Monday, November 23, 2015

Kyle Busch wins Homestead race and Sprint Cup in brilliant fashion

Kyle Busch wins first title for Toyota and second for Las Vegas!
Nov. 22, 2015
By Reid Spencer

Finishing off one of the most remarkable comebacks in NASCAR history—indeed, in the annals of sport—Kyle Busch won Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and, with it, his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

Absent from the first 11 races of the season because of a broken right leg and left foot sustained in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona in February, Busch pulled away from fellow Championship Round driver Kevin Harvick after a restart with seven laps left and crossed the finish line 1.553 seconds ahead of the defending series champion.

"I don’t know if I understand life yet, but there’s something to be said about this year," a jubilant Busch said after crossing the finish line.

Indeed. The victory was Busch’s fifth of the season, his first at Homestead and the 34th of his career. The championship was the first by a Toyota driver at NASCAR’s highest level. It was the fourth for Joe Gibbs Racing with three different drivers, with Bobby Labonte (2000) and Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) preceding Busch in that achievement.

Kyle and Kurt Busch, who won the first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2004, make up the second pair of brothers to win Sprint Cup titles, joining Terry (1984, 1996) and Bobby Labonte.

In his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, who was seeking a fifth series crown, finished sixth behind Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kyle Larson to secure third place in the series standings behind Kyle Busch and Harvick.

Martin Truex Jr., the fourth driver eligible for the title in the Championship Round of the Chase, finished 12th on Sunday.

"It’s pretty unbelievable!" Busch said. "A dream of a lifetime, a dream come true… I just can’t believe it, with everything that happened this year and all the turmoil, all the things that I went through, that my wife (Samantha) went through and the people that are around me went through.

"This championship is all for these guys, my wife, my family, everyone who has had to sacrifice so much to get me here to this place today, whether it was on my team right now, or on my teams in the past. It’s really awesome, awesome, awesome!"

Busch was running third, behind Keselowski and Larson—and roughly 10 seconds ahead of Harvick in fourth—when NASCAR called the seventh caution of the race because of debris on the frontstretch on lap 257 of 267.

After all contenders came to pit road for fresh tires, Busch restarted second beside Keselowski, who chose the inside lane, with Harvick immediately behind Busch in fourth.

Busch held his own through the first two corners, cleared Keselowski down the backstretch and began to pull away. Harvick also shot past Keselowski’s Ford on the restart lap, but the defending champ couldn’t match Busch’s pace over the last seven laps.

"On the restart, I just knew, ‘Don’t spin your tires,’" Busch said. "If you spin them a little bit, at least get them reattached – don’t matter if you lose a little bit of ground to who’s in front of you, just make sure you have a good run getting into Turn 1 and keep Harvick behind me.

"Did all of those things, got to Turn 1 side-by-side with (Brad) Keselowski and, man, I just put it on kill and held it wide open through there and was able to get by Keselowski there. And anybody that got out front, especially on new tires, they could drive away, and it felt so good to be out there at that moment."

The restart gave Harvick one last chance to defend his crown, but the driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet couldn’t capitalize.

"I thought there at the end at the restart, we might do a little better than that," Harvick said. "But, obviously, either the splitter was on the ground or the car was just tighter than it probably needed to be, and I just couldn't hustle it and got it tight and got it up the racetrack and got behind.

"The 18 car (Busch), he just had the speed all night, for the most part. As the night went, I just couldn't find anywhere that would make the car run better. The higher I would run, the looser it would get. I'd get on the seams, and then it would push the front and slide the back. Just never could find anything."

Harvick, who won the final two races of 2014 to secure his first title, finished second for the 13th time this season. With his three victories, he finished the year with 16 top-two results.

"It's been a great couple years, and I know we're disappointed about finishing second tonight, but it's kind of the theme of the year—finishing second," Harvick said.

"Unfortunately, it's just one short, but all in all, it's been a great couple years, and I couldn't be prouder of our bunch of guys."

Note: In the final race for Michael Waltrip Racing, Clint Bowyer wrecked on Lap 45 and finished 43rd. Bowyer will driver for owner Harry Scott next season before taking over the No. 14 car at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017. David Ragan ran 27th in MWR’s swan song.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race - Ford EcoBoost 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead, Florida
Sunday, November 22, 2015

1. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267, $351906.
2. (13) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 267, $290375.
3. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267, $232541.
4. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 267, $184058.
5. (23) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267, $162383.
6. (5) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 267, $153801.
7. (19) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 267, $139051.
8. (15) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 267, $111890.
9. (12) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267, $129101.
10. (1) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267, $109090.
11. (7) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 267, $82040.
12. (11) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 267, $107860.
13. (22) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 267, $111206.
14. (10) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267, $117801.
15. (21) Greg Biffle, Ford, 267, $112573.
16. (4) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267, $112315.
17. (6) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 267, $76040.
18. (26) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 267, $120415.
19. (18) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267, $93615.
20. (20) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 266, $112048.
21. (17) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 266, $86940.
22. (16) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 266, $86590.
23. (25) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 266, $94448.
24. (35) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 266, $85990.
25. (28) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 266, $104010.
26. (33) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 265, $96498.
27. (38) David Ragan, Toyota, 265, $104254.
28. (40) Cole Whitt, Ford, 265, $88398.
29. (36) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 265, $103654.
30. (39) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 264, $77690.
31. (42) Brett Moffitt #, Ford, 264, $76990.
32. (41) David Gilliland, Ford, 264, $90312.
33. (29) Michael McDowell, Ford, 264, $72565.
34. (31) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 264, $72365.
35. (34) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 263, $72165.
36. (30) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 263, $79940.
37. (37) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, 263, $71711.
38. (43) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 262, $66730.
39. (32) Josh Wise, Ford, 247, $62730.
40. (9) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 241, $78130.
41. (14) Aric Almirola, Ford, 209, $91666.
42. (27) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, Accident, 104, $58730.
43. (24) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, Accident, 45, $81388.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 131.755 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 02 Mins, 23 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.552 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 30 laps.
Lead Changes: 18 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders: 0; J. Logano 1-19; Kyle Busch 20-35; J. Gordon 36-44; K. Harvick 45-90; K. Larson 91-92; J. Logano 93-138; Kyle Busch 139; C. Edwards 140-144; J. Logano 145-151; C. Edwards 152-154; Kyle Busch 155-168; M. Truex Jr. 169-171; B. Keselowski 172-214; Kyle Busch 215-216; B. Keselowski 217-257; Kyle Busch 258; B. Keselowski 259-260; Kyle Busch 261-267.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): B. Keselowski 3 times for 86 laps; J. Logano 3 times for 72 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 46 laps; Kyle Busch 6 times for 41 laps; J. Gordon 1 time for 9 laps; C. Edwards 2 times for 8 laps; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 3 laps; K. Larson 1 time for 2 laps.
Top 16 in Points: Kyle Busch - 5,043; K. Harvick - 5,042; J. Gordon - 5,038; M. Truex Jr. - 5,032; C. Edwards - 2,368; J. Logano - 2,360; B. Keselowski - 2,347; Kurt Busch - 2,333; D. Hamlin - 2,327; J. Johnson - 2,315; R. Newman - 2,314; D. Earnhardt Jr. - 2,310; J. Mcmurray - 2,295; P. Menard - 2,262; M. Kenseth - 2,234; C. Bowyer - 2,175.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Final Homestead Driver Ratings & Practice Notes

Who is is it going to be on Sunday?
Micah Roberts' Top-10 Rated NASCAR Drivers
Ford EcoBoost 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway         
Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 12:15 pm (PT)      
Rating     Driver       Odds                     Practice 1             Qualified            Practice 2        Practice 3   
 1. Joey Logano 8/1                     12th               2nd                5th             1st
Eighth place in 2013, 20th-place average finish; won two of past three on 1.5-mile tracks.
 2. Kevin Harvick 7/2                     7th             13th                2nd          26th
2014 winner and track best 7.6 average  finish; using runner-up Charlotte chassis this week.
 3. Brad Keselowski 8/1              2nd               8th               24th          31st
Career-best third-place last season; best 10-consecutive lap average during practice 2.
 4. Carl Edwards 15/1                   1st                 7th                 3rd            4th
Two-time winner -- the last in 2010, 9.1 average finish; won on 1.5-mile track at Charlotte.
 5. Kyle Busch 6/1                        16th                3rd                 9th          17th
Career-best fourth-place in 2012, 23.2 average finish in 10 starts. Vegas proud, Bring title home!
 6. Denny Hamlin 15/1               13th                1st               12th          13th
Two-time winner, 10.8 average finish in 10 starts. Won on 1.5-mile track at Chicago and All-Star Race.
 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 20/1           4th               9th               20th            3rd
Career-best third-place in 2013, 20.3 average finish in 15 starts; good average speed in practice.
 8. Jimmie Johnson 7/1                5th             12th                 7th           21st
One of four tracks in series he's never won on -- two-time runner-up; four wins on 1.5s in 2015.
 9. Jeff Gordon 10/1                     30th               5th               15th            9th
2012 winner, 10.6 average; started all 16 Homestead races. Best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 3.
 10. Kasey Kahne 30/1                  6th              18th               10th           2nd 
Career-best fourth in 2006; sneaky fast on long runs. Might offer best value on the board this week.

Note: This is the 11th race of the season on a 1.5-mile track.

Odds courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Super Book.

Micah Roberts, a former Las Vegas sports book director, has been setting NASCAR odds since 1994. Follow him on twitter @MicahRoberts7 

Homestead odds: Who is favored? Who should be favored?

LAS VEGAS -- While many eyes will be affixed on the four drivers battling for the Sprint Cup championship, the majority of money bet in Las Vegas on the final weekend of the NASCAR season will be on who wins the Ford EcoBoost 400, where all 43 drivers come in to play.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook posted Kevin Harvick as the 7-to-2 favorite to win Sunday’s race, and they’ve also posted him as the 3-to-2 favorite to win the Sprint Cup title. Last season he took home both trophies by winning the race and season championship. Tony Stewart also accomplished the rare feat in 2011.

Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the other three drivers still in contention for the championship.

Harvick has been stellar on 1.5-mile tracks all season, but Homestead-Miami Speedway is a little different from the others – D-shaped tri-ovals that all pretty much look same. Homestead is paper-clip shaped with 20 degrees of variable banking through the turns.

Harvick also happens to be the track leader with a 7.6 average finish. He’s started every race there since 2001 and got his first win last year in exhilarating fashion by also becoming a champion.

Read More Here....complete list of odds on

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Homestead Preview: Harvick favored to win

Will Kevin Harvick come out on top again?
LAS VEGAS -- Could this really be the last race of what seems like a never ending season? We’ve got 35 races in the books with four drivers remaining. Who will be the 2015 Sprint Cup Champion? We’ve got two drivers that have won championships before and we’ve got two that are trying for their first titles.

I can make a case for either of the drivers to win, and I think I’d be happy for any of them. From a betting perspective with future tickets waiting to cash, most of us have a driver that we want a little more than the others just because we can bank some money for Christmas shopping. For a lucky few, they’ve got Kyle Busch at 100/1 odds after he had missed several early season races. There were quite a few sports books that thought Kyle Busch was finished, but he’s done the impossible so far to reach the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Here’s a small capsule on each of the contenders -- kind of like a tale of tape for this NASCAR championship bout. The Sprint Cup odds to win listed next to the drivers name is what theWestgate Las Vegas SuperBook re-posted on Monday afternoon.

Jeff Gordon (15/4) has four Cup trophies, but none since 2001 -- before the Chase format while series still called "Winston Cup." This is his final Cup season. He’s saying goodbye. His Swan Song. Can you imagine how thrilling its going to be if he walks into the sunset with his fifth championship? Even the most devoted Dale Earnhardt fans, who jeered and hissed Gordon his entire career, will have a tear budding should Gordon walk away from the sport in such brilliant fashion. Could we really see a walk-off champion? He’s the only driver to have started all 16 Homestead races and won for the first and only time there in 2012. Despite it taking a while to cross off his bucket list, he was always very competitive with a 10.6 average finish.

Kevin Harvick (3/2) comes in as the favorite as the defending Cup champion and Homestead race winner. He won both at Homestead last season, a first for the Bakersfiled, CA native. He is Homestead’s all-time leader with a 7.5 average finish -- 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts. When looking at the body of work from the No. 4 team on 1.5-mile tracks this season, you’d have to say Harvick has a great shot at duplicating what he did last season. He finished third at Texas two weeks ago and has a win at Las Vegas, three second-place finishes and a fourth among the previous 10 races on 1.5s. He’s been beating these guys all season on these type of tracks. Why should Sunday be any different.

Kyle Busch (11/4) will be the local favorite this week as the Las Vegas native can bring a championship home to the strip. I’ve lived in Las Vegas since 1980, and the city hasn’t had a lot to root for in sports we can call our own. We don‘t have many banners as champions the city can get behind. Sure Las Vegas is the best of many things in the culinary and resort world, but we don’t really get excited for that stuff like the way sports makes us feel. We have UNLV Men’s basketball champions in 1990, some minor league hockey achievements, Floyd Mayweather and Kyle’s brother Kurt Busch’s title in 2004, but then it all goes back to being Elvis, Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin for city pride. Kyle Busch can bring a major sport championship to the city and I’m hoping he does. He’s finished in the top-five of the past two races on 1.5-mile tracks and he won at Kentucky in July. Everyone starts at zero this week. No points. It’s just about beating the other three of the Championship 4.

Martin Truex Jr. (13/4) is the most improbable of the group. His Denver Mattress No. 78 team is an incredible story as they‘re doing the impossible in NASCAR -- a single car team competing for the title. They also are the only Sprint Cup team that doesn’t operate out of the Charlotte area. These guys roll in and out of Denver every weekend. Truex Jr. has a 10th-place average finish at Homestead with a career-best runner-up in 2006. He’s been very good on 1.5s this season including leading the most laps at Charlotte in May and being runner-up at Las Vegas. If you’re looking for the bright-eyed championship feel-good story, Truex Jr. is it.

So while those four are running their little race for a trophy, the main race is still about who will win. I mean, really, that’s what most of us will be betting: Who will win the EcoBoost 400 at Homestead. The Sprint Cup is a nice story, it’s the end of the season and I’ll keep an eye on who is winning that battle, but I’ll have more immediate and pressing action with the race going on between all 43 drivers to win the race.

Read More Here.....Top-5 Finish prediction on

Denny Hamlin: Win at Homestead and have career year the next season

Denny Hamlin is 15/1 this week at Homestead.
Denny Hamlin
#11 FedEx Ground Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Race Info:
Race: Ford 400
Date/Time: Nov. 22/3:00 p.m. ET
Distance: 267 laps/400.5 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Track Shape: Oval
Banking: 18-20 degrees
2014 Winner: Kevin Harvick

Express Notes:
Phoenix Recap:
Denny Hamlin finished eighth in Sunday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, benefiting from a caution just prior to a big rain shower that ended the event at the one-mile track won by Dale Earnhardt Jr. After a more than six hour rain delay, Hamlin started 13th and moved into the top-10 following the team’s first pit stop during the competition caution at lap 40. Following the caution, the race remained under green flag racing conditions as Hamlin continued to race among the top-10. With passing at a premium, the FedEx pit crew kept Hamlin in the hunt, maintaining eighth place during the only green flag pit stop of the race. Hamlin was scheduled to make his second green flag stop on lap 196 while running 10th, but the caution flew as he slowed to enter the pits. At the last second, Hamlin aborted the turn down pit road and stayed out in order to pit during the yellow. The move allowed Hamlin to pick up two spots, returning to the track eighth for the restart. However, the race – scheduled for 312 laps – was red-flagged for rain, and was called after just 219 laps. The finish by Hamlin kept him 10th in the NASCAR standings with one race left in the season.

Homestead Preview: The Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the 2015 season finale at the 1.5-mile south Florida oval with Hamlin behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota. Hamlin is a two-time Miami winner, taking the checkered flag at the track in 2009 and 2013. One year ago, Hamlin advanced to the Championship 4 at Homestead and led just eight laps from the finish, but a two-tire call and untimely cautions proved too much to hold off eventual race winner – and champion – Kevin Harvick. Hamlin finished seventh in the race and third in the final standings. He has six top-10 finishes in 10 career starts at Homestead.

Hamlin Statistics:
Track: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Races: 10
Wins: 2
Top-5: 4
Top-10: 6
Average Start: 27.1
Average Finish: 10.8
Laps Led: 213

Hamlin Conversation — HOMESTEAD:

How would you assess the FedEx Racing Team’s season with one race remaining on Sunday?

“Certainly, we can take a lot of positives out of the season for our #11 FedEx team. We won a couple races, won the All-Star Race, and by and large, were pretty competitive for most of the year. We had some unfortunate things happen in the Chase, and obviously I would like to be going for a title this weekend, but we have run up front for a lot of the year and we can be proud of that. For me, Sunday will be about trying to end the year on a high note and getting a third win at Homestead. It is one of our best tracks as a team and I think we can go there this weekend and challenge for another victory.”

Plains District Along for the Ride in Homestead: The FedEx Ground Plains district will be recognized with its “PLNS” code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota this weekend. The district encompasses Kansas, Missouri, eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

FedEx Office – Closest to Homestead-Miami Speedway: 18755 S. Dixie Hwy, Ste 57, Miami, FL 33157, (305) 235-2911

Feb. 22Daytona 500Daytona424203/203Running$680,48344th
March 1Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500Atlanta438284/325Running$111,1051419th
March 8Kobalt 400Las Vegas195267/267Running$162,3808th
March 15Camping World 500Phoenix2523312/312Running$92,85513th
March 22Auto Club 400Fontana628209/209Running$106.4855614th
March 29STP 500Martinsville151500/500Running$172,260917th
April 11Duck Commander 500Texas1811334/334Running$146,5258th
April 19Food City 500Bristol*526505/511Running$109,20011th
April 26Toyota Owners 400Richmond222398/400Running$95,35012th
May 3GEICO 500Talladega179188/188Running$127,645510th
May 9SpongBob SquarePants 400Kansas1341205/267Crash$79,33015th
May 24Coca-Cola 600Charlotte58400/400Running$143,7205315th
May 31FedEx 400Dover121402/405Running$129,61011814th
June 7Axalta 400Pocono810160/160Running$101,61513th
June 14Quicken Loans 400Michigan1311138/138Running$106,01513th
June 28Toyota/Save Mart 350Sonoma1518110/110Running$108,48513th
July 5Coke Zero 400Daytona353161/161Running$194,4301012th
July 11Quaker State 400Kentucky83267/267Running$125,3351311th
July 195 Hour Energy 301New Hampshire514301/301Running$102,61511th
July 26Brickyard 400Indianapolis175164/164Running$249,87510th
Aug. 2Windows 10 400Pocono1122159/160Running$93,645211th
Aug. 9Cheez-It 355Watkins Glen132790/90Running$90,39010th
Aug. 16Pure Michigan 400Michigan25200/200Running$114,0009th
Aug. 22IRWIN Tools Night RaceBristol13500/500Running$195,300549th
Sept. 6Southern 500Darlington63367/367Running$180,915578th
Sept. 12Federated Auto Parts 400Richmond256400/400Running$116,91514T-9th
Sept. 400Chicago291267/267Running$306,31592nd
Sept. 27Sylvania 300New Hampshire72300/300Running$189,525212nd
Oct. 4AAA 400Dover218400/400Running$97,480T-1st
Oct. 11Bank of America 500Charlotte54334/334Running$147,2254th
Oct. 18Hollywood Casino 400Kansas52269/269Running$239,4052nd
Oct. 500Talladega837192/196Crash$97,63459th
Nov. 1Goody’s Headache Shot 500Martinsville103500/500Running$131,33539th
Nov. 8AAA Texas 500Texas938304/334Running$111,85210th
Nov. 15Quicken Loans 500Phoenix138219/219Running$105,94010th
Averages/Totals12.013.798.5% $5,363,324529  
* Drivers: Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones

#11 FedEx Racing – 2015 Crew Roster
Crew Chief – Dave Rogers
Car Chief – Joe Fiorelli
Engineers – Chris Gabehart, Kenny Oates
Shock Specialist – Ron Denton
Tire Specialist – Jamie Turski
Mechanics – Joey Forgette, Jerad Hewitt, Jason Clements
Spotter – Chris Lambert
Front Tire Changer – Dustin Necaise
Front Tire Carrier – Brandon Pegram
Rear Tire Changer – Mike Hicks
Rear Tire Carrier – Heath Cherry
Jack Man – Nate Bolling
Gas Man – Caleb Hurd
Pit Crew Coordinator – Paul Alepa
Athletic Director – Mike Lepp
Transportation – Kyle Bazzell, Bob Hannigan

- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing

Martin Truex Jr.: 'This is what you dream about as a kid'

Martin Truex Jr. is the 3/1 long shot to win the title this week.
DENVER, Colo. (Nov. 18, 2015) – Martin Truex Jr. couldn’t be happier about the race venue that will determine the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of Sunday’s final Chase race, has been Truex’s best performing track in NASCAR’s elite series. In 10 starts at the 1.5-mile oval, he has achieved three top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 10.0. His best finishes include a runner-up, third and fourth.

He also enters Sunday’s Ford 400 with the best driver rating at Homestead among the four finalists. The driver ratings for the four finalists at Homestead, tabulated by a NASCAR formula, are as follows: Truex (106.6), Kevin Harvick (102.5), Jeff Gordon (100.7) and Kyle Busch (91.5).

“Homestead is for all the marbles and I can’t think of a better place I would want to compete at for the overall title,” said Truex, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet. “Not only has Homestead-Miami Speedway been my best track over the past 10 years, but the 1.5-mile tracks have also been strong for our team.”

The highest finishing driver among the four finalists in the 400-lap race will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

“This is what you dream about as a kid — the opportunity to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship,” said the 35-year-old Truex. “It’s been an incredible year and I am so proud of all of our guys back at the shop in Denver and to our road crew for giving me fast cars week in and week out.”

Truex, who has been labeled the underdog because of Furniture Row Racing being a single car team feels the Denver, Colorado-based team has what it takes to bring the Sprint Cup trophy to the Mile High City.

“We’re going into Homestead as the underdogs as we’ve been throughout the Chase,” noted Truex. “The competition is fierce and it’s going to take basically a mistake-free race to accomplish the ultimate goal. I know we can do it and the team, led by (rookie) crew chief Cole Pearn, feels the same way.”

The last time a driver won the NASCAR Cup title with a single-car team was Alan Kulwicki in 1992.

The only thing certain for Truex and Furniture Row Racing is that both will end the season with their best ranking. Truex, who can’t finish lower than fourth in the final standings, has never finished in the top 10. His best season finish was 11th in 2007 and 2012. The best season finish for Furniture Row Racing was 10th in 2013.

Facing the final-race pressure for a championship is nothing new for Truex. His second NASCAR Xfinity Series championship (2005) was captured at Homestead in the final race of the season.

“We’re confident that we can complete what has already been a successful season for our single-car team,” said Truex. “Going into the final race of the season with a shot of winning the championship is an awesome feeling.”

Truex’s average finish in the first nine Chase races is 9.44. He’s had one top five and five top 10s in those nine races.

Truex’s Career Record at Homestead-Miami Speedway
YearStartFinishStatus/LapsLaps LedEarnings
Homestead-Miami Speedway Totals
RacesWinT5T10PoleLaps LedLaps CompletedAvgStAvgFnDNFMoney
1003701082655 of 2675
Truex’s 2015 Sprint Cup Series Results
12/22Daytona 500108203/2031Running489,772378
33/8Las Vegas82267/2673Running268,95043/1184
74/11Fort Worth159334/3340Running163,38035/2663
228/9Watkins Glen22590/905Running102,33520/7146
3411/8Fort Worth238334/3341Running160,91037/40764
Top 5s: 8   Top 10s: 22   Laps Led: 564   Avg. St: 12.5  Avg. Fn: 12.2   Money: $5,251,175

Source: DMF Communications for Furniture Row Racing

Sprint Cup drivers talk Jeff Gordon before Homestead

The first entry in Jeff Gordon‘s Sprint Cup career came on Nov. 15, 1992, three years to the month before the birth of Chase Elliott, the driver replacing Gordon in the No. 24 Chevrolet next season following his retirement.

Gordon’s career will end with start No. 797 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a 1.5-mile track that didn’t exist when he made his first start 670 miles north at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Between those starts, competitors came and went while Gordon remained a constant, breaking Ricky Rudd’s record for consecutive starts earlier this year. More than a few can tell you about the first time they raced the No. 24 or met its driver.

Here are some of those stories.

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier would first race Gordon on Sept. 13, 2013, at Allgaier’s home track of Chicagoland Speedway.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t the greatest race for me, he lapped me,” Allgaier told NASCAR Talk. Allgaier, then 27, finished 27th while Gordon placed sixth.

“Growing up and having idols, Jeff was obviously one of mine,” Allgaier said. “He’s passed me a lot more than I’ve passed him, but the first time that I was fortunate to pass him was pretty awesome, I’m not going to lie.”

But that race wasn’t the first time the two driver’s paths crossed. Allgaier remembers meeting Gordon around 1992.

“We were at a Chicago Boys and Girls Club banquet, it was like a racing banquet,” Allgaier said. “I have a picture. His pant leg was like super staticy and it was about halfway up his leg and he had no idea and we took the photo together. I was probably six or seven at the time. So I’m at his leg level anyways. So it was pretty awesome.”

The high point of Allgaier’s three years in the Sprint Cup came in the 2015 spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway when he earned his only top-10 finish. It was elevated by Allgaier seeing the No. 24, which had won there five times, in his rear-view mirror much of the night.

“He was behind me for about 150 laps and it was him, myself and Jimmie Johnson and we literally were racing each other like crazy for 150 laps,” Allgaier said. “It was cool because you have a guy like that that you respect and runs up front and then him to not be able to pass you, it’s like, ‘Alright, I’m doing my job well today. That’s a good thing.'”


Terry Labonte, the “Iceman,” was a teammate to “Wonder Boy” from 1994 – 2006. One of his favorite memories of racing Gordon came in the 1997 Daytona 500.

“I think the one year we finished first, second and third at Daytona was pretty special for Hendrick Motorsports,” Labonte said. That day, Gordon finished first, followed by Labonte and Ricky Craven.

“The order was wrong,” Labonte joked. “We were passing somebody, might have been passing Bill Elliott. Jeff went to the inside and I went the other way and passed him. It just so happened Jeff came out ahead when we got clear of him. That was a great run.”

Gordon led the final six laps on the way to his 20th win in four years and becoming the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 until Trevor Bayne topped him in 2011 at the age of 20.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch keeps his promises. Or at least the one he made to Jeff Gordon in 1999.

Busch made the promise when he was 13 years old and Gordon was a three-time Sprint Cup champion.

“He and (team co-owner) Ray Evernham came out to test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the (Xfinity Series) car back in that day,” Busch said, remembering when Gordon, fresh off a 13-win season in 1998, tested his Pepsi-sponsored car prior to the March 1999 race at the 1.5-mile track in Busch’s hometown.

The promise came in the back of the team’s hauler following the test session. While his dad got an autograph from Evernham, Busch approached Gordon with a box of t-shirts and diecast cars he hoped Gordon would sign.

“He sat there and signed it, and I talked to him a little bit and told him that maybe one day, I’d be racing against him, and he better remember my name,” Busch recalled.

“And he was like, ‘OK, yeah, right kid.'”

The promise was fulfilled four years later. Busch joined Hendrick Motorsports and drove in seven Xfinity Series races in 2003. A year later, he made his Sprint Cup debut at Las Vegas driving the No. 84 Chevrolet and dropped out after 11 laps after brushing the wall one too many times.

Busch made sure to remind Gordon about their initial encounter.

“I actually told him that story right after I signed with Hendrick Motorsports,” Busch said. “He couldn’t put it in his head. He couldn’t remember it. I think since then, me telling him that story, and me being right about I’ll see you one day … I don’t know if he was as happy that I was there as I was.”

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick is biased. His favorite memory of racing Gordon is defined by six thousandths of a second. Or at least six inches. That was the difference between Gordon’s 53rd win and Harvick winning in his third career start after replacing Dale Earnhardt Sr., following Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Harvick’s first time on a track with Gordon took place at Las Vegas, but it wasn’t in a race.

“One of the coolest moments for me is when we would go to Las Vegas and test over the winter, and then Xfinity cars and the Cup cars would just run on the track together,” Harvick said. “There weren’t separate test days. The first car I pulled out behind was Jeff Gordon, and I remember that moment thinking about how cool it was because Jeff Gordon is a legend in this sport, and was a legend at that time in the sport.”


Jimmie Johnson’s first NASCAR race against Gordon was the 1999 Outback Steakhouse 200, an Xfinity Series race at Phoenix International Speedway. Gordon won, Johnson finished 18th.

Two years later, Johnson made his debut as Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate in the first of 506 Sprint Cup races in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte.

In the 14 years since, Johnson’s two fondest memories of racing the man who helped bring him into the Cup series occurred in 2007.

That was the year Johnson beat Gordon by 77 points to capture the Cup title, his second of eventually five in a row. The other came in the spring race at Martinsville Speedway, the track where Gordon had seven wins at the time.

In the Goody’s Cool Orange 500, Johnson was going for his second straight win at the track and had led the previous 112 laps when he took the white flag with Gordon dogging his rear bumper.

Johnson would go on to win at Martinsville in five of six races. Gordon wouldn’t get his eighth grandfather clock until 2013.

Carl Edwards

After 1992, Gordon only competed in the Xfinity Series 11 times. As a result, Carl Edwards didn’t compete on the same track with Gordon until his Sprint Cup debut in the 2004 GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway, where Gordon has three wins.

“I just remember that race – I remember everyone because I couldn’t believe I was on the track with guys like Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace and everyone else,” Edwards said. “Just the intensity of being able to race with those guys is crazy.”

The day ended with Edwards finishing 10th, three spots behind Gordon.

Like Martinsville, a track synonymous with Gordon and success was Sonoma Raceway, where he won five times in nine years. Edwards was victorious there for the first time in 2014 after fending off Gordon over the final 16 laps.

“For me, that road course win was huge and to have Jeff Gordon finish second – really it meant a lot to me to hold him off and win there having watched him race and been successful at that track,” Edward said. “The coolest part was him coming to victory lane and congratulating me on a good race – that was really special to me.”

Denny Hamlin

When Denny Hamlin started his first Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 9, 2005, he had to do it from the rear of the field after wrecking on his second qualifying lap.

He wasn’t the only one who had to start from the back.

“I went to the back and (Gordon) was back there, he had to go back there for some reason,” Hamlin said. “I remember pulling off pit road thinking ‘Wow, I’m right behind Jeff Gordon in my very first race.'”

Unlike Edward’s top-10 debut, Hamlin would stay in the back of the field, finishing 32nd, two laps down. Gordon finished 10th.


Brad Keselowski will forever be connected to Gordon by the end of the fall Texas race in 2014. But the 2012 Sprint Cup champion does have at least one good memory of Gordon, a teammate during Keselowski’s two years at Hendrick in 2008 and 2009.

“I have this picture, and it is kind of a montage that my sister put together for me and one of them is of me and Jeff when I was driving at Hendrick in 2008 and he was giving me some advice and that is a moment I will never forget,” Keselowski said. “I was getting my first opportunity to test the Cup car and having him come over and give me some advice was probably one of my fondest memories. Certainly there are more than that, but that is the first one that comes to mind.”

Keselowski would make his Sprint Cup debut in 2008 at – of all tracks – Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon finished second that day, while Keselowski came home 19th.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Homestead-Miami Speedway Track Facts: 2015 EcoBoost 400

Will Kevin Harvick repeat with a Homestead win and Championship?
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Top Fives
Top 10s
Average Finish
Driver Rating
Kevin Harvick
Jeff Gordon
Kyle Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Carl Edwards
Joey Logano
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Brad Keselowski
Kurt Busch
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson
Jamie McMurray
Paul Menard
Matt Kenseth
Clint Bowyer
* – Based on last 10 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2005 – 2014).
Homestead-Miami Speedway Data
Season Race #: 36 of 36 (11-22-15)
Chase Race #: 10
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 18-20 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 18-20 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  1,760 feet
Backstretch Length:  1,760 feet
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Homestead
Carl Edwards............................ 110.2
Matt Kenseth............................. 108.9
Martin Truex Jr.......................... 106.6
Kevin Harvick............................ 102.5
Jeff Gordon.............................. 100.7
Jimmie Johnson.......................... 97.5
Denny Hamlin............................. 95.9
Clint Bowyer............................... 93.2
Kyle Busch................................. 91.5
Kasey Kahne.............................. 90.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (10 total) among active drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2014 pole winner:
Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
180.747 mph, 29.876 secs. 11-14-14

2014 race winner:
Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
122.280 mph, (03:16:31), 11-16-14

Track qualifying record:
Brad Keselowski, Ford
181.238 mph, 29.795 secs. 11-14-14
Set in Round 1 of 3

Track race record:
Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
142.245 mph, (2:48:56), 11-18-12

Homestead-Miami Speedway:

·         Groundbreaking for Homestead-Miami Dade Motorsports Complex – as the track was originally named – began Aug. 24, 1993.
·         The first race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway was a NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Nov. 5, 1995 – won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.
·         The original configuration was a four-turn, rectangular oval based on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's layout.
·         The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead was held on Nov. 14, 1999 – won by Tony Stewart.
·         2002 was the first season of the Championship Weekend at Homestead, with all three of NASCAR’s national series holding their season finale at the same track.
·         Since the inception of the position-based points system in 1975, only four drivers have made up a points deficit in the season finale: Richard Petty in 1979 (made up two points on Darrell Waltrip), Alan Kulwicki in 1992 (made up 30 points on Davey Allison), Jimmie Johnson in 2010 (made up 15 points on Denny Hamlin) andTony Stewart in 2012 (made up three points on Carl Edwards).
·         There have been 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, one per season since 1999.
·         120 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead; 92 in more than one.
·         Jeff Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in starts at Homestead with 16.
·         David Green won the first Coors Light pole at Homestead in 1999 at a speed of 155.759 mph (34.669 sec.).
·         There have been 12 different Coors Light pole winners at Homestead, led by Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne with two each.
·         Youngest Homestead-Miami pole winner: Joey Logano (11/18/2012 – 22 years, 5 months, 25 days).
·         Oldest Homestead-Miami pole winner: Bill Elliott (11/11/2001 – 46 years, 1 month, 3 days).


·         Jamie McMurray (November, 2003) and David Reutimann (November, 2008) won their first career Coors Light poles at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
·         There have been 10 different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Homestead-Miami; four drivers have won more than once.  
·         Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with three wins each; followed by Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin with two each.
·         Of the four drivers with multiple wins at Homestead, Tony Stewart is the only driver to win in two different manufacturers: Pontiac (1999, 2000) and Chevrolet (2011).
·         Two of the 16 (12.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole: Bill Elliott (2001) and Kurt Busch (2002).
·         Five of the 16 (31.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead have been won from the front row: two from the pole and three from second-place.
·         11 of the 16 (68.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead have been won from a starting position inside the top 10.
·         Five of the 16 (31.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead have been won from a starting position outside the top 10 – most recently - Jeff Gordon (15th-place starting position; 2012).
·         Denny Hamlin won the 2009 race from the 38th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started at HMS.
·         Two drivers have won consecutive races at Homestead-Miami: Tony Stewart (1999 - 2000) and Greg Biffle(2004 – 2006, three straight).
·         Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Homestead with seven, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing with five.
·         Youngest Homestead winner: Kurt Busch (11/17/2002 – 24 years, 3 months, 13 days).
·         Oldest Homestead winner: Bill Elliott (11/11/2001 – 46 years, 1 month, 3 days).
·         Eight of the 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Homestead-Miami participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart (1999) is the only driver to win at Homestead in his first appearance.
·         Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 15.
Additional Finishing Positions
·         Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead the series in runner-up finishes at Homestead with two each.  
·         Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at Homestead with seven; followed by Kevin Harvick with six and Carl Edwards with five.

Additional Finishing Positions

·         Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick lead the series in top-10 finishes at Homestead with 12 each; followed byJimmie Johnson with nine.
·         Kevin Harvick leads the series in average finish at Homestead with a 7.5; only two other drivers have an average finish inside the top 10: Carl Edwards (9.1) and Martin Truex Jr. (10.0).
Track / Event Specific Stats
·         Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead is the (11/20/2005) race won by Greg Biffle with a MOV of 0.017 seconds.
·         Most Cautions in a single NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead – 14 (11/21/2004)
·         Carl Edwards leads the NSCS in laps led at Homestead with 560 in 16 starts.
·         Most lead changes in a race at Homestead – 26 (11/20/2011)
Female Competitors
·         Danica Patrick became the first female driver to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead-Miami in 2013.  
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Driver Rating
Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick


NASCAR in Florida
·         There have been 179 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among eight tracks in Florida.
Track Name
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach
Homestead-Miami Speedway
Daytona Beach & Road Course
Daytona Beach
Palm Beach Speedway
W. Palm Beach
Speedway Park
Five Flags Speedway
Golden Gate Speedway
Titusville-Cocoa Speedway
·         177 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Florida.
·         There have been 10 race winners from Florida in NASCAR’s three national series.
Fireball Roberts
LeeRoy Yarbrough
Marshall Teague
Joe Nemechek
Bobby Johns
David Reutimann
Aric Almirola
Shorty Rollins
Rick Wilson
Joey Coulter

Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup: Homestead-Miami Speedway
·         Homestead-Miami Speedway has been a part of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup since the playoff’s inception in 2004. This season the track will host its 12th Chase event.
·         The winner of the Homestead-Miami Chase race has gone on to win the championship during the Chase era twice: Tony Stewart (2011) and Kevin Harvick (2014).
·         Greg Biffle leads the series in Chase race wins at Homestead-Miami with three (2004 – 2006); followed by Carl Edwards (2008, 2010) and Denny Hamlin (2009, 2013) with two each.  
·         The worst finish in a Chase race by the eventual series champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway is 15th (three times), Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012.  
·         Chase Contenders have won eight of the 11 previous Chase races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two non-Chase contenders have won the Homestead-Miami Chase race: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013).      
·         Five of the 11 previous Chase races at Homestead the eventual series champion has finished in the top five.
·         Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in Chase race wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway with six, including five consecutive: Greg Biffle (2004 – 2006), Matt Kenseth (2007) and Carl Edwards (2008).     
·         Ford leads the series in Chase wins at Homestead with six; followed by Chevrolet with three.   
·         The most dominant performance by a Chase race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway is Carl Edward’svictory in 2010. He posted a Perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 and led 190 of the 267 laps (71.1% of his laps completed) - most by a Chase race winner at Homestead.
·         The 2014 Championship 4 finished – 1st (Harvick, 2014 Champion); 2nd (Newman), 7th (Hamlin) and 16th(Logano). 


Kyle Larson
75th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Career Start
Larson will attempt to post his 75th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Miami. Larson is tied with Justin Allgaier for 227th on the all-time NSCS starts list one start behind Casey Atwood (75) in 226th.
Justin Allgaier
75th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Career Start
Allgaier will attempt to post his 75th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Miami. Larson is tied with Kyle Larson for 227th on the all-time NSCS starts list one start behind Casey Atwood (75) in 226th.
Jimmie Johnson
76th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win
Jimmie Johnson is eighth on the all-time NSCS wins list, just one win behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt in seventh (76 wins).
Tony Stewart
50th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win
Stewart is 12th on the all-time NSCS wins list, two wins behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett in 10th (50 wins).
Jeff Gordon
475th NASCAR Sprint Cup Top-10 Finish
Gordon will attempt to post his 475th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-10 finish this weekend at Miami. Gordon is currently second on the all-time NSCS top-10 finishes list 236 top 10s behind Richard Petty in first.
Jeff Gordon
25,000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Laps Led
Gordon can become the sixth driver in NSCS history to lead 25,000 laps; joining Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Bobby Allison.
#43 car
200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wins
The No. 43 car is second on the all-time NSCS wins list, five wins behind the No. 11 car in first (205). The last win for the No. 43 car came at Daytona (July) last season.
#20 Car
50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wins
The No. 20 car is 19th on the NSCS all-time wins list, four wins behind the No. 27 and 18 cars in 17th/18th (with 52 each).