This is it. 35 long, grueling weeks have passed since the season opened with the Daytona 500, and now, while there will still be 40 cars on the track racing for a win, only four of them are eligible to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
This Sunday, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick will battle for a place in NASCAR history while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Matt Kenseth fight for one last taste of victory.
Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval track with progressive banking, which has provided some of the best racing in NASCAR’s most intense race of the year. Here’s who you can expect to see at the front of the pack on Sunday’s championship-deciding race.
The Championship 4
The since the elimination format of the playoffs has been in place, it has taken a win to determine the champions, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, or Martin Truex, Jr. won Sunday’s event in order to win the championship. To see their previews, click here.
Now out of the playoffs, Denny Hamlin has nothing to lose. Not only does Hamlin have two wins at the Miami track, but he is the only repeat winner at Homestead who will be driving this weekend. He came up short after dominating last weekend at Phoenix, so don’t be surprised if he makes a rally to the front and challenges for the win.
Chase Elliott’s record in the playoffs this season has shown how competitive the young man is. He’s finished in the top 10 in six of the nine playoff races, including second last weekend at Phoenix, and he came very close to winning at Martinsville. He’s run well at the 1.5-mile tracks as well, finishing second at Chicago and Charlotte and fourth at Kansas. If Elliott keeps up his run, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in victory lane this weekend.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
In his last full-time start, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will drive a paint scheme resembling his first starts in the series. While his record at Homestead isn’t fantastic, he has nothing to lose. None of his teammates are in the playoffs, so surely they’ll all help Earnhardt in some way. If he does have a chance to win, expect him to be hungry and aggressive to pass the leader.