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Championship Race: Ford EcoBoost 400:DRIVERS

Here’s a look at what to expect:

Monday: An in-depth look at the top two seeds in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 – Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson

Today: An in-depth look at the third and fourth seeds in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 – Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch

Wednesday: NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series notes; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship race notes at Homestead-Miami Speedway

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Championship Race: Ford EcoBoost 400

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Sunday, Nov. 20

The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

Tickets: NASCAR.com/tickets

TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps)

 

#3 Seed: Carl Edwards – Championship 4 Bio

 

BY THE NUMBERS

 

1 – Number of times Carl Edwards has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Chase format.

2 – Number of wins Carl Edwards has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2008 and 2010) – most among the Championship 4

3 – Number of wins Carl Edwards has posted during the 2016 season; including one during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – (Bristol-1, Richmond-1 and Texas-2).

5 – Number of top-five finishes Carl Edwards has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

6 – Number of Coors Light poles Carl Edwards has posted during the 2016 season (series-most).

7 – Number of top-10 finishes Carl Edwards has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

9 – Number of top-five finishes Carl Edwards has posted during the 2016 season.

9.2 – Edwards’ average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4)

13.3 – Edwards’ average finish during the entire 2016 season.

14.9 – Edwards’ average finish during the first nine races of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

18 – Number of top-10 finishes Carl Edwards has posted this season.

93.0 – Carl Edwards’ driver rating during the first nine races of the 2016 Chase.

109.4 – Carl Edwards’ career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4).

568 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Carl Edwards (leads the series).

 

Edwards Looking For Redemption In Miami

Carl Edwards heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway attempting to win his first career Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with redemption on his mind.

 

During the 2011 season, Edwards was denied the title in one of the most exciting season finales in NASCAR history. Edwards finished second in the race to Tony Stewart, but the duo ended the season tied in points. In a heart-breaking tiebreaker, Stewart won the championship after recording the most wins in the season of the two (Edwards had one to Stewart’s five).

 

On Monday night, NBCSN replayed the 2011 race – and while live-tweeting the event under the hashtag #NASCARthrowback, Stewart tweeted the following to fans hoping to see Edwards on the victorious side of history:

 

 

For those looking to take Smoke’s hint, log on to nascar.com/tickets.

 

And 2016 is a different story – points and tiebreakers don’t matter on Sunday. Edwards just needs to post the highest finish among the Championship 4 drivers to earn his first championship. 

 

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

In October, NASCAR held an organizational NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Among the drivers who took part in the organizational test? Carl Edwards.

 

Edwards was the only Championship 4 driver at the test, which could pay huge dividends. (Brad Keselowski represented Penske Racing while Chase Elliott tested for Hendrick Motorsports.)

 

When asked about testing at Homestead-Miami, Edwards was confident in his ability to race well at the 1.5-mile track.

 

“This is a neat opportunity for me. This place, especially in the sun, you drive in the corners and slide up by the fence. I really feel like I am driving a race car here. I was just telling my spotter it’s a really fun place to drive.”

 

Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Racing Get Chance To Repeat

If Carl Edwards wins his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it will be the second-consecutive title for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. JGR captured its fourth Sprint Cup Series crown last season with Kyle Busch, while Toyota captured its first driver championship.

 

It would mark the first time since 2010 that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has seen back-to-back team and manufacturer driver championships. Jimmie Johnson last accomplished the feat from 2006 – 2010 when he won his five consecutive championships for Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet.

 

Toyota is also on the verge of history. If the top finishing Toyota finishes 26th or better, it will clinch its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series manufacturer’s championship.

 

No Ordinary Beginning

In his debut season as crew chief with Carl Edwards, Dave Rogers has the chance to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. This would be the second-consecutive season that a crew chief and driver have won the title in their freshman season together (Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and Adam Stevens, 2015).

 

A Marshfield, Vermont, native, Rogers began his crew chief career working for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2006, where he won the 2008 NASCAR XFINITY Series owner title with the No. 20 team.

 

Rogers moved up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2009 and worked as Kyle Busch’s crew chief until 2014, where he made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in four of five seasons. He then moved over to Denny Hamlin’s team in 2015, where the duo posted two wins and finished ninth in the Chase.

 

Atop the pit box, Rogers has 18 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, three of those with Edwards.

 

Heating Up At Homestead

For Carl Edwards, it’s home sweet Homestead.

 

In addition to leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Homestead (568), he leads the Championship 4 drivers in wins at Homestead with two (2008 and 2010). Kyle Busch is the only other Championship 4 contender who has registered a win at Homestead (2015) – Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano have never won at the 1.5-mile track.

 

He leads the Championship 4 drivers in driving rating at Homestead – owning a 109.4 driver rating in 12 starts. Additionally, Edwards is the only driver among the Championship 4 to ever register a perfect driver rating in a race at Homestead (2010).

 

He also leads the Championship 4 drivers in average finish (9.1 in 12 starts) in Miami.

 

Here are how the Championship 4 drivers’ average finishes at Homestead stack up against Edwards:

 

Joey Logano (17.7 in seven career starts)

Jimmie Johnson (14.1 in 15 career starts)

Kyle Busch (21.1 in 11 career starts)

 

If we’re going strictly by statistics at Homestead, advantage Edwards.

 

#CarlEdwards no more?

If you like social media, you should be rooting for Carl Edwards to win the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship this weekend at Homestead.

 

Why?

 

#CarlEdwards could be dropping the hashtag.

 

Edwards confessed in his media availability at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organizational test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in October that he would join Twitter if he won the championship.

 

You can find the proof of that audio here.

 

 

 

#4 Seed: KYLE BUSCH – Championship 4 Bio

 

BY THE NUMBERS

 

1 – Number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles Kyle Busch has won (2015).

1 – Number of wins Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway – 2015 (second-most among the Championship 4)

2 – Number of times Kyle Busch has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Chase format (tied with Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano for the most Championship 4 appearances).

2 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

4 – Number of wins Kyle Busch has posted during the 2016 season; none during the Chase (Martinsville-1, Texas-1, Kansas-1 and Indianapolis).

4 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

7.3 – Busch’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

11.6 – Busch’s average finish during the entire 2016 season.

17 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted during the 2016 season (most among the Championship 4).

21.1 – Busch’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway (fourth-best among the Championship 4)

24 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted this season.

95.5 – Kyle Busch’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (third-best among the Championship 4).

103.3 – Kyle Busch’s driver rating during the first nine races of the 2016 Chase.

278 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kyle Busch (second-most among the Championship 4)

 

Back-to-Back

After winning the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in dramatic come-from-behind fashion, Kyle Busch is looking to become just the 11th driver in series history to repeat as title holder.

 

The most recent driver to do so? Busch’s Championship 4 foe Jimmie Johnson, who won five consecutive titles from 2006-10. Busch would join Johnson as the only drivers to go back-to-back since the Chase was implemented in 2004.

 

Busch would be joining prestigious company:

Jimmie Johnson (2006-10)

Jeff Gordon (1997 & 1998)

Dale Earnhardt (1986 & 1987, 1990 & 1991, 1993 & 1994)

Darrell Waltrip (1981 & 1982)

Cale Yarborough (1976-78)

Richard Petty (1971 & 1972, 1974 & 1975)

David Pearson (1968 & 1969)

Joe Weatherly (1962 & 1963)

Lee Petty (1958 & 1959)

Buck Baker (1956 & 1957)

 

There’s something special to note about that list. All but Jeff Gordon (completed his final full-time season in 2015) and Jimmie Johnson (active) are enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

Clutch Performance

Heading into the Championship 4 race in 2015, Kyle Busch had never won at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That all changed when he pulled away from Kevin Harvick, also contending for the title in 2015, on a late-race restart and captured the checkered flag and his first championship.

 

In fact, other than the storybook ending to last season, Busch has struggled in South Florida. He posts an average finish of 21.1 and in 11 races at the 1.5-mile track, Busch has two top fives and four top 10s to his credit, including the win last year.

 

Prior to the trip to Victory Lane, Busch’s best finish in Miami was fourth in 2012.

 

Déjà Vu All Over Again?

Excluding Talladega, where Kyle Busch netted a 30th place finish, he has finished ninth or better in each of the Chase races this year – posting an average finish of 7.3 through the nine races. However, Busch has yet to visit Victory Lane during the Chase while in contention for the title under the current playoff format.

 

He made his way into the Championship 4 in much the same way in 2015 – posting top-10 finishes at all but three tracks (New Hampshire, Charlotte and Talladega). His lone win in the 2015 Chase was the season finale.

 

His clutch performance in the Chase was further exhibited this fall in second place finishes in the cut-off races at Dover and Phoenix this season, which nearly mirrored the results at those tracks in 2015 (second and fourth, respectively).

 

Calling The Shots

The man atop the pit box for the No. 18 M&M’s Core Toyota, Adam Stevens, is chasing history alongside his driver. Stevens would be the second crew chief since the advent of the Chase in 2004 to win consecutive championships.
The other? His Championship 4 rival down pit road – Chad Knaus with Jimmie Johnson.

 

Overall in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, only 10 other crew chiefs have helped their driver hoist the championship trophy in back-to-back seasons:

 

Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson, 2006-10)

Ray Evernham (Jeff Gordon, 1997 & 1998)

Andy Petree (Dale Earnhardt, 1993 & 1994)

Kirk Shelmerdine (Dale Earnhardt, 1986 & 1987, 1990 & 1991)

Herb Nab (Cale Yarborough, 1976 & 1977)

Dale Inman (Richard Petty, 1971 & 1972, 1974 & 1975)*

Jake Elder (David Pearson, 1968 & 1969)

Bud Moore (Joe Weatherly, 1962 & 1963)

Lee Petty (Lee Petty, 1958 & 1959)*

Carl Kiekhafer (Tim Flock, 1955 & Buck Baker, 1956)

 

* Enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame

 

In Leagues Of His Own

How do you follow-up a hall of fame football coaching career with three championships at the highest level of your sport?

 

With four – and counting – championships at the highest level of motorsports.

 

Coach Joe Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl titles in 1983, ’88 and ’92. His Joe Gibbs Racing stable has won NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships with Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015). Toss in a NASCAR XFINITY Series crown in 2009 with Kyle Busch, and you can state a good case that he has had a second hall-of-fame-worthy career.

 

Coach Gibbs has two cars in the hunt for the title in Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. Additionally, JGR drivers Daniel Suárez and Erik Jones are in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship 4 racing Saturday.

 

11/15/2016 - Posted by | ARCHIVES

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