Harrison Burton won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Burton, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing took the lead with just two laps to go, winning his second race of the season and the first in the Xfinity Series two race double header weekend.
With his win on Saturday, Burton becomes the third two-time winner of the 2020 Xfinity Series season along with Noah Gragson and Chase Briscoe.
“So much fun for me especially,” Burton told FOX Sports. “I gave him the lead on the outside early and I think he chose the inside because of that. I knew I couldn’t give it to him again.
“This is such a tight series and everyone is so so competitive that you kind of have to claw and dig every chance you get. This was one of those times where he kind of got loose and got under him and it was a good race. That’s for sure,”
Rounding out the top five were Austin Cindric in second, Noah Gragson in third, Anthony Alfredo in fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth in his first race since Darlington last year and his only race for the season.
Rounding out the top ten were Michael Annett in sixth, Chase Briscoe in seventh, Brandon Jones in eighth, Ross Chastain in ninth and Riley Herbst in tenth.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will return to Homestead-Miami Speedway tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Sieg
Stage 2 Winner: Noah Gragson
Race Winner: Harrison Burton
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the 2016 and to crown a champion in the inaugural Chase.
45 drivers have made the trip to South Florida to compete for 40 spots in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup are ineligible to compete in the race.
Homestead-Miami Speedway is located in Homestead, Florida. The track is 1.5-miles in length and features progressive banking ranging from 18 to 20 degrees. In 2004, Casey Mears set the qualifying record at 177.936 mph. In 2001, Joe Nemechek set the race record at 132.191 mph.
The championship comes down to a battle between Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports. For JGR, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones will battle Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier from JRM to become a champion in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
The four Chase drivers talk about the importance of the Ford EcoBoost 300.
“We have done everything that we need to do to get ready for Homestead and we are as prepared as we can be as a race team. We have saved our Darlington car which is our best car for Homestead. I have a lot of experience, I need to be a leader, and I need to stay focused. We are fortunate to be in this position to go fight three other guys for the driver championship and a few others for the owner championship. We are going to go make the most of it,” said Sadler.
“Going into Homestead, we’re all even. We’ve got a 25- percent chance, a one-in-four shot at winning it (the championship), the same as everybody else does. For us, you sit on the pole and you win the race, that’s all you can do. We have to do as close to that as we can. The faster we go in qualifying, the faster we are in the race. All of that makes our job a lot easier when it comes down to the checkered flag and the championship. I’m confident that our BRANDT Professional Agriculture team can go out and make it happen,” said Allgaier.
“One day I had a dream about it, but I didn’t know how fast it was going to come. The only thing I know is that I was working super hard to try to make it happen as soon as possible and right now we’re in the position to do it, so very grateful to be in this position and very thankful as well with everyone that has been making this possible. I think it’s been a really good journey. Now we have to make it happen in the most important race of the year in Homestead,” said Suarez.
“It’s pretty special for me having a shot to go Homestead again this year and win a championship in the XFINITY Series. It would be pretty cool to win back-to-back championships in the Truck and the XFINITY Series, so it’s pretty awesome. We just have to get everything right and execute like we need to in Homestead and I’m sure we’ll have a good shot at it,” said Jones.
The Ford EcoBoost will be live on Motor Racing Network and NBCSN beginning at 3:00 p.m. EST.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway will be an important one for drivers Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick. Not only are both drivers looking to capture their first national series championship, but also a shot of making history in the series.
The two drivers go into the season finale separated by 19 points in the driver standings. As they attempt to win the title, both drivers will have a shot at making NASCAR history by becoming the youngest Camping World Truck Series champion, a feat last accomplished by Austin Dillon in 2011.
With the opportunity to make history and to win the championship, both drivers look at the opportunity of bringing their respective race teams – Kyle Busch Motorsports and Brad Keselowski Racing -- their very first driver championship.
“I think it's definitely a pretty cool accomplishment, let alone winning the championship but being the youngest to do it,” said Jones in a press conference. “All along our goal at KBM has been for me to run for a driver's championship, and be able to get KBM its first driver's championship.”
“Obviously, I've been really wanting to come in here, and our goal this year was to win a championship, and hopefully we can do that,” said Reddick in a press conference. Being the youngest would be a bonus as well.”
When the season began in February at Daytona, it would mark of the start of the championship hunt for Reddick – who began the season as BKR’s primary driver. At Daytona, Reddick was the first driver to make his way to Victory Lane in 2015, in a season that featured numerous race winners throughout the year. The win at Daytona was Reddick’s first career win in the Camping World Truck Series and a win that would later put him in the championship picture.
As the season progressed, Reddick went on to capture his second win of the season at Dover. Throughout 22 races, Reddick has captured two wins, 13 top five, and 18 top 10 finishes. He has averaged a start of 8.8 and an average finish of 6.5.
For Jones, 2015 was his first full-time season with KBM and a contender for Rookie of the Year honors. While Reddick went on to win the first race of the year, Jones started out with a second place finish at Daytona. When the series made its way to the Midwest at Iowa, Jones made his first visit to Victory Lane in 2015. He went on to win two more races – at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Texas – which catapulted him to the top of the driver standings.
In the 22 races so far in 2015, Jones has three wins, 11 top five, 19 top 10 finishes and five poles.
While both Reddick and Jones look to win their first respective NASCAR championship, another challenge they faced along the way was the defending and two-time champion Matt Crafton. Crafton’s title chances diminished at Phoenix after some contact with Jones while racing for the lead in the closing laps. Reddick and Jones may be the final two championship contenders, but Crafton had been close to competing for the series title, as he was 10 points behind Jones in the standings at one point.
Going into Homestead, it will be Jones’s first truck series race at the 1.5-mile track. Reddick has only one start in the series at Homestead last season where he finished sixth after starting the race in fourth. Both drivers also enter the weekend looking to deliver an owner’s title.
In the clinching scenarios in the championship race, Jones can win the title by finishing 15th or better, 16th by leading one lap or 17th with the most laps led of any driver. That same scenario applies in the owners’ championship hunt as well.
On the optimism going into Homestead and his chances of winning the championship, Reddick said, “Well, obviously, we've just got to have a good weekend as a team. Fortunately last year there we had a good bit of speed and we were fast, so we just go in and continue to work on the things we did when we were last there, I think we'll be fast. Obviously, the situation we're in, we're going to have to run very good. We're going to have to win and leave as many laps as possible to try and put Erik in a situation where he has to run 15th or so better.”
With a 19-point lead over Reddick going into the season finale, Jones feels comfortable with the point’s gap.
“Well, it's nice to have a cushion for sure. It's way better than going into the race and leading by three points or five points or something like that. So it's fortunate we are in a situation where we don't have to win the race. We don't have to run top 5. We don't even really have to run top 10. So I think it's going to be somewhat conservative of an approach, but I don't think we need to change our approach by a whole lot,” said Jones.
Hugs all around. That’s just how warm-hearted he is. Wife and son. Crew members and owners. Everyone deserves a hug for what this man accomplished.
“The Closer” took it all home at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. Kevin Harvick, who made the daring swap to Stewart-Haas Racing over the off-season, battled a hard-charging Ryan Newman late in the Ford EcoBoost 400. After a restart with three laps to go, the driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet headed off into the sunset to win the race, and more importantly – his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
With 25 laps to go, Harvick got around Hamlin. Logano came into pit road on the following caution, along with Newman and Harvick, but the jack fell off on the left side, which put the No. 22 car at the rear of the field. Logano came back to finish 16th, yet it wasn’t enough with his three opponents racing inside of the top-10 throughout the day.
“I knew I needed to get a bunch of them," Harvick said following the race. "I was fortunate to start on the outside. The seas kind of parted there as I came off of Turn 2 and was about to get four or five of them; I don’t really know but it was time to go for broke at that particular point. When the next caution came out, we were fortunate enough again to line up on the outside. That was pretty much what we needed - to get the run on the outside down the backstretch."
Harvick had five wins on the year, which is tied for the most in his career (2006). With 14 top-fives and 20 top-10s, he showed he had the speed to win throughout the year. Although adversity struck the No. 4 team on multiple occasions with pit crew problems and mechanical issues, they rebounded with multiple victories late in the year; including back-to-back wins to end the season. Winning the championship, Harvick has given Stewart-Haas Racing their second triumph, and he becomes the 30th different driver in the sport’s 66-year history to win the title.
"If it wasn’t for Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart, I would have been in bad trouble this week," said Harvick. "Those guys really helped me get through the week. Today was fine. I was a little anxious both days of practice, overdriving the car and not doing things I needed to do. After every practice, Jimmie was in there, and in our team debriefs Tony was constantly telling me just to go race and that it’s just another race."
“It was a heck of a race up there,” said Logano following the disappointing result. “I screwed up and hit the wall early and we were able to recover then had the mistake on pit road which didn’t give us enough time to recover from that. It is unfortunate. Execution was our strong point all year and we just didn’t do it tonight. For that reason we finished fourth after I think we scored the most points this whole Chase.”
Denny Hamlin and crew chief Darian Grubb opted to stay out of pit road along with Jeff Gordon with approximately 20 laps remaining in the race. The No. 11 car had run up front throughout the 400-mile race, and led 50 laps during Sunday’s spectacle. However, without fresh tires and multiple late-race restarts, his Toyota fell back on the restart – finishing seventh at Homestead.
But for Newman, he was extremely close to winning the title. The two-tire call late in the race by crew chief Luke Lambert gave him a chance at winning it all. Before that risk, the No. 31 Chevrolet was racing outside of the top-five, which was sub-par compared to Harvick, Hamlin and Logano, who were each fighting for the lead. Although they didn’t record a victory in 2014, the team was well inside the top-10 in points throughout the regular season.
Gordon led the most laps on Sunday evening as he paced the field 161 times. But after starting on the pole, he finished 10th to end his season. Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five in the 400-mile event. Keselowski fell a lap down during a green-flag pit cycle, but took the wave around to get back on the lead lap, and was able to fight for the win for the last 50 laps.
Jimmie Johnson, who finished ninth at Homestead, finished 11th in the championship standings. Prior to this season, his worst season result was sixth in 2011. Keselowski finished fifth in points with Gordon, Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch rounding out the top-10.
Kyle Larson locked up the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Throughout his first full-time season, the 22-year-old had an average finish of 14.2 with eight top-fives and 17 top-10s. Larson had some inconsistent moments throughout the year, but he had three runner-up finishes, and was able to lead 53 laps. Austin Dillon finished second to Larson in the rookie standings, but not earning a DNF over the course of the season wasn’t enough for the Richard Childress Racing driver.
Four drivers. One will be crowned the champion. It’s going to be an intense 400-mile race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the southern edge of “The Sunshine State.”
After 35 races, 13 drivers have won at least one event in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Only two drivers have finished every race. Dreams were crushed. Some were made. Two young men won their first career race in astonishing fashion. But when it is all said and done, only one driver will be crowned the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion.
With that being said, here is what you should watch for the in Ford EcoBoost 400:
-Jeff Gordon starts on pole for the 200th time in Hendrick Motorsports history. After being eliminated from the Chase for the Sprint Cup after a runner-up finish at Phoenix. He’s going to be gunning for his 93rd career victory.
-Each of the four championship-eligible drivers have never won a Sprint Cup Series title. Harvick has won championships in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in the past, yet neither one of his competitors have held a championship trophy.
-Kevin Harvick is looking to win his first title after 14 years in NASCAR’s top division. It would be the first time that Stewart-Haas Racing has won a championship since team owner Tony Stewart captured it in 2011. He has been the quickest of the Chase drivers throughout the weekend. The No. 4 team will start fifth on Sunday afternoon, but he was just behind Hamlin during the Saturday practice sessions in terms of 10 consecutive laps run.
-Ryan Newman is the only one of the four drivers without a victory this year. He came in clutch when he needed to, and now he is set to win Richard Childress Racing their first championship since Dale Earnhardt did so in 1994. Although he has just four top-fives this year, the driver of the No. 31 car has an average finish of 13th, and he has five top-10s throughout the Chase. He’s going to be starting 21st at Homestead, which is the worst of the Chase drivers. However, he was 12th in each of Saturday’s practices as he looks to capture his first title in his 13th full-time season in the sport’s top division.
-Denny Hamlin came close to winning the title in 2010, but he came short after finishing 14th at Homestead. Last year, his only win of the season came at the 1.5-mile track. However, Joe Gibbs Racing has struggled at the intermediate tracks this year and he has an average finish of 14.5, which is the worst of the Chase drivers. But Hamlin came on strong in the last round, and now he is set to win Joe Gibbs Racing their first championship since Tony Stewart captured the 2005 title when the team was with General Motors. Winning it all would also give Toyota their first championship in the Cup Series.
-Joey Logano joined Team Penske after underperforming at JGR. With high expectations and too much pressure to contend for wins with his teammates, Logano opted to move over to Team Penske. The decision paid off and he has been victorious five times in the No. 22 Ford this year. Two of his victories came at intermediate tracks, and the 24-year-old is determined to win the title. The pressure might be on his shoulders once again as he is hoping to give Penske their second championship of the weekend after winning the owner’s title in the Nationwide Series. However, with an average finish of 11.2 this year and 16 top-fives, the extremely consistent driver could come out on top.
-Marcos Ambrose is running his final race for Richard Petty Motorsports in the No. 9 car this weekend. He’ll be replaced by Sam Hornish, Jr. in 2015, but Ambrose could return to run the road course events since he does have off weekends in the Australian V8 Supercar Series. But he’s going to be with Penske, which means he could run a third car for them just like Juan Pablo Montoya did in 2014. Over 226 career starts, Ambrose has two victories with 18 top-fives and 46 top-10s. This year has been a struggle for him, but coming off of a top-10 finish at Phoenix – Ambrose might end his full-time NASCAR career on a high note.
-Carl Edwards is running his final race for Roush Fenway Racing this weekend. He’s starting 15th in the No. 99 Ford, but he was 18th of 30 cars to run 10 straight laps in final practice. Edwards is on the move to a fourth car at Joe Gibbs Racing, and he’s going to be working with a new crew chief as well. Homestead will be the final race on the top of a pit box for veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig. Since joining Roush in 1997 with Mark Martin, he has won 38 races and the first Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format with Kurt Busch in 2004. The pair has struggled with the new ride height package this year, and that was a key for Edwards when he made the decision to leave the team.
-Trevor Bayne is running his last race for the Wood Brothers. He’s going to be replacing Edwards, but they’re rebranding the No. 99 team back to the legendary No. 6 Ford. Bayne has been with Roush since he left Michael Waltrip Racing’s developmental team in 2010. The 2011 Daytona 500 champion finished sixth in the Nationwide Series standings over the past two seasons, but he failed to score a victory in 2014.
-Kyle Larson is set to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title over Austin Dillon. The No. 42 team has been extremely impressive this year with eight top-fives and 17 top-10s for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. With an average finish of 14.2, he is arguably the best rookie since Hamlin in 2006.
-This is ESPN’s final race broadcasting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – for now. For the next decade, the worldwide leader in sports won’t be telecasting NASCAR events. Instead, they have signed multiple on-air talents to continue coverage of the sport as NBC Sports will take over starting in 2015. It has been a long journey with ESPN, and they have helped the sport get noticed with long segments on their flagship show “SportsCenter.” Hopefully, they will continue their NASCAR coverage in 2015 and beyond in great ways like they have over the years.