So it comes down to this. The final race of this long NASCAR season. Following 35 points spending races, the final 4 drivers who will race for the championship Sunday happen to be decided.
Since the removal format to decide a champion was released two years back the winner has also won the race. Odds are then the winner of the race Sunday will even wear the Cup crown. Others could triumph, but three of those previous five race winners dating back to Tony Stewart at 2011, also have won the title, so don’t be surprised if the motorist celebrating a race triumph 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 betting or fantasy racing leagues. Driver Ratings are accumulated from 2005-2016 races (23 total) among active drivers at Phoenix. The Driver Rating is a number based on a formula developed by NASCAR which unites”loop data” elements like average running position, average rate under green, number of fastest laps, and other stats. There is a maximum of 150 points a driver can earn for each race. The chances are present as of Wednesday.
1. Carl Edwards (7-1). Edwards has two wins here along with the highest driver rating 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, along with the name, to Tony Stewart at 2011. Part of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Edwards will be seeking redemption Sunday, and he might 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 works well here though and has the second highest driver evaluation of this 4, 96.7. Johnson will be looking to make history Sunday with a seventh title. If he brings his”A” game and may prevent some of the miscues the group has suffered this year at times, Johnson could just pull it off.
3. Kyle Busch (5-1). Busch is seeking to defend his title, earned with a win at Homestead last year. He’s got the third highest driver evaluation, 95.5. But he barely made the Championship 4, also has struggled at times. 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 title.
4. Joey Logano (7-1). Logano is possibly the underdog among the Championship 4. He’s never won at Homestead, has the lowest driver rating among the field, 83.5. But Logano finished fourth last year and led the 2nd most laps in the race,” 72. Logano has been surprising at times this year and he could surely be a surprise Sunday by winning his first Cup title.
OTHERS: There will be a total of 36 other drivers trying to acquire Sunday. Chief among them, Matt Kenseth (12-1). Kenseth has the second greatest driver rating among the field, 108.4, also acquired here in 2007. Coming off a disappointing finish at Phoenix a week, Kenseth will be seeking to make a powerful statement. Kevin Harvick (6-1) was frustrated a week as he failed to make the cut for the first time since the elimination format started. He also won the raceand the name in 2014, has the fifth best driver rating, 104.3, and may add another win for his Homestead resume Sunday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be run on Sunday, November 20. Live coverage is going to be on NBC starting at 2:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming only after 2:30 p.m. ET.
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