So it comes down to this. The last race of the lengthy NASCAR season. Following 35 points paying races, the final 4 drivers that will race for the championship Sunday have been decided.
Considering that the elimination format to pick a winner was released two years back the champion has also won the race. Odds are then the winner of the race Sunday will also wear the Cup crown. Others can triumph, but three of those last five race winners dating back to Tony Stewart at 2011, have also won the name, so don’t be shocked if the motorist 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 accumulated 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 data” elements like average running posture, average rate under green, number of workouts, 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 highest driver rating one of the 4, 109.4. The only driver among the Championship 4 having a number of wins at Homestead, Edwards still has memories of losing the race, and the title, to Tony Stewart at 2011. Part of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Edwards will be seeking redemption Sunday, and he might just get it.
2. Jimmie Johnson (7-2). Homestead is one of those few tracks in NASCAR which Johnson has never won at. He runs well here and gets the second greatest driver rating of this 4, 96.7. Johnson will want to make history Sunday with a title. If he brings his”A” game and can prevent some of the miscues the team has suffered this season occasionally, Johnson could pull it off.
3. Kyle Busch (5-1). Busch is looking to defend his name, made with a win at Homestead this past year. He has the third greatest driver evaluation, 95.5. But he hardly made the Championship 4, and has struggled at times. However, with one last race and an opportunity 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 possibly the underdog among the Championship 4. He has never won at Homestead, has the lowest motorist rating one of the field, 83.5. But Logano finished fourth here last year and led the 2nd most laps in the race, 72. Logano was 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 motorists seeking to win Sunday. Chief among them, Matt Kenseth (12-1). Kenseth has the 2nd highest driver evaluation one of the field, 108.4, also 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 started. He won the race, and the name in 2014, has the fifth greatest driver evaluation, 104.3, and may add another win to his Homestead restart Sunday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead-Miami Speedway will be conducted on Sunday, November 20. Live coverage will be on NBC beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET using the green flag coming only after 2:30 p.m. ET.