Idriver Handicaps:/I Homestead

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Who's HOT at Homestead-Miami
  • Tony Stewart has two wins on the old configuration and two finishes of seventh or better on the variable banking. His finishing average is the best among all drivers that have competed in all six events.
  • Greg Biffle is the defending race winner and led 117 laps last year in this event.
  • Bobby Labonte has one win, a 9.3 average finish and has led 187 laps.
  • Jamie McMurray has one pole and two consecutive top-10 finishes.
  • The teammates of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have average finishes of 9.5 and 9.6, respectively, in a combined 10 starts.

    Who's NOT
  • Ken Schrader has the worst average finish among all drivers that have competed in five or more races.
  • Matt Kenseth has finished 19th or worse and has never led a lap in the five races he has competed in.
  • Dave Blaney is another driver who has yet to lead a lap.
  • Mike Bliss has two DNFs in two starts.
  • Jeff Green has finished 37th or worse in the last three races.
  • Elliott Sadler only has one finish (ninth) inside the top 15 in six starts.

    Who Else to Watch
  • Carl Edwards will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis RK-350) that he won with at Atlanta.
  • Kenny Wallace will return again in the No. 97, a car that has performed well in the past at Homestead.
  • Kyle Busch is coming off his second career win, but don't count out his teammate Brian Vickers, who is seeking his first career win.
  • With current odds of *100-1, Denny Hamlin might be a good bet.
  • One last shot for Rusty Wallace. His best finish at the track is eighth (2004).
  • Kevin Harvick has finished in the top 10 in three of his four races.

    1. Tony Stewart
    Points: 6415
    Avg. Start: 11.5
    Avg. Finish: 8.3

    Stewart's finishing average ranks first among all drivers that have competed in every event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He is the only multiple winner and is the only driver to lead in five races at HMS. Stewart, who has led the most laps at HMS with 330, needs to finish ninth or better to secure his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship. He will be shooting for his third top-10 finish on the new variable banking in the same car (chassis No. 83) that has posted five top-10 finishes in 2005, including a win at Indianapolis.

    2. Jimmie Johnson
    Points: 6363
    Avg. Start: 23.8
    Avg. Finish: 9.5

    Since finishing 25th in his first start in 2001 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Johnson has gone on to record finishes of eighth or better. Last year he started 39th and finished a best second and lost the championship by a mere eight points to Kurt Busch. In 2002 and 2003 Johnson led his only laps at HMS for a combined total of 34.

    3. Carl Edwards
    Points: 6328
    Avg. Start: 22.0
    Avg. Finish: 14.0

    Edwards started 22nd and finished 14th in his first start at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004. This weekend Edwards will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis RK-350) that he won with at Atlanta.

    4. Greg Biffle
    Points: 6313
    Avg. Start: 10.7
    Avg. Finish: 20.3

    Biffle's victory in 2004 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was his first finish of 25th or better in three starts. His finishing average is the worst among all drivers with at least one victory at the track. Biffle, who led 117 laps, will race the same chassis (RK-249) that won at Michigan this year and Homestead last season.

    5. Mark Martin
    Points: 6253
    Avg. Start: 20.2
    Avg. Finish: 13.2

    Martin has three top-five finishes in six starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In his last two starts he has posted finishes of 33rd and 11th, respectively, including his only DNF in 2003. For the first time since 1996, Martin will run all three NASCAR events in one weekend. His Truck Series start, which will be in the No. 33, will be his first series start since 1996.

    6. Ryan Newman
    Points: 6208
    Avg. Start: 7.3
    Avg. Finish: 24.3

    Since finishing sixth in his first start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Newman has gone on to post two DNFs with finishes of 37th and 30th, respectively.

    7. Matt Kenseth
    Points: 6187
    Avg. Start: 27.8
    Avg. Finish: 30.0

    Kenseth has the worst finishing average among the "Chase" contenders at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His average is coupled by two DNFs and five finishes of 19th or worse. Kenseth's only start inside the top 10 came in 2002 when qualified 13th.

    8. Rusty Wallace
    Points: 6016
    Avg. Start: 12.7
    Avg. Finish: 14.0

    Wallace posted his first top 10 last season at Homestead-Miami Speedway with an eighth-place finish. In his first four races at the track he consistently finished betwen 12th and 15th place. Wallace will race the same chassis (PRS-098) that most recently finished seventh at Kansas. This weekend will mark Wallace's 706th-career, and possibly last, NEXTEL Cup Series start.

    9. Kurt Busch
    Points: 5974
    Avg. Start: 10.2
    Avg. Finish: 16.8

    Thanks to a suspension by Jack Roush, Busch will not be in the No. 97 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch, who is the only multiple pole winner at HMS, has four top 10s in five starts. Kenny Wallace, who has finished 22nd in the last two races at HMS, will pilot the No. 97 for the second consecutive week.

    10. Jeremy Mayfield
    Points: 5939
    Avg. Start: 18.0
    Avg. Finish: 17.8

    Mayfield posted his only top-10 (sixth) with Evernham Motorsports at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2003. In that race he led for the second time in his career at the track, for four of his total of 29 laps. Last year he finished 35th in this event.

    11. Jeff Gordon
    Points: 4031
    Avg. Start: 16.0
    Avg. Finish: 9.7

    Gordon captured his best finish last year at Homestead-Miami Speedway when he came home third. The finish was his third consecutive top five and series leading fifth top 10. Gordon, who has the best average finish (9.6) in the last five races at HMS, has led in two races for seven laps. Gordon leads Jamie McMurray by 10 points in the battle for eleventh spot in the standings for the $1 million bonus.

    12. Jamie McMurray
    Points: 4021
    Avg. Start: 11.0
    Avg. Finish: 12.7

    McMurray won his first NEXTEL Cup pole in 2003 at Homestead-Miami with a speed of 181.111 mph. The lap, which still stands as the record, was the first pole on the new configuration. In that event, McMurray went on to capture his first of two top-10 finishes in three starts at the track. Last year he finished a career-best seventh at HMS.

    13. Elliott Sadler
    Points: 3990
    Avg. Start: 28.7
    Avg. Finish: 24.3

    Sadler's only finish of 18th or better at Homestead-Miami Speedway came in 2002 when he finished ninth. Sadler, who has led one lap (2000) at HMS, has posted finishes of 21st and 34th, respectively, since the track went to variable banking.

    14. Kevin Harvick
    Points: 3925
    Avg. Start: 16.0
    Avg. Finish: 9.8

    Harvick has finished in the top 10 in three of his four races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His best finish of second came in the 2003 event after leading for the second time at the speedway.

    15. Joe Nemechek
    Points: 3857
    Avg. Start: 12.7
    Avg. Finish: 19.3

    Nemechek's best finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in six races came with Hendrick Motorsports in 2002. In that race, he led 111 laps in the No. 25 car en route to a second-place finish. Nemechek has finished 17th and 27th, respectively, with his current team, MB2, in the last two races at HMS.

    16. Dale Jarrett
    Points: 3848
    Avg. Start: 19.2
    Avg. Finish: 21.3

    Since finishing fifth in the first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1999, Jarrett has posted an average finish of 24.6. His best finish (15th) in the last five races came in 2002 when he led for the last time at the speedway for 27 laps. Jarrett, who tested at HMS, will drive chassis No. 54, which most recently finished 12th at Texas.

    17. Brian Vickers
    Points: 3813
    Avg. Start: 8.5
    Avg. Finish: 26.0

    Vickers' best finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two starts came last season when he came home 18th. He will be shooting for his first top 10 at HMS driving the same car (chassis No. 353) that has posted two top-five finishes in five races this year.

    18. Jeff Burton
    Points: 3715
    Avg. Start: 25.7
    Avg. Finish: 11.8

    Burton tested last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he looks to improve on his 36th-place finish in his only track start with Richard Childress racing last season. In his five previous starts with Roush Racing he captured three top-five finishes, most recently a third in 2002.

    19. Kyle Busch
    Points: 3713
    Avg. Start: --
    Avg. Finish: --

    Busch started fifth and finished third in his only NASCAR start (Busch Series) at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season.

    20. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Points: 3674
    Avg. Start: 17.0
    Avg. Finish: 19.2

    Earnhardt Jr. has yet to post a top-10 finish in five starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His best finish of 13th came in his first start in 2000. In 2002 he qualified inside the top 10 (second) for the only time, and led his only laps (46) at HMS. He will race the same car (chasis No. 38) that finished eighth at Texas.

    21. Ricky Rudd
    Points: 3615
    Avg. Start: 10.8
    Avg. Finish: 21.2

    Rudd will make his last start behind the wheel of the No. 21 Ford this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as the veteran driver announced he will take some time off. Rudd's record of 788 consecutive starts will also come to an end at a track where he has scored two top-10 finishes.

    22. Kasey Kahne
    Points: 3496
    Avg. Start: 4.0
    Avg. Finish: 38.0

    Last season Kahne started fourth and finished 38th (DNF) in his first start at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2003 at the track, he captured his first NASCAR Busch Series win in his 54th start.

    23. Casey Mears
    Points: 3477
    Avg. Start: 28.0
    Avg. Finish: 26.5

    Mears will make his final start in the No. 41 this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he has yet to post a top-20 finish. Mears will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 206) that he equaled his career-best finish, of fourth, with at Texas.

    24. Bobby Labonte
    Points: 3427
    Avg. Start: 13.3
    Avg. Finish: 9.3

    Labonte won the 2003 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway when Bill Elliott cut a tire while leading on the final lap. The win was his last of four top-10 finishes at the 2-mile speedway. Last year Labonte finished 12th and boosted his track total of laps led to 187. His finishing average ranks second to his teammate Tony Stewart among all drivers that have competed in all six events. Labonte will start his last race behind the wheel of the No. 18 in the same chassis (No. 116) that finished 26th at Texas.

    37. Robby Gordon
    Points: 1996
    Avg. Start: 37.0
    Avg. Finish: 28.3

    Gordon has finished 26th or worse in his three starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After finishing eighth at Phoenix, this weekend will mark Gordon's second consecutive race using Dale Earnhardt Inc. horsepower.

    43. Denny Hamlin
    Points: 737
    Avg. Start: --
    Avg. Finish: --

    Hamlin will be making his first start at Homestead-Miami Speedway in both the NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend.

    RacingOne Staff Picks:

    Pete Pistone: Greg Biffle
    Rick Benjamin: Carl Edwards
    Ron Lemasters: Tony Stewart
    Jeff Wackerlin: Jimmie Johnson

    Wins:
    Jeff (Greg Biffle-California, Kevin Harvick-Bristol, Jeff Gordon-Martinsville, Tony Stewart-Daytona, Ryan Newman-New Hampshire)
    Rick (Jeff Gordon-Talladega, Greg Biffle-Michigan, Kurt Busch-Richmond)
    Ron (Tony Stewart-Infineon, Tony Stewart-Indianapolis, Tony Stewart-Watkins Glen)
    Pete (Jimmie Johnson-Lowe's, Jeff Gordon-Martinsville)

    Ford 400
    Homestead-Miami Speedway

    TV: NBC, 4:00 p.m. (ET).
    Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
    Race length: 267 Laps, 400.5 miles.

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