006 and 2008 that left him dead last.
20. A.J. Allmendinger – 6 races – 2 Top Tens – 19.5 AveFin
Great start to his career but 36th and 40th in his last two have marred his average just a tad.
25. Kyle Busch – 10 races – 3 Top Tens – 23.1 AveFin
His efforts to date get him included on this list. His past efforts at Homestead do not.