Back in February, 43 teams had a dream to win a championship. Tomorrow, that dream comes down to four teams and four drivers with one goal in mind: to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick are the final four in the Chase and whoever is the highest finisher amongst the four at Homestead-Miami speedway will take home the championship. They’re compelling storylines with each driver and I’ll break down each driver.
Jeff Gordon: the four time champion is heading into his final NASCAR race after an historic 22 year career. The sentimental favorite has one win this season (Martinsville) and twenty top ten finishes this season including the last four races. Homestead is a strong track for Gordon with one win, seven top five finishes and an average finish of 11th in 16 starts. It would be a perfect storybook finish to see Jeff Gordon win his fifth and final championship before riding off into the sunset and into retirement.
Kyle Busch: Kyle Busch has certainly the high and lows during his 2015 NASCAR season. He suffered a broken leg and foot in the first race of the Xfinity Series and many wonder if he’d even race again this year. After missing the first eleven races of the Sprint Cup schedule, he returned to the track in May. After receiving an injury waiver by NASCAR to qualify into the playoffs (he needed to win a race and finish in the top 30 in points prior to the playoff), Busch won four races in a five race stretch during the summer thus qualifying for the playoff. He’s been consistent during the playoff having only one finish outside the top 20 during the first 9 races of the playoffs. Kyle has struggled at Homestead with 1 top five and an average finish of 23rd in 10 starts so it’s going to take a strong, valiant effort for him to win his first championship.
Martin Truex Jr.: the ultimate underdog out of the final four. A year ago, Truex went winless finished 24th in points but this year has been a whole different story. He won a race and has been consistent all season long with 8 top fives and twenty two top tens running for a single car team in Furniture Row racing. Homestead is a strong track for Truex with three top five finishes and an average finish of 10th in ten starts. No single car team has won a Sprint Cup championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992. I believe Truex can be the next.
Kevin Harvick: the defending Sprint Cup champion hasn’t had the hangover that some champions have in other sports. With three wins, twenty two top fives and over 2,000 laps led, Harvick is the odds on favorite to win his second straight championship. Some controversy still hangs over his head though as it looked like he purposely caused a wreck to Talladega to clinch his advancement to the third round of the playoffs while his engine was failing. Harvick can silence the critics with a dominating performance at Homestead, just like he did one year ago en route to his first championship.
Prediction: Now as a fan, I want to see Jeff Gordon or Martin Truex Jr. win the championship based on Gordon’s final race of his career and how much of a perfect storybook finish it would be and with Truex being the underdog with no one really giving him a chance to win it. But I’m going to go with my head and I think Kevin Harvick will be the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. He’s been the most dominant driver this season and he’s coming to a track where he’s had success at.