Posts Tagged ‘Homestead-Miami Speedway’

NASCAR Race Review: Ford 400 Season Finale

December 1, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series comes to an end with the Season Finale Ford 400 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Coming into the race, two drivers can win the Sprint Cup Championship. Carl Edwards is three points ahead of Tony Stewart. Tony has already won four of the final ten races. Carl has not finished worse than eleventh in the nine races in the chase for the Sprint Cup. Carl is leading Tony by the three points given to him for winning in Las Vegas earlier in the season. Who ever wins this race will be crowned champion.

99 Carl Edwards holds the advantage by qualifying on the Pole with a speed of 175.467 mph and 30.775 seconds around this 1.5 mile track. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. starts next to him on the front row. Scott Speed, Reed Sorenson, Mike Skinner, Scott Riggs and Grant Enfinger failed to make the race. (J. J. Yeley reports he is stuck in traffic on the way to the track and hopes he will make it to the driver’s meeting.)

This was quite a year for NASCAR racing. There were eighteen different winners, five of which were first time winners. Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500, Regan Smith won at Darlington Speedway, Paul Menard won the Brickyard 400, David Ragan won the 400 race at Daytona and Marcos Ambrose won at Watkins Glen International. They will all get to race in the Sprint All Star race next year. No Owner/driver has won a Championship since Alan Kulwicki did it in 1992. Tony can do this by winning in his Stewart/ Haas #14 car.

So, here we go! 14, starting fifteenth, makes it three wide for position. 99 leads the first lap from the pole with 56 right behind. 22 Kurt Busch is smoking and slow on the track with transmission issues on Lap 3. He heads for the garage. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr., racing on the high line, gets by 48 Jimmie Johnson. 2 Brad Keselowski and 24 Jeff Gordon get around 17 Matt Kenseth. 88 gets around 17 for fifth.

The first caution comes out on lap 14 for rain. Some part from 22 hit Stewart’s front end and he has to make repairs to the grill. He restarts in fortieth place. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya is caught speeding. The rain is only a few sprinkles and they restart on lap 22. 88 and 56 race for second. 56 is on top where 88 likes to be and can’t get by. 39 Ryan Newman and 48 race for fourth with 24. 24 gets by 48. It’s hard to pass on the bottom of the track, but 24 tries again and gets by 39.

The second caution comes out during the commercial for spinning 35 Dave Blaney. 99 tire changer slips, giving him a long pit stop. 14 makes more repairs to the grill after making his way into the top fifteen.  42 stays out to lead. 2 takes the lead, with 29 Kevin Harvick in second as 42 falls back. 29 and 99 race for second. 21 Trevor Bayne slips in front of 14. 48 and 83 Brian Vickers race for position. 14 drives under 31 Jeff Burton. 99 gets by 29 for second. 29 bumps 99.

2 and 99 race for the lead and 99 takes the lead. 14 gets by 18 Kyle Busch for fourteenth. (The drivers are moving over when Tony gets to them.) 9 Marcos Ambrose is on seven cylinders. 29 and 48 race for eighth. Green Flag Pitting begins on lap 76. 24, 17 and 48 lead before pitting.

The third caution comes out after Green Flag Pitting is complete when 6 David Ragan blows up. 9 also heads for the garage. 13 Casey Mears gets back onto the lead lap. 4 Kasey Kahne makes lengthly adjustments. They restart on lap 88 with 99 and 24 up front. 88 and 17 race for position with 39 right behind. 17 gets by 88, 39 drives under 88. 48 drives under 88. 17 gets by 2. 14 drives under 88 as 88 gets loose. 14 drives under 39 for seventh. 48 makes a pit stop from fifth and the hood goes up.

The fourth caution comes out on lap 108, again for rain. (There is a rainbow across the track.) The blow driers come out, but there is too much rain and the Red Flag comes out. 14 is up to fifth. When the Yellow Flag comes back out, they can continue working on 48. The jet driers dry off pit road so they can get underway. 48 is back on the track after fixing the carburetor. 16 Greg Biffle stays out to lead, then pits. 47 Bobby Labonte was teh Lucky Dog recipient. 29 takes two tires to lead and restarts on the inside. 14 dives under 99 and 24 into second. 29, 56 and 99 are three wide. 42 scrapes the wall. 24 and 14 race for the lead and 24 lets 14 by to take the lead. 88 and 18 race for seventh. 14 is flying! 99 drives under 24 for second. 21 gets into the wall, bringing out the fifth caution.

29 and 39 are first out of the pits. 14 had lug nut trouble. 14 makes it four wide! 39 and 56 race side by side for second and 56 drives under 39 to get by.14 drives around 24. The sixth caution comes out for spinning 48. He had taken the wave around, but now has four flat tires. 34 David Gilliland gets into 48 as he starts to spin. They restart on lap 147 and are three wide for the lead. 56 takes the lead. 14 makes it four wide to get by three others. 14 drives under 56 to take the lead.

The seventh caution comes out when 51 Landon Cassill tries to get around 1 Jamie McMurray but doesn’t clear and goes off spinning. 21 blows a tire and spins. 84 Cole Whitt has nowhere to go and gets caught up in the accident. Pit road is closed until they can clean up the track so the drivers don’t get debris on their new tires when they get back onto the track. 14 had trouble with a lug nut getting stuck in the socket and changed only two tires. 31 and 88 stay out to lead. They quickly lose the lead. 14 drives under 88 for fifth. 14 drives under 31 for fourth. 99 and 56 race for second. 99 drives under 56 into second. 17 and 99 race for the lead and 99 takes the lead.

14 gets by 56 into third. 31 and 4 race for fifth. 14 drives under 17 for second. 99 almost gets into the wall. 33 Clint Bowyer and 43 A. J. Allmendinger nearly collide. 31 pits. 16 is down a cylinder and heads for the garage. (The third Ford with engine trouble.) Green Flag Pitting starts.

4 gets by 56 into fourth. 99 pits and 14 takes the lead. 99 gets by 14 to unlap himself. 14 stretches his fuel so he will only have to make one more stop. Those with fresh tires get by to get back onto the lead lap. 14 finally pits and 5 Mark Martin takes the lead. 99 takes the lead.

The eighth caution comes out for rain. The leaders pit but 18, 2, 43 and 1 stay out but will not have enough fuel to make it to the end. The jet driers blow dry the track while the cars are on the track. 43 pits. 00 David Reutimann gets back onto the lead lap.

They restart with 37 laps to go. 14, 18 and 2 race for the lead. 14 takes the lead. 2 and 99 race for second and 99 clears. 2 makes a pit stop. 14, leading and 99 in second come on lap traffic. They both get by. The Flag man waves for lap traffic to let the leaders by. 14 is about a second ahead of 99 and not about to be caught.

14 Tony Stewart wins the Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in the most exciting race this race fan has ever seen! This was his fifth win in the last ten races of the year. He now becomes one of very few drivers with three or more championships. And he is the only driver to have a Winston Cup, a Nextel Cup and a Sprint Cup! Carl Edwards did what he had to do by leading the most laps. Tony’s winning the race gave both drivers the same amount of points, 2403, but as with any tie, the win goes to the driver with the most wins. Tony Stewart won all five in the last ten races! What a wonderful, exciting race for the grand finale. Tony passed 55 cars to win the race! Tony becomes the first owner/driver to win the Championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992! And his team is only three years old. Truly remarkable. He now has bookends to Jimmie Johnson’s five in a row, as he was the last driver to win the Championship whose name is not Jimmie Johnson. A tie! How about that? That has never happened before. It was a race between the two contenders and they finished first and second. It starts to rain in Victory Lane!

Truex finished third with Kenseth, Gordon, Bowyer, Kahne, Harvick, Hamlin and Burton finishing in the top ten. There were twelve different leaders. Stewart and Edwards finished the points in a tie with 2403 points each. Harvick ended up in third place, like he did last year. Kenseth moved up two spots into fourth. Keselowski fell a spot into fifth. Johnson lost a spot to sixth, his worst finishing position since he began racing in Cup. Earnhardt, Jr. remained in seventh. Gordon moved up three spots into eighth, while Hamlin moved up into ninth. Newman fell a spot, but still finishes in the top ten to get on the stage for the banquet. Kurt Busch fell three spots and joins his brother Kyle as the final ones of the chase who will not be on stage in Las Vegas.

I will be back to recap the NASCAR season. This race was the best of all Grand Finale’s.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

Chase For The Sprint Cup Finale: Two Drivers, One Race

November 20, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Chase for the Sprint Cup comes down to one final race, the Ford 400, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. This will be a race between two drivers, three points apart. Let’s take a look at them.

Carl Edwards sits at the top of the points with his one win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the beginning of the year. That win gave him three points more than Tony Stewart heading into the Chase, as Tony had not won a race in the first 26 races of the regular season. Carl was Mr. Consistency all through the chase. Tony won four of the nine races in the chase so far. They both earned the same amount of points in the chase. The difference is the three points for winning in the regular season. Now it comes down to one race between these two drivers.

Tony has two championships, Carl has none as yet. Although Carl had the most wins in a year, Jimmie Johnson won the championship that year.

Tony won the 2002 Winston Cup championship, and at the time I felt he was undeserving of the Title, as there was much turmoil all year with him needing anger management a lot of the time. That was this fan’s opinion at the time. Nevertheless, he won the championship by being the best driver all year, collecting the most points. The chase started in 2004, with Kurt Busch winning the first Nextel Cup after starting the chase in seventh place. This fan had to wonder about the point of giving the championship to a seventh place team. The next year Tony won the Nextel Cup by being the best driver in the second half of the season. And this fan had to wonder if he was going to win them all just by being at his best in the last ten races. (I was proven wrong, as Jimmie won the next Nextel Cup and then the next four Sprint Cup championships. I was not proven wrong about the chase, as Jimmie managed this feat by being at his best in the chase.)

Now it comes down to one race and two drivers. (Although 41 other drivers will be racing in the Ford 400.) Carl has won the last two out of three races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So he knows how to win here. He also sits on the Pole to start the race. Tony has won a championship in this format and he was the last champion to win whose name was not Johnson. He starts the race in fifteenth.

It should be a great race between these two drivers. However, I’m sure the fans of the other 41 drivers will be wanting to see how their driver is doing. Hopefully one or more of these other drivers will be leading the race so the fans will be able to see more of the race than just these two drivers.

This fan is not a fan of the chase. The system was not broken, so I fail to see the need to “fix” it. And many long time fans agree with me. For me, the champion should be the best all year (as Tony was in 2002), not the best in ten races (as Jimmie was). With the new points system of one point for each position, the points are close anyway. So, I don’t see the need for a “playoff” just for the sake of a “playoff”. I don’t see the need to give a 12th place team a better chance to win the Title. There are 36 races in the season and this fan does not like having the last ten races meaning more than the others. Each race is an individual race and they all should  be treated equally. Homestead hosts the final race, but this fan thinks it was more exciting watching the drivers race into and out of the top ten to get on stage at the banquet at years end in this race.

The Ford 400 starts Sunday afternoon and when the Checkered Flag falls, one of the two drivers will take home the Sprint Cup. (Although it is no longer a Cup, but Checkered Flags.) Here’s to an exciting finale to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

 

NASCAR Race Review: Ford 300

November 20, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. NASCAR Ford Champion Weekend is at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in southern Florida. Friday was the Ford 200 for the Camping World Trucks and Johnny Sauter did all he could by leading the most laps and winning the race. But Austin Dillon won the Championship, the youngest driver to do so. Joey Coulter was the Rookie of the year, also the youngest. And Kevin Harvick Inc. won the Owners Championship with his #2 Truck.

Now comes part two of the weekend. The NASCAR Nationwide Series races the Ford 300 race at Homestead- Miami Speedway, their final race of the season. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. leads the points over Elliott Sadler by a large margin entering this final race. Ricky must finish thirty-sixth or better to win the Championship. Coors Light Qualifying was Saturday before the race, with 22 (Sprint Cup chaser) Brad Keselowski capturing the pole with a speed of 167.660 mph and 32.208 seconds around this 1.5 mile track. 2 Elliott Sadler starts next to him on the front row.

22 Keselowski and 2 Elliott race for the lad and 2 leads the first lap. 89 Morgan Shepherd is blowing up. 39 Fain Skinner hits the wall with help from 14 Eric McClure (perhaps oil from 89 was the culprit). 04 Casey Roderick gets back onto the lead lap after having to pit on the first lap for a loose wheel.

22 drives around 2 to take the lead. The second caution comes out on lap 15 when 66 Steve Wallace gets into the wall. 33 Clint Bowyer and 22 restart on the front row. 33 takes the lead. 2  and 60 Carl Edwards race side by side. 12 Sam Hornish, Jr. and 88 Aric Almirola  race for eleventh. 22 takes the lead. 6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. lets 2 by. 2 drives around 33 for second. (On lap 32, six cars are officially out of the race, giving the Championship to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.)

The third caution is the competition caution due to lack of practice. 52 Kevin Lepage gets back onto the lead lap. 28 Derrike Cope is smoking. 2 misses a lug nut and restarts in 32nd. 18 Denny Hamlin and 60 race for second. 2 is up to twelfth. 18 and 6 race side by side for third and 6 gets by. 6 drives around 18. 22 leading gets loose and 60 races him for the lead. 60 finally takes the lead. 16 Trevor Bayne and 6 get by 18. 32 James Buescher starts Green Flag Pitting.

67 Andrew Ranger slides across the track to bring out the fourth caution. 12 Sam Hornish, Jr. leads them into the pits. 22, who had pitted under Green gets his lap back. 60 and 16 race for the lead and 16 takes the lead. 60 takes the lead back. 60 and 16 race for the lead. 6 and 16 race for second. 22 gets by 12 for fifth. 2 drives by 12 and 22, into fourth. 16 drives around 6, 6 drives under 16, 6 brushes the wall and 16 gets by.

The fifth caution comes out when 41 Stanton Barrett scrapes the wall. 23 Robert Richardson, Jr. is the Lucky Dog and gets back onto the lead lap. 2 was too fast exiting the pits. 60 leads and takes off. 18 drives under 16 for fifth. The sixth caution comes out during the commercial. 66 Steve Wallace cuts a tire and slides across the track. The leaders out of the pits take fuel only. 33 Clint Bowyer and 62 Michael Annett stay out to restart on the front row. They do not have enough fuel to go to the end. 33 chooses the outside and leads. 62 gets shuffled back. 60 gets loose and 22 takes third from him.

6 takes the lead. 60 and 18 race side by side and 60 gets by. 22 and 33 race side by side and 22 gets by. 31 Justin Allgaier can’t get by 12. 16 gets too high and scrapes the wall. The seventh caution comes out during the commercial. 16 got into the wall again, cut a tire, got into the wall and couldn’t control the car. 70 David Stremme takes two tires to lead. 60 had trouble with the right front tire. 32 James Buescher gets his lap back. 70 spins his tires and 22 takes the lead. 60 gets by 70 and 18, into second.

82 Reed Sorenson spins on the track and stops, bringing out the eighth caution. He had a tire going down and couldn’t save it. 16 Trevor Bayne gets his lap back. 22 takes the lead. 60 takes the lead. 2 and 18 race side by side for third. 7 Danica Patrick gets a little too loose and brushes the wall. She heads for the pits.

The ninth caution comes out when 70 gets into the wall and sends 09 Kenny Wallace sliding down the track, into the inside wall. 51 Jeremy Clements gets back onto the lead lap. The crowd cheers when Kenny gets out of his car unhurt. They restart with seven laps to go. 22 and 60 race for the lead. 22 takes the lead. 6 gets by 33 for fourth. 6 drives under 2 for third. 33 and 2 race for fourth and 33 gets by. With two laps to go, 22 and 60 are nose to tail. 6 drives under 60 for second but there is not enough time to catch 22 for the lead.

22 Brad Keselowski wins the Ford 300 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, after starting from the pole. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. nearly won the race, finishing second. Carl Edwards finishes third followed by Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Elliott Sadler, Sam Hornish, Jr., Aric Almirola, Brian Scott and Joey Logano for the top ten. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. wins the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Championship and nearly won the race! 60 wins the Owner’s championship. Jack Roushe is the owner of both cars. 6 and 60 do a burn out nose to nose.

Stenhouse finished 45 points ahead of Sadler. Justin Allgaier finished third in points, followed by Aric Almirola, Reed Sorenson, Jason Leffler, Kenny Wallace, Brian Scott, Michael Annett and Steve Wallace are the top ten. The top five will be on stage at the Banquet next month. Ricky was last years Rookie of the year and won the championship the following year! Timmy Hill is this year’s Rookie of the year.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing. Next up: Ford 400 to decide the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying At Homestead

November 19, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Coors Light Pole Qualifying took place on Saturday afternoon for the upcoming last two races of the NASCAR season at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. As you know, the qualifying line up is according to practice speeds from the first practice session. The slowest come out first and the fastest come out last. This makes for a new Pole sitter almost every driver out. But of course, it never really works out that way.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series qualified for the Ford 300 race to be held later on Saturday. 2 Elliott Sadler came onto the track third from the end and sat on the Pole. Next was 60 Carl Edwards, going for the Owners championship, but could not do better than second. Last to come out was 22 Brad Keselowski. He knocked Elliot off the pole with a speed of 167.660 mph and 32.208 seconds around this 1.5 mile track.

Forty-nine cars were entered, so six will go home. These are Johnny Chapman, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Mark Green, Jeff Green, Jake Crum and T. J. Bell. The Ford 300 will be raced on Saturday, late afternoon.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualified for the Ford 400 right after Nationwide qualifying. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. held onto the Pole position for quite awhile until the fastest in practice came out to qualify. Next to last was 99 Carl Edwards, who knocked Martin off the pole with a speed of 175.467 mph and 30.775 seconds around the track. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr., fastest in practice, came out last, but only qualified eleventh.

Carl Edwards is three points ahead of Tony Stewart and will start from the Pole for the Ford 400 race on Sunday. One of them will be crowned Champion after the race. The six drivers that did not qualify for the race are Dennis Setzer, Grant Enfinger, Mike Skinner, Reed Sorenson (in the 7 car while Robby Gordon is off racing in the Baha 1000 race in the desert) Scott Speed and Scott Riggs.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

NASCAR Race Review: Ford 200

November 19, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This is Ford Champion Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The first of the Ford races was the Ford 200 race to determine the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion. Three drivers are still in the running for the championship as the race begins. Rain canceled the qualifying for the race and much of the practice sessions. The Trucks line up for the race based on their practice speeds earlier on Friday, with 31 James Buescher and 21 Ty Dillon being the fastest. James has a chance to win the championship in this race. The other two contenders, 3 Austin Dillon and 13 Johnny Sauter, both start in the top five, with 3 starting fourth and 13 starting fifth. 8 Nelson Piquet, Jr. starts third.

Seven Trucks entered had to go home without qualifying. The 20 Truck of Ross Chastain is out, but he will be competing in the 93 Truck. NASCAR did get the track dried before the start of the Ford 200. And the weather looked pretty good for the race.

31 James Buescher leads from the pole. 2 Kevin Harvick gets by 8 Piquet for second. 3 Dillon and 13 Sauter nearly get together, but 3 lets off. 60 Cole Whitt narrowly misses the incident. The first caution comes out on lap 4 when 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb’s engine expires.

2 takes the lead at the restart. There is smoke coming from 29 Parker Kligerman, maybe only a tire rub. 88 Matt Crafton bets by 8 for fifth. 24 Elliott Sadler (in his Autism Truck) gets by 31 for second. The second caution is the competition caution because of the rain all day. 57 Norm Benning gets back onto the lead lap. 2 and 18 Denny Hamlin race for the lead and 18 takes the lead. 31 is not to be denied the lead and it is three wide for the lead. 31 takes the lead and 2 gets by 18 for second.

The third caution comes out for 51 Germain Quiroga spinning across the track, onto the grass. 66 Max Gresham may have a hand in the spinning. At the restart 2 and 31 end up on the apron with 31 blocking 2. 13 jumps by 18 to take the lead. 13 and 24 race for the lead and 13 prevails. 13 and 24 race for the lead again and this time 24 takes the lead. 22 Joey Coulter gets by 18 for fifth. 60 gets by 13 for second and then starts Green Flag Pitting. 31 spins 2 at the entrance to pit road. 2 was coming in a little too fast to beat 31 in. 2 comes out of the pits before 31. 62 Brendan Gaughan and 98 Dakoda Armstrong lead but still have to pit. After the pitting, 13 is back in the lead.

18 and 24 race for third and 18 gets the spot. 60 has a vibration. 60 gets by leader 13 to unlap himself. 93 finds himself three wide and spins off into the grass, bringing out the third caution. Before they can restart, a tow truck has to remove 66 who is stopped on the track. He is pushed behind the wall. 13 leads with 22 and 18 racing side by side for second. 33 Ron Hornaday, Jr. drives around 3. (Is something wrong with 3?)

18 kisses the wall trying to take the lead from 13. Sauter is screaming “it’s raining” and stays in the lead as the fourth comes out for rain. There is a Red Flag for rain and the pace car leads them to pit road with fifteen laps to go. The race is declared over and 13 Johnny Sauter wins the Ford 200 after leading the most laps, his second win of the season. Hamlin finishes second, followed by Harvick, Piquet, Jr., Coulter, Ty Dillon, Sadler, Timothy Peters, Jason White and Austin Dillon.

Austin Dillon becomes the youngest Champion in Truck history by finishing the race in tenth. He also has two wins to his credit. RCR racer, 22 Joey Coulter wins Rookie of the year, while RCR driver Dillon wins the championship. This has not happened since Roushe drivers Greg Biffle won the championship and Kurt Busch won Rookie of the year. Joey is the youngest Rookie. Kevin Harvick Inc. #2 Truck wins the Owner championship.

The top five in points will be on stage for their banquet. These are Austin Dillon, Johnny Sauter (who finished 6 points behind), James Buescher, Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Timothy Peters. The rest of the top ten are Todd Bodine, Joey Coulter (up a spot with this race), Matt Crafton (down a spot), Cole Whitt and Nelson Piquet, Jr.

Saturday will have the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers on the track for practice early. They will also qualify for the Ford 400 race on Sunday. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will qualify for and race the Ford 300 race on Saturday.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.