NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Ford EcoBoost 400 Preview

From The Sports Network

DATE: Sunday, November 18th
SITE: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1999) -- Homestead, Florida
TRACK: 1.5-mile oval - 1,760 feet (Frontstretch); 1,760 feet (Backstretch)
CAPACITY: 65,000 (Grandstand Seating)
ANNUAL: 14th
ANNOUNCERS: Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree
RADIO: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 3 p.m. (ET)/Green Flag: 3:16 p.m. (ET)
RUNNER-UP: Carl Edwards
POLE WINNER: Carl Edwards (Finished 2nd)
LAPS: 267
MILES: 400.5
QUALIFYING RECORD: Jamie McMurray, 2003 (181.111 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Tony Stewart, 1999 (140.335 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $5,194,299 (2011 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $341,258; 2nd Place - $296,416; 3rd Place - $189,450
2011 Finish
1Tony Stewart156Clint Bowyer17
2Carl Edwards17Kasey Kahne3
3Martin Truex Jr28Kevin Harvick21
4Matt Kenseth69Denny Hamlin10
5Jeff Gordon710Jeff Burton31
2011 Ford EcoBoost 400 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 114.976 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 29 minutes
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.306 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 8 for 54 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 26 among 15 drivers
POLE WINNER: Carl Edwards (175.467 m.p.h.)
Past Ford EcoBoost 400 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Tony Stewart (15th) -- Chevrolet -- 114.976 m.p.h.
2010 -- Carl Edwards (2nd) -- Ford -- 126.585 m.p.h.
2009 -- Denny Hamlin (38th) -- Toyota -- 126.986 m.p.h.
2008 -- Carl Edwards (4th) -- Ford-- 129.472 m.p.h.
2007 -- Matt Kenseth (4th) -- Ford -- 131.888 m.p.h.
2006 -- Greg Biffle (22nd) -- Ford -- 125.375 m.p.h.
2005 -- Greg Biffle (7th) -- Ford -- 131.431 m.p.h.
2004 -- Greg Biffle (2nd) -- Ford -- 105.623 m.p.h.
2003 -- Bobby Labonte (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 116.868 m.p.h.
2002 -- Kurt Busch (1st) -- Ford -- 115.462 m.p.h.
2001 -- Bill Elliott (1st) -- Dodge -- 117.449 m.p.h.
2000 -- Tony Stewart (13th) -- Pontiac -- 127.480 m.p.h.
1999 -- Tony Stewart (7th) -- Pontiac -- 140.355 m.p.h. (race record)
NOTE: Formerly called Pennzoil 400 (1999-2000), Pennzoil Freedom 400 (2001),
Ford 400 (2002-11).
Past Ford EcoBoost 400 Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Carl Edwards -- 2nd
2010 -- Kasey Kahne -- 6th
2009 -- Jimmie Johnson -- 5th
2008 -- David Reutimann -- 20th
2007 -- Jimmie Johnson -- 7th
2006 -- Kasey Kahne -- 4th
2005 -- Carl Edwards -- 4th
2004 -- Kurt Busch -- 5th
2003 -- Jamie McMurray -- 9th
2002 -- Kurt Busch -- 1st
2001 -- Bill Elliott -- 1st
2000 -- Steve Park -- 8th
1999 -- David Green -- 22nd
Last Race Results
RACE: AdvoCare 500 (November 13th)
SITE: Phoenix International Raceway -- Avondale, Arizona
MILES: 319
LAPS: 319
WINNER: Kevin Harvick
RUNNER-UP: Denny Hamlin
THIRD: Kyle Busch
FOURTH: Kasey Kahne
FIFTH: Ryan Newman
POLE WINNER: Kyle Busch (Finished 3rd)
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 52 minutes, 9 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 111.182 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.580 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 8 for 38 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 11 among 7 drivers
LAP LEADERS: Kyle Busch 1-53; T. Kvapil 54-57; M. Martin 58-59; Kyle Busch
60-117; D. Hamlin 118-128; B. Keselowski 129-133; D. Hamlin
134-168; R. Newman 169-173; Kyle Busch 174-232; B. Keselowski
233-237; Kyle Busch 238-304; K. Harvick 305-319.
Ford EcoBoost 400 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/Bass Pro Shops
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
5Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Chevrolet/Farmers Insurance
6Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Olive Branch, MS)Ford/Fifth Third
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/Black & Decker
10David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL)Chevrolet/TMone
11Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/FedEx Ground
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Ford/Geico
14 *Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Mobil 1/Office Depot
15Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Toyota/5-Hour Energy
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/3M/SP Richards
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Best Buy
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/M&M's
19Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR)Toyota/Plinker Tactical
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/The Home Depot
21Trevor Bayne (Knoxville, TN)Ford/Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire
22Sam Hornish Jr. (Defiance, OH)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
23Scott Riggs (Bahama, NC)Chevrolet/North Texas Pipe
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/DuPont
26Josh Wise (Riverside, CA)Ford/MDS Transport
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Duracell
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Budweiser
30David Stremme (South Bend, IN)Toyota/Inception Motorsports
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/Caterpillar
32Ken Schrader (Fenton, MO)Ford/Federated Auto Parts
33Stephen Leicht (Asheville, NC)Chevrolet/
34David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/TBA
36Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Florida Lottery
37J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Chevrolet/C&C Audio Video
38David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/Long John Silver's
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/U.S. Army
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Target
43Aric Almirola (Tampa, FL)Ford/Smithfield
44To Be AnnouncedFord/No Label Watcher
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Clorox
48Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's
51Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
55Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Toyota/Aaron's Dream Machine
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
78Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Chevrolet/Furniture Row
79Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City, GA)Ford/United Supermarkets
83Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Toyota/Burger King
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/AM FM Energy Wood&Pellet
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Diet Mt. Dew/Nat Guard
91Jason Leffler (Long Beach, CA)Chevrolet/Plinker Tactical
93Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Toyota/Burger King
98Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Ford/Phil Parsons Racing
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Fastenal
* - Defending champion
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Tony Stewart7th4th15th15th30th9th22nd8thWon
Carl Edwards---14th4th8th5thWon7thWon2nd
Martin Truex Jr---32nd---2nd6th10th9th11th3rd
Matt Kenseth43rd19th3rd6thWon25th13th9th4th
Jeff Gordon5th3rd9th24th4th4th6th37th5th
Clint Bowyer---------10th39th5th11th12th6th
Kasey Kahne---38th16th4th24th6th17th6th7th
Kevin Harvick2nd10th8th5th19th2nd3rd3rd8th
Denny Hamlin------33rd3rd3rd13thWon14th11th
Dale Earnhardt Jr24th23rd19th19th36th41st28th27th12th
Ryan Newman37th30th7th23rd18th21st23rd7th13th
Brad Keselowski---------------------13th20th
Kyle Busch------41st38th20th19th8th32nd23rd
Mark Martin33rd11th2nd18th9th---12th16th24th
Jimmie Johnson3rd2nd40th9th7th15th5th2nd32nd
Greg Biffle35thWonWonWon13th18th14th10th35th
Mover of the Week
Jeff Burton - Started in the 33rd position and finished 13th
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Kasey Kahne
Darkhorse - Kevin Harvick
Last Week's Pick to Win (Clint Bowyer) - Finished 28th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Carl Edwards) - Finished 11th
It all comes down to the season-ending Ford 400, and once again the "Chase for the Sprint Cup" championship will decided this week.

It's quite simple. Brad Keselowski needs a finish of 15th or better; or 16th and at least one lap led; or 17th and the most laps led, even if Jimmie Johnson wins and leads the most laps.

Might be easier said than done, as Keslowski in four trips around Homestead, has just one top-15 finish and three finishes of 20th or worse. Keselowski bids to become the series' first new champion since 2006, going from dark horse contender to championship controller over NASCAR's nine-race post season.

Johnson, a five-time winner this season, is 20 points behind, but after winning two straight races, he placed 32nd last week to fall back in the Chase.

Keselowski will make his 125th NSCS start this weekend, while Tony Stewart, who stands ninth, will be behind the wheel for the 500th time.

Last season, the battle between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship couldn't have concluded any better than the way it did at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart's victory in the season-ending Ford 400 compared to a second-place finish for Edwards allowed Stewart to win his third championship in NASCAR's premier series.

Even though Stewart and Edwards finished the season tied in points (2,403 each), Stewart earned the title by virtue of his five wins -- all of them coming in the Chase for the Sprint Cup -- compared to only one victory for Edwards, which came in March at Las Vegas. It was the first time the series championship was decided in a tiebreaker.

Although he didn't win the race in 2010, Johnson did capture the Sprint Cup championship for the fifth straight season. Johnson entered the 400-mile race at Homestead 15 points behind Denny Hamlin. He became the first driver in the seven-year history of the championship Chase to overcome a points deficit going into the season-finale. Just two drivers had overcome a points deficit in the last race of the season to win the championship since NASCAR revised its points system in 1975. Richard Petty accomplished the feat in 1979, and Alan Kulwicki turned the trick in 1992.

In 2009, Denny Hamlin raced to victory, defeating Jeff Burton by 2.632 seconds for his eighth career Sprint Cup victory and fourth of that season. Starting from the 38th position, Hamlin moved his way up and finally claimed the lead with just 45 laps remaining and held on to finish fifth on the final points list. With his fifth-place finish, Jimmie Johnson clinched his fourth consecutive championship.

Carl Edwards dominated the race in 2008, leading five times for a race-high 157 laps, as he defeated Kevin Harvick by 7.548 seconds for his 16th career Sprint title. Despite his ninth win of 2008, Edwards placed second behind Johnson in the "Chase."

In 2007, Matt Kenseth snapped Greg Biffle's three-year stranglehold on this race, as he led a whopping 214 laps en route to his 16th career Sprint Cup title. Kurt Busch finished second, just 0.852 of a second behind, while pole sitter Johnson placed seventh.

Greg Biffle captured his third consecutive Ford 400 in 2006, as he crossed the finish line just under one second ahead of Martin Truex Jr. The victory was the second of the 2006 season and the 11th of 18 career titles.

Groundbreaking for Homestead-Miami Dade Motorsports Complex, as the track was originally named, began August 24, 1993. The first race was a Nationwide Series race on Nov. 5, 1995. The original configuration was a four-turn, rectangular oval based on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's layout. The first Truck Series race at Homestead was in 1996. In the summer of 1997, a reconfiguration project changed the turns from a quad-oval to a traditional, continuous-turn oval. The first Sprint Cup race at Homestead was held on Nov. 14, 1999. The track was reconfigured prior to the 2003 race. The banking in the turns was changed to a graduated tri-level culminating in a 20-degree banking on the outer level. Lights were also added for night racing.

There have been nine different pole winners, led by Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards with two each. The race has been won from the pole twice: Bill Elliott (2001) and Kurt Busch (2002). In addition, the race has been won from a top-10 starting position nine of 13 times. Hamlin's win in 2009 from the 38th starting position, is the furthest back a race winner has started at Homestead. There have been eight different race winners, led by Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart with three.

The 2013 Sprint Cup Series begins February 24 at Daytona International Speedway with the 55th running of the Daytona 500. Matt Kenseth won the series season-opener this year.

11/13 18:06:37 ET

As of November 13, 2012, at 06:06 PM ET
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