Therefore it comes down to this. The final race of the long NASCAR season. After 35 points paying races, the final 4 drivers that will race for the championship Sunday happen to be determined.
Since the removal format to decide a champion was released two years ago the winner has also won the race. Odds are then that the winner of this race Sunday will even wear the Cup crown. Others could triumph, but three of those last five race winners dating back to Tony Stewart in 2011, have also won the title, so don’t be shocked if the driver celebrating a race win in victory lane Sunday, is also celebrating his championship.
Here’s how it shakes out among the four finalists for Sunday’s 36th race of the year for your gambling or fantasy racing leagues. Driver Ratings are compiled 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 data” components like average running posture, average rate under green, variety of workouts, and other stats. There is a maximum of 150 points a driver can earn for each race. The odds are current as of Wednesday.
1. Carl Edwards (7-1). Edwards has just two wins here along with the maximum driver evaluation one of the 4, 109.4. The only driver among the Championship 4 having multiple wins at Homestead, Edwards still has memories of losing the race, and the name, to Tony Stewart in 2011. Section of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Edwards will be seeking salvation Sunday, and he may just get it.
2. Jimmie Johnson (7-2). Homestead is one of those very few tracks in NASCAR which Johnson hasn’t won at. He works well here though and gets the 2nd greatest driver evaluation of this 4, 96.7. Johnson will want to make history Sunday with a seventh title. When he brings his”A” game and may prevent some of the miscues that the group has suffered this season at times, Johnson could pull it off.
3. Kyle Busch (5-1). Busch is seeking to defend his title, made with a win at Homestead this past year. He’s got the third highest driver rating, 95.5. However he hardly left the Championship 4, and has struggled at times. But with one last race and a chance to add another title, and Joe Gibbs Racing behind him, Busch could be able to add another triumph, and yet another title.
4. Joey Logano (7-1). Logano is possibly the underdog among the Championship 4. He has never won at Homestead, has the lowest motorist evaluation one of the area, 83.5. But Logano finished fourth here last year and headed the second most laps in the race, 72. Logano was astonishing 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 acquire Sunday. Chief among them, Matt Kenseth (12-1). Kenseth has the 2nd greatest driver evaluation one of the field, 108.4, and acquired here in 2007. Coming off a disappointing finish at Phoenix a week, Kenseth will be looking to make a strong statement. Kevin Harvick (6-1) was frustrated last week since he failed to make the cut for the first time since the removal format started. He also won the race, and the name in 2014, has the fifth best driver rating, 104.3, and could add another win for his Homestead restart Sunday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be conducted on Sunday, November 20. Live coverage is going to be on NBC beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming only after 2:30 p.m. ET.
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