Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL — November 17, 2019
The storylines are many as the 2019 NASCAR season draws to a close today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship will go to one of three Joe Gibbs Racing(JGR) drivers or to Kevin Harvick, driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang.
Denny Hamlin(11) has never won a Cup Championship. He started the year winning the Daytona 500 in a sweep of the top three finishing positions by JGR. Maybe a precursor to the makeup of the Championship 4. Hamlin’s victory, coming just a month after Joe Gibbs’ son J.D. Gibbs passed away, was an emotional celebration of the man and his connection with the whole JGR racing organization. The roof panel above the door carried J.D.’s name across the finish line. A win today would bookend a fabulous season for the team that father and son worked together to build.
Kyle Busch(18) the regular-season champion has qualified for the Championship 4 final every year the current playoff format has been in use. Busch, the 2015 Cup Champion, earned his 201st NASCAR victory this year passing Richard Petty for all-time wins across NASCAR’s three premier series. Despite this current total of 206 Cup, Xfinity, and Truck series wins, Busch covets a second Cup Championship to further validate his career accomplishments.
Martin Truex Jr.(19), the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion, finished second last year to Joey Logano(22). Truex seems to love the racing configuration here at Homestead and, like Busch, covets that second title. A win over his teammates would be special for Truex as he is the newest member of the JGR team.
Kevin Harvick(4) has a NASCAR Cup Championship from the 2014 season. Last year Harvick was the series dominate driver but finished third in the final race. After a slow start this year the team jelled and Harvick has come on strong winning at Indy and cruising through the playoffs. The lone Ford Mustang and non-JGR driver in the Championship 4 would give team owner Tony Stewart sweet bragging rights, considering Stewart used to drive for Joe Gibbs.
Its all on the line today, no stage points to worry about, just be the highest finishing driver of the Championship 4 and you get to hoist the most difficult trophy to win in all of motorsports at the culmination of the race.
Matt Crafton and Ford win the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship
Matt Crafton won his third NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship driving a Ford F-150 on Friday night at Homestead. The victory brought Ford Performance their first championship since Greg Biffle accomplished the feat in 2000.
In a testament to Crafton’s consistency all year and through the playoffs, he earned the crown without scoring a race win in 2019. Austin Hill, not one of the Championship 4, won the final race in dominating fashion. Crafton finished second.
Tyler Reddick Repeats as NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion
Richard Childress Racing(RCR) is celebrating its 50th year in NASCAR. As often happens in this sport, a storybook ending to the Xfinity Season saw Tyler Reddick deliver a championship to RCR. Reddick, the 2018 Xfinity Champion drove last year for JR Motorsports and moved to the Childress camp during the offseason. Next year Reddick moves to the Cup Series in an RCR team car.
The Ford Mustangs of Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe finished second and third in the Ford Ecoboost 300 Xfinity Race. It was announced this week that Custer will move to the Cup Series in 2020 in the #41 car of Stewart-Haas Racing.
Briscoe earned the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year Award, he also drives for Stewart-Haas.