Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jimmie Johnson Makes History at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Seventh Championship


Welcome to the club! Jimmie Johnson joins NASCAR’s most elite group by winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 and his seventh career Sprint Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

Johnson joins legends Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty as the only three drivers to win seven career Sprint Cup Series championships- the most all time.

It's big. It has a different meaning,said Johnson. The No. 7 has a very special place in my heart with Ricky Hendrick. As a lot of people know.  For some reason I just felt good and calm today and things just kind of unfolded at the end for us. I know it was help from above.  In my heart I wanted to believe it would happen. It has and I just can't believe it.

Johnson started the race in the rear of the field due to an unapproved body modification, but was still able to methodically move his way up the leaderboard earning his first career victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Oh my gosh, there is no, no way on earth,” said Johnson. Just beyond words. Just didn't think the race was unfolding for us like we needed to do to be the champs, but we just kept our heads in the game. Chad called a great strategy, made some great adjustments for the short runs. 
Luck came our way and we were able to win the race and win the championship.”

Johnson held off championship four contenders Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and defending champion Kyle Busch to capture the checkered flag. Logan finished the race in fourth position, while Busch placed sixth. Edwards finished the race 34th after he was involved in a late-race accident, which brought out the Red Flag on lap 259.

Johnson’s seventh title comes ten years after he earned his first Sprint Cup Series championship (2006). This victory brings Hendrick Motorsports another owner championship, adding two more trophies to their collection on the night.


Looking ahead to the 2017 season, it will be interesting to see if Johnson can become the first driver to win eight Sprint Cup Series championships.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Latin American Driver Daniel Suarez Makes History and Wins First XFINITY Series Championship



HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Consistency, focus, and an incredible start were just some factors that helped Daniel Suarez claim the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 19. 

Leading the race at the beginning for 22 laps straight, Suarez stayed consistent with his driving, and continued leading with a grand total of 133 laps and ultimately winning the Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity series.

“To win here in Homestead and have a lot of fans, people all over Latin America, is something really good,” Suarez said. “I am very proud of my team and it’s still hard to believe this.”

Suarez was able to beat Justin Allgaier who stayed in a close second for the first half of the race, as well as winning over Elliott Sadler, a seasoned veteran of the sport, and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Erik Jones.

Daniel Suarez is the first ever international champion in NASCAR racing. The 24 year old from Monterrey, Mexico made history today when he won the title, especially in the last five laps. Winning this championship was all the more meaningful with Suarez’s family by his side.

“I’m speechless right now. I’m just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have – my mom, my dad.” Suarez said, “They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn’t have the support or the racing background. They supported me and right now we are just living a dream.”

Suarez is part of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, and he has started a total of 67 races in the past three years, with third wins, 26 top-5, and 46 top-10 showings. Coach Gibbs also emphasized how important this win is for NASCAR.

“We had a meeting two years ago with ARRIS and we sat down and talked about this young guy. And for us to be in two years where we are tonight, it’s a thrill for all of us. This is going to be a big deal for our sport.”

The Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity Series race was the continuation of an exciting weekend of races that will all culminate into Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at 2:30 PM. 

Johnny Sauter Wins First Truck Series Championship, While William Byron Claims Ford EcoBoost 200 Title



HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Momentum was the name of the game as Johnny Sauter took home the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, Nov. 18.

This was the first Truck Series championship for Sauter, driver of the No. 21 car for GMS Racing, who came into the championship after winning two of three races in the Chase’s Round of 6. Sauter has come full circle, with a win in the season-opener in Daytona in February and now winning the Truck Series championship tonight.

“Yeah, I’ve wanted a driver’s championship for 15 years,” said Sauter. “Everybody wants to be a champion. You want to win races ultimately, and you want to be in the hunt.”

Sauter beat out Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters, who finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, to win the championship.

Not one to be outshone, 18-year-old William Byron took home the Ford EcoBoost 200 after a tight race, powering through after being eliminated from the Chase at Phoenix last week due to a blown engine. This victory marks the young No. 9 driver’s seventh win of the season, and was his final race as a member of Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“It feels awesome. It’s just – it’s incredible,” said Byron. “I mean this team has worked so hard all year. We just had an unfortunate situation last week that we couldn’t control, but, man, they brought a good truck. These guys just are awesome.”

On top of winning the Ford EcoBoost 200, Bryon was also awarded the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.

Bryon’s win and Bell’s eighth place finish made the pair of rookies instrumental in Kyle Busch Motorsports taking home its record fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championship in seven years. It is also the only team in history to win four consecutive championships. KBM took home its first Driver’s championship last year with Erik Jones’ 2015 championship win. 

“It’s frustrating but yet rewarding on the same end that William and the guys, they didn’t give up, they came out here and executed exactly was to win an owner’s championship for myself and Samantha,” Busch said.


The Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series was the kickoff of Ford Championship Weekend, which continues Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with the Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity Series race and culminates Sunday after the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at 2:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Race for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series Championship

  

MIAMI – A legend, a title defender, and two drivers out for their first championship trophies will drive onto the Homestead-Miami Speedway 1.5-mile oval this Sunday. Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Carl Edwards are the Championship 4 drivers set to compete amongst a full field of drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 to battle it out for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series Championship.

In 2013, the year before NASCAR changed its playoff format to the current elimination-style for the Sprint Cup, Johnson won his sixth Cup championship. It had been three years since he won five in a row from 2006-10. If Johnson were to win this year, he would join Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. as the only drivers to win seven Cup championships.

Johnson’s toughest competition may come from last year’s winner, Busch, who is looking to win back-to-back championships. Busch came back from missing the first 11 races of the 2015 season to a broken leg and foot after a crash in Daytona to win the 2015 Sprint Cup championship. While his experience with the format of the championship race is invaluable, he has yet to win during the 2016 postseason. His presence in the Chase is a testament to his consistency, with six top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in the postseason Chase races.  

“I’m definitely excited for the opportunity,” said Busch. “Once you’re eligible, or once you are locked in to the final four pack, that opportunity to go to Homestead and have a chance for that championship is certainly exciting.  But then past that, you definitely have to put your focus forward on being able to make sure that you go out there and achieve and excel.”

Logano, who was also a part of the Championship 4 in 2014, is excited for the opportunity ahead.

“I think this is the moment we all really embrace and enjoy,” said Logano.“ As a competitor, you hope to bring a championship moment and I’m really fortunate to come here and have a shot at it.”

Edwards is also vying for his first championship trophy, but this year’s Chase is far from his first rodeo. In 2011, Edwards narrowly lost the championship to Tony Stewart in  agonizing finish by virtue of tiebreakers in the closest finish in NASCAR championship history. But Edwards is only looking ahead.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Edwards when asked about nerves going into the race. “I mean, I know how it works,” he added laughing.

It is more than apparent that all four competitors are looking forward not just to the possibility of a trophy in Victory Lane, but the good-natured competition they’ll encounter along the way.

The Ford EcoBoost 400 and 2016 Sprint Cup Series Championship is the culmination to the 2016 NASCAR season.

Erik Jones Hopes The Ford EcoBoost 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series Season Finale Yields Another Title At Homestead-Miami Speedway

MIAMI – Just over a year ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Erik Jones, at the age of 19, won the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title and became the youngest champion in series’ history. In Saturday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 300, the 20-year-old Jones is seeking to add the NASCAR XFINTIY Series championship trophy to his display case.

“It would be exciting to come back and win the championship in a different series,” said Jones, who will make the jump into the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. “Two years back-to-back, two different series, two different teams… that’s been a pretty neat thing.”

Even with last year’s championship and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year award in his back pocket, Jones, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, is careful not to look too far ahead.

“In racing there are so many things you can’t control,” Jones said. “You saw it last week in Phoenix with the No. 9 truck of William Byron blowing a motor. There’s nothing really you can do about it and (thinking about) it is only going to take away your chance to win a championship. All the things you can’t control are definitely things that weigh on your mind, but at the end of the day we’ve got to go out and run our race, try to stay upfront and try to keep ourselves ahead.”

Jones, who made his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in 2013, finds himself battling Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez and Justin Allgaier for this year’s NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.

“I’ve learned a lot of things through (the XFINITY) format this year that I wish I could go back and do differently, and that I know I’ll do differently next year in the Cup Series,” Jones said. “It’s definitely a very different format than I thought it would be and there’s definitely a lot of different approaches I think you could take other than what I did. I’m excited to hopefully try that out and see how it works next year.”

With four wins in the 2016 XFINITY Series season, Jones looks to take home the trophy as part of his bid to make history.

“The long-term goal is to win all three championships because no one has ever done that before, but obviously to do that I’ll have to win this race this year,” Jones said. “I’m excited to get an opportunity in the Cup Series at such a young age. There are not a lot of guys in history that have had that chance, and I’m pretty proud to be one of them.”

NASCAR’s championship season begins Friday with the Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and culminates with Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship finale.


Stage Is Set For The Ford EcoBoost 200 And The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Finale At Homestead-Miami Speedway

MIAMI- The 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series comes down to the final race — the Ford EcoBoost 200 — at Homestead-Miami Speedway with veteran Matt Crafton vying for his third championship and talented rookie Christopher Bell looking to make history. 

The four drivers racing for the championship are Johnny Sauter, Crafton, Bell and Timothy Peters and will enter the race tied in the championship standings. The driver with the best finish in the race will bring home the title and Crafton feels comfortable entering the event.

“I feel good,” Crafton said. “We’ve been in this situation before and feel like we have a great car and great crew to get the job done on Friday.”

He also stated that he doesn’t feel any extra pressure pursuing his third title and plans to race the same way he’s raced all season.

Bell, the surprise of the season, seeks a championship in his rookie year. The 21-year-old looks to capitalize on this opportunity stating that Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of his favorite tracks on the schedule.

“I can’t wait to get to Homestead-Miami Speedway,” said Bell, “It’s a track that allows me to move around a lot so to have the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway definitely plays to my strong hand.”

Sauter, who has two wins in the last three races, enters the final race with plenty of momentum. He likes his chances at Homestead-Miami Speedway but young-gun Bell has caught his attention coming into the final race.

“He’s obviously a talented kid and this track kind of races like a short track so I definitely think it plays to his advantage. But I’m worried about all three guys not just one,” Sauter said.

The championship race airs on FS1 Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

RACE RECAP- NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP 4 SET FOR HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

 
CAN-AM 500
Phoenix International Raceway – Phoenix, Arizona
Sunday, November 13, 2016
 
Race Winner: Joey Logano
Age: 26
Team: No. 22 – Shell Pennzoil Ford
Owner: Team Penske
Crew Chief: Todd Gordon
 
IN THE WORDS OF THE WINNER – “This feels so good.  I've never felt this good about a win before.  There was so much on the line and everyone brings their A-game when it comes to winning championships and this team did it.  Man, this feels so good.  I had a good restart there at the end and holding off Kyle to try to get this thing into Miami.  We're racing for a championship now.  We did exactly what we had to do.  We've got to go to Homestead and do the same thing.”

-Joey Logano    

 ----------------

·         Joey Logano won the 29th Annual CAN-AM 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway Sunday afternoon. For Logano, it is his 17th victory in 290 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

·         It is Logano’s third victory and 25th top-10 finish in 2016.

·         It is Logano’s first victory and ninth top-10 finish in 16 races at Phoenix International Raceway.

·         Kyle Busch (second) posted his 15th top-10 finish in 23 races at Phoenix International Raceway.

·         It is Busch’s 24th top-10 finish through 35 races this season.

·         Kyle Larson (third) posted his second top-10 finish in six races at Phoenix International Raceway.

·         Kevin Harvick finished fourth on Sunday, giving him his 16th top-5 and 26th top-10 showing this season.

·         Kurt Busch (fifth) posted his ninth top-5 and 21st top-10 finish through 35 races this season.
 
·         Following the race at Phoenix International Raceway, the Championship 4 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is now set. The Championship 4 drivers are Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. The Championship 4 will race in the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, November 20, at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series title amongst a full field of drivers. Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick are the four drivers eliminated from Chase contention following the Round of 8.
 
The Championship 4
 
o   Jimmie Johnson- Johnson, a six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, has the chance to be a part of NASCAR history as he seeks his seventh Sprint Cup Series championship, which would tie him for most all time with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. In addition for Johnson, the 2016 Ford EcoBoost 400 will mark the 10-year anniversary of when he won his first championship (2006). This season, Johnson has earned four victories, including one in the Chase’s Round of 8, 10 top-10 and 15 top-5 finishes. In 15 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Johnson has four top-5 and 10 top-10 showings.

o   Carl Edwards- On Sunday, November 20, it will be five years to the day of when Edwards lost out on the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title to Tony Stewart on tiebreakers, the closest championship finish in NASCAR history. During this year’s Ford EcoBoost 400, Edwards will once again vie for the first Sprint cup Series title of his 12-year career. In his 2016 Sprint Cup Series campaign, Edwards has celebrated three wins, including one in the Chase’s Round of 8. He also has posted nine top-5 and 18 top-10 finishes. At Homestead-Miami Speedway, Edwards has two victories in the Ford EcoBoost 400 (2008 and 2010), along with five top-5 and seven top-10 finishes in 12 starts.

o   Joey Logano- Logano will compete in his second Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with his first coming in 2014- the inaugural year of the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format. In the Ford EcoBoost 400, Logano will vie for the first championship of his career and the first title for the Ford manufacturer since 2004 when Kurt Busch took home the championship. In seven starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Logano has one top-5 and two top-10 finishes, with his best showing coming last year where he finished fourth.

o   Kyle Busch- In the Championship 4 race on Sunday, Busch will have the chance to defend his 2015 Sprint Cup Series title and become the first driver to win consecutive championships since Jimmie Johnson (5 championships from 2006-2010). Busch will also compete for back-to-back victories in the Ford EcoBoost 400. On the season, Busch has celebrated victories at Martinsville Speedway (April), Texas Motor Speedway (April), Kansas Speedway (May) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July). In 11 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch has one victory, two top-5 and four top-10 showings.
 
The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Sunday, November 20, with the Ford EcoBoost 400, where the Championship 4 will compete for the series title. The race will also be broadcast live on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Tickets for NASCAR’s 2016 Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway are available and can be purchased by calling (866) 409-RACE (7223) or visiting www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.