Homestead Heats Up The Night

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MIAMI, Fla. – The future of Homestead-Miami Speedway, the excitement of Ford Championship Weekend, and the nightlife in Miami all just became that much brighter.

Lights will be installed at Homestead-Miami Speedway to allow for races to be held at night, announced Speedway President Curtis Gray. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin immediately and be complete in time for the 2005 Ford Championship Weekend, the season-finales for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, NASCAR Busch Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, November 17-20.

The new lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway will allow for later start times and therefore a "prime time", championship atmosphere at the Speedway’s major events beginning with November’s Ford Championship Weekend.

"When one thinks of the greatest championship sporting events around the world, one thinks of prime-time, electric atmospheres," said Gray. "The championship finales for NASCAR’s three elite series will now all take place in an unparalleled setting under the lights during Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway."

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Ford 400, televised live on NBC, is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on November 20 and conclude under the lights. Following the Ford 400, the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion will be officially crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"NASCAR is a national sport that continues to grow into new markets. The prime time start will allow even more fans to tune in for the finale of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 will also run under the lights with an 8 p.m. scheduled start time on November 18 and televised live on SPEED TV. The start time for the NASCAR Busch Series Ford 300 on November 19 is still to be determined and will be released at a later date. A detailed competition schedule for the entire Ford Championship Weekend will also be released at a later date. All times are tentative and subject to change.

The addition of lights comes after feedback from many race fans desiring night racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Similarly, the Speedway was re-configured with 20-degree variable banking two years ago after fans demanded more exciting racing action.

"Much like the addition of the new banking, this is the next step in making our events even more exciting for the fans," said Gray. "Fans witnessing racing under the new lights will enjoy an electrifying experience unlike any other. There’s nothing like a NASCAR race under the lights and there’s nothing like a major event at night in South Florida."

Musco Lighting, an Academy and Emmy Award winning lighting specialist, will oversee the lighting project at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Musco Lighting has also installed lights at International Speedway Corporation facilities Daytona International Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, California Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, and Darlington Raceway.

The lighting project continues a trend of rapid growth in recent years for Homestead-Miami Speedway and its major events.

In 2003, the Speedway underwent the major track reconfiguration project whereby the track’s banking was increased to a maximum of 20 degrees using a state-of-the-art, variable banking system. The new track, the first to ever be designed by computers, drew rave reviews for its tremendous side-by-side racing during its debut at the 2003 Ford Championship Weekend.

The inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup then concluded the NASCAR season at the 2004 Ford Championship Weekend with the closest championship finish in series history determined at the Ford 400 in front of a sold-out crowd and an event-record television audience.

The 2005 Ford Championship Weekend, November 17-20, the season-finales for the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series will mark another unprecedented event, the debut of night racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In addition to Ford Championship Weekend, the Speedway hosts the Toyota Indy 300, the season-opener for the IRL IndyCar Series as well as the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami. In total, the Speedway is active more than 260 days per year with multiple forms of racing, testing, track rentals, driving schools, and community events.

Tickets to Ford Championship Weekend go on sale to the general public on Saturday, April 16 at 9 a.m. For more information, go online to homesteadmiamispeedway.com, or call (305) 230-RACE, (866) 409-RACE.

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