3 NASCAR Championship to be decided at Homestead-Miami Speedway

2015 Nov 18 Champ_Trophies_111715_01Credit: 314304Homestead-Miami Speedway. An honor guard poses with the NASCAR championship trophies in Miami.

2015 Nov 20 311196

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps)
Sunday, Nov. 22 3 p.m. (ET) TV: NBC, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90

NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300
Homestead-Miami Speedway Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)
Saturday, Nov. 21 2:45 p.m. (ET) TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200
Homestead-Miami Speedway Distance: 201 miles (134 laps)
Friday, Nov. 20 8 p.m. (ET) TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90



In the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, there are 4 left: Car 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, Car 24 Jeff Gordon Pepsi Chevrolet, Car 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Crispy Toyota & Car 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet. Whichever driver wins the Championship it is well deserved.

The Favorite: Car 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet
Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title-winner Kevin Harvick enters Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 Championship Round race (3 p.m. ET on NBC) as the favorite to take home his 2nd straight series crown. If he finishes ahead of fellow Championship 4 drivers Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., Harvick will become the 11th person in NASCAR history to win consecutive NSCS titles.

Harvick heads to Homestead as its reigning race winner. He had to finish 1st to win the championship last year, otherwise runner-up Ryan Newman would have taken home the title. In 14 career starts at Homestead, Harvick has 1 win (7.1%), 6 Top 5 (42.9%) and 12 top 10s (85.7%). His 7.6 average finish at the 1.5-mile track ranks first among active drivers. He also owns the 4th best driver rating (102.5) and average running position (10.0) among active drivers at Homestead. At Phoenix on Sunday, Harvick placed 2nd his 15th Top 2 finish of the season and the most in the NSCS since Jeff Gordon posted 19 in 1998. A Harvick championship would be the 3rd for Stewart-Haas Racing, which has won titles with Harvick (2014) & Tony Stewart (2011).

The Veteran: Car 24 Jeff Gordon Pepsi Chevrolet
In his last year, in the his last race, Jeff Gordon is still Alive In The Drive For 5, Gordon can retire a champion. If Gordon can finish ahead of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. in the final event of his last full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Gordon will walk away with his fifth NSCS championship. Already 4th on the all-time championships list, the No. 24 Chevrolet driver would end his career behind only Jimmie Johnson (6 championships), Richard Petty (7) and Dale Earnhardt (7) in the NASCAR record books.

Gordon, has performed well at Homestead-Miami Speedway where the Ford EcoBoost 400 will be held. In 16 starts at the 1.5-mile track, he boasts one win (6.2%), 7 Top 5 (43.8%) and 12 Top 10s (75.0%). He finished 10th at omestead last year after leading a race-high 161 laps. A Gordon championship would not only be his first since 2001, but his first in the Chase era (2004-present). If he wins the title on Sunday, Gordon’s 14-year gap between championships would surpass 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Terry Labonte’s record 12-season drought between titles. Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports team already owns the NSCS record with 11 NSCS titles.

The Unstoppable Comeback: Car 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Crispy Toyota
A mere nine months after breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot in an accident at Daytona, Busch will race for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch had cooled off since winning 4-of-5 races including 3 in a row earlier in the season, but started to heat up again as the only driver to log a Top 5 finish in all three Eliminator Round races.

Of the Championship 4 drivers, Busch has had the least success at Homestead. In 10 starts at the South Florida track he has no wins, one top five (10.0%) and three top 10s (30.0%). Busch owns three finishes worse than 30th at Homestead, including a 39th-place finish there last year. In fact, his 23.1 Homestead average finish ranks 25th among active drivers. If Busch finishes ahead of Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr., he’ll become the first driver to ever pilot a Toyota to a NSCS title, giving the manufacturer a driver’s championship in all three national series. Coincidentally, Busch won Toyota its first NSCS race at Atlanta in 2008. Busch would also join Bobby Labonte, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick as the 4th driver to earn a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.

The Cinderella Story: Car 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr. is the underdog to win the Championship & the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. the only driver for Furniture Row Racing, based far from NASCAR’s North Carolina hotbed in Denver, Colorado, Truex might actually be the driver to beat at Homestead. In 10 starts at the Miami oval, the No. 78 Chevrolet driver has no wins, 3 Top 5 (30%), 7 Top 10s (70%) and a 10.0 average finish (second among active drivers). What sets him apart from the rest of the Championship 4 at Homestead is his loop data success. He tops the Championship 4 drivers in Homestead average running position (9.0, second among active drivers), driver rating (106.6, third) and average Green Flag speed (162.357 mph, first).

A Truex championship would make him the first title-winner from New Jersey and just the second from the Northeast (Bill Rexford, New York). Additionally, Truex would be the first driver from a one-car team to win an NSCS championship since Dale Earnhardt and Richard Childress Racing achieved the feat in 1994. Truex would also join Bobby Labonte, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick as the fourth driver to earn a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.

Chase Spoilers Galore At Homestead

Although the Championship 4 will be the only drivers racing for a championship, 39 others will compete for the win in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Six drivers outside of the Championship 4 have won at Homestead and will try to visit Victory Lane there again: Greg Biffle (3 wins), Tony Stewart (3), Carl Edwards (2), Denny Hamlin (2), Kurt Busch (1) and Matt Kenseth (1).

Among drivers who haven’t won at Homestead in the past, look out for series wins leader Joey Logano, and NASCAR’s all-time intermediate-track wins leader Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne could all be dangerous with their Hendrick Motorsports team showing speed lately by winning the last three races.

Chevrolet Clinches Manufacturer’s Title

At Phoenix last Sunday night, Chevrolet clinched the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers Championship. It marked the 13th consecutive year and 39th time overall that Chevy has won the prestigious title in NASCAR’s premier series. Chevrolet has won 14 races this season.

Here are my picks to win the Championship:
1. Car 24 Jeff Gordon Pepsi Chevrolet
2. Car 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet
3. Car 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Crispy Toyota
4. Car 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet.



Ford EcoBoost 300 To Set The Stage For Crowning Of XFINITY Series Champion

Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher has held the NASCAR XFINITY Series points lead for the last 23 races of the 2015 season, and he has just one race left – Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:45 p.m. ET on NBC) – to capture his first career NASCAR national series title. To clinch the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship in Miami no matter what any other competitor does, Buescher will have to finish 13th or better without leading a lap, 14th or better while leading at least one lap, or 15th or
better while leading the most laps.

Buescher’s title run is a culmination of team work and relentless consistency. He is currently 18 points ahead of second-place Chase Elliott and 22 points up on third place Ty Dillon. In 32 starts Buescher has posted two wins (Iowa and Dover), 11 top fives, and 20 top 10s. His average finish this season is 8.3 and his season-to-date driver rating is 98.7.

Buescher rolls into Miami knowing he has one start under his belt at the 1.5-mile speedway he can build off of this weekend. Last season, Buescher made his HMS series debut, starting 10th and driving to a fifth-place finish. Buescher has an average finish of 8.4 on 1.5-mile tracks this season, second best among championship contenders behind Ty Dillon’s 6.9.

Roger Penske’s No. 22 Ford Team Are Owner Champions For The Third Straight Season

Roger Penske joined a select group of champions when his No. 22 Ford team clinched the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series owners championship in Texas, becoming just the fourth car owner in NASCAR XFINITY Series history to win three or more car owner championships. He joins Richard Childress (four), Joe Gibbs (four) and William Baumgardner (three) as owners who have achieved the feat.

Penske is the second NXS car owner in series history to win three consecutive car owner championships (2013 – 2015) joining William Baumgardner (1995 – 1997). The difference between the two owners is Baumgardner won his three titles with a single driver each season; while Penske has won each title with multiple drivers behind the wheel. This season’s No. 22 lineup included Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Alex Tagliani.

A total of nine owners have won multiple car owner championships in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. This is Roger Penske’s fourth championship in the last six seasons in the NASCAR XFINITY Series – he has won the last three car owner titles and also the 2010 driver championship with Brad Keselowski.

This weekend, Ryan Blaney will strap into the No. 22 Ford and attempt to cap off this championship season with another win. The High Point, N.C. native has made 12 starts this season posting two wins (Iowa and Kentucky), eight top fives, nine top 10s and an average finish of 10.0. Blaney has made two career NXS starts at Homestead, posting one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 6.0. The Team Penske No. 22 Ford team has posted an average finish of 5.9 in 2015 – the best among full-time teams.

Suárez On Cusp Of Becoming First Hispanic XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie Of The Year

South Beach welcomes Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Daniel Suárez, as the Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next alumni strolls into Homestead-Miami Speedway looking to finish his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut season on a high note as the first Hispanic Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner in the series.

Suárez leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 40 points over second-place Darrell Wallace Jr. with one race remaining.

In 32 starts this season, Suárez has posted three poles, eight top fives, and 17 top 10s. This will be his series debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The way the Sunoco Rookie of the Year is decided is of the 33 races, only the top 17 are counted in the rookie standings race. In order to be eligible for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award, a driver must attempt to qualify in at least eight events out of the first 20. Then during the final weekend of the season, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year panel meets and rewards favorable conduct in the following categories: Conduct with NASCAR officials in the garage and pit areas; conduct and awareness on track; personal appearance and relationship with the media. The panel rates each driver, with scoring ranging from a maximum of 10 to a minimum of 1. Total points will be averaged from each panel member’s ballot. The points derived from the panel will be added to the entry, competition, and bonus points after the final race of the season to determine the overall Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner.



Jones Attempts To Hold Off Reddick For Championship At Homestead

With one race left in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Erik Jones leads second-place Tyler Reddick by 19 points in the championship standings.

Regardless of Reddick’s performance, all Jones must do to take home the title is finish 15th or better; 16th with at least one lap led; or 17th and the most laps led in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

A record will be broken no matter what as Jones (19 years, 5 months, 21 days) or Reddick (19 years, 10 months, 9 days) will become the youngest champion in NCWTS history. The title was previously held by Austin Dillon (2011: 21 years, 6 months, 22 days).

Jones has finished lower than 15th just once this season (23rd at Gateway). In fact, he currently boasts a streak of 14 consecutive top-10 showings. The No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports driver has never raced at Homestead.

Reddick enters Friday’s race riding a streak of four consecutive fifth-place finishes. He has put himself in title contention by posting two wins, 13 top fives and 18 top 10s in 22 starts this season. Reddick raced in last season’s Homestead finale, finishing sixth.

Crafton To Become Truck Series All-Time Starts Leader

Already etching his name among the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series greats like Ron Hornaday Jr., Jack Sprague, Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner with his two championships, Matt Crafton will become the high-octane circuit’s all-time starts leader (361) when he presses down the gas pedal for Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200.

Crafton – a veteran of 15 full-time NCWTS seasons – tied Hornaday’s total of 360 starts last week at Phoenix where he wrecked going for the win and subsequently finished 23rd, crushing his hopes of a third consecutive championship.

In addition to his two career NCWTS titles, Crafton owns 10 wins, 88 top fives (fifth all-time) and 209 top-10 finishes (second all-time). His 65,743.3 miles driven are enough to travel across the continental United States more than 24 times.

The No. 88 ThorSport Racing driver has set career highs with five wins and three Keystone Light Pole Awards this season.

Crafton made his first NCWTS start at Auto Club Speedway on Oct. 28, 2000 and finished ninth.

Toyota Takes Manufacturer’s Championship, Ties Chevrolet For Series Record

Toyota won its third consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series manufacturers’ championship following Timothy Peters’ victory at Phoenix International Raceway. Toyota now boasts eight manufacturers’ titles – tied with Chevrolet for the series record.

On the season, Toyota has won 13 races with Matt Crafton (5), Erik Jones (3), Kyle Busch (2) and Christopher Bell (1).

Toyota has won four driver championships – Todd Bodine (2006), Johnny Benson (2008), Matt Crafton (2013-14) – and can capture a fifth with Erik Jones in Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Peters Wins Second Race Of Season At Phoenix

Taking advantage of a late-race wreck by leaders Erik Jones and Matt Crafton, Timothy Peters paced the field for 28 laps on his way to winning last Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. The victory was the second of Peters’ season, 10th of his career and first at PIR.

Peters has now won multiple races in three of the last four seasons. He has also won at least one race in the last seven consecutive seasons, ranking tied with Todd Bodine (2004-10), Kyle Busch (2005-11) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (2005-11) for second in NCWTS history. He only trails Dennis Setzer, who won at least one race in eight consecutive seasons (1998-2005).

The No. 17 Red Horse Racing driver has picked up his performance in the homestretch of the season with seven consecutive top-six finishes. Included in that stretch are two wins and a runner-up.

Peters ranks fifth in the NCWTS standings on the strength of two wins, seven top fives and 15 top 10s.

Lastly Truck 13 Cameron Hayley # PrtctTheHrvst/CarolinaNut/CabinetsbyHyly Toyota from Calgary Alberta has had a great 1st season in the series. It would be nice to see a win in the last race of the season as he has a entire country cheering for him


Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR

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