Homestead Miami Speedway November 17-18, 2017
If the trend continues a Ford driver can expect to pull into Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday evening. That is good news for Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. A dual race/championship winning celebration would be the culmination of a great weekend for Ford Performance Racing.
Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race
One thing you can usually count on in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is lots of action. For F-150 driver Chase Briscoe(29) that action involved repeated looking in his rearview mirror as he drove away from the field. Briscoe led 81 of the 134 laps that make up the 200-mile distance of the Ford EcoBoost 200. Scoring his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. The win also earned Briscoe the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
Remarkably, the only cautions on the evening were those scheduled at the end of Stage One and Stage Two. Christopher Bell(4) won the Series Championship with his second-place finish. Ahead of Johnny Sauter(21) in third, Ford F-150 driver Austin Cindric(19) took fifth, and Matt Crafton(88) who finished in sixth. Bell easily outpaced his 3 challengers on the way to his first NASCAR Premier Series Championship. He crossed the finish line 12+ seconds ahead of Sauter.
Bell moves to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2018, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Taking the title of NASCAR Champion with him.
Ford EcoBoost 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series Race
With an ownership interest in three of the four cars competing for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship, odds were in his favor. Dale Earnhardt Jr. essentially wrapped up the title when the only car he did not own suffered mechanical problems. Daniel Hemric(21) spent 12 laps in the pits during Stage Two with electrical problems. Costing him and Richard Childress Racing any chance at the title.
In a spectacular conclusion to the season for Ford. Cole Custer(00), driving a Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing won the Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity Series finale. With a second-place finish, Sam Hornish Jr. won the Owners Championship for Team Penske.
Ford Dominates, Title Contenders Fight it Out
Much like the Truck Series race, Custer’s Ford led 182 of the 200 laps. Also like Friday night the Championship contenders never challenged for the race win. What was different? The battle for the Championship was hotly contested over the final laps of the race.
William Byron(9) and Elliott Sadler(1) traded the Championship lead several times during the course of the race. Byron seemed to have the faster car, but track position was a huge factor. Sadler took the Championship lead with 165 laps to go. Byron chased him down. Running the high line so close to the wall that Byron brushed the safer barrier chasing his teammate.
With nine laps to go, Sadler got some unexpected resistance trying to pass Ryan Preece(18). He lost momentum allowing Byron to catch and pass him. Preece, trying to win the Owner’s Championship for Kyle Busch, was fighting for every position he could earn. After losing the lead Sadler again tried to pass Preece. The pair touched and Sadler’s last chance disappeared.
Sadler Disconsolate After Coming So Close
For the fourth time in his career, Elliott Sadler finished second in the Championship Final. Back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, then again this year and 2016. The raw emotion of the loss was etched on his face after climbing from his race car.
What will Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 give us? Can’t wait to find out.
The EcoBoost 300 Photo Gallery
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