Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Driver Chassis Selections: 2012 Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead

Matt Kenseth using winning Kansas chassis this week (Getty)
Jamie McMurray: Crew Chief Kevin "Bono" Manion and the #1 Bass Pro Shops/ Tracker Boats team will use Chassis #1104 for Homestead. This chassis was previously run at Kansas, Bristol and Dover this season.

Brad Keselowski: and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-830 during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season-finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS). Keselowski last raced this chassis to an 11th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month. By finishing sixth at Phoenix on Sunday, Keselowski recorded his 23rd top-10 finish of 2012. This extended his record for top-10 finishes in a season by a driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. Rusty Wallace previously scored 21 top 10s in the "Blue Deuce" during the 1993 and 1998 seasons. The featured tag line on the rear bumper of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge this weekend at Homestead is "In It 2 Win It." With one race remaining, Keselowski is in prime position to win the first Cup Series title for Penske Racing and the Miller Lite brand.

Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis and the #5 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-729. Kahne has raced this car three times this season, notably scoring third-place finish at Michigan in August and a top-10 result at Charlotte in October. In eight Cup starts at Homestead, Kahne has earned one top-five finish, four top-10s and two pole positions. Kahne is the only driver with eight starts or more at Homestead to have an average starting position inside the top-10 (7.2). He enters Sunday's race with back-to-back top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile oval.

Marcos Ambrose: the #9 Richard Petty Motorsports Black and Decker team has prepared chassis No. 703 for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This Black & Decker Ford has not been run previously this season at a race, but was tested in Nashville last month. Ambrose will make his fifth career start at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. His best start (third) came in 2009 and his best finish (26th) came in the 2010. The Australian native was on pace to score his career-best finish at the 1.5-mile track last season until mechanical issues took him out of contention early. Ambrose sits in 18th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into Sunday's season finale.
Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-735 debuted in July in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Stewart qualified 28th and rallied to score a finish of 10th. Chassis No. 14-735 made its second career start in October at Kansas Speedway. It was impressive as Stewart used it to overcome a 33rd place starting spot, a botched pit stop, an incident with Jeff Burton and a lap-166 spin to finish fifth. The car will make its third career start Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Clint Bowyer: Primary chassis No. 738 led five laps finished sixth at Kansas and also raced at Atlanta. Chassis No. 716 is the backup. which raced earlier this season in Las Vegas, Kansas, Charlotte, Kentucky and Indianapolis. Bowyer has one win, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in nine Chase races. He has an average finish of 10.2 and has averaged a 6.8 qualifying effort. He has collected three bonus points for his win at Charlotte and six bonus points for leading laps in six of the nine races to collect a total of nine bonus points.
Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M / SP Richards Ford Fusion team will bring Primary Chassis RK-814 to Homestead, which last ran at Charlotte and finished 4th. Backup chassis is RK-777 which last ran Pocono and finished 15th. Biffle won three races in a row at Homestead, starting in 2004. Biffle has an average starting position of 16.4 and an average finish of 15.3 at Homestead.
Matt Kenseth: will run primary chassis RK-826 at Homestead, which last ran at Kansas and won. Kenseth has an average starting position of 19.6 and an average finishing position of 17.6 at Homestead. Kenseth has achieved one win, three top-five, and five top-10 finishes at Homestead in the Cup series. Kenseth has completed 2,921 of 3,209 laps (91.0 percent) at Homestead and led for a total of 303 laps. This weekend at Homestead, Kenseth will pilot the No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion.
Sam Hornish Jr. and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing #22 Team will be utilizing the "PRS-823" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in this weekend's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This is the chassis that the team raced at Chicagoland Speedway back in September (started 16th and finished 11th). AJ Allmendinger raced it in the June 30 Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Speedway (started 16th and finished ninth). This car made its debut for the team at Kansas Speedway back in April. Allmendinger won the Coors Light Pole Award and led 44 laps before secondary linkage woes put him 10 laps down and relegated him to a 32nd-place finish. The "PRS-820" will serve as the backup. It was last raced in the September race at New Hampshire (started 10th and finished 21st).
Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 379 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's race at Homestead. This Duracell/Menards Chevy was last raced at Dover International Speedway in September where Menard finished 22nd. It was also utilized earlier this season at Pocono Raceway in August, where he started third and finished 11th, Charlotte Motor Speedway (May) in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race where Menard finished 16th, Kansas Speedway where he finished 18th and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March where he finished seventh.
Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No.378 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable at Homestead. The #29 Budweiser team utilized this car twice during the 2011 season at Chicagoland Speedway in September (started-30th, finished-second) and Kansas Speedway in October (started-14th, finished-sixth). Harvick drove this Chevrolet in 2012 to a sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway in April, a 10th-place result at Michigan International Speedway in June, fifth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September and most recently he finished 11th at Kansas Speedway in October.
Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 359 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This #31 Caterpiller Chevy has been utilized three times during the 2012 NSCS season at Bristol Motor Speedway in March where Burton piloted the RCR machine to a top-10 finish (sixth-place), at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where a broken brake rotor late in the race relegating the team to a 32nd-place finish and Charlotte Motor Speedway in October where Burton finished 28th after getting caught up in an early accident.
Ryan Newman: Chassis No. 39-727 will make its third start this season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale. The chassis made its debut in May in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Newman started 16th and struggled with a tight-handling racecar before finishing 14th. Its second start came in June at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Newman qualified fifth but was forced to start in the back of the field due to an engine issue that required the team to make a change the night before the race. Tire issues at the newly-paved and ultra-fast Michigan racetrack halted Newman's progress and led to a 15th-place finish.
Juan Pablo Montoya: crew chief Chris "Shine" Heroy and the #42 Target Chevy team are bringing chassis #1221 to Homestead this weekend. This chassis is new and has not seen any track time.
Aric Almirola:: The #43 Smithfield team has prepared chassis No. 742 for Homestead. This car last ran at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October.
Jimmie Johnson: Chassis No. 728 serves as the primary for Johnson at Homestead. This chassis last ran at Kansas in October, finishing 9th. Also ran at both Dover races (won in June and 4th in September), Chicago in Sept, finishing 2nd and won at Indy in July. Chassis No. 720 serves as the backup and has won tweo races in 2012: at Texas in November and the All-Star race in May.
Mark Martin: will drive MWR chassis 732 which finished sixth at Charlotte in October and 34th there in May. In 12 Sprint Cup starts at Homestead Martin owns four top-five finishes and has led 30 laps. Homestead, Indianapolis, Pocono and Kentucky are the only active tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule where Martin has yet to win.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Regan Smith most recently raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in October. Earnhardt previously raced this chassis to a fourth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in August. In 12 Sprint Cup starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Earnhardt has led 93 laps and recorded three top-15 finishes and five top-20s. He scored his best finish -- 11th -- at Homestead in the 2011 season finale.
Carl Edwards: The #99 Fastenal team will be bringing chassis RK-827 to the track this weekend to Homestead. This car last raced at Kansas last month where Edwards finished 14th. Edwards' average start at Homestead is 11.9, his average finish is 5.2 which is the best of all active drivers. He has also led a total of 560 laps there, the most among active drivers. He has only finished outside the top 10 once in eight starts.

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