NASCAR finale has a lot of storylines to watch for
Jimmie Johnson Enters Ford 400 Seeking History with Sprint Cup “4-peat”
Sprint Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson holds a 108-point lead on Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin heading into Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson is attempting to make NASCAR history as the first driver ever to win four consecutive Sprint Cup Championships and separate himself from NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough, the only other driver to win three straight Sprint Cup titles (1976-78).
Inaugural Class of NASCAR Legends to Be Inducted to Homestead-Miami “Hall of Champions”
On Saturday, THE Championship Track, in conjunction with NASCAR President Mike Helton, will enshrine the inaugural class of the Homestead-Miami Speedway Hall of Champions. Inaugural inductees include Cup Champions Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison and reigning three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Champions Club high above Turn 1.
South Florida-resident Juan Pablo Montoya Made NASCAR History in Qualifying for Chase
In just his third full-time year of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing—and after achieving international success in the open-wheel world—Colombia native-turned-Miami resident Juan Pablo Montoya became the first non-American born driver ever to qualify for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Chase “playoffs.” The driver of the No. 42 will make a bid for victory in the Ford 400 on his “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Juan Pablo Montoya’s On-Track Success Inspires “Montoya Mania” in South Florida
South Florida resident Juan Pablo Montoya and wife Connie founded Formula Smiles, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve, through sports, the quality of life of Colombian children in vulnerable situations. The Foundation focuses its efforts on complementing the basic education children are entitled to with a well-rounded upbringing for a more promising future: motivation to continue in school; making good use of free time; and staying off the streets and away from drugs and violence. This fall, Homestead- Miami Speedway made available to fans a very unique “Montoya Mania” ticket package, with $42 of each package going directly to the Formula Smiles Foundation. As a token of appreciation to his fans, Juan Pablo will do a very exclusive Q&A session with fans prior to the Ford 400.
Kyle Busch Clinches Nationwide Series Title with Ford 300 Start; Will Cut Back in 2010
The Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the final full-time Nationwide Series start for Kyle Busch, who anticipates running a limited Nationwide Series schedule in 2010. With a 190-point lead on second-place Carl Edwards, Busch needs only to start the Nationwide race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch the 2009 Championship.
Hornaday to Be Crowned Camping World Truck Series Champion following Ford 200
With his fourth-place finish at Phoenix, Ron Hornaday Jr. became just the fourth four-time champion in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions—joining the select company of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon. At the ripe age of 51, Hornaday also becomes the oldest champion in a top NASCAR division. He previously won Truck Series titles in 1996, 1998 and 2007, and narrowly missed last season, when he fell a mere seven points shy of Johnny Benson following the Championship finale at Homestead- Miami Speedway.
Double-File Restarts to Make Championship Weekend Debut
Double-file restarts will make their Championship-finale debut in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Having adopted the practice earlier in the year, NASCAR will line up drivers double-file each time the field goes back to green—with position Nos. 1 and 2 side-by-side, and so on through the field —the same manner in which the race is started.
Jeff Gordon Seeking His First Win at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford 400
Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will try to break his winless streak at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. In 10 career starts, Gordon never has won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami. He entered 2009 winless at just two tracks in his legendary career but captured the checkered flag at Texas in April to leave Homestead-Miami in a company of one.
Truex to Make Final Run for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Martin Truex Jr.—who won back-to-back Nationwide titles at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004 and 2005—will race in the No. 1 car of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for the final time during the Ford 400. He will be moving to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010 to drive the No. 56 car alongside Zephyrhills, Fla.- native David Reutimann. Homestead-Miami Speedway is no stranger to notable final rides: In 2007, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his final start in the iconic No. 8 car; and last year, Tony Stewart made his final run in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 before moving on to start Stewart-Haas Racing.
2010 Ford Mustang Nationwide COT to Make a Cameo at Homestead-Miami Speedway
A race-ready Ford Mustang will make an on-track appearance during Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ford announced earlier this year that in 2010 the Mustang will debut as NASCAR’s Nationwide Series Car of Tomorrow—following in the steps of the Sprint Cup Series, which debuted its COT in 2007 in an effort to increase driver safety, level the field of competition and lower costs for race teams.
Ford FR9 to Make its Open-Track Debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Ford Motor Company is expected to run its new Sprint Cup Series engine full-time in 2010. The new FR9 engine—residing in David Ragan’s No. 6 Ford Fusion this weekend—is specially designed for NASCAR racing with major improvements to increase horsepower on the track. Ford has been developing the engine since early this year, with team-owners Jack Roush and Doug Yates key to its development. Its ontrack appearance at Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark its debut on a non-restrictor-plate track.
Buzz Aldrin Named Honorary Race Chairman for Sprint Cup Ford 400
What was once thought impossible came true in 1969 when the world witnessed the first ever moon landing. Homestead-Miami Speedway will celebrate the 40-year anniversary of this accomplishment by honoring legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin—the second human to step foot on the moon—during NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend. Aldrin will headline pre-race ceremonies as Honorary Race Chairman for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Ford 400 and lead the pace car and race field in a 1969 Ford Mustang.
Newest Disney Princess to Sing Anthem Prior to Ford 400; Grand Marshal a “Dirty Job”
Hollywood will be well-represented on Ford 400 Sunday with Anika Noni Rose—voice of lead-character Tiana in Disney’s upcoming film “The Princess and the Frog”—singing the national anthem; and Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s Emmy-nominated series “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe,” serving as Grand Marshal.
NASCAR Crew Prize to Be Awarded at Homestead-Miami
Homestead-Miami Speedway will serve as host when Craftsman recognizes one crew member from each of NASCAR’s top series with the “Craftsman Wrenchman Award.” The honor celebrates the NASCAR crew members who best exemplify the attributes of the Craftsman brand both in the garage and at home.