Therefore it comes down to this. The final race of the lengthy NASCAR season. After 35 points spending races, the final 4 drivers who will race to the championship Sunday happen to be determined.
Considering that the removal format to pick a winner was released two years back the champion has even won the race. Odds are then that the winner of this race Sunday will also wear the Cup crown. Others could win, but three of the previous five race winners dating back to Tony Stewart in 2011, also have won the title, so don’t be surprised if the driver celebrating a race win in victory lane Sunday, can also be celebrating his championship.
Here’s how it shakes out among the four finalists for Sunday’s 36th race of this year for your gambling or fantasy racing leagues. Driver Ratings are accumulated from 2005-2016 races (23 total) among active drivers in Phoenix. The Driver Rating is a number based on a formula developed by NASCAR which combines”loop info” elements such as average running position, average speed under green, number of fastest laps, and other stats. There’s a maximum of 150 points that a driver can make for each race. The chances are present as of Wednesday.
1. Carl Edwards (7-1). Edwards has just two wins here and the highest driver rating one of the 4, 109.4. The only driver among the Championship 4 having a number of wins at Homestead, Edwards still has memories of losing the race, along with the name, to Tony Stewart in 2011. Part of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Edwards will be looking for salvation Sunday, and he may just get it.
2. Jimmie Johnson (7-2). Homestead is one of the very few tracks in NASCAR that Johnson hasn’t won at. He runs well here though and gets the 2nd greatest driver rating of this 4, 96.7. Johnson will be looking to make history Sunday with a seventh title. If he brings his”A” game and can avoid some of the miscues that the team has endured this season at times, Johnson could pull it off.
3. Kyle Busch (5-1). Busch is looking to defend his title, made with a win at Homestead last year. He’s got the third highest driver evaluation, 95.5. However he hardly made the Championship 4, also has struggled sometimes. However, with one last race and a chance to add another name, and Joe Gibbs Racing behind himBusch could be in position to add another triumph, and yet another name.
4. Joey Logano (7-1). Logano is perhaps the underdog among the Championship 4. He’s never won at Homestead, has the lowest driver rating one of the area, 83.5. But Logano finished fourth here last year and headed the 2nd most laps in the race, 72. Logano was surprising at times this year and he could certainly be a surprise Sunday by winning his first Cup title.
OTHERS: There will be a total of 36 other drivers seeking to win Sunday. Chief among them, Matt Kenseth (12-1). Kenseth has the 2nd greatest driver evaluation among the area, 108.4, and won here in 2007. Coming off a disappointing finish at Phoenix last week, Kenseth will be seeking to make a strong statement. Kevin Harvick (6-1) was frustrated last week as he failed to make the cut for the first time since the elimination format began. He won the race, and the name in 2014, has the fifth greatest driver rating, 104.3, and may add another win to his Homestead restart Sunday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be conducted on Sunday, November 20. Live coverage will be on NBC starting at 2:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming just after 2:30 p.m. ET.
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