Everything you need to know about the 2014 Chasers at Homestead

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The final battle awaits.

Four drivers – Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman – will enter Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with an opportunity to win their inaugural Cup championships.

These four have had their points reset ahead of their final run for glory, and no bonus points for leading a lap or the most laps will be on offer for them. The one that finishes the highest will be crowned champion.

And what a Championship 4 we have. Two of them, Harvick and Logano, were chosen by many to be in this situation when the Chase began in September. Between them, they’ve captured nine wins and have been among the fastest drivers all year long.

The other two, Hamlin and Newman, are underdogs that are still standing. Hamlin has only taken one checkered flag, and Newman hasn’t won at all. But here they are thanks to their own clockwork consistency and setbacks for their Chase rivals.

The quartet has managed to survive all the twists and turns that this post-season has delivered. For them, their hard work has come down to this.

Courtesy of NASCAR’s public relations and statistics teams, here’s everything you need to know going into the 10th and final race of the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup – the Ford Ecoboost 400…

HOMESTEAD-MIAMI-SPECIFIC STATISTICS

1 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.7
2014 Rundown
· One win, seven top fives, 17 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 14.5
· Led 17 races for 313 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Two wins, four top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 11.2 in nine races
· Average Running Position of 14.0, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 93.4, eighth-best
· 88 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Series-high 826 Green Flag Passes
· 1,406 Laps in the Top 15 (58.5%), 11th-most

2 – Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.7
2014 Rundown
· Five wins, 16 top fives, 22 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.2
· Led 22 races for 993 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top 10; one pole
· Average finish of 20.8 in five races
· Average Running Position of 19.5, 19th-best
· Driver Rating of 71.2, 22nd-best

3 – Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.1
2014 Rundown
· Four top fives, 15 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.0
· Led 7 races for 41 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, four top 10s
· Average finish of 17.0 in 12 races
· Average Running Position of 13.8, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 84.8, 13th-best
· 696 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· 1,520 Laps in the Top 15 (63.2%), ninth-most
· 426 Quality Passes, third-most

4 – Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.9
2014 Rundown
· Four wins, 13 top fives, 19 top 10s; eight poles
· Average finish of 13.3
· Led 26 races for 2,083 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Five top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 8.1 in 13 races
· Average Running Position of 10.9, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 99.1, fourth-best
· 83 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
· 681 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.857 mph, fifth-fastest
· 1,805 Laps in the Top 15 (75.1%), fourth-most
· 398 Quality Passes, sixth-most

5 – Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.6
2014 Rundown
· Six wins, 16 top fives, 19 top 10s; five poles
· Average finish of 12.9
· Led 27 races for 1,540 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top 10
· Average finish of 17.0 in six races
· Average Running Position of 16.8, 14th-best
· Driver Rating of 80.3, 16th-best

6 – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.4
2014 Rundown
· Four wins, 14 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 10.4
· Led 25 races for 922 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One win, seven top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 10.6 in 15 races
· Average Running Position of 12.5, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.5, sixth-best
· 91 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 678 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.852 mph, sixth-fastest
· 1,734 Laps in the Top 15 (72.1%), sixth-most
· 442 Quality Passes, second-most

7 – Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.8
2014 Rundown
· 13 top fives, 21 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 13.4
· Led 20 races for 529 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One win, four top fives, six top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.5 in 14 races
· Average Running Position of 8.6, third-best
· Driver Rating of 109.8, third-best
· 123 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 162.160 mph, third-fastest
· 1,984 Laps in the Top 15 (82.5%), second-most
· 364 Quality Passes, 10th-most

8 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.7
2014 Rundown
· One win, nine top fives, 15 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 17.0
· Led 15 races for 453 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, three top 10s
· Average finish of 21.3 in nine races
· Average Running Position of 14.8, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 93.4, seventh-best
· 122 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 1,579 Laps in the Top 15 (65.7%), seventh-most
· 396 Quality Passes, seventh-most

9 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.4
2014 Rundown
· Two wins, seven top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.5
· Led 11 races for 135 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Two wins, five top fives, seven top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 6.6 in 10 races
· Series-best Average Running Position of 8.0
· Series-best Driver Rating of 115.5
· Series-high 266 Fastest Laps Run
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 162.432 mph
· Series-high 2,057 Laps in the Top 15 (85.6%)
· 382 Quality Passes, eighth-most

10 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.7
2014 Rundown
· Four wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.1
· Led 17 races for 383 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, two top 10s
· Average finish of 20.7 in 14 races
· Average Running Position of 19.1, 18th-best
· Driver Rating of 76.9, 19th-best
· 134 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 815 Green Flag Passes, second-most

11 – AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Hungry Jack Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 71.1
2014 Rundown
· One win, two top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 19.6
· Led 5 races for 68 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, two top 10s
· Average finish of 15.4 in five races
· Average Running Position of 20.0, 21st-best
· Driver Rating of 77.6, 17th-best

12 – Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.5
2014 Rundown
· Three top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.7
· Led 7 races for 110 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Three wins, four top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 15.2 in 12 races
· Average Running Position of 15.6, 13th-best
· Driver Rating of 88.7, 12th-best
· 103 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 798 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.629 mph, 11th-fastest
· 1,280 Laps in the Top 15 (53.2%), 12th-most
· 302 Quality Passes, 12th-most

13 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.0
2014 Rundown
· Four wins, 11 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.5
· Led 17 races for 1,310 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Four top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 14.8 in 13 races
· Average Running Position of 13.0, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.6, fifth-best
· 84 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.978 mph, fourth-fastest
· 1,775 Laps in the Top 15 (73.8%), fifth-most
· 402 Quality Passes, fifth-most

14 – Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 87.8
2014 Rundown
· One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 19.2
· Led 14 races for 219 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One win, four top fives, five top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 19.8 in 13 races
· Average Running Position of 22.9, 25th-best
· Driver Rating of 72.0, 21st-best

15 – Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 87.3
2014 Rundown
· One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 17.8
· Led 12 races for 218 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, four top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.2 in 10 races
· Average Running Position of 12.9, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 90.0, 10th-best
· 106 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 763 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.658 mph, 10th-fastest
· 1,470 Laps in the Top 15 (61.1%), 10th-most
· 370 Quality Passes, ninth-most

16 – Aric Almirola (No. 43 Smithfield Foods Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.1
2014 Rundown
· One win, two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 21.5
· Led 5 races for 23 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, two top 10s
· Average finish of 15.5 in four races
· Average Running Position of 18.0, 15th-best
· Driver Rating of 80.5, 15th-best

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Homestead-Miami Speedway Track Data
Race 36 of 36
1.5-mile oval
Banking, turns: 18-20 degrees
Banking, straights: 4 degrees
Frontstretch/backstretch length: 1,760 feet
Race length: 267 laps, 400.5 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Homestead
Carl Edwards, 115.5
Martin Truex Jr., 110.0
Matt Kenseth, 109.8
Kevin Harvick, 99.1
Jimmie Johnson, 96.6
Jeff Gordon, 96.5
Kyle Busch, 93.4
Denny Hamlin, 93.4
Clint Bowyer, 92.7
*Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (9 total) among active drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 177.667 mph (30.394 seconds), 11.15.2013
2013 race winner: Denny Hamlin, TOyota, 130.693 mph (3 hours, 3 minutes, 52 seconds), 11.17.2013
Track qualifying record: Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 181.111 mph, 29.816 seconds, 11.14.2003
Track race record: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 142.245 mph (2 hours, 48 minutes, 56 seconds), 11.18.2012

Homestead-Miami Speedway History

· Groundbreaking for Homestead-Miami Dade Motorsports Complex – as the track was originally named – began Aug. 24, 1993.

· The first race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway was a NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Nov. 5, 1995 – won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

· The original configuration was a four-turn, rectangular oval based on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s layout.

· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead was held on Nov. 14, 1999 – won by Tony Stewart.

· 2002 was the first season of the Championship Weekend at Homestead, with all three of NASCAR’s national series holding their season finale at the same track.

Homestead-Miami Speedway Notebook

· Since the inception of the position-based points system in 1975, only four drivers have made up a points deficit in the season finale: Richard Petty in 1979 (made up two points on Darrell Waltrip), Alan Kulwicki in 1992 (made up 30 points on Davey Allison), Jimmie Johnson in 2010 (made up 15 points on Denny Hamlin) and Tony Stewart in 2012 (made up three points on Carl Edwards).

· There have been 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, one per season since 1999.

· 113 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead; 89 in more than one.

· Two drivers have made all 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Homestead: Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon.

· David Green won the first Coors Light pole at Homestead in 1999 at a speed of 155.759 mph (34.669 sec.).

· There have been 11 different Coors Light pole winners, led by Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne with two each.

· Youngest Homestead-Miami pole winner: Joey Logano (11/18/2012 – 22 years, 5 months, 25 days).

· Oldest Homestead-Miami pole winner: Bill Elliott (11/11/2001 – 46 years, 1 month, 3 days).

· Jamie McMurray (November, 2003) and David Reutimann (November, 2008) won their first career Coors Light poles at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

· There have been nine different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Homestead-Miami; three have won more than once, led by Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart with three each. Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin (two each) are the only other drivers with multiple wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

· Of the three drivers with multiple wins at Homestead, Tony Stewart is the only driver to win in two different manufacturers: Pontiac (1999, 2000) and Chevrolet (2011).

· Two of the 15 (13.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole: Bill Elliott (2001) and Kurt Busch (2002).

· Five of the 15 (33.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead have been won from the front row: two from the pole and three from second-place.

· 10 of the 15 (66.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead have been won from a starting position inside the top 10.

· 5 of the 15 (33.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Homestead have been won from a starting position outside the top 10 – most recently – Jeff Gordon (15th-place starting position; 2012).

· Denny Hamlin won the 2009 race from the 38th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started at HMS.

· Two drivers have won consecutive races at Homestead-Miami: Tony Stewart (1999 – 2000) and Greg Biffle (2004 – 2006, three straight).

· Carl Edwards leads the series in average finish at Homestead with a 6.600; only two other drivers have an average finish inside the top 10: Kevin Harvick (8.078) and Martin Truex Jr. (9.222).

· Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Homestead with seven, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing with five.

· Youngest Homestead winner: Kurt Busch (11/17/2002 – 24 years, 3 months, 13 days).

· Oldest Homestead winner: Bill Elliott (11/11/2001 – 46 years, 1 month, 3 days).

· Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead the series in runner-up finishes at Homestead with two each.

· Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at Homestead with seven; followed by Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick with five each.

· Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick lead the series in top-10 finishes at Homestead with 11 each; followed by Jimmie Johnson with eight.

· Eight of the nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Homestead-Miami participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart (1999) is the only driver to win at Homestead in his first appearance.

· Dale Earnhardt Jr. lead the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 14.

· Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead was the (4/10/2010) race won by Greg Biffle with a MOV of 0.017 seconds.

· Danica Patrick became the first female driver to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season; starting 24th and finishing 20th.

NASCAR in Florida

· There have been 176 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among eight tracks in Florida. 135 of them have been run at Daytona International Speedway, followed by 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 10 at the Daytona Beach and Road Course, seven at Palm Beach Speedway (West Palm Beach), six at Speedway Park (Jacksonville), and one apiece at three other facilities.

· 173 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Florida.

· There have been 10 race winners from Florida in NASCAR’s three national series.
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Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup: Homestead-Miami Speedway

· Homestead-Miami Speedway has been a part of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup since the playoff’s inception in 2004. This season the track will host its 11th Chase event.

· The winner of the Homestead-Miami Chase race has gone on to win the championship during the Chase era once: Tony Stewart (2011).

· Greg Biffle leads the series in Chase race wins at Homestead-Miami with three (2004 – 2006); followed by Carl Edwards with two (2008, 2010).

· The worst finish in a Chase race by the eventual series champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway is 15th (three times), Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012.

· Chase Contenders have won seven of the 10 previous Chase races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two non-Chase contenders have won a Homestead-Miami Chase race: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013).

· Four of the 10 previous Chase races at Homestead the eventual series champion has finished in the top five.

· Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in Chase race wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway with six, including five consecutive: Greg Biffle (2004 – 2006), Matt Kenseth (2007) and Carl Edwards (2008).

· Ford leads the series in Chase wins at Homestead with six; followed by Chevrolet with two.

· The most dominant performance by a Chase race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway is Carl Edwards’ victory in 2010. He posted a Perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 and led 190 of the 267 laps (71.1% of his laps completed) – most by a Chase race winner at Homestead.

Tony Kanaan’s “New Reality” in IndyCar

Photo by Stephen King, INDYCAR
Stephen King, INDYCAR
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AUSTIN, Texas – Tony Kanaan is one of the most popular drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series from the fans who love his aggressive racing style and his fearless attitude. His team owner is the most popular man in the history of Indianapolis 500 – the legendary AJ Foyt, the first driver to win the famed race four times in his career.

In 2019, this combination would rather win races than popularity contests.

Kanaan has won 17 races in his career but hasn’t been to Victory Lane since a win at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California when he was driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014. He left Ganassi’s team following the 2017 and joined Foyt’s operation last season.

Foyt always admired Kanaan’s attitude and racing style because it reminded him of his own attitude behind the wheel of a race car. But in 2018, the combination struggled. Kanaan led just 20 laps for the season and finished 16thin the IndyCar Series points race.

“A lot of work has been done because obviously, we struggled quite a bit last year,” Kanaan admitted. “That was the challenge when I signed with AJ was to try to make this team better. It is not an easy task, especially with the competition nowadays.

“It’s a lot slower process than I thought it would be.”

Kanaan believes the biggest keys for him is to “keep digging and be patient.” But he’s also in a results-driven business.

The driver called it a long winter, but he has helped lure some of his racing friends to the team to help improve the two-car operation that also includes young Brazilian Matheus Leist.

At 84, Foyt still has control over the operation, but has turned the day-to-day duties over to his son, Larry. Just last week, the team hired Scott Harner as the team’s vice president of operations. Harner was in charge of Kanaan’s car when both were at Chip Ganassi Racing.

“The second year, we are trying to be better,” Kanaan said. “It’s not an excuse, it’s the reality we have. There are a lot of new teams coming along so we have to step up. Otherwise, we aren’t fighting the Big 3 teams, we are fighting everybody.

“We are working on it. I like the way we are heading. AJ has been extremely open to my ideas.”

Kanaan has moved his family from Miami to Indianapolis to be near the race team’s shop. The team also has another race shop in Waller, Texas and that is where Leist’s car is prepared.

Although Kanaan doesn’t believe it’s ideal to have two different racing facilities, he believes being closer to his team will help build a more cohesive unit for this season.

At one time, Kanaan would show up at the track with a car that could win the race. No longer in that situation, he has had to readjust his goals.

“The biggest challenge is to accept that and understand your limits on equipment and on the people that you have,” Kanaan said. “Being on some of the teams that I’ve been on in the past, with four-car teams and engineers and all the resources you can get and the budget; then to come to a team with limited resources, I have to self-check all the time. With that, comes a lot of pressure as well and block out people’s opinions like, ‘Oh, he’s old or he’s washed up or the team is not good.’

“You need to shield that from your guys, because psychologically, that gets to you. You need people to work well, even if you have a car that is going to finish 15th.

“What is our reality? Racing can be lucky, but we try to make goals. We are greedy, we try to improve, but we are trying to be realistic. I have to re-set and understand this is my reality now, and I have to accept it.”

At 44, Kanaan is the oldest driver in the IndyCar. The 2004 IndyCar Series champion won the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and if his career ended this year, it would be one of the greatest of his era.

But Kanaan isn’t ready to call it an “era.” He has more he wants to accomplish.

“The mistake I have made in my career is counting your days,” Kanaan said. “The best line I ever heard is when I signed with AJ, he told me he drove until he was 58, so why am I talking about getting old?

“In his mind, I still have 14 years to go.”

There remains one race, more than any other, that Kanaan’s boss wants to win. It’s the one that made Foyt famous.

“For my boss, winning the Indianapolis 500 is all he cares,” Kanaan said. “I could not finish a single race this year and if I win the Indy 500, that would be enough for him.

“We are not in a position to win a championship and I accept that. So, we focus on the Indianapolis 500. We had an awesome car last year and were the fastest on the second day.”

Foyt and Kanaan believe success at Indy may be in the numbers.

“AJ is all about numbers and his number was 14,” Kanaan said. “He found out Dallara was making chassis No. 14 at the end of the year. AJ bought that chassis and said that is the one we are going to race at the Indy 500. I’m not allowed to drive that car until Opening Day at the Indianapolis 500.

“That’s how big the boss is about the Indy 500.”