Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Homestead-Miami Speedway NASCAR Cup Series Notes: 2017 Ford EcoBoost 400

Martin Truex Jr is favored to win race and title at Homestead.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Championship Race: Ford EcoBoost 400
The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Nov. 19
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps), Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Stage 3 (Ends on Lap 267)


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 (2013).     
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 2012). 
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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thank You Dale Earnhardt Jr., Damn that was fun!

Dale Jr. brought it strong!
I've always felt a sort of camaraderie with Dale Earnhardt Jr. despite not knowing him personally. When I heard he has an Elvis Presley room because his mother liked him, that was all I needed.

At the time Junior was just starting to make a name for himself rather than being Dale Earnhardt's son, I wasn't too cozy with Junior. I thought he might have a silver spoon and was just given good cars, beginning with the Busch Series and then later in Cup. From 2000-2004, he won 15 of his 26 career Cup races and do so driving the No. 8 car his Daddy built for him.

In his 2004 season, I got to see first hand his hold over NASCAR Nation as he won the Daytona 500. I remember it well because President George W. Bush had his motorcade drive up to the concourse where I was in a beer line and I had to stay there for 70 minutes. At least there was a TV above the beer stand. Junior dominated that day, as was the case on most restrictor-plate race tracks with Dale Earnhardt Inc. performers.

My most fantastic Junior moment came in the 2001 season when he won the July Daytona race, the first NASCAR race there since his father passed there. It was magical. It had to happen that way to build his legend, and it grew even larger. He's the NASCAR Prince.

But Dale's wife, Junior's step-mom Theresa, had other plans for a successful team. She found a PR person to help run the team into the ground. And in the process, they lost their golden child who flew away to Hendrick Motorsports.

But from 2007 on until his retirement at the end of Sunday's Homestead race, he had won only nine more races and seven of them came in 2014-15. Teammate Jimmie Johnson was dominating the series, but his rub somehow never happened in the garages.

The thing I'll always remember about Junior is his enormous fan base everywhere I went on the Cup circuit. They were so friendly and honest about reality. Great BBQ. They loved their driver, thick and thin. And I had some of the best parties ever with Junior Nation in 2004 and 2014. He's a powerful force. He's NASCAR Royalty and people just smile when they talk about him. Love that.

I am pleasured to say I saw his 2004 Daytona 500 win, him helping Michael Waltrip get his first win in the tragic 2001 race, and also him just being the public's driver. I feel vested in emotions spent on Dale Jr. and I'm okay with that.

Dale Jr. brings it wherever he goes. He's the guy that has theme music following around just so his entrances are done with justice. I'd like to think it was the Elvis intro to C.C. Rider.

The best thing about Dale Jr. doing broadcasting next year is that his fans will watch just to hear him say anything, and we all know he's going to be cool as hell with social stuff on his mind coming in at a relatable way. For not jumping into Twitter until lately, the dude has the hang of it now.

I'm not sitting well with the new era of drivers, but just like all of them, I'm moving on as a fan as well. I'll always be there keeping my charts, figuring out who the best is at each track, in each practice, but I cannot deny that something is really different with NASCAR 2017. People? Attendance? Passion? Rivalries?

Who knows, but I'll be watching the 60th Daytona 500 in February just because of family tradition.

Homestead-Miami Betting Preview: 2017 Ford EcoBoost 400

Sunday's championship and Homestead race figures to be two-horse race.
Here we go. This is it! NASCAR's version of the Super Bowl and Final Four all rolled into one.

Sunday's Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will finish off the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and we couldn't ask for a better final four drivers to participate. After 35 races, including nine playoff races, Martin Truex Jr. will battle 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, 2014 champion Kevin Harvick and 2015 champion Kyle Buschfor the 2017 title.

No more points. This is all about who has the better finish among the four drivers. The past three seasons we've seen the eventual champion leave no doubt about it and win at Homestead's 1.5-mile high-banked, paper-clip layout. Harvick did it in 2014, Busch in 2015 and Jimmie Johnson did it last season. The odd thing about those three wins is that it was their first win ever at Homestead.

Another oddity this week is that Chevrolet won't have anything at stake in this year's Championship Race. Chevrolet has been driven by 10 of the past 12 champions, including seven by Johnson, two by Tony Stewart and one by Harvick. But Harvick drives a Ford now. The only two drivers to get in the way of the Chevy steamroller in the past 14 years was Keselowski's Dodge in 2012 and Kyle Busch's Toyota in 2015. Truex, Busch's corporate teammate, will be driving a Toyota as well.

This will be Busch's third straight season competing in the Championship 4 and he's ready to go.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity to be able to go race for a championship, and that’s what this format is," said Busch, who grew up in Las Vegas. "It doesn’t mean a whole lot to make it to the Championship 4 if you don’t win it. You know, it’s all reset to zero. There are four of us who go for winner-take-all at Homestead. It means a lot to have that opportunity not only for myself, but for M&M’S Caramel, Toyota, Interstate Batteries and everyone at JGR who helps us to be as good as we’ve been. It’s what your whole season comes down to. I’m looking forward to Homestead and we’ll see if we can bring home another championship.”

As a fellow Las Vegan, it says in the city rules that I have to root for Kyle Busch to win the title Sunday, and I'm okay with that. And at least I'm not rooting for the favorite here because someone else has been much better on these type of tracks.

With this being a 1.5-mile track, we don't need to look anywhere else than Truex to identify who the overwhelming favorite is. The layout at Homestead is vastly different from all the tri-ovals around the circuit, but the set-up requirements are still similar. Truex has never won at Homestead, but did finish second there in 2006 and third in 2011. In 2015 when he was one of the final four drivers at Homestead, he finished 12th driving a Chevrolet at the time.

I remember wondering after the 2015 season why the Furniture Row team would make the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota. It seemed silly after he had his best career finish on a season with fourth-place to make the switch. Well, things turned out just fine and since the 2016 season no one has been better on 1.5-mile tracks than Truex. This season he won on six of the 10 races on them. He won four straight on them heading into November before Harvick finally ended his run at Texas. But Truex would finish second and lead a race-high 107 laps that day.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes final start of 2017 and full-time Cup career

It's been a long road, but so fun with Junior. His fans made live races great.
Jimmie Johnson on Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“I’ve known Dale a long time, well before he joined Hendrick Motorsports and even before I was a stock car driver. To have him as a teammate, I’ve been able to get to know him behind the scenes and behind the steering wheel – our friendship has gone to deeper levels. I really have enjoyed my friendship with him. It will be sad to see the No. 88 go away, but I’m so proud of him for everything he has accomplished. I can’t wait to see him as a dad, to compare notes (laughs) and am just so happy for him and Amy. I’m excited to see what this next chapter has in store for him.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his emotions leading into Homestead
“I am not sure that I’m ready to be going through all of the emotion that I will have in Homestead, but it’s coming. I hope that I can handle it well, but it’s definitely going to be interesting to see how that feels. All these videos and all these things that our partners are creating, this content has just been incredible. It makes you feel so good in your heart. The comments from fans … it is more than you can process and I’m sure that Homestead is just going to be like the cork coming out of the bottle. I’m lucky that Amy (Earnhardt) is going to be there, I’m lucky my family will be there, and my team. I will have so much support and I want to support them. It’s going to be emotional for them and our fans.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Homestead
“I’m trying to run hard, trying to do well, trying to figure out our cars and get as good a finish as we can. We’re going to have a lot of things going on this week. Going in there and trying to do as well as we can is at the top of the list, but there are a ton of other things happening. We will just take it one day at a time. It’s going to be a busy weekend.”

No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives on his relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"Throughout the years, my relationship to Dale has gone through many phases. In his early years I was a fan, watching him win races and championships in the iconic AC Delco paint scheme. It was so cool that we had the privilege to run a throwback to that scheme at Darlington this year. In 2004 when I started at Hendrick Motorsports, he was a competitor that we had to go out there and race each weekend, especially at the superspeedway races where he was so strong.

"When he made the move to Hendrick in 2008, we began a pretty neat relationship. Dale and I are pretty calm and quiet in our personal environment, but when it comes to competition we are extremely focused and competitive. The fantasy football league was where we had our first encounter of determination. The unique battle we had formed a bond that we can still talk about today.

"Moving to JR Motorsports in 2013, Dale became my boss as I tried to help lead his company back to winning races and eventually a championship. Every time Dale came to my office, he asked what he could do for me to help the teams get better - never to tell me how to do my job. There are plenty of Monday morning crew chiefs, but he was never one of them.

"Then in 2015, I got the call to be his crew chief. It was an honor to accept the challenge because I knew we could have quick success with the relationships we had already established. That held true for the 2015 season and 2016 was going to be even better. Putting more focus on winning and being perfect, we were so close in 2015, so why not? When Dale got hurt in 2016, I took a lot of the responsibility on myself. We had to work through the tough times together, had to confide in each other, and ultimately developed our best relationship – our friendship."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Nov. 16, at 10:20 a.m. local time in the Homestead-Miami Speedway media center.


APPRECI88ION TOUR SUCCESS: In June, Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced a five-month campaign called the JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour, which started at the July Daytona event and has carried through to the end of the 2017 season, his last as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. The Appreci88ion campaign gave Earnhardt’s fans, his partners and the NASCAR industry a way to celebrate his historic career while offering the driver an opportunity to make gestures of gratitude to everyone who made the ride possible. Throughout, the fans have joined the celebration by using the #Appreci88ion hashtag on social media. Earnhardt himself used it to share weekly videos recounting memories and milestones from each of the tracks on the NASCAR circuit. The gestures of appreciation from the entire industry were overwhelming, and many will create a lasting impact on local communities across the country, celebrating the legacy Earnhardt has created.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: The 2017 season marked Earnhardt’s 18th full-time year in the Cup Series. The native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, has earned 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s. His 26 victories tie him for 29th on NASCAR’s all-time race winners list. He also has 15 pole positions and eight non-points wins (five in the Daytona 500 qualifying Duel, two in the Clash and one All-Star Race victory). Overall, Earnhardt has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times (2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015). He is the only third-generation NASCAR champion, achieved when he won the 1998 and 1999 NASCAR XFINITY Series titles. He follows his legendary father Dale Earnhardt Sr., a seven-time Cup champion and winner of 76 races, and his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, the 1956 NASCAR Sportsman champion. The three Earnhardts combine for 10 NASCAR championships.

AT HOMESTEAD: Earnhardt, who has yet to earn his first win at Homestead, has been on the upswing in his most recent visits to the 1.5-mile oval. While Earnhardt has a total of one top-five and two top-10 finishes in his 16 starts at the facility, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has finished inside of the top 15 in four of his last five trips to Homestead-Miami Speedway, including a career-best third-place finish in the 2013 event. According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks near the top of the fastest laps run category. The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS is fourth among active drivers at Homestead since 2005 with 150 fastest laps run, some of which have been during the 121 laps he’s led in his 16 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

ROOKIE SCHEME: Earnhardt’s No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, originally unveiled live on QVC on Aug. 2 from Axalta’s Customer Experience Center, will be red with black and white stripes, paying homage to the driver’s very first paint scheme, which debuted in 1999 when he competed in his first career Cup Series race. Click here to see how the scheme came to life.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: On Tuesday, Nov. 28, NASCAR and Nationwide will bring together fans, family, friends, key influencers in his racing life and a few surprise guests to join Earnhardt to tell stories at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas at 9 p.m. PST. Hosted by Earnhardt himself, this once-in-a-lifetime fan experience will tell the tales of NASCAR’s reigning most popular driver. The best part is all the proceeds from the event will benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital including the great work being done in the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Activity Room. For tickets and more information, click here.

IT’S NOT GOODBYE, IT’S SEE YOU LATER
: While Earnhardt is retiring from full-time Cup racing, he will still be a very visible presence in the sport. He will drive in two NASCAR XFINITY Series races for his JR Motorsports team in 2018, be active in his role as an owner of that team, and, in the second half of the season, he will join the NBC Sports group in the Cup broadcast booth. In short, the man who has been voted by fans as NASCAR’s most popular driver for 14 consecutive years isn’t really going anywhere.
 

2017 Season

  • 21st in standings
  • 35 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 47 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 630 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 15 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 260 top-10 finishes
  • 8,234 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 16 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 121 laps led
 

Homestead-Miami Speedway Track Facts: 2017 Ford EcoBoost 400

No Chevrolet in Championship 4 this season. A Chevy driver has won 10 of past 12 Championships.
 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Fast Facts: Homestead-Miami
·        Homestead-Miami Speedway has participated in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as the season finale since its inception in 2004. This season the track will host its 14th Playoff event.  
·       Eight tracks have hosted Playoff races all 13 previous years – New Hampshire, Dover, Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega, Martinsville, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami.
Homestead Playoff Race Winners

Winners
Playoff Wins
Greg Biffle
3
Carl Edwards
2
Denny Hamlin
2
Jeff Gordon
1
Jimmie Johnson
1
Kevin Harvick
1
Kyle Busch
1
Matt Kenseth
1
Tony Stewart
1

·        Nine different drivers have won the Homestead-Miami Speedway Playoff races, led by Greg Biffle with three victories (2004 – 2006).
·        Four times the winner of the Homestead-Miami Speedway Playoff race has gone on to win the championship during the Playoff era (2004-Present):
o   In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the 15th starting position at Homestead, and as a result secured his third-career MENCS championship.
o   In 2014, Kevin Harvick won from the fifth starting position at Homestead in the first year of the Elimination-Style format of the Playoffs, and as a result won his first MENCS title.   
o   In 2015, Kyle Busch won from the third starting position at Homestead in the second year of the Elimination-Style format of the Playoffs, and as a result won his first MENCS championship.  
o   In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won from the 14th starting position at Homestead in the third year of the Elimination-Style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he tied NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the series-most titles with seven.  
·        The worst finish in a Playoff 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. 
·        Playoff contenders have won 10 of the 13 (75%) previous Playoff races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two non-Playoff drivers have won the Homestead-Miami Playoff race: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013).      
·        Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in Playoff race wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway with six, including five consecutive: Greg Biffle (2004 – 2006), Matt Kenseth (2007) and Carl Edwards (2008).    
·        Three manufacturers have won the Playoff race at Homestead, led by Ford with six; followed by Chevroletwith four and Toyota with three.  
·        The most dominant performance by a Playoff race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway was Carl Edward’s victory in 2010. He posted a Perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 and led 190 of the 267 laps (71.1% of his laps completed) – the most by a Playoff race winner at Homestead.
·        Championship 4 Performances at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
2014 Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps Led
Laps Comp
Driver Rating
Finishing Type
Pts Pos
Crew Chief
Organization
Kevin Harvick
5
1
54
267
132.7
Running
1
Rodney Childers
Stewart-Haas Racing
Ryan Newman
21
2
0
267
108.2
Running
2
Lucas Lambert
Richard Childress Racing
Denny Hamlin
8
7
50
267
118.7
Running
3
Darian Grubb
Joe Gibbs Racing
Joey Logano
9
16
0
267
105.1
Running
4
Todd Gordon
Team Penske
          
2015 Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps Led
Laps Comp
Driver Rating
Finishing Type
Pts Pos
Crew Chief
Organization
Kyle Busch
3
1
41
267
136.0
Running
1
Adam Stevens
Joe Gibbs Racing
Kevin Harvick
13
2
46
267
122.1
Running
2
Rodney Childers
Stewart-Haas Racing
Jeff Gordon
5
6
9
267
99.6
Running
3
Alan Gustafson
Hendrick Motorsports
Martin Truex Jr
11
12
3
267
90.5
Running
4
Cole Pearn
Furniture Row Racing
          
2016 Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps Led
Laps Comp
Driver Rating
Finishing Type
Pts Pos
Crew Chief
Organization
Jimmie Johnson
14
1
3
268
109.9
Running
1
Chad Knaus
Hendrick Motorsports
Joey Logano
13
4
6
268
114.6
Running
2
Todd Gordon
Team Penske
Kyle Busch
9
6
1
268
112.1
Running
3
Adam Stevens
Joe Gibbs Racing
Carl Edwards
10
34
47
257
110.1
Accident
4
Dave Rogers
Joe Gibbs Racing


2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Championship 4 At Homestead-Miami
Rank
Driver
Races
Poles
Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
DNFs
Average Finish
Driver Rating
 
 
1
Kevin Harvick
16
1
1
8
14
0
6.9
106
 
2
Kyle Busch
12
0
1
2
5
2
19.8
96.9
 
3
Martin Truex Jr
12
0
0
3
7
2
12.3
101.8
 
4
Brad Keselowski
9
0
0
2
3
1
15.9
88.5
 
* – Based on last 12 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2005 – 2016).


Homestead-Miami Speedway Data
Season Race #: 36 of 36 (11-19-17)
Playoff 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
Stages 1 & 2 Length: 80 Laps (each)
Finale Stage Length: 107 Laps
   
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Homestead
Matt Kenseth............................ 107.7
Kevin Harvick........................... 106.6
Martin Truex Jr......................... 101.8
Kyle Larson.............................. 101.6
Jimmie Johnson.......................... 97.8
Kyle Busch................................. 96.9
Denny Hamlin............................. 95.8
Chase Elliott............................... 95.5
Brad Keselowski......................... 88.5
Joey Logano............................... 87.4
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2016 races (12 total) among active drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2016 pole winner:
Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
177.637 mph, 30.399 secs. 11-18-16

2016 race winner:
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
128.869 mph, (03:07:10), 11-18-16

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:
History
·        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 XFINITY 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 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami was held on Nov. 14, 1999 – won by Tony Stewart (Pontiac).
·        2002 was the first season the Championship Weekend was held 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) and Tony Stewart in 2011 (made up three points on Carl Edwards).
·        There have been 18 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, one per season since 1999.

Starts
·        129 drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway; 101 have competed in more than one.
·        Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway with 17 each.
·        Brad Keselowski (nine starts) leads the series in average starting position with a 11.333.   


Poles 
·        A total of 14 different drivers have won a Coors Light Pole Award at Homestead-Miami Speedway, led by Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne with two each.
·        David Green won the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coors Light pole at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1999 at a speed of 155.759 mph (34.669 sec.) in a Pontiac.
·        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 series career Coors Light poles at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Wins
·        There have been 12 different Monster Energy NASCAR Series race winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway; with four of the 12 having multiple wins.  
·        Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway 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 drivers have won consecutive races at Homestead-Miami: Tony Stewart (1999 - 2000) and Greg Biffle (2004 – 2006, three straight).
·        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).
·        Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Homestead-Miami with seven, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing with six.
·        Two of the 18 (11.1%) Monster Energy NASCAR 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 18 (27.8%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami have been won from the front row: two from the pole and three from second starting position.
·        12 of the 18 (66.7%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami have been won from a starting position inside the top 10 – most recently – Kyle Busch (third starting position; 2015).
·        Six of the 18 (33.3%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami have been won from a starting position outside the top 10 – most recently – Jimmie Johnson (14th starting position; 2016).
·        Denny Hamlin won the 2009 race from the 38th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started at HMS.
·        Tony Stewart (1999) is the only driver to win at Homestead-Miami in his first appearance.


Additional Finishing Positions
·        A total of 15 different MENCS drivers have finished runner-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway, led by Kevin Harvick with three second-place finishes; followed by Jimmie Johnson with two. 
·        A total of 35 different MENCS drivers have finished in the top-five at Homestead-Miami, led by Kevin Harvick with eight top fives; followed by Jeff Gordon (seven), Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson (with five each).
·        A total of 52 different MENCS drivers have finished in the top-10 at Homestead-Miami, led by Kevin Harvick with 14 top 10s; followed by Jeff Gordon (13), and Jimmie Johnson (11).
·        Kevin Harvick leads the series in average finish position at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 6.938

Track / Event Specific Stats
·      Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway is the November 20, 2005 race won by Greg Biffle with a MOV of 0.017 seconds over second-place Mark Martin.
·        All-time top five MENCS lap leaders at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
Drivers
Laps Led
Laps Completed
% of Laps Led
Carl Edwards
615
3,462
17.8%
Tony Stewart
450
4,452
10.1%
Matt Kenseth
449
4,256
10.5%
Kevin Harvick
315
4,277
7.4%
Kyle Busch
279
2,943
9.5%
·        Qualifying has never been cancelled due to weather conditions at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  
·        None of the 18 series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway have been shortened due to weather.
·        Three of the 18 series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway have ended under NASCAR Overtime:
Date
Scheduled No. Of Laps
Actual No. Of Laps
NASCAR Overtime
Winner
Runner-Up
11/20/2016
267
268
1
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Larson
11/19/2006
267
268
1
Greg Biffle
Martin Truex Jr
11/21/2004
267
271
4
Greg Biffle
Jimmie Johnson

Female Competitors
·        Danica Patrick became the first and only female driver to compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  
Date
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Driver Rating
11/20/2016
Danica Patrick
30
19
47.7
11/22/2015
Danica Patrick
35
24
64.7
11/16/2014
Danica Patrick
32
18
67.7
11/17/2013
Danica Patrick
24
20
61.4
AVERAGES
30.3
20.3
60.4




NASCAR in Florida
·        There have been 373 NASCAR national series races among 10 tracks in the state of Florida.
Track Name
City
MENCS
NXS
NCWTS
Total Races
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach
141
52
18
274
Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead
18
22
21
67
Daytona Beach & Road Course
Daytona Beach
10
0
0
10
Palm Beach Speedway
W. Palm Beach
7
0
0
7
Speedway Park
Jacksonville
6
0
0
6
Volusia County Speedway
Barberville
0
4
0
4
Walt Disney World Speedway
Orlando
0
0
2
2
Five Flags Speedway
Pensacola
1
0
0
1
Golden Gate Speedway
Tampa
1
0
0
1
Titusville-Cocoa Speedway
Titusville
1
0
0
1
Totals

185
78
41
373

·        The first NASCAR national series race held in the state of Florida was on July 10, 1949 at the Daytona Beach & Road Course in Daytona Beach, Florida – the event was won by Red Byron (Oldsmobile).

Florida Drivers in NASCAR
·        181 drivers that have made at least one start in a NASCAR national series race have their home state recorded as Florida.
·        There have been 11 NASCAR national series race winners from the state of Florida.
Driver
MENCS Wins
NXS Wins
NCWTS Wins
Totals
Fireball Roberts
33
0
0
33
LeeRoy Yarbrough
14
0
0
14
Marshall Teague
7
0
0
7
Joe Nemechek
4
16
0
20
Bobby Johns
2
0
0
2
David Reutimann
2
1
1
4
Aric Almirola
1
3
2
6
Shorty Rollins
1
0
0
1
Rick Wilson
0
2
0
2
Joey Coulter
0
0
1
1
Ben Kennedy
0
0
1
1
Totals
64
22
5
91



Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Milestones
Drivers
Has
Needs
Milestones
STARTS
Matt Kenseth
649
1
To become the 22nd driver in series history to start 650 or more races
WINS
Jimmie Johnson
83
1
Tie Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip (84) for fourth on MENCS wins list
Kyle Busch
43
1
Tie Bill Elliott (44) for 16th on all-time MENCS wins list
Matt Kenseth
39
1
Tie Mark Martin (39) for 18th on all-time MENCS wins list
Kevin Harvick
37
2
Tie Tim Flock (39) for 20th on MENCS all-time wins list
Denny Hamlin
31
1
Tie Dale Jarrett (32) for 24th on all-time MENCS wins list
Kurt Busch
29
1
Tie Denny Hamlin (30) for 25th on all-time MENCS wins list
Dale Earnhardt Jr
26
2
Tie Rex White (28) for 28th on all-time MENCS wins list
Brad Keselowski
24
1
Tie Joe Weatherly, Jim Paschal (25) for 31st on all-time MENCS wins list
POLES
Ryan Newman
51
3
Tie Bill Elliott for eighth on the all-time MENCS poles list
Jimmie Johnson
35
1
Tie Rusty Wallace and Rex White for 17th on all-time MENCS poles list
Kasey Kahne
27
2
Tie Ricky Rudd (29) for 24th on the all-time MENCS poles list
Kyle Busch
27
2
Tie Ricky Rudd (29) for 24th on the all-time MENCS poles list
ADDITIONAL FINISHING POSITIONS
Jimmie Johnson
46
2
Tie Lee Petty for 11th on all-time MENCS second-place finishes list
Matt Kenseth
181
1
Tie Terry Labonte for 18th on all-time MENCS top-five finishes list
Dale Earnhardt Jr
149
1
To become the 24th driver to post 150 or more MENCS top-five finishes
LAPS LED
Jimmie Johnson
18,663
337
To become the ninth driver in series history to lead 19,000 or more laps
Matt Kenseth
11,751
249
To become the 15th MENCS driver all-time to lead 12,000 or more laps
Kurt Busch
8,877
126
To become 20th MENCS driver all-time to lead 9,000 or more laps
Denny Hamlin
8,843
157
To become 20th MENCS driver all-time to lead 9,000 or more laps