The long and winding season that is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will come to an end Sunday afternoon with the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Four drivers remain in the playoffs and whomever is the highest finisher of the four drivers, they will be the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
This has been the most competitive racing filled season I think the sport has had in a long time and it should be an exciting race to watch on Sunday. We have one driver looking to repeat as series champion, two looking to win their first championship and one looking to put his name alongside the sport’s two greatest drivers.
The six time series champion is looking to make Sunday an historic day. If he were to win the championship, he would tie Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with seven individual championships. The 16 year veteran has an up and down season but put himself in great position to be apart of the Championship 4.
He’s won 4 races this season including Martinsville which punched his ticket to Homestead. He’s been the least consistent though amongst the final four with only fifteen top ten finishes through 35 races.
Homestead has been a good track for Johnson however. In 15 career starts, he has four top fives, ten top tens and a average finish of 14th. He will need to finish a lot better than that in order to make history.
The defending series champion barely made it into the Championship 4 with a runner up finish at Phoenix last week to edge out his teammate Denny Hamlin in the point standings.
Busch is now in a position to become the first driver since Jimmie Johnson from 2006 to 2010 to win consecutive championships.
With four wins, seventeen top fives and 24 top ten finishes, the 12 year veteran has displayed consistency all year to get him in this position. Now while he’s also the defending race winner at Homestead, this track hasn’t always been kind to him.
In 11 races, he has one win, two top fives, four top tens, and an average finish of 21st. But he’s proved he can win here and he may have to on Sunday to make it back to back.
He was once called the best thing since sliced bread by Hall of Famer Mark Martin. Sunday he can finally live up to that hype by winning his first championship.
Since joining Penske Racing in 2013, Logano has proven his talent was worth the hype put on him as a 19 year old rookie. The now 26 year old has won 15 races and has finished in the top 8 in points the last three seasons but just couldn’t put it all together for a championship.
This year he’s been typical Logano with three wins, fifteen top fives and twenty five top tens. He punched his ticket to the Championship 4 with a win last week in Phoenix but will likely need another win at Homestead.
That’ll be a challenge for him, in seven career starts at the track, Logano has only one top five and two top tens with an average finish of 18th.
The 13 year veteran has nearly tasted the Sprint Cup championship twice in his career.
In 2008, he won nine races including the season finale at Homestead but lost the championship by 69 points to Jimmie Johnson.
In 2011, he was tied with Tony Stewart in the point standings when the race ended at Homestead. With the tiebreaker, they went to wins on the season. Edwards had one while Stewart had five, thus giving Stewart the championship.
He joined Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015 in order to contend and win championships after declined performance in Jack Roush Racing’s equipment. He won two races last season and finished fifth in points last year.
This year he picked it up a notch with three wins including the rain shortened win at Texas which clinched his spot in the Championship 4.
In twelve starts at Homestead, he has two wins, five top fives and seven top tens with an average finish of 9th, the best amongst the contenders.
Although I’d like to see Jimmie Johnson win his record tying seventh championship. I think Carl Edwards will finally get the monkey off his back and win his first Sprint Cup Series championship.
He came to Joe Gibbs Racing to win championships and he’s got the equipment to do so.
His only challenge will be if Logano or Busch are in a spot to contend with him on the track. Busch and Logano have the history of being hot heads and not being afraid to use the bumper to shove their fellow races out of their way.
Edwards’ success at Homestead gives him the big advantage over the other drivers and I think it’s what ultimately gives him the championship.