Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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With a runner-up finish at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday, 15-year-old Luke Akers solidified his first-ever Allison Legacy Race Series championship.

Heading into the season finale at Hickory Motor Speedway, Akers entered the weekend only six points ahead of fellow North Carolinian, Cole Wagner, but before Akers could take the green flag, he had to first complete his duties as a sophomore at West Davidson High School. On Monday, Akers had band auditions where he earned second chair, and then he also played in a JV football game. He took the PSAT on Tuesday, played in another football game on Thursday and then it was time for the biggest race of his career.

Akers qualified fourth and ran up front all race long at Hickory. Running in second for the majority of the race, Akers kept pace with race leader, Ethan Elder. On the final lap, Akers and Elder battled it out for the win. Akers’ runner-up finish secured him enough points to capture the 2019 Allison Legacy Race Series championship. The title marked the first of his career, and it came in his debut season.

“In the second race of the season, we actually found something, and it sped us up a whole bunch,” Akers said. “We just kind of went on from there, and towards the end, we thought that we were in contention to win the championship, so we just had our mindset towards that, and luckily, it worked out for us.”

Throughout the 2019 season, Akers captured two wins, four poles and 12 top-five finishes. Akers’ wins came at Hickory Motor Speedway and Orange County Speedway. On seven occasions this season, Akers was named the Rookie of the Race.

“It was crazy,” Akers said about earning his first win at Hickory. “We didn’t expect to win it, but once we got that pole, we felt confident in what we were doing.”

Akers continued and said, “When we went to Orange County, that was our second win, and it was in a row. We didn’t qualify on the pole, but we qualified third. We just came out of a cannon. The car felt great.”

Akers joins current and former NASCAR national series stars, John Hunter Nemechek, Trevor Bayne, Chad McCumbee, Regan Smith, Timmy Hill and others as Allison Legacy Racing Series champions.

This year’s Allison Legacy Race Series championship battle was one of the closest in its history. Five drivers visited Victory Lane during the 14-race schedule. Elder’s fifth victory at Hickory on Saturday catapulted him to the winningest driver of the 2019 season. Cole Wagner won four races, followed by Akers and Jantzen Stirewalt with two and Matthew Davey with one.

Allison Legacy Race Series PR

Anything less than battling for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title is a disappointment for Clint Bowyer, but he also recognizes the progress his No. 14 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has made since replacing three-time champion and now co-car owner Tony Stewart in 2017.  As the Cup Series prepares for the final race of the year in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Bowyer sees many positives from his third season driving for SHR.

 

“We had some good runs and tough runs this year,” said Bowyer, who enters Sunday’s finale 11th in points, just 16 behind 10th-place William Byron and 45 behind ninth-place Brad Keselowski. “But, everybody worked hard all year and kept at it.”

 

Bowyer so far has earned seven top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and a pole position in 2019. Last weekend at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, he finished eighth, the second-highest-finishing non-playoff driver.

 

“We started slow out of the box as we got used to the new cars, then we ran good through May but we just couldn’t get away from bad luck during the summer months,” he said. “All summer long, it was one crummy thing after another and just a letdown – a strong run only to be let down with something crazy happening. We picked it up as we got near the playoffs and, once we were in, we ran well and made it through the first round.”

 

Bowyer advanced to the Round of 12 but fell a few points short of advancing into the Round of 8 mainly due to bad luck during the round’s second race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He won the first stage of the race and looked to be one of the favorites to win overall as the race progressed. However, Bowyer cut a tire midway through the race that sent the No. 14 into a spin and left him stuck for two laps where the apron and banking met on the track.

It took away any chance for victory and his best chance of moving into the next round of the playoffs.

 

“In the playoffs, we stepped up in a big way,” he said. “Not having a points pad or anything like that and going into those rounds was difficult. Those guys had 20 or 30 points on us. Had we not got stuck on the track in Talladega, we would be right there. We knew that was the opportunity, but unfortunately it just wasn’t our day.”

 

While Bowyer, whose race start at Talladega was the 500th of his career, does his best to secure the first victory of the season this weekend and finish in the top-10 in points for the sixth time in his career, he does have a rooting interest Sunday night as his SHR teammate Kevin Harvick attempts to bring the 11-year-old team its third title. Bowyer, who was also a teammate to Harvick at Richard Childress Racing from 2006 to 2011, said he has no doubt Harvick and the No. 4 team can win the championship again.

 

“Those guys are good,” Bowyer said. “You saw what Kevin did at Texas in the closing laps, and he was up there at Phoenix. I expect that same Kevin Harvick on Sunday. He has a good team, crew, SHR, Roush-Yates engines and Ford behind him, so he’s showing up with the best of everything in Homestead.”

 

It’s fitting that Bowyer’s No. 14 Mustang ends the season this weekend carrying the decals of Rush Truck Centers and Haas Automation – the two sponsors that most often appeared on the car in 2019.

 

Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner on the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived at SHR in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2010. The Texas-based company has used Bowyer and the team to appeal to NASCAR fans as one way to recruit the technicians it needs to operate the largest network of commercial truck and bus dealerships in the country, with locations in 22 states. According to Rush Truck Centers, the trucking industry is expected to need 200,000 diesel technicians over the next 10 years to keep up with maintenance demands. Rush Truck Centers wants to make NASCAR fans aware of these opportunities.

 

Haas Automation is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are built in the company’s 1.1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.

 

As the 2019 Cup Series season comes to an end, Bowyer is already looking forward to 2020. He and SHR agreed to an extension and he’ll return behind the wheel of the No. 14 when the 2020 season commences Feb. 16 with the Daytona 500. Just as important, Bowyer seems happy with his station in life and career as a driver – and thankful.

 

“I love what I do,” he said. “I just love the people. I’ve always loved people. I grew up, my father owns a towing business. You’re always out meeting people and, when you meet them, they’re people not necessarily in the best of moods or the best of situations. They’ve either wadded their car up or the damn thing has let them down, or they’ve had a flat tire, run it out of gas, something. You’re always helping somebody out of bad situation, but nonetheless I was always in and out of truck shops. 

 

“You talk about a perfect fit with Rush Truck Centers. That’s literally what I grew up doing. I remember being a little kid and pulling into a Peterbilt shop with my old man with one on the back of it and rolling into a truck shop and getting that thing fixed and unloading it. You’re always around people, so when you come to something like this, it’s like a candy store for me. All the fans and interacting with them, whether they like you or hate you, it’s still fun, it’s still a fun interaction.”

TSC PR

For the season finale, Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Just like he began the season, Suárez will pilot the red-and-black Haas Automation paint scheme.

 

Suárez joined SHR in January for his third full-time season in the Cup Series. The 27-year-old endured a manufacturer change, a rules package change in addition to everything else that comes up with joining a new team. While the No. 41 team has not found their way to victory lane yet, it will be the best Cup season of Suárez’s career.  

 

Last Sunday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, the Ford driver started from the 15th position and rebounded from a pit road speeding penalty early on to be in the 11th position when the final caution of the race came out with nine laps to go. Ultimately, he finished 15th after contact with competitors vying for a top-10 spot in the final laps.
 

The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion has one more chance to become the first Mexican born driver to earn a victory in NASCAR’s most prestigious series. Suárez does know how to find his way to victory lane at Homestead as this is the same track where he captured the victory in 2016 to earn him the Xfinity Series title.
 

The Mexico native has two Cup Series starts at Homestead. He’s looking to improve on his best finish of 30th at the 1.5-mile venue.  
 

In the Xfinity Series at Homestead, Suárez has a sixth-place finish and one victory, respectively. For starting positions, he has one pole award and an outside pole position. In his 2016 championship winning season, he led 133 laps to capture the season ending title.
 

In the Gander Outdoor Truck Series, Suárez has two starts with a best finish of sixth, earned in November 2016. His average starting position is 11.5 and average finishing position is 18.0.
 

In his last 10 starts at 1.5-mile tracks, the Haas Automation driver has two top-five and four top-10 finishes, along with one pole which he captured at Kentucky Speedway in July. Overall, he has an average start of 11.7 and an average finish of 14.9, along with 134 laps led.
 

Haas Automation, founded in 1983 by SHR co-owner Gene Haas, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
 

SHR has two victories at Homestead with a total of seven top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in 31 starts at the mile-and-a-half track. Suárez’s SHR teammate, Kevin Harvick, is one of four drivers competing for the season ending championship this weekend.
 

With one race remaining, Suárez is 17th in the standings with 823 points and has four top-fives and 11 top-10s this season, along with 166 laps led. He has an average start of 14.1 and an average finish of 16.5.

TSC PR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Ford EcoBoost 400

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Sunday, November 17

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Ford EcoBoost 300

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Saturday, Nov. 16

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio                   

Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: Ford EcoBoost 200

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Friday, Nov. 15

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio                   

Distance: 201 miles (134 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on lap 134)

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 (In Alphabetical Order)

The stage is set and it can be argued that the cream has risen to the top this season as the four winningest drivers will be contending for the championship this Sunday in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, and  SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

That foursome, comprised of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., as well as Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, account for 21 victories in the 35 races leading up to Sunday’s finale.

Of note, last year’s Championship 4 (Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Truex and Logano) combined for 22 wins through the opening 35 events.

Truex leads the pack with seven wins this season – the same number he had tallied heading into Miami the year he won the championship (2017). Hamlin trails slightly with six wins and Harvick and Busch have four victories apiece.

Three of the four drivers are former champions – Truex (2017), Busch (2015) and Harvick (2014) - with Hamlin looking for his first Cup title.

Here’s an in-depth look at the championship contenders in 2019: 

 

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry)

 

By The Numbers:

1 – Number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series titles Kyle Busch has won (2015).

1 – Number of wins Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway - 2015 (tied with Championship 4 drivers Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.)

4 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

5 – Number of times Kyle Busch has made it to the Championship 4 in the current Playoff format (tied with Kevin Harvick for the most Championship 4 appearances).

4 – Number of Monster Energy Cup Series wins Kyle Busch posted in 2019 (Phoenix-1, Fontana, Bristol-1, Pocono-1)

7 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

9.2 – Busch’s average finish during the entire 2019 season.

11 – Stage wins in 2019 – tied with Joey Logano for most in series.

12.11 – Busch’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

12.5 – Busch’s average starting position during the 2019 season

16 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted this season.

17.4 – Busch’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway

26 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted during the 2019 season

99.8 – Kyle Busch’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

107.5 – Season-to-date driver rating, tops in the series.

343 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kyle Busch (second best among the Championship 4)

1462 - Total number of laps led in 2019 season

 

Busch eyeing multi-Cup championships club

After winning the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in dramatic come-from-behind fashion, Kyle Busch is looking to become just the 16th driver in series history to win two or more championships when he races in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio).

Busch would be joining prestigious company:

 

Drivers with Multiple Championships (1949-2018)

Rank

No. of Titles

Drivers

Years

1

7

Jimmie Johnson

2016, ‘13, ’10, ‘09, ‘08, ‘07, ‘06

Dale Earnhardt

1994, ’93, ‘91, ‘90, ‘87, ‘86, ‘80

Richard Petty

1979, ‘75, ‘74, ‘72, ‘71, ‘67, ‘64

4

4

Jeff Gordon

2001, ‘98, ‘97, ‘95

5

3

Darrell Waltrip

1985, ‘82, ‘81

Cale Yarborough

1978, ‘77, ‘76

David Pearson

1969, ‘68, ‘66

Lee Petty

1959, ‘58, ‘54

Tony Stewart

2011, ‘05, ‘02

10

2

Terry Labonte

1996, ‘84

Ned Jarrett

1965, ‘61

Joe Weatherly

1963, ‘62

Buck Baker

1957, ‘56

Tim Flock

1955, ‘52

Herb Thomas

1953, ‘51

* 15 total multiple Monster Energy Series champions

Kyle Busch will have to battle two other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers also looking for their second series championship in Martin Truex Jr. (2017) and Kevin Harvick (2014).

 

Regular season champion looking to reign in the end

Kyle Busch earned the 2019 Monster Energy Series regular season championship with four wins, 13 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes through the opening 26 races. He tied a series all-time record with 11 consecutive top-10 finishes to start the season.

This marks the fifth consecutive year Busch has won at least four races and he’s won multiple races in 11 of his 15 fulltime seasons. His pole-winning lap at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway last week marked the first pole position of the season – extending his run of seasons with a pole win to 12 straight years (and 14 of his 15 full-time seasons overall).

Certainly, Busch established himself as championship-ready from the drop of the first green flag this season – reeling off that streak of top-10 finishes and becoming the first driver to hoist four trophies this year. He’d now like to become the first active driver since Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying seventh season title in 2016 to repeat as Monster Energy Series champion.

This is Busch’s fifth consecutive Championship 4 appearance at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway. His lone win at the track came in 2015 resulting in his first series championship. He was runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. in 2017 and finished fourth last year.

 

Busch has momentum at Miami

For years it appeared the Homestead-Miami Speedway was a thorn in Kyle Busch’s side – a rare venue on the schedule where the certain future NASCAR Hall of Famer struggled to find Victory Lane. He found it when it mattered most, however, winning the 2015 race and his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Since hoisting the champion’s trophy, Busch has three top-10 finishes, including a championship near-miss of runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. in 2017. He finished fourth last year.

Although Busch won the 2019 regular season championship, he hasn’t hoisted a race trophy since June 2 at Pocono. But that might not be of concern for Busch. Of the five Playoff seasons in which Busch has qualified for the Championship 4 (2015-present), twice (2015 and 2016) he did not win during the nine-race Playoff stretch that set the final quartet of championship contenders. In 2015, however, he still went on to claim the championship.

Busch has seven top-10 finishes in 14 starts at the South Florida 1.5-miler, including six in the last seven seasons. His one win came in 2015 when he led only 41 laps and held off Kevin Harvick by 1.552-seconds for the race victory that secured that Cup title.

 

Adam Stevens: The man atop the pit box 

Since pairing up in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Kyle Busch in 2015, crew chief Adam Stevens has shown that he is one of the best crew chiefs in the sport.

The Busch-Stevens pair has combined for the following achievements in 126 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races together since 2015:

  • 26 wins
  • 80 top fives
  • 114 top 10s
  • 6,925 laps led
  • 15 Busch Pole awards
  • One Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship (2015)
  • Five consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 appearances
  • Six consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs appearances

The two will look to capture their second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship together this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. If they accomplish the feat, Stevens will become just the 15th different crew chief in the series with multiple titles.

 

Coach Gibbs pursuing fifth championship

How do you follow-up a hall of fame football coaching career that included three championships at the highest level of your sport?

With four – and counting – championships at the highest level of motorsports.

Coach Joe Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl titles in 1983, ’88 and ’92. His Joe Gibbs Racing stable has won Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015). Toss in two NASCAR Xfinity Series crowns in 2009 with Kyle Busch and 2016 with Daniel Suarez, and easy to understand why Gibbs was chosen this year for the NASCAR Hall of Fame – the second professional sports hall of fame for the former football coach.

The odds certainly seem stacked in his favor this year to add to that legacy. Three of the four Cup Series championship eligible drivers are Joe Gibbs Racing competitors – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. All four of his Monster Energy Series team drivers – also including Erik Jones – qualified for the 2019 Playoffs. And his NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell won a series-best eight races and will contend for that series championship at Homestead as well.

 

 

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry)

 

By The Numbers:

0 – Number of career DNFs at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 14 career starts. He is the only Playoff driver without a DNF at the track.

2 – Number of wins Denny Hamlin has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2009 and 2013) – most among Championship 4 drivers 

2 – Number of times Denny Hamlin has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoff format (2014 and 2019)

3 – Pole positions Denny Hamlin has won at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2015, 2017-18)

4 – Number of top-five finishes Denny Hamlin has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway 

6 – Number of wins Denny Hamlin has during the 2019 season, including two during the Playoffs (Daytona-1, Texas-1, Pocono-2, Bristol-2, Kansas-2, Phoenix-2)

6 – Number of stage wins Denny Hamlin has posted during the 2019 season.

8.78 – Denny Hamlin’s average finish in first nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races of 2019

9 – Number of top-10 finishes Denny Hamlin has recorded at Homestead-Miami Speedway

9.5 – Hamlin’s average finish during the 2019 season

10.6 – Denny Hamlin’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway 

11.3 – Denny Hamlin’s average starting position during the 2019 season

19 – Number of top-five finishes Denny Hamlin has logged during the 2019 season.

23 – Number of top-10 finishes Denny Hamlin has tallied this season

96.7 – Denny Hamlin’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway

97.7 – Denny Hamlin’s 2019 season-to-date driver rating

254 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Denny Hamlin

920 – Total number of laps led in 2019 

 

Back at HOME-stead

The last time that Denny Hamlin competed among the Championship 4 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship was 2014 – the debut of the series’ new Playoff system. He finished third in the race, which was won by fellow 2019 Championship 4 driver Kevin Harvick.

But even though Hamlin won multiple races in the ensuing three seasons, his best championship finish in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was sixth place – in both 2016 and 2017.

That’s not to say, however, that Hamlin hasn’t raced for the title at Homestead previously. His closest near-miss to hoisting the big trophy came in 2010 when Hamlin finished runner-up to Jimmie Johnson – who won his record fifth straight championship that year. Hamlin won at Texas and held a solid points lead over Johnson as the series headed to Phoenix for the penultimate race.

But instead of clinching his first championship in the desert after leading a commanding 190 of 312 laps at the Arizona mile-long circuit, Hamlin had to pit late for fuel and ended up 12th. He took a 15-point lead over Johnson into the Homestead finale, but made contact with Greg Biffle early in the race and only managed to climb back to a 14th-place finish. Johnson finished runner-up and took the championship by 39 points over the then 30-year-old Hamlin.

However, the most recent race winner among the four title hopefuls – with a statement-making win at Phoenix on Sunday – has said he has been looking forward to another championship opportunity for years. He is the only multi-time Homestead winner among the Championship 4 – winning in 2009 and 2013. He’s won the pole position in three of the last four races (2015, 2017, 2018) and has top-10 finishes in five of the last six races.

 

Championship race debut for crew chief Chris Gabehart

This week marks the return of Denny Hamlin to championship eligibility for the first time in five seasons – and it will be the title race debut for his first-year Cup crew chief Chris Gabehart. The longtime Joe Gibbs Racing team member led Erik Jones to a fourth-place finish in the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and last year led the efforts of the team’s Xfinity Series standout Brandon Jones.

Since joining forces with Hamlin and the No. 11 JGR Toyota team, Gabehart is 1-for-1 in title eligibility, won a Daytona 500 trophy and five other races – including Sunday’s must-win race at Phoenix. Not only has he led the team to a position in the Championship 4, but his team is considered a very legitimate championship favorite.

Under Gabehart’s leadership Hamlin has earned a career-high in top-five finishes (19) and hoisted the most trophies (six) since a career best eight-win year in 2010.

“Myself, I’m just a newcomer,’’ Gabehart, 38, said following Sunday’s Phoenix victory. “Was tasked with a job from Coach (Gibbs) and everybody at (sponsor) FedEx and Toyota and Denny. Just so thankful that they believe in me and gave me the reins to get it done.

“[Denny] gave me the leash I needed to get going,’’ Gabehart continued. “Quickly we all marched in the right direction. I’m just glad that, yes, I feel like we’ve proven ourselves to be one of the four best race teams this year.’’

 

More-mentum

Denny Hamlin earned his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole position at Phoenix in 2005 in only his sixth career start.

The following year he marked his fulltime debut with Joe Gibbs Racing and he immediately started things on the right foot winning the 2006 Daytona Speedweeks season-opening Budweiser Shootout in his first try. Since then Hamlin has earned 37 Cup points-race victories – picking up his second Daytona 500 win this February.

In 2010, Hamlin finished a career best runner-up to Jimmie Johnson for the Cup championship. In 2014, he qualified for the series’ first ever four-driver Championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished third. This week marks the first time he’s advanced to the Championship 4 since then and he comes into Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 riding momentum as the most recent race winner – leading 143 laps en route to the win at Phoenix last weekend.

Hamlin has started and finished strong, opening the season by winning the first race at Daytona and then the penultimate event of the season at Phoenix. In between, Hamlin’s turned in career high marks for top-five (19) and top-10 (23) results. His six wins is the second-highest single season total he’s ever had – second only to an eight-win 2010.

His 920 laps led in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is the most in eight seasons and more than double his output (380 laps) of last season.

Hamlin joins JGR teammate and fellow Cup title contender Martin Truex Jr. as the only drivers with multiple Playoff wins. Hamlin won at Kansas and Phoenix. Truex won at Las Vegas, Richmond, and Martinsville.

 

 

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang)

 

By The Numbers:

1 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2014) 

2 – Number of wins from pole position in 2019 (Indianapolis, Texas-2)

4 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has during the 2019 season, including one during the Playoffs (New Hampshire, Michigan-2, Indianapolis, Texas-2)

5 – Number of times Kevin Harvick has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoff format.

6 – Number of stage wins Kevin Harvick has posted during the 2019 season.

– Number of Busch Pole Awards Harvick has earned in 2019 season – most in series

6.11 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish in first nine Playoff races of 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

6.6 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway 

8.7 – Kevin Harvick’s average starting position during the 2019 season

10.2 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish during the 2019 season

10 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.

14 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has logged during the 2019 season.

16 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has recorded at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.

25 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has tallied this season.

104.9 – Kevin Harvick’s 2019 season-to-date driver rating –  second-best in the Monster Energy Series.

108.2 – Kevin Harvick’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4).

373 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kevin Harvick (most among the Championship 4).

912 – Total number of laps led in 2019 

 

Happy hopes to take tome second championship in Miami

Kevin Harvick will attempt to capture his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title in Sunday’s season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The No. 4 SHR Ford driver won the first championship race at Homestead under the current elimination-style postseason format in 2014 for his first and only series crown.

In 18 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Harvick claims one win and a series-high 10 top fives and 16 top 10s. He has the track series-best average finish (6.6) and second-ranked driver rating (108.2). His 373 laps led is tops among the championship contenders at Homestead.

He has finished worse than third-place only once (fourth in 2017) in five championship races (under this current format) there. It also marks the only time in those five races he did not lead a lap. He’s led at least 46 laps in four of the five races.

 

Rodney Childers calling the shots for Harvick

A most familiar face will be back atop Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team pit box this week after missing the 2018 Championship race while serving a two-race suspension. The penalty was handed down after failing post-race inspection at the R&D Center following the race in Texas.

Childers guided Harvick to the Monster Energy Series title in 2014 – the pair’s first year working together at the Stewart-Haas Racing team. The pairing and the success it has produced makes Harvick a favorite at any track any week of the season. But after missing a title opportunity last year, Childers is eager to re-take his position on the pit box and try to lead Harvick to a second title – to make him the only other active driver besides seven-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson with multiple series championships.

Since the two joined forces fulltime at SHR six years ago, they have won 26 races and earned 102 top-five and 149 top-10 finishes together. The pairing has recorded at least 14 top fives and 20 top 10s all six seasons they have worked together. During that time, Harvick has won multiple races each season, including a career-high of eight in 2018.

In earning the victory at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago, Harvick now has 49 career wins – tying him with his team owner and newly named NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Tony Stewart. A 50th win this weekend at Homestead would tie Harvick with NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett on the wins list.

 

NASCAR’s intermediate master

For years, Kevin Harvick has been known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ top driver on intermediate tracks.

Harvick has 16 wins on intermediate tracks in his career – most among the four championship contenders. Kyle Busch has 13, Martin Truex Jr. has 12 and Denny Hamlin has nine. All four of the drivers have won at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway with Harvick (2014), Busch (2015) and Truex (2017) doing it in their championship years. Hamlin won twice there prior to the 2014 Playoff format.

Since the beginning of the Playoff system in 2014, Truex leads this title-seeking foursome with 12 wins on 1.5-mile tracks. Harvick has 10, Busch has seven and Hamlin has three.

This season, Harvick has led more than twice the number of laps (549) at 1.5-mile venues compared to his three fellow title contenders. Busch, who did not win this season at a 1.5-mile track, has led 249 laps on the intermediate tracks, slightly more than his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (232) and Truex (195).

 

Stewart-Haas Racing can win third championship in 10 years

If Kevin Harvick wins the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title on Sunday, he would give Stewart-Haas Racing its third championship in the 10 years since Tony Stewart left Joe Gibbs Racing to form the team with Gene Haas.

Stewart won the organization its first championship in 2011, while Harvick earned the second title for it in 2014.

Over the same time frame only Hendrick Motorsports has more titles with Jimmie Johnson’s four.

 

Championships with different manufacturers

Kevin Harvick won his 2014 championship in a Chevrolet and is attempting to earn his second title driving a Ford. The last driver to win a new championship with different manufacturers was Harvick’s team owner, Tony Stewart. He earned the 2002 crown racing a Pontiac, then captured the 2005 and 2011 titles driving a Chevrolet.

Nine drivers have won championships with multiple manufacturers: Buck Baker, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Tim Flock and Stewart.

 

 

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry)

By The Numbers:

1 – Wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Martin Truex Jr. (2017)

4 – Number of times Martin Truex Jr. has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoffs format.

5 – Number of top-five finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

6.22 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2019 Playoffs.

7– Number of wins Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2019 season (Richmond-1, Dover-1, Charlotte-1, Sonoma, Las Vegas-2, Richmond-2, Martinsville-2) – Most in the Series.

8 – Number of stage wins during the 2019 season

9 – Number of top-10 finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

10.0 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish during the entire 2019 season

10.8 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway

14 – Number of top-five finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2019 season.

23 – Number of top-10 finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2019 season.

102.7 – Martin Truex Jr.’s 2019 season-to-date driver rating.

105.5 – Martin Truex Jr.’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

209 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Martin Truex Jr.

1,268 – Laps led by Martin Truex Jr. in 2019.

 

Martin Truex Jr. and JGR gel from the start

Martin Truex Jr. answered any doubters with a hugely successful and arguably seamless move to the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this season. Coming off a 2017 title in which he won a personal best eight races en route to the championship and a following that up with a four-victory, Championship 4 appearance last season with Furniture Row Racing, many wondered how the transition to JGR would go. And Truex and his crew chief Cole Pearn have answered with an unquestionable statement-making season.

Truex leads the Monster Energy Series in wins with seven – including a series-best three in the nine Playoff races to date. He won on short tracks, a road course and two 1.5-mile tracks, which are the same length as Homestead-Miami Speedway where he will race for his second championship on Sunday. Truex’s 23 top-10 finishes are his best outside his 2017 championship season when he scored 26 top 10s.

He won four races during an eight-week stretch in late spring/early summer. His three Playoff victories (at Las Vegas, Richmond, Va. and Martinsville, Va.) are tops in the field – as is his 6.2 average finish in the nine Playoff races so far. And his 654 laps led in the Playoffs is most among the Championship 4 drivers. Hamlin has led 547 laps; Busch has led 296 and Harvick has led 200 laps in the previous nine Playoff races.

 

On track in Miami

Though there have been some “rough patches” in Martin Truex Jr.’s Homestead-Miami Speedway resume, his resume of late has been outstanding. Truex finished first (2017) and second (2018) in the last two years. He was also runner-up in 2006 and third place in 2011 and is averaging a 10.8 finish in 14 starts at the track.

Kevin Harvick’s (6.6) average finish at Homestead is best among the Championship 4 drivers. Truex’s (10.8) average finish is just slightly off pace of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate’s Denny Hamlin (10.6). Kyle Busch is averaging 17.4.

In the five Playoff races at Homestead (since 2014), Truex has led 101 laps, third best among the current four championship eligible drivers. Harvick has led 237, Busch 106 and Hamlin, 91.

 

Cole Pearn looking for second championship atop the pit box

Most unusual about Cole Pearn is that his only experience as a crew chief has been atop a Monster Energy Series pit box – and only for Martin Truex Jr. But he has shown over the past five seasons that he’s made for this role.

Prior to 2015, Truex had two career wins – in 2007 and 2013. Since Pearn took over calling the shots for the New Jersey native, Truex has recorded an impressive 25 wins.

And the most important of those wins came at this weekend’s venue back in 2017 with the pair united to win their first championship together – and the only championship that Furniture Row Racing would record. Following the 2018 season, Furniture Row Racing disbanded and Pearn and Truex moved together to Joe Gibbs Racing.

It wasn’t unfamiliar territory, as the two teams had an alliance. But it did require that Pearn (and his family) relocate from Denver, Colorado, where FRR had been headquartered to NASCAR’s hub in the Charlotte area.

The move didn’t slow them down, however, as the pair have matched their 2017 efforts prior to Miami (seven wins through the 35 races).

 

Multi-team champion a possibility

Should Martin Truex Jr. claim the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship on Sunday evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway he would become the seventh driver in NASCAR history to earn the season-ending trophy for multiple teams.

Truex won the Cup championship in 2017 driving for Furniture Row Racing team. And he is one of three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in the Championship 4 this weekend in South Florida.

Buck Baker, Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte and Tony Stewart all won NASCAR’s most prestigious title for more than one team. Stewart was the last to do so – winning a Cup championship at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2002 and 2005 and then for his own Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2011.

On Saturday, December 14, the Petersen Automotive Museum will debut a new exhibit honoring one of the world’s most diverse and winning race teams, Chip Ganassi Racing. Titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute,” the display will present significant vehicles, trophies and more that exemplify the success of the team under founder and racing legend Chip Ganassi, who will be formally honored on April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Located in the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery, the 10 key vehicles on display will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Chip Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500; the Lexus-powered 2006 Riley MK XI raced by Scott Dixon at the Rolex 24 At Daytona; the 2010 Dallara IR-05 driven to victory in the Indianapolis 500; the 2016 Ford GT that finished first at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM GTE Pro category 50 years after Ford’s iconic first-, second- and third-place victories in 1966; and the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“Chip Ganassi is an influential member of the automotive community, and his team’s penchant for success is a reflection of his raw skill and passion for the sport,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Complemented by a visually dynamic and compelling 180-degree video, ‘Chip Ganassi Racing’ will celebrate the team’s victories and tell its story while taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.”

A fixture in the auto-racing industry for more than 30 years, Chip Ganassi is considered one of the most successful and innovative team owners the sport has ever seen. Following a strong career as a driver, Ganassi created his own one-car INDYCAR team in 1990. The team’s track record includes 19 championships and over 220 victories. It is the only team to win the Indianapolis 500 (four times), Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona (eight times), 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Adding to the prestige, it is also the only team to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona three times consecutively and the only team to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 in one 12-month span.

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed preview and opening reception on December 13. To learn more about the Petersen Automotive Museum, please visit www.Petersen.org.

CGR PR

Michael McDowell on Homestead
9 Starts | 1 Top-10
Best Finish: 10th
“I can already tell this weekend will be a mixed bag of emotions with it being the season finale and [my teammate] Ragan's last race. Homestead always provides an exciting show for the fans. As a driver, there isn't really a preferred lane, so you have a lot of options and can run all around the track. Obviously we're not in the Playoffs, but we'll do everything we can to help land a Ford Mustang (hopefully ours) in Victory Lane. It's great to have Love's Travel Stops and Luber Finer with us to close out the season. I'm grateful to the support they've shown our team throughout this year and their entire partnership.”
David Ragan on Homestead
12 Starts | 1 Top-10
Best Finish: 10th
"It's hard to put into words what this weekend means to me. It's certainly been the ride of a lifetime running in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the last 14 years. I will forever be grateful to Bob Jenkins, Jerry Freeze and the entire Front Row Motorsports organization for my time with them. I'm honored to have Shriner's Hospitals for Children, CITGARD, Mystik Lubricants, Select Blinds and Fr8 Auctions all back with me for my final race as a full-time driver. This paint scheme is extra special because it's the scheme that I won my first race in, and I'm hoping we can visit Victory Lane one last time this weekend.”

From winning championships at Homestead-Miami Speedway to joining the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Tony Stewart has been the epitome of success in motorsports.  It’s only fitting that the three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) champion will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race on Sunday, November 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart will lead the field to the green flag in a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

Stewart, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2020, built a large portion of his resume at Homestead-Miami Speedway, having won three titles (2002, 2005, 2011).  His first coincided with the initial year that the South Florida track served as the championship site.  His 2011 championship is the closest margin in NASCAR history, as he edged Carl Edwards on tiebreakers after a stunning comeback win in the Ford 400 that year.

The Indiana native originally made a name for himself in USAC and IndyCar before transitioning into NASCAR. He is tied for the most MENCS wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3), which includes the first Cup race held at the venue in 1999.

Along with all his success at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Stewart has accomplished much more in motorsports, including an IndyCar title in 1997 and Rookie of the Year in MENCS in 1999.  He also is a two-time winner of both the Brickyard 400 (2005, 2007) as well as the famed Chili Bowl (2002, 2007), which is an all-star Midget race in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Stewart is co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, and the team fields cars in the MENCS and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. As co-owner, Stewart helped guide Kevin Harvick to the 2014 MENCS title, the first year of the Championship 4 format. SHR has won 55 point-paying races in the MENCS.

“Having Tony Stewart drive the pace car on Sunday is what hosting the championship is about,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Al Garcia. “Stewart is one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR and motorsports as a whole. He’s won in IndyCars, Sprint cars and much more and will always be known as having performed at the top level in multiple disciplines. We are thrilled that he will be a part of our championship race.”

HMS PR

What started on Feb. 10, 2019 with the Advance Auto Parts Clash non-points race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway will now end with Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

A wise person once said, “It’s over, already?”

 

Indeed it is ending after 10 months, 36 points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races – and don’t forget the two exhibition races – with the season finale in South Florida. And Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is once again in the Championship 4 and has a shot at his second title.

 

It’s Harvick against the world – or Joe Gibbs Racing, at least – as the other three contestants in Sunday’s winner-take-all championship race are Gibbs teammates Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin. Truex has seven wins in 2019, Busch has four and Hamlin six. So, it’s Gibbs 17 victories versus Harvick’s four.

 

Fortunately, previous victories don’t count and whoever among the four finishes the highest will win the championship. And, let’s be honest, getting there is half the battle because, as said by Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd Christmas in the smash hit Dumb and Dumber, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance …”

 

Harvick has been in the Championship 4 five times in the last six years, more than any other driver except Busch, who is in his fifth consecutive Championship 4. Harvick won the title in 2014, his first year with SHR, and finished second in 2015 and third in 2017 and 2018. Should he win the title, he would become just the 16th driver to win two or more championships.

 

Some drivers get nervous or anxious during these championship runs. Harvick lives for them. The more pressure the better because he’s been involved in the top three tiers of NASCAR racing since 1995 and has won 110 races, including 49 it the Cup Series.

 

Harvick has one win, one pole, 10 top-five finishes, 16 top-10s and has led a total of 373 laps in his 18 career Cup Series starts at Homestead. His average start there is 12.3, his average finish is 6.6, and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.9 percent – 4,811 of 4,812 laps available. His last finish outside the top-10 was a 19th in November 2007, one of his only two finishes outside the top-10.

 

He won the November 2006 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead, as well as the Xfinity race pole in November 2004. He has five top-10s in eight career Xfinity starts.And in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series,Harvick has raced at Homestead six times and won the November 2009 race among his four top-five finishes in six Truck races there.

 

So here we go. It’s why drivers race for 10 months out of the year throughout 36 points-paying events – to win championships. And Harvick has that chance.

TSC PR

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the legendary road course in Lexington, Ohio, will continue its tradition of showcasing one of the most diverse schedules in all of racing in 2020. Spectacular two- and four-wheel motorsports action will be featured at the North Central Ohio facility during its 59th season of racing.
As announced previously to accommodate broadcast and cable television coverage of the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the NASCAR Xfinity Series stop, the Mid-Ohio 170, moves earlier to May 29-30. The ARCA Menards Series returns to Mid-Ohio for the first time since 1965 as Friday’s headlining race of this major stock racing weekend. Then, Ohio’s largest motorsports event, The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio headlined by the NTT IndyCar Series, shifts to a later summer date, August 14-16, to wrap up the 2020 schedule with the stars and cars of the Indianapolis 500.
 
The Acura Sports Car Challenge, featuring the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, leads off the 2020 schedule the first weekend of May for the third straight season. A celebration of automobile history in motion occurs June 26-28 for the Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. The longest continuously running event at Mid-Ohio also adds the TransAm Series to the weekend in 2020.
 
Then, shifting from four-wheel to two-wheel action, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days will be up next, July 10-12. American Motorcycle Association’s annual motorcycle gathering again brings diverse activities for enthusiasts spread across all 330 acres of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course facility.
 
The 2020 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course schedule is as follows:
 
  • Acura Sports Car Challenge (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event) – May 1-3
  • Mid-Ohio 170 (NASCAR Xfinity Series event / ARCA Menards Series) – May 29-30
  • Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (Sportscar Vintage Racing Association / TransAm) – June 26-28
  • AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days (AMA’s annual motorcycling celebration) – July 10-12
  • The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (NTT IndyCar Series event) – August 14-16
“It’s going to be another great season racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2020. The schedule offers new features and look out for some shifting of event dates with the Summer Olympics happening next summer,” said Craig Rust, president of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. “We appreciate the season long support we get from our season pass holders and are glad to offer them their 2020 passes at last season’s pricing.”
 
Now through Dec. 2, Mid-Ohio Season Race Passholders from 2019 have the exclusive benefit to renew for $325. These fans have the opportunity to renew or upgrade their previous grandstand seats and reserved Season Motorhome location. The renewal deadline is Monday, Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. ET. All purchases can be made at midohio.com or by calling 419-884-4000 during business hours.
Public sales will begin on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. ET at an advance price of $360 for the Mid-Ohio Season Race Pass to see all the action. Single event tickets will also go on sale at an advance price.
 
The Mid-Ohio Season Race Pass features over $1,000 in value of event tickets, redemption offers for use on site, and other exclusive experiences. It also includes access to other weekend car club and races not always open to the general public. A Paddock Pass is also an included benefit for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio while it is complimentary to all spectators at the remaining events.
 
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course offers one of the best family values in all of live sports and entertainment. Children 12 and under always receive free general admission when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Visit midohio.com for more information, and follow its Facebook page @MidOhioSportsCarCourse, Twitter @Mid_Ohio or Instagram @officialmidohio for the latest news.
Mid-Ohio PR

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Championship will be decided at the Ford EcoBoost 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Pre-race coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC. In addition, for the fifth consecutive year NBC Sports will present NASCAR Hot Pass – a simulcast of Sunday’s race on NBCSN that will offer hyper-focused coverage of the Championship Four drivers as they compete for the title.

Denny Hamlin secured the final spot Championship Four in Homestead with his victory at ISM Raceway just outside Phoenix on Sunday. Hamlin joins Martin Truex Jr., who clinched his spot with his win Martinsville, Kevin Harvick ,who clinched his spot in Texas, and Kyle Busch, who secured his spot in the Championship Four based on points. The highest finisher among the four drivers will win the 2019 Championship. Hamlin is the only driver of the four who has yet to win a Cup Series title.

2019 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES PLAYOFF DRIVERS & STANDINGS: 

Car Driver Season Wins
18 Kyle Busch 4
11 Denny Hamlin 6
4 Kevin Harvick 4
19 Martin Truex Jr. 7

NASCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP FINALE FROM HOMESTEAD – SUNDAY AT 3 P.M. ET ON NBC 

NBC Sports kicks off its NASCAR Championship coverage from Homestead, this Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET with coverage of the first practice followed by the final practice at 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Cup qualifying will air Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Sunday’s race-day coverage from Homestead-Miami Speedway begins at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC with the NASCAR America Pre-Race show and an hour-long Countdown to Green at 2 p.m. ET from the Peacock Pit Box on pit road. Live coverage of the Ford EcoBoost 400 follows at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

NBC Sports race announcer Rick Allen will call the action alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte. 21-time Cup Series winner Jeff Burton and two-time Daytona 500 Champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. will provide commentary from a second booth.

NBC Sports’ NASCAR pre-race host Krista Voda, auto racing icon Kyle Petty, and Hall of Fame driver and 1999 NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett will host NASCAR America Pre-Race and Countdown to Green, as well as post-race coverage. Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Parker Kligerman, and Rutledge Wood will provide commentary and interviews from pit-road and grandstands.

Coverage will continue with the post-race show at 6:30 p.m. ET and will shift to NBCSN for extended post-race coverage at 7 p.m. ET.


NBC SPORTS’ NASCAR HOT PASS PRESENTS HYPER-FOCUSED SIMULCAST COVERAGE OF 2019 CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR CONTENDERS ON NBCSN

From the green flag to the checkered, NBCSN’s multi-window telecast will provide viewers with an isolated in-depth look at Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. as they battle for the 2019 Monster Energy Cup Series title.

NBC Sports veteran motorsports announcer Leigh Diffey will call NASCAR Hot Pass coverage on NBCSN alongside Dale Jarrett.

Here are highlights of NBC Sports’ NASCAR Hot Pass simulcast on NBCSN:

  • Isolated cameras dedicated to each of the Championship Four drivers
  • Continuous team radio communication from each of the Championship Four drivers
  • On-air graphics highlighting point differentials and field changes between the drivers, as well an independent pane of race facts and figures to give viewers up to the minute statistics about the race.
  • The return of the Dale Jr. Spy Cam, which made its debut at Martinsville, which will provide a behind-the-scenes look into the broadcast booth with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton.


NBC SPORTS 2019 NASCAR CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL TODAY AT 2 P.M. ET

NBC Sports NASCAR analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Steve Letarte, as well as NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, will preview the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship on a media conference call this today –  November 12, at 2 p.m. ET.

Media interested in attending should call 334-777-6978; meeting ID 7676519.

  • WHAT: 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Media Conference Call
  • WHO: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty, Steve Letarte and Sam Flood
  • WHEN: Tuesday, November 12 at 2 p.m. ET
  • NUMBER: 334-777-6978
  • MEETING ID: 7676519


XFINITY SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP RACING FROM HOMESTEAD – SATURDAY AT 3 P.M. ET ON NBC

NBC Sports’ Xfinity Series Championship racing from Homestead begins Friday with coverage of the first practice at 2:30 p.m. ET followed by final practice at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Race day coverage begins Saturday with qualifying at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN followed by NASCAR America at 1:30 p.m. ET. Coverage continues on NBCSN with Countdown to Green at 3 p.m. ET followed by the race at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The four drivers competing for Xfinity Series Championship are Christopher Bell (8 wins), Justin Allgaier (1 win), Tyler Reddick (5 wins), and Cole Custer (7 wins). Allgaier won his way into the Xfinity Championship 4 at ISM Raceway, marking his first victory since Indianapolis in 2018.


DALE JR. DOWNLOAD AIRS TODAY AT 5 P.M ET WITH KENNY WALLACE  

Tuesday’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN will feature an interview with former NASCAR driver and motorsports commentator Kenny Wallace. Wallace will discuss the upcoming Championship in Miami and the future of motorsports.

Produced on-site at Dirty Mo Media Studios in Mooresville, N.C., The Dale Jr. Download on NBCSN takes viewers couch-side for the taping of the motorsports icon’s weekly podcast, featuring unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and insight that fans have come to expect from Dale Jr.


NASCAR AMERICA MOTORMOUTHS – WEDNESDAY AT 5 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

Dale Jarrett will be this week’s special guest on NASCAR America MotorMouths on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Jarrett will join Rutledge Wood and Kyle Petty to discuss the latest stories in NASCAR and take questions from fans and viewers as they call into the show.


A RECORD 32 WINNERS IN THE ‘PICK ‘EM’ JACKPOT IN PHOENIX; POT SETS TO $10,000 FOR FINAL RACE

More than 100,000 fans – the most to-date – competed in the NASCAR Pick ‘Em game on the NBC Sports Predictor app for Sunday’s race at Phoenix, and a record 32 fans recorded a perfect score to split the $30,000 jackpot. Fans will have one more chance play the NASCAR Pick ‘Em free-to-play game on the NBC Sports Predictor app this weekend as the jackpot resets to $10,000 at Homestead.

  • For each race stage, pick the driver that will have the best finish from a group of four drivers.
  • Then, out of the entire field, pick which drivers will finish the race in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place – in exact order.

Following is this week’s NASCAR programming across NBC Sports:

 DATE COVERAGE TIME (ET) NETWORK
Tue., November 12 The Dale Jr. Download w/ Kenny Wallace 5 p.m. NBCSN
Wed., November. 13 NASCAR America Motormouths w/ Dale Jarrett 5 p.m. NBCSN
Thur., November 14 NASCAR America Championship Media Day 5 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., November 15 NASCAR Xfinity Series First Practice –Homestead 2:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series First Practice – Homestead 3:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Practice – Homestead 5:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Final Practice– Homestead 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., November 16 NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying – Homestead 12:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR America 1:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Homestead 2 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Countdown to Green 3 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship – Homestead 3:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., November 17 NASCAR America Pre-Race 1:30 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Countdown to Green 2 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Championship – Homestead 3 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Post-Race Show 6:30 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Extended Post-Race Show 7 p.m. NBCSN

 

NBC SPORTS’ NASCAR COVERAGE

The official home of the NASCAR Playoffs, NBC Sports will present the final 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events in 2019. NBC Sports’ NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials.

NBC Sports PR

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