Welcome NASCAR Race fans to my NASCAR blog. My last Race Review of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. There was a lot of hoopla coming to this race with three contenders able to win the Championship at the end of the race. Would Denny Hamlin, leading the points heading into the race, be able to hold off four in a row champion, Jimmie Johnson and Points leader of the “regular season”, Kevin Harvick? Denny won this race last year. And no one has ever lost the championship with a lead going into the final race. Can Jimmie make history again by winning his fifth championship in a row? Or is that too much to ask? And let’s not forget Harvick, who has raced his way to the front after qualifying poorly all year.
Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5 mile track that is progressively banked in the corners. This gives the cars more grooves to race in. 267 laps is 400 miles. 83 Kasey Kahne sits on the pole with a speed of 176.904 mph and 30.525 seconds. 99 Carl Edwards will start the race beside him on the front row. 46 Michael McDowell and 26 Patrick Carpentier failed to qualify for the race. The race starts earlier this year than in previous years. And I for one like the earlier time. The sun in their eyes won’t be a factor. But the track will be slick.
So, here we go! 83 leads from the pole. 16 Greg Biffle and 29 Kevin Harvick race side by side. 83 and 99 battle side by side for the lead and 99 takes the lead. 43 A. J. Allmendinger battles with 48 Jimmie Johnson. 48 finally takes third from 43. The first caution comes out for 00 David Reutimann getting into the wall and then 2 Kurt Busch getting into 00. The tire comes apart and much debris is on the track. 00 goes to the garage. The field pits.
99 comes out first and takes off at the restart. The second caution comes out when 11 Denny Hamlin spins into the infield, damaging his front splitter. 98 Paul Menard was racing on top, 16 was just below when 11 tried to go up the track, placing himself too close to 16. 11 and 2 make a pit stop for repairs. 11 will restart in 39th. 48 and 56 Martin Truex, Jr. race side by side for fourth. 43 gets by 83 for second. 11 pits with a tire going down, or at least he said the car feels funny. His pitting starts Green Flag Pitting. 31 Jeff Burton and 48 race side by side but 31 can’t get by. 31 leads and 48 leads. 14 Tony Stewart leads. After it all, 56 is in the lead. 48 had a slow stop and 31 had an even slower one Something got stuck and the tire wouldn’t go on. 24 Jeff Gordon may have dropped a valve.
The third caution comes out for debris as 48 and 29 race for seventh. 00 comes back onto the track, down 80 laps. 56 and 99 battle side by side for the lead after the restart. 99 takes the lead. 1 Jamie McMurray gets by 56 for second. 11 is extremely loose with damage to the splitter. 56 takes the lead.
The fourth caution comes out when 47 Marcos Ambrose spins. 31 Jeff Burton gets back onto the lead lap. 11 comes into the pits for repairs. The fifth caution comes out when 20 Joey Logano gets his nose hard into the wall. He heads for the garage. 48, 29 and 18 are racing three wide. 48 backs off. 56 and 99 battle for the lead. 31 gets by 11 for sixteenth. 56 and 99 battle for the lead. 1, 39 Ryan Newman and 48 are three wide. 48 pulls behind the other two.
The sixth caution comes out for 7 Kevin Conway. 99 and 18 battle for the lead. 18 leads that lap and then 99 takes the lead back and takes off. 31 hits the wall, gets to an access road and nearly slides back onto the track. The seventh caution comes out for debris from 31. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets back onto the lead lap. 29 comes out of the pits first and is declared speeding entering the pits, even though he was behind a couple of cars and they weren’t speeding.
The eighth caution comes out for 38 Dave Blaney, who hits the wall. 47 Marcos Ambrose gets his lap back. 29 comes in for fuel and tires. At the restart, 56 has a tire going down and falls like a rock back into the field. He finally makes it to pit road. 2 gets into the wall. 99 and 17 Matt Kenseth, who are first and second, pull away from the field.
The ninth caution comes out when 24 blows up and there is oil on the track. There was a communication error with the 11 team and they don’t pit. 29 stays out to gain position. 29 battles 11 and 29 gets by. 17 takes the lead from 99 and 99 takes it back. 18 and 48 battle side by side for third. 14 gets into the battle and pushes 48 ahead of 18. 12 Brad Keselowlki gets by 11 for eighth. 11 needs a caution. 9 Aric Almirola gets by 11 for ninth. And there is another round of Green Flag Pitting with 29 laps to go. 5 Mark Martin leads, as does 83.
The tenth caution comes out when 18 pulls in front of 29, 29 doesn’t let off, 18 didn’t clear and 29 spins 18 out. 18 bursts into flames and the crew chief has to tell Kyle to get out of the car. (I believe he wanted to go after Harvick.) 14 Tony Stewart gets back on the lead lap and 11 takes the wave around. 33 Clint Bowyer, 56 and 2 race three wide.
And 99 Carl Edwards wins the Ford 400. This is his second win in a row this year. It took a long time to finally win and he wins again. There is hope for a good 2011. 48 Jimmie Johnson wins his fifth Championship in a row! And gives Rick Hendrick his tenth Championship, most of any owner. There were nine different leaders.
And now, for my comment. This is the fifth championship in a row for the 48 team. And the only way he is able to do that is because of the chase for the Sprint Cup. The points would be different if there were no chase. In my opinion the chase does not make the last ten races more exciting. It just changes the way the points are added up. The 29 team had a stellar year, finishing up front all year. He deserved to win the Championship, but didn’t because of the Chase. Fans don’t like Johnson winning the title all the time, but if this chase keeps up, I can’t see any other possible outcome. NASCAR doesn’t need a playoff system, as it has no divisions or leagues for eliminations. All 43 cars are on the tracks for all 36 races of the season. This year Harvick would have won, with Johnson and Hamlin second and third. Even the top twelve would have finished differently if there was no chase. And would have reflected the racing for the whole year, instead of just what happened for those last ten races. It is a 36 race season, after all. And talking about the twelve chosen and making predictions about the races does not make the racing more exciting. The chase only gives the 48 team another Title .