Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rookie Stripe: Why Homestead is Important

Photo Credit: Cris Trotman / Getty Images for NASCAR

"The winner ain't the one with the fastest car, it's the one who refuses to lose."  ~ Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Miami -- the map dot at Florida's southern tip -- is celebrated for its balmy weather, miles of picturesque coastline and trendy nightlife. It also happens to be home to one of NASCAR’s most important races. NASCAR visits 23 tracks in 20 states during the course of a season. But each November, the 1.5-mile oval of Homestead-Miami Speedway is the finish line of racing dream, where a champion rises above the rest.

A Track with Tenacity

The Ford Championship Weekend, held each year during NASCAR's final week of the season in November, lives up to Miami’s lively reputation. One of NASCAR’s pinnacle weekends includes the final races of all three series: the Sprint Cup, Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series, known as the Ford EcoBoost 400, Ford EcoBoost 300, and Ford EcoBoost 200. By the time a weekend chock-full of racing concludes, three drivers will be champions, including the renowned Sprint Cup Champ.

Homestead-Miami Speedway, which opened November 3, 1995, has an extraordinary history in its own right. Constructed as part of a larger plan to help the community rebuild following the devastation from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, it's been one of the driving forces helping Miami-Dade County reconstruct its livelihood. Geoffrey Bodine was the track’s first winner, in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series exhibition race on November 4, 1995, and Dale Jarrett won the inaugural Busch Series Jiffy Lube 300 the following day. On November 18, 2005, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the Ford Championship Weekend under the lights for the first time.

A Feverish Finish 

Homestead-Miami hosts just one weekend of NASCAR events each season, and it happens be the last one, bringing the season full circle. Just one driver of 43 can be crowned the winner of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. By the time the Chase reaches Homestead-Miami (during the 2015 season, November 20-22) drivers and teams have raced the regular season, plus the unforgiving Challenger, Contender and Eliminator Rounds that gradually narrow the field to just four drivers who compete in the final race.

Racing in Florida will be fast, and it will be furious. While all 43 drivers run the race, only the four remaining in the Chase actually compete for the championship during the final event. And no matter who wins the actual race at Homestead-Miami, the driver with the most points after the final 10 races is named the champion. 

2 comments :