So it comes down to this. The final race of this long NASCAR season. Following 35 points spending races, the last 4 drivers who will race for the championship Sunday have been decided.
Considering that the elimination format to pick a champion was released two years ago the champion has also won the race. Odds are then the winner of this race Sunday will also wear the Cup crown. Others can triumph, but three of the previous five race winners dating back to Tony Stewart in 2011, also have won the title, so don’t be shocked if the driver celebrating a race triumph in victory lane Sunday, can also be celebrating his championship.
Here’s how it shakes out among the four finalists for Sunday’s 36th race of the year for your gambling or fantasy racing leagues. Driver Ratings are accumulated 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 unites”loop info” elements such as average running position, average rate under green, number of fastest laps, and other stats. There’s a maximum of 150 points a driver can make for every race. The odds are current as of Wednesday.
1. Carl Edwards (7-1). Edwards has two wins here along with the maximum driver rating among the 4, 109.4. The only driver among the Championship 4 with a number of wins at Homestead, Edwards still has memories of losing the race, and the name, to Tony Stewart at 2011. Part of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Edwards will be looking for redemption Sunday, and he might just get it.
2. Jimmie Johnson (7-2). Homestead is one of the very few tracks in NASCAR which Johnson has never won at. He works well here though and has the 2nd highest driver rating of this 4, 96.7. Johnson will want to make history Sunday with a title. When he brings his”A” game and can prevent a few of the miscues that the group has suffered this season at times, Johnson could just pull it off.
3. Kyle Busch (5-1). Busch is looking to defend his title, made by a win at Homestead this past year. He’s got the third highest driver evaluation, 95.5. But he hardly made the Championship 4, and has struggled at times. However, with one last race and a chance to add another title, and Joe Gibbs Racing behind himBusch could be able to add another win, and yet another title.
4. Joey Logano (7-1). Logano is perhaps the underdog one of the Championship 4. He’s never won at Homestead, has the lowest driver rating one of the area, 83.5. But Logano finished fourth here last year and headed the 2nd most laps in the race, 72. Logano has been astonishing at times this year and he could certainly be a surprise Sunday by winning his first Cup title.
OTHERS: There will be a total of 36 other drivers seeking to win Sunday. Chief among them, Matt Kenseth (12-1). Kenseth has the 2nd highest driver rating one of the field, 108.4, also acquired here in 2007. Coming off a disappointing finish at Phoenix last week, Kenseth will be seeking to make a powerful statement. Kevin Harvick (6-1) was frustrated a week since he failed to make the cut for the first time since the elimination format started. He also won the race, and the title in 2014, has the fifth greatest driver evaluation, 104.3, and could add another win to his Homestead restart Sunday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be run on Sunday, November 20. Live coverage will be on NBC beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET with all the green flag coming just after 2:30 p.m. ET.
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