Credit: 352880(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images). (L-R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Martin Truex JR., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Caramel Toyota and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford talk to the media during media day for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship at the Loews Hotel on November 16, 2017 in Miami, Florida.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps)
Sunday, Nov. 19 3 p.m. ET TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Stage 1 (Ends on lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on lap 267)
Kyle Busch – Championship 4 Bio
BY THE NUMBERS
1 – Number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series titles Kyle Busch has won (2015).
1 – Number of wins Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway – 2015 (tied for most among the Championship 4 with Kevin Harvick)
2 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
3 – Number of times Kyle Busch has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoff format (tied with Kevin Harvick for the most Championship 4 appearances).
5 – Number of wins Kyle Busch has posted during the 2017 season; three during the Playoffs (Pocono-2, Bristol-2, New Hampshire-2, Dover-2 and Martinsville-2)
5 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
8 – Number of Coors Light poles Kyle Busch posted in 2017 – series-most
11.8 – Busch’s average finish during the entire 2017 season.
12.2 – Busch’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs
13 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted this season.
14 –Number of stage wins Kyle Busch has posted during the 2017 season.
19.8 – Busch’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway
21 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted during the 2017 season
96.9 – Kyle Busch’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (third-best among the Championship 4).
110.5 – Kyle Busch’s driver rating during the first nine races of the 2017 Playoffs.
279 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kyle Busch
Busch Eyeing Multi-NASCAR Championships Club
After winning the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in dramatic come-from-behind fashion, Kyle Busch is looking to become just the 16th driver in series history to win two or more championships when he races in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio).
Busch would be joining prestigious company:
Richard Petty – 7
Dale Earnhardt – 7
Jimmie Johnson – 7
Jeff Gordon – 4
Darrell Waltrip – 3
Cale Yarborough – 3
David Pearson – 3
Lee Petty – 3
Tony Stewart – 3
Herb Thomas – 2
Tim Flock – 2
Joe Weatherly – 2
Ned Jarret – 2
Terry Labonte – 2
Buck Baker – 2
Kyle Busch will have to battle two other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers looking for their second series championship in Kevin Harvick (2014) and Brad Keselowski (2012).
The Tale Of Kyle Busch – A Prime Time Performer In 2017
It may have been a slow start to the 2017 season for Kyle Busch, but the 2015 champion has been one of the best drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the back half of the season.
Busch’s first win of the year was the July Pocono Raceway race – leaving only one remaining track he has yet to win a points race at – Charlotte Motor Speedway. He won Bristol’s fall race for his second regular season victory.
Busch scored two wins in the Round of 16 – winning back-to-back races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway to advance to the Round of 12.
He narrowly escaped the Round of 12 after two finishes outside the top-25 at Charlotte and Talladega, but punched his ticket to the Championship 4 in the opening race of the Round of 8 when he won at Martinsville – giving him three wins during the 2017 postseason.
Busch will look to be the top finisher among his Championship 4 competitors at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he has one career win – the 2015 win that sealed his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Looking For Another Clutch Performance At Homestead
Heading into the Championship 4 race in 2015, Kyle Busch had never won at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That all changed when he pulled away from fellow title contender Kevin Harvick on a late-race restart to capture the checkered flag and his first championship.
In fact, other than the storybook ending to the 2015 season, Busch has struggled in South Florida. He holds an average finish of 19.8 in 12 races at the 1.5-mile track, with two top fives and five top 10s to his credit, including the win in 2015.
Prior to the trip to Victory Lane two years ago, Busch’s best finish in Miami was fourth in 2012. He finished sixth there last season in his quest for a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.
The Man Behind The Champion
Since pairing up in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Kyle Busch in 2015, crew chief Adam Stevens has been one of the best crew chiefs in the sport.
The pair has combined for the following achievements in 91 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races together since 2015:
· 14 wins
· 41 top fives
· 59 top 10s
· 3,951 laps led
· 10 Coors Light Pole awards
· One Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship (2015)
· Three-consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 appearances
· Three-consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs appearances
The two will look to capture their second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship together this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Coach Gibbs Pursuing Fifth Championship With Kyle Busch
How do you follow-up a hall of fame football coaching career that included three championships at the highest level of your sport?
With four – and counting – championships at the highest level of motorsports.
Coach Joe Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl titles in 1983, ’88 and ’92. His Joe Gibbs Racing stable has won Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015). Toss in two NASCAR XFINITY Series crowns in 2009 with Kyle Busch and 2016 with Daniel Suarez, and you can state a good case that he has had a second hall-of-fame-worthy career.
Coach Gibbs’ lone driver in the hunt for the title in Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is Kyle Busch, but had another successful season overall as three of his four of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers make the 2017 Playoffs.
Kevin Harvick – Championship 4 Bio
BY THE NUMBERS
1 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2014)
2 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has during the 2017 season; including one during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – (Sonoma, Texas-2).
3 – Number of times Kevin Harvick has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoff format.
6 – Number of stage wins Kevin Havick has posted during the 2017 season.
6.9 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway – best all-time.
8 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.
10.9 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
11.3 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish during the 2017 season.
12 – Kevin Harvick’s career Playoff wins (second to Jimmie Johnson’s 29).
13 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has logged during the 2017 season.
14 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has recorded at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.
22 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has tallied this season.
102.7 – Kevin Harvick’s 2017 driver rating – third-best in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
106.0 – Kevin Harvick’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4).
315 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kevin Harvick (second among active drivers, but first among the Championship 4).
Happy Hits Homestead: Harvick Hopes To Take Home Second Championship In Miami
Kevin Harvick will attempt to capture his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title in Sunday’s season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET
on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The No. 4 Ford driver won the inaugural Championship 4 Race in 2014 at Homestead for his first and only series crown.
In 16 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Harvick claims one win, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. He has the track series-best average finish (6.9), second-ranked driver rating (106.0) and third-best average running position (8.9). His 315 laps led at Homestead rank second among active drivers and fourth all-time.
He has finished in the top three and has led at least 46 laps in his last three Homestead starts.
Harvick Enters Sunday’s Race In Good Form
Harvick has shown off his speed lately with four consecutive top-eight finishes. He’s especially performed well lately at 1.5-mile tracks. In the four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs
races at intermediate tracks, Harvick finished third with 59 laps led (Chicagoland), third with 149 laps led (Charlotte), eighth with 37 laps led (Kansas) and first with 38 laps led (Texas).
NASCAR’s Intermediate Master
Since 2014, Kevin Harvick has arguably been the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ top driver on intermediate tracks.
He’s led a series-best 2,450 laps at tracks spanning 1.5 or 1.54 miles. Following Harvick are Martin Truex Jr. with 2,209 laps led and Brad Keselowski with 1,305 laps led.
Harvick also ranks first since 2014 in average finish (9.6), top fives (22) and top 10s (34) at intermediate tracks. Trailing Harvick in average finish are fellow Championship 4 drivers Kyle Busch (9.92) and Truex (9.93). Harvick is followed in top fives by Joey Logano (21) and Busch (18). His top 10s outpace Brad Keselowski’s mark of 30 and Logano’s total of 29.
Despite his statistical success on intermediate tracks since 2014, Harvick has struggled to close the races at times. His five wins at intermediate tracks are only the fourth-most in the series. He’s behind Jimmie Johnson (10), Truex (8) and Keselowski (6).
Stewart-Haas Racing Can Win Third Championship In Nine Years
If Kevin Harvick wins the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title on Sunday, he would give Stewart-Haas Racing its third championship in the nine years since Tony Stewart left Joe Gibbs Racing to form the team with Gene Haas.
Stewart won the organization its first championship in 2011, while Harvick earned the second title for it in 2014.
Over the same time frame only Hendrick Motorsports has more titles with Jimmie Johnson’s four.
Championships With Different Manufacturers
Kevin Harvick won his 2014 championship in a Chevrolet, but this year he is piloting a Ford. The last driver to win a new championship with a separate manufacturer was Harvick’s team owner, Tony Stewart. He earned the 2002 crown racing a Pontiac, then captured the 2005 and 2011 titles driving a Chevrolet.
Nine drivers have won championships with multiple manufacturers: Buck Baker, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Tim Flock and Stewart.
Harvick/Childers A Dream Combination
Since joining forces at Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2014 season, the driver/crew chief pairing of Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers has amassed 14 wins, 67 top fives, 99 top 10s and one championship in 143 starts.Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway marks the third Championship 4 appearance for Harvick and Childers in their four years together.
An accomplished driver himself, Childers won seven World Karting Association championships in South Carolina and five championships at the national level. He made a NASCAR XFINITY Series start in 2000.
Childers, 41, won three races as a crew chief for Michael Waltrip Racing (two with David Reutimann and one with Brian Vickers) before leaving for SHR in 2014.
Brad Keselowski – Championship 4 Bio
BY THE NUMBERS
1 – Number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships owned by Brad Keselowski (2012).
1 – Sunday marks Brad Keselowski’s first appearance in the Championship 4.
2 – Number of top-five finishes Brad Keselowski has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
3 – Number of wins Brad Keselowski has during the 2017 season; including one during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – (Atlanta, Martinsville-1, Talladega-2).
5 – Brad Keselowski’s career Playoff wins
8 – Number of stage wins Brad Keselowski has posted during the 2017 season.
8.2 – Brad Keselowski’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
12.6 – Brad Keselowski’s average finish during the 2017 season.
15.9 – Brad Keselowski’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
15 – Number of top-five finishes Brad Keselowski has logged during the 2017 season.
20 – Number of top-10 finishes Brad Keselowski has tallied this season.
88.5 – Brad Keselowski’s Homestead driver rating – 10th-best in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
95.9 – Brad Keselowski’s 2017 driver rating – sixth-best in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
671 (8.1%) – Total number of fastest laps run by Brad Keselowski in the 2017 season – fourth-best in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
First Time’s A Charm? Keselowski Revved Up For First Championship 4
Surprisingly, Brad Keselowski will compete in his first Championship 4 as he goes for his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio).
If Keselowski can take home the title, he’d become the 16th driver to win multiple championships in the 69-year history of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, joining Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Lee Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Herb Thomas, Tim Flock, Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly, Ned Jarret and Terry Labonte.
In nine career starts at Homestead, Keselowski claims no wins, two top fives, three top 10s and a 15.9 average finish – all low totals among the Championship 4.
He earned his way to Homestead on points, navigating his way through the Round of 8 with a fourth-place showing at Martinsville, fifth-place result at Texas and 16th-place performance at Phoenix.
Keselowski Better At Homestead Lately
Brad Keselowski’s Homestead track record might not be as strong as the rest of the Championship 4, but he’s run well there lately. He wrecked out of the race last year, but in the three previous races, he finished third twice (2015 and 2014) and sixth (2013). He also led 86 laps in the 2015 event.
Coors Light Pole Qualifying shouldn’t be an issue for Keselowski. He’s started from a top-five position in five of his last six Homestead starts. In the one race where he didn’t qualify in the top five, he started eighth on the grid.
Stellar Playoff Performance
Even casual NASCAR observers know Brad Keselowski has a flair for the dramatic.
It’s no surprise he’s elevated his performance during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He’s posted an average finish of 8.2 in the postseason – second among Championship 4 drivers (Martin Truex Jr., 4.7; Kevin Harvick. 10.9; Kyle Busch, 12.2).
The Rochester Hills, Michigan native won Talladega-2 and has finished no lower than 16th in the Playoffs.
Consistency is nice, but a top-five finish probably won’t be enough to clinch the title. Keselowski’s best 2017 postseason finishes other than his Talladega win are fourth (New Hampshire and Martinsville), fifth (Texas) and sixth (Chicagoland).
Second Championship For Penske
A Brad Keselowski title would mark the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for Team Penske. It won its first crown with Keselowski in 2012.
Team Penske has been in the Championship 4 twice before with Joey Logano. In his two Championship 4 appearances, Logano finished fourth at Homestead last year and 16th there in 2014.
Team Penske, owned by legendary entrepreneur Roger Penske, is competing in its 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. It made its first start in NASCAR competition in 1972, fielding an AMC Matador for Mark Donohue at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway.
Team Penske has won 107 races in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition.
Keselowski At Intermediate Tracks
Since his breakout 2011 season, Brad Keselowski ranks second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with wins at 1.5-mile tracks with 10. The only driver with more is Jimmie Johnson, who has 13. Coincidentally, Keselowski is followed in the stat category over that timeframe by Championship 4 competitors Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. (tied for third-most, 8) and Kyle Busch (fourth-most,
Although he has more wins at intermediate tracks since 2011, Keselowski’s 1,968 laps led at 1.5 or 1.54-mile circuits trails Johnson (2,817), Harvick (2,746), Truex (2,716) and Busch (2,375).
Wolfe/Keselowski Already A Championship Pairing
The No. 2 Ford crew chief Paul Wolfe and Brad Keselowski have experienced success ever since they were paired together in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2010. That season, Wolfe guided Keselowski and the No. 22 team to six wins, 26 top fives and 29 top 10s on the way to a NASCAR XFINITY Series title.
Wolfe moved up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to work with Keselowski in 2011 and the partnership continued to be a smashing success. Keselowski, who did not log a single top five in his first full-time season with Penske in 2010, won three races, tallied 10 top fives and 23 top 10s under the tutelage of Wolfe.
The next year with Wolfe, Keselowski won five races, including two in the Playoffs to earn the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
With Wolfe on the box, Keselowski has 23 wins, 85 top fives, 135 top 10s and a 13.7 average finish in 244 starts.
An ex-racer himself with 16 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts to his name, Wolfe began his crew chief career in 2006 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Fitz Racing. He joined CJM Racing in 2009 before moving to Team Penske in 2010.
Wolfe, a native of Milford, N.Y., began racing at 11 years old.
Daughter And Wife Will Be Able To Celebrate Championship
Brad Keselowski won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship as a 28-year-old in 2012. Since then, he’s achieved some milestones in his personal life. Keselowski will be able to
celebrate a second title with his wife Paige, and daughter Scarlett.
Martin Truex Jr. – Championship 4 Bio
BY THE NUMBERS
2 – Number of times Martin Truex Jr. has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoffs format.
3 – Number of top-five finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
3 – Number of Coors Light poles Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2017 season.
4.7 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2017 Playoffs.
7 – Number of wins Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2017 season; including three during the Playoffs – (Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky, Watkins Glen, Chicago, Charlotte-2, Kansas-2).
7 – Number of top-10 finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
9.7 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish during the entire 2017 season.
12.3 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway
18 – Number of top-five finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2017 season.
19 – Number of stage wins Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2017 season.
25 – Number of top-10 finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2017 season.
101.8 – Martin Truex Jr.’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
111 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Martin Truex Jr.
115.7 – Martin Truex Jr.’s 2017 driver rating (series-best).
119.81 – Martin Truex Jr.’s driver rating during the first nine races of the 2017 Playoffs.
2,175 – Laps led by Martin Truex Jr. in 2017.
The One Without A Title
“That means it’s my turn.”
That was Martin Truex Jr.’s response following the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix when he was reminded that he is the lone driver in the 2017 Championship 4 who does not have the title “Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion” after his name.
Brad Keselowski (2012), Kevin Harvick (2014) and Kyle Busch (2015) have all hoisted the coveted year-end prize above their heads on the frontstretch at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Truex Jr. had a shot as a member of the Championship 4 in 2015, but finished 12th in the race.
It has been a gradual climb to greatness for Martin Truex Jr. with Furniture Row Racing – but the journey has been grand for him. His seven wins in 2017 doubled his career total, bringing him to 14. He went winless in his first year with the team (2014), made one trip to Victory Lane in his second season and then broke out with four wins in 2016. (Truex’s other two wins came in 2007 with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and in 2013 with Michael Waltrip Racing.)
Now, he just needs the championship to reach the summit.
The One Without A Title, Team Edition
Not only is Martin Truex Jr. racing for his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title, so is Furniture Row Racing.
Their Championship 4 contemporaries all have titles under their belts with their respective drivers (Team Penske with Brad Keselowski – 2012, Stewart-Haas Racing with Kevin Harvick – 2014, Joe
Gibbs Racing with Kyle Busch – 2015).
Furniture Row Racing started racing in the Monster Energy Series in 2005 and collected their first pole in 2008 with Joe Nemechek. They didn’t tally their first win until 2011 (with Regan Smith) and qualified for the Playoffs in 2013 – the first single-car team to do so.
Truex Jr. joined the then one-car operation based in Denver, Colorado, for the 2014 season. Cole Pearn then took over atop the pit box in 2015 with the No. 78 Toyota made it to the Championship 4 in his inaugural year with Truex Jr.
Their fourth-place finish in the season standings in 2015 was the best thus far for the team and they have been breaking team records for wins and laps led ever since.
The One Without A Title, Crew Chief Edition
There is one more person looking for a huge first championship this weekend – the crew chief of the No. 78 Toyota, Cole Pearn.
His Championship 4 contemporaries all have titles under their belts with their respective drivers (Paul Wolfe with Brad Keselowski – 2012, Rodney Childers with Kevin Harvick – 2014, Adam Stevens with Kyle Busch – 2015).
Cole Pearn took the reins with the Furniture Row Racing team in 2015 and all he has done since then is prove he’s one of the best in the business.
He tallied one win atop the pit box in his first year while guiding Martin Truex Jr. to the Championship 4 and a fourth-place finish in the standings. He then captured four wins and five poles in 2016, setting new team records in both categories.
And you already know the numbers he’s put on the board in 2017 – seven wins, 18 top fives and 25 top 10s.
Reversing Recent Fortune In Miami
In order for Martin Truex Jr. to win the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he’s going to have to reverse his recent fortune at the 1.5-mile track. His last three finishes there? 17, 12, and 36.
But if there’s anyone who can power to the front on a 1.5-mile track, it’s Martin Truex Jr. The driver of the No. 78 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing has recorded six wins at that distance in 2017 (Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky, Chicago, Charlotte and Kansas-2). When he drove into Victory Lane at the second Kansas race, it marked the first time in NASCAR history that a driver won four consecutive races on 1.5-mile tracks.
By The Numbers: Homestead-Miami Speedway
1 – Tony Stewart 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.
4 – Number of times the winner of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway has won the title during the Playoff Era; including the last three seasons in the elimination-style format of the
Playoffs (Tony Stewart, 2011; Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016).
10 – Number of Playoff races at Homestead-Miami Speedway that were won by Playoff contenders; three times a non-Chase contender has won season finale: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin
12 – Number of different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway; led by Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart with three each.
13 – Number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races Homestead-Miami Speedway has hosted (2004-2016).
14 – The most cautions in a single Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (11/21/2004; the inaugural Playoff race in Miami)
14 – Number of different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coors Light pole winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
15 – The worst finish by the eventual series champion in a Playoffs race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (it happened three times: Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in
18 – Total number of Monster Energy NASCAR 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 Monster Energy NASCAR 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 Monster Energy NASCAR 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 Monster Energy NASCAR 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).
67 – Total number of NASCAR national series races held at Homestead-Miami Speedway, second-most by a track in the state of Florida: MENCS (18), NXS (22) and NCWTS (21).
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.
449 – Number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by the active series leader (Matt Kenseth, 17 starts).
Happy At Homestead: Recent Title-Clinching Performances
Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will mark the conclusion of the 69th NASCAR season. Below are how the last seven season finales at Homestead-Miami Speedway turned out:
2010 – Jimmie Johnson Tracks Down Denny Hamlin For Fifth Straight Title
Denny Hamlin held a comfortable 15-point lead on Jimmie Johnson for the championship heading into the season finale. However, Hamlin could not close out the title. Hamlin damaged his Toyota with an
early-race spin and finished 14th as a result. Kevin Harvick, who was third in points entering the race, finished third. Johnson placed runner-up to take home his fifth consecutive championship.
2011 – Tony Stewart Wins Third Championship In Epic Race
Trailing leader Carl Edwards by three points entering the 2011 finale, Tony Stewart virtually needed a win to capture the title – especially considering that Edwards ultimately finished runner-up in the race.
Stewart drove to the front from the back of the field twice and edged out Edwards to get to Victory Lane.
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 Fends Off Jimmie Johnson For First Championship
Brad Keselowski entered the 2012 season finale 20 points ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings.
Keselowski, who won two Playoff races to help put himself in championship-clinching position, didn’t produce his best performance with a 15th-place showing.
But problems in the pits for Johnson caused the five-time champion to finish 36th and helped Keselowski secure his first championship, as well as the first title for Team Penske.
2013 – Jimmie Johnson Closes In On Earnhardt And Petty With Sixth Title
After building up his points lead on the strength of six wins, 16 top fives and 23 top 10s, Jimmie Johnson needed to finish 23rd to capture his sixth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Following an incident on a restart just shy of the 200-lap mark, Johnson ended up 23rd when it all sorted itself out.
By the end of the race, he worked his way up to finish ninth, earning Hendrick Motorsports a record 11th championship.
2014 – Harvick Rides To Two ‘Do Or Die’ Victories To Earn First Series Title
Kevin Harvick started the penultimate race of the 2014 season needing a win to get into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix. He dominated the contest, leading 264 laps to earn the victory and a spot in the Championship 4. After playing mind games throughout Homestead week with the rest of the field, Harvick held off runner-up Ryan Newman to earn his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.
2015 – Kyle Busch Overcomes Injury For Improbable Comeback
Just ninth months after breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot, Kyle Busch edged out defending champion Kevin Harvick for the Homestead race win and his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. Busch missed the first 11 races of the season after sustaining his injuries in a crash in the season-opening race NASCAR XFINITY race at Daytona. He came back to win five races and cement his name in NASCAR history.
2016 – Johnson Ties Series Record With Seventh Championship
Jimmie Johnson proved once again to not count him out in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He won his way into the Round of 8 with a victory at Charlotte, then took the checkered flag at Martinsville to punch his ticket to Homestead. He provided a walk-off win at Homestead to capture his seventh championship, tying Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series record.
A Spoiler At Homestead?
Under the “win and you’re in” elimination-style Playoff format, the eventual champion has won at Homestead the last three years (Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016). Still, a driver out of championship contention can win the race. Below are some candidates:
Kyle Larson: Kyle Larson often calls Homestead-Miami Speedway his best track. The 25-year-old NASCAR Next alumnus finished runner-up at Homestead last year after leading a race-high 132 laps and placed fifth at the 1.5-mile track in 2015. Larson has had a breakout season in 2017, setting career highs in wins (four), top fives (14), top 10s (19) and average finish (13.6).
Matt Kenseth: Matt Kenseth, who’s likely competing in his final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this weekend, spoiled Chase Elliott’s championship hopes last Sunday by winning an emotional race at Phoenix. He’ll try to finish his career on a high note by winning again at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 17 starts at Homestead, Kenseth owns one win, four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. He has finished seventh or better in his last four starts at the South Florida track.
Denny Hamlin: Hamlin is a two-time winner at Homestead. In addition to his two wins, he has four top fives and eight top 10s, with 213 laps led. He was eliminated from the Playoffs at Phoenix due to a wreck, even though he led a race-high 193 laps.
Junior’s Final Ride
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make what will likely be his final career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The 14-time Most Popular Driver hasn’t raced up to his standards in his final full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, but will try to get one last win. He has struggled at Homestead throughout his career with only one top five, two top 10s and a 21.5 average finish in 16 starts at the 1.5-mile track.
Earnhardt enters the race weekend running as well as he’s had all season. He has finished in the top 11 in six out of his last seven races, including three seventh-place showings and a 10th-place result last Sunday at Phoenix.
For his career, the No. 88 Chevrolet driver has made 630 starts, won 26 races, logged 149 top fives, recorded 260 top 10s and posted a 15.8 average finish.
Earnhardt is a two-time Daytona 500 champion (2004, 2010).
Kenseth’s Swan Song
Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t the only driver likely competing in his final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. 2003 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth may compete in his final contest at Homestead.
Kenseth, who won at Phoenix last Sunday, will try to visit Victory Lane for the second consecutive week at Homestead where he owns one win, four top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 17 starts.
Heading into Sunday’s race, Kenseth claims 39 wins, 181 top fives and 326 top 10s in 649 career starts. He boasts a 14.1 career average finish.
Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fights
Before Sunday’s Championship 4 battle, fans at Homestead-Miami Speedway get to see another fight beginning at 11:30 a.m. – actually four fights – when the Monster Energy Bellator MMA Series returns to a NASCAR track for the fourth time this season. The fights will take place at the Monster Energy Fan Zone in the display area on the north side of the track. Admission to the event is free and open to fans.
In addition to the fights, fans will also have the opportunity to meet former world champ and Monster Energy athlete Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, as well as former PRIDE and STRIKEFORCE titleholder Dan “Hendo” Henderson, at the Monster Energy Fan Zone at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the display area on the north side of the track.
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR