Photo credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for NASCAR
Homestead-Miami Speedway has hosted the final race of the Sprint Cup season since all the way back in 2002, crowning every champion in the nine-season history of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. As part of Ford Championship Weekend, the track will do so once again on Sunday, when either Brad Keselowski or Jimmie Johnson hoists the championship trophy after the Ford 400.
If either driver wins the race, it will mark their team’s first Cup victory at this track. Only four organizations—Joe Gibbs Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing—have ever taken Cup wins at Homestead, with Roush holding a 7-4 edge on Gibbs and the other two teams scoring one win apiece. Keselowski won last year’s Nationwide finale for Penske Racing, but Hendrick Motorsports hasn’t won a race at Homestead since Jeff Gordon took the 2000 Busch Series event in a car he co-owned.
Photo credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
With that being said, look to Roush and Gibbs drivers to win on Sunday. Joey Logano scored the pole in his final race for Gibbs, while teammate Kyle Busch starts eighth. Four Roush, Edwards qualified fourth, Matt Kenseth (in his final race before replacing Logano at Gibbs) slotted in 11th, and three-time Homestead winner Greg Biffle will line up 13th. Even Denny Hamlin has a chance; though he qualified 41st, he won from 38th place in 2009.
That puts Johnson in a difficult spot, given his 20-point deficit to Keselowski coming into Sunday’s event. No matter what he does, even if he wins the race, Keselowski will clinch the championship by simply finishing 15th or better, even without leading a lap. Keselowski even holds the advantage in starting spots, qualifying third to Johnson’s 10th. Johnson’s best finish at Homestead is second, which occurred in both 2004 and 2010; however, he’s led a lap in eight of 11 career Homestead starts.
After all, a champion winning the season finale has been the exception rather than the rule at Homestead, with Tony Stewart last year the only driver to do it. In 2005, Greg Biffle won the race and finished second in points to Stewart by 35, while Carl Edwards won the 2008 race, only to fall to Johnson by 69 points in the championship. With that being said, Johnson may win Sunday’s battle, but Keselowski is justiofiably confident that he’s going to win the war.
The post Sprint Cup Race Preview: Homestead-Miami Speedway appeared first on Race Review Online.