NSCS: Ford 400 Preview – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Photo by: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America

Information:

Date: Sunday – November 20th, 2011
Time: 3 PM ET
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Distance: 267 Laps/400.5 Miles
Broadcast: TV – ESPN
Radio – MRN (Motor Racing Network)/Sirius XM Ch. 90

Weather:

High: 80°F – Low: 71°F
Start Time: 78°F
End of Race: 76°
Chance of Rain: 40%
Wind: From ENE at 14 mph

Fantasy Racing Picks:

Target: Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick
Avoid: Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brian Vickers
Analysis: No surprise that past championship contenders are strong in the season finale, when performance is needed most.
Bargain: Martin Truex Jr. has an average finish of 7.6 in his last five races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Brad Keselowski is strong at intermediate tracks like this.

Honorable Mention: Tony Stewart.
Analysis: Even though Stewart has not been ‘dominant’ at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it is almost a sure bet that the No. 14 team will be on their ‘A’ game, if they want to win the 2011 version of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Preview-Notes:

-The season-ending Ford 400 will once again decide the “Chase for the Sprint Cup” championship, as Carl Edwards leads Tony Stewart by a mere three points. That’s it, no season-ending heroics by Jimmie Johnson, just Edwards versus Stewart (breath of fresh air).

-Johnson’s Sprint Cup reign came to an end last week, as he finished 14th, thus ending his bid for a sixth straight series championship. After Chase race No. 4, Johnson was just four points back, but back-to-back 34th and 26th-place finishes ruined his chances of winning the 2011 championship.

-With just a three-point separation between them, Edwards and Stewart are the only drivers who remain in championship contention. Edwards has held the points lead in each Chase race since Kansas, but Stewart has turned the title fight into a thriller after winning at Martinsville and Texas and then finishing third at Phoenix.

-Edwards should have the upper hand heading into the finale. Not only is he the defending race winner, but he owns series-best numbers in top fives (18) and top 10s (25). At Homestead-Miami, Edwards has been dominating as well, with two wins, four top fives and six top 10s in seven starts. In fact, he owns the top average finish (5.7).

-Stewart has had wonderful success also in South Florida with two wins of his own, three top fives and six top 10s in 12 starts. His two wins came in the first two race at Homestead, in 1999 and 2000.

-Although he didn’t win the race last year, Johnson did capture the Sprint Cup championship for the fifth straight season. Johnson entered the 400-mile race at Homestead 15 points behind Denny Hamlin. He became the first driver in the seven-year history of the championship Chase to overcome a points deficit going into the season-finale.

-Johnson has yet to win at Homestead, but has scored seven top-10 finishes in 10 races there, including a second last year, a fifth-place finish in 2009, a seventh-place finish in 2007 and a ninth-place run in the 2006 event.

History of Homestead-Miami Speedway: Groundbreaking for Homestead-Miami Dade Motorsports Complex, as the track was originally named, began August 24, 1993. The first race was a NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Nov. 5, 1995. The original configuration was a four-turn, rectangular oval based on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s layout. The first Truck Series race at Homestead was in 1996. In the summer of 1997, a reconfiguration project changed the turns from a quad-oval to a traditional, continuous-turn oval. The first Sprint Cup race at Homestead was held on Nov. 14, 1999. The track was reconfigured prior to the 2003 race. The banking in the turns was changed to a graduated tri-level culminating in a 20-degree banking on the outer level. Lights were also added for night racing.

-There have been nine different pole winners, led by Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne with two each. The race has been won from the pole twice: Bill Elliott (2001) and Kurt Busch (2002). In addition, the race has been won from a top-10 starting position nine of 12 times.

Next Up: The 2012 Sprint Cup Series begins February 26 at Daytona International Speedway with the 54th running of the Daytona 500. Trevor Bayne won the series season-opener this year.

Entry List:

#00 David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL) Toyota/Aaron’s Dream Machine

#1 Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO) Chevrolet/Bass Pro Shops

#2 Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI) Dodge/Miller Lite

#4 Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA) Toyota/Red Bull

#5 Mark Martin (Batesville, AR) Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com

#6 David Ragan (Unadilla, GA) Ford/UPS My Choice

#7 Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City, GA) Dodge/Speed Energy

#9 Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia) Ford/Stanley

#11 Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA) Toyota/FedEx Express

#13 Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA) Toyota/Hard Rock Vodka

#14 Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN) Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1

#16 Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA) Ford/3M/Novec

#17 Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI) Ford/Crown Royal

#18 Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Toyota/Interstate Batteries

#20 Joey Logano (Middletown, CT) Toyota/Home Depot

#21 Trevor Bayne (Knoxville, TN) Ford/Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire

#22 Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil

#24 Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA) Chevrolet/Drive to End Hunger

#27 Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI) Chevrolet/Menards/Duracell

#29 Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA) Chevrolet/Budweiser

#30 David Stremme (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/TBA

#31 Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA) Chevrolet/Caterpillar

#32 Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR) Ford/Street King

#33 Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS) Chevrolet/Cheerios/Hamb. Helper

#34 David Gilliland (Riverside, CA) Ford/TBA

#35 Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH) Chevrolet/Golden Corral

#36 Geoffrey Bodine (Chemung, NY) Chevrolet/Luke & Associates

#37 Mike Skinner (Susanville, CA) Ford/Max Q Motorsports

#38 Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI) Ford/Vampt

#39 Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/U.S. Army Veterans Day

#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia) Chevrolet/Target

#43 A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA) Ford/Best Buy

#46 Scott Speed (Manteca, CA) Ford/Green Stuff Absorbant

#47 Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX) Toyota/Reese Towpower

#48 Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA) Chevrolet/Lowe’s

#51 Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA) Chevrolet/Security Benefits

#55 J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ) Ford/Aloft Hotels

#56 Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ) Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts

#66 Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ) Toyota/HP Racing

#71 Andy Lally (Northport, NY) Ford/TRG Motorsports

#78 Regan Smith (Cato, NY) Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing

#83 Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC) Toyota/Red Bull

#84 Cole Whitt (Alpine, CA) Toyota/TBA

#87 Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL) Toyota/TBA

#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC) Chevrolet/Amp Energy/Nat’l Guard

#92 Dennis Setzer (Newton, NC) Dodge/TBA

#93 Grant Enfinger (Fairhope, AL) Chevrolet/Hewe’s Polishing

#99 * Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO) Ford/Aflac

Previous Winners:

2010 Carl Edwards, Ford, 126.585 m.p.h.
2009 Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 126.986 m.p.h.
2008 Carl Edwards, Ford, 129.472 m.p.h.
2007 Matt Kenseth, Ford, 131.888 m.p.h.
2006 Greg Biffle, Ford, 125.375 m.p.h.
2005 Greg Biffle, Ford, 131.431 m.p.h.
2004 Greg Biffle, Ford, 105.623 m.p.h.
2003 Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 116.868 m.p.h.
2002 Kurt Busch, Ford, 115.462 m.p.h.
2001 Bill Elliott, Dodge, 117.449 m.p.h.
2000 Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 127.480 m.p.h.
1999 Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 140.355 m.p.h. (race record)

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