So it comes down to this. The last race of the lengthy NASCAR season. Following 35 points spending races, the final 4 drivers that will race to the championship Sunday happen to be decided.
Considering that the removal format to decide a champion was released two years ago the champion has even won the race. Odds are then the winner of the race Sunday will also wear the Cup crown. Others can win, but three of the previous five race winners dating back to Tony Stewart at 2011, also have won the name, so don’t be shocked if the driver celebrating a race win 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 betting or fantasy racing leagues. Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2016 races (23 total) among active drivers at Phoenix. The Driver Rating is a number based on a formula developed by NASCAR which combines”loop info” components such as average running position, average speed under green, number of fastest laps, and other stats. There’s a maximum of 150 points that a driver can earn for every race. The odds are current as of Wednesday.
1. Carl Edwards (7-1). Edwards has two wins here and the highest driver rating one of the 4, 109.4. The only driver among the Championship 4 having multiple wins at Homestead, Edwards still has memories of losing the race, along with the name, to Tony Stewart in 2011. Section of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Edwards will be looking for salvation Sunday, and he might just get it.
2. Jimmie Johnson (7-2). Homestead is one of those very few tracks in NASCAR which Johnson hasn’t won at. He works well here and gets the second highest driver evaluation of the 4, 96.7. Johnson will be looking to make history Sunday with a title. If he brings his”A” game and may avoid some of the miscues the team has suffered this season occasionally, Johnson could just pull it off.
3. Kyle Busch (5-1). Busch is looking to defend his title, made with a win at Homestead last year. He has the third greatest driver evaluation, 95.5. But he barely made the Championship 4, also has struggled sometimes. But with one final race and an opportunity to add another name, and Joe Gibbs Racing behind him, Busch could be able to add another triumph, and another name.
4. Joey Logano (7-1). Logano is possibly the underdog one of the Championship 4. He has never won at Homestead, gets the lowest driver evaluation one of the area, 83.5. However, Logano finished fourth last year and headed the second most laps in the race, 72. Logano was surprising 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 motorists trying to acquire Sunday. Chief among them, Matt Kenseth (12-1). Kenseth has the second greatest driver rating one of the area, 108.4, also won 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 also disappointed last week since he failed to make the cut for the first time because the elimination format started. He also won the race, and the title in 2014, has the fifth best driver evaluation, 104.3, and may add another win for 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 starting at 2:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming only after 2:30 p.m. ET.
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