The stage is set for the Championship Round for the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series as the season finale is set to go off at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Matt Kenseth got his first win of the season at Phoenix, and possibly the final win of his career as he is stepping away from racing next season for an undetermined amount of time. The defending race-winner here is Jimmie Johnson, who went on to win his seventh title, but this year’s title will be battled between Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski; Keselowski (2012), Harvick (2014) and Busch (2015) all have won titles, while Truex looks for his first.
Event: Ford EcoBoost 400
Category: NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series
Date: Sunday, November 19th, 2:30 PM ET
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Florida
Kenseth was followed by Chase Elliott, Truex, Erik Jones and Harvick at Phoenix, while Denny Hamlin led a race-high 193 laps, but he blew a tire thanks to damage caused by Elliott. Last year at Miami, Johnson led just three laps, but still managed to win the race ahead of Kyle Larson (who led 132 laps), pole-sitter Harvick, Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray.
Past Five Winners
2016: Jimmie Johnson
2015: Kyle Busch
2014: Kevin Harvick
2013: Denny Hamlin
2012: Jeff Gordon
Next year’s field will lack some star power as the sport’s only full-time female driver, Danica Patrick, is retiring. As is one of the sport’s greatest stars, Dale Earnhardt Jr. And don’t forget that Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards recently left too, so NASCAR has to replace some talent for next year.
For this week, Martin Truex Jr. is the big favorite to win it all. Six of his seven wins this year have come on 1.5-mile tracks. Denny Hamlin could be another driver you consider if you don’t want to bet Truex Jr. He has an average finish of 6.9 on this track. He has two wins at this track too, which is the most of any active driver. Consider Dale Earnhardt Jr. too as he was sixth in his first practice at Homestead. It’s his final Cup race, so he’s likely to be fired up for this one to give it his all.
What To Know About The Track
Homestead-Miami opened in 1995 and it is a 1.5-mile track that is banked 18-20 degrees in the corners, and three degrees on the straightaways. There isn’t a lot to this track, which is exactly why it fits as the championship race as it will be decided by the drivers.
A Good Matchup To Bet: Kyle Busch over Martin Truex Jr.
Busch is the underdog at +125 in this matchup with Truex at -160, and these two have combined to win 12 races this season with Truex taking seven and Busch winning five. Tuex actually has a solid average here at Homestead-Miami at 12.3 in 12 starts, while Busch sits at 19.8 in 12 starts, but he does have the win from 2015 that powered him to his first championship. The worry here for Truex is nerves in that he has never been in this position before, while Busch (along with Keselowski and Harvick) has. Truex has been the dominant driver all season, but outside forces could conspire against him to give the title to someone else, possibly Busch.
Top-Five Pick: Kevin Harvick
Harvick has the best average at Homestead-Miami at 6.9 in 16 starts, including a win 2014. He won at Texas to get to this round, and he is the most recent of the four championship contenders to win a race. His record at Homestead-Miami alone should be enough to sell you on a top-five finish for Harvick, but a title might be out of the picture as Truex and Busch are driving Toyotas, which have been the fastest cars all season. Harvick, in his Ford, might have to settle for a top-five here.
Odds To Win 2017 Ford EcoBoost 400
Martin Truex +200
Kyle Busch +350
Kyle Larson +600
Kevin Harvick +600
Brad Keselowski +800
Chase Elliott +2000
Denny Hamlin +800
Jimmie Johnson +2000
Matt Kenseth +2000
Ryan Blaney +2500
Erik Jones +4000
Joey Logano +4000
Clint Bowyer +5000
Kurt Busch +5000
Dale Earnhardt Jr +5000
Jamie McMurray +10000
Daniel Suarez +10000
Ryan Newman +12500
Kasey Kahne +12500
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