There are plenty of stories to follow during Sunday’s running of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which can be heard live on the Motor Racing Network at 2 p.m. ET.
Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick make up this year’s Championship 4. The driver ahead of the other three when the checkered flag flies will be the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champ. While Truex Jr., Busch and Harvick are all previous champions, Hamlin is seeking his first title.
There are a lot of unknowns about how the 2019 rules package will impact competition on Sunday. Since Homestead only hosts one race a year, there is not a notebook on how the 550 horsepower with aero ducts rules package will influence what drivers can do behind the wheel. Since qualifying was rained out, the lineup is based on the rulebook and point standings so at least the Championship 4 drivers will start near the front of the field and not be mired back in the pack when the green flies.
There are more than a handful of drivers looking to and capable of stealing the championship spotlight from the contenders. Last year’s champ Joey Logano is at the top of the list along with Team Penske running mates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, who were all fast in practice. Kyle Larson considers Homestead one of his favorite tracks on the schedule and will no doubt run the high line that proved to be so potent in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. Chase Elliott would like nothing better than to end his year in Victory Lane after getting eliminated from the playoffs in the Round of 8.
Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric will battle down to the wire for this year’s Rookie of the Year honors. Hemric is 25th and Preece 26th in the point standings as the duo end their freshman seasons on Sunday. Preece will return to JTG Daugherty Racing in 2020 while Hemric heads to JR Motorsports and a 21-race Xfinity Series schedule as Tyler Reddick takes over his Richard Childress Racing Cup ride.
End of an Era
Two veteran drivers will make their final starts as full-time Cup Series drivers on Sunday. David Ragan hangs up his helmet after 470 starts in NASCAR’s top series. Menard will take the green flag for the 471st time in his Cup career. Matt DiBenedetto will take Menard’s spot at the Wood Brothers next season while Front Row Motorsports has not yet announced who will fill Ragan’s seat in 2020. Read More