So it comes down to this. The last race of this long NASCAR season. After 35 points paying races, the final 4 drivers who will race for the championship Sunday happen to be decided.
Considering that the elimination format to pick a winner was introduced two years ago the champion has also won the race. Odds are then that the winner of the race Sunday will even wear the Cup crown. Others can triumph, but three of those previous five race winners dating back to Tony Stewart in 2011, also have won the name, so don’t be surprised if the motorist celebrating a race win in victory lane Sunday, is also celebrating his championship.
Here is how it shakes out among the four finalists for Sunday’s 36th race of the year for your betting or fantasy racing leagues. Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2016 races (23 total) among active drivers in Phoenix. The Driver Rating is a number based on a formula developed by NASCAR which combines”loop data” components such as average running position, average rate under green, variety of workouts, and other stats. There is a maximum of 150 points a driver can earn for each race. The chances are current as of Wednesday.
1. Carl Edwards (7-1). Edwards has two wins here along with the maximum driver rating one of the 4, 109.4. The only driver among the Championship 4 with multiple wins at Homestead, Edwards still has memories of losing the race, and the name, to Tony Stewart at 2011. Section of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Edwards will be seeking salvation Sunday, and he may just get it.
2. Jimmie Johnson (7-2). Homestead is one of those few tracks in NASCAR that Johnson hasn’t won at. He works well here though and gets the 2nd greatest driver rating of the 4, 96.7. Johnson will be looking to make history Sunday with a seventh title. When he brings his”A” game and may prevent some of the miscues the group has suffered this year occasionally, Johnson could pull it off.
3. Kyle Busch (5-1). Busch is looking to defend his name, earned with a win at Homestead last year. He’s got the third greatest driver evaluation, 95.5. But he barely left the Championship 4, and has struggled sometimes. But with one final race and an opportunity to add another title, and Joe Gibbs Racing behind him, Busch could be in position to add another win, and yet another title.
4. Joey Logano (7-1). Logano is possibly the underdog among the Championship 4. He’s never won at Homestead, has the lowest motorist evaluation among the area, 83.5. However, Logano finished fourth last year and led the second most laps in the race, 72. Logano was surprising at times this year and he could surely be a surprise Sunday by winning his first Cup title.
OTHERS: There will be a total of 36 other drivers seeking to acquire Sunday. Chief among them, Matt Kenseth (12-1). Kenseth has the second highest driver rating among the area, 108.4, and acquired here in 2007. Coming off a disappointing finish at Phoenix a week, Kenseth will be seeking to make a powerful statement. Kevin Harvick (6-1) was also disappointed a week as he failed to make the cut for the first time because the removal format began. He won the race, and the title in 2014, has the fifth best driver evaluation, 104.3, and could add another win for his Homestead resume Sunday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead-Miami Speedway will be run on Sunday, November 20. Live coverage will be on NBC beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming just after 2:30 p.m. ET.