Several “lasts” at NASCAR finale at Homestead this weekend

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There are several drivers, teams and/or situations set to come to an end this weekend for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale.

A quick rundown:

Ambrose’s last start in Cup

With the news he’s going back to Australia to race V8 Supercars for Roger Penske and Dick Johnson Racing, this Sunday will mark Marcos Ambrose’s last start in the No. 9 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, and last scheduled start in the series overall. Additionally, it’s the last race for sponsors DeWalt and Stanley with RPM before they head to Joe Gibbs Racing. Ambrose finished an overlooked 10th at Phoenix last week and looks to end on a high note. Of course, seeing as Penske has occasionally run a third car part-time in the past, could we see Ambrose in a third Penske car at Sonoma or Watkins Glen in the future? It’s not expected, but it wouldn’t surprise too much if it happened.

Edwards ends his Roush Fenway run

Eliminated from title contention at Phoenix, Carl Edwards now has his swan song with Roush Fenway Racing this Sunday after 11 seasons and 373 races, the team with which he has spent his entire NASCAR career. He’s won 23 races, including two at Homestead (2008 and 2010), and famously came second to Tony Stewart in a tiebreaker for the 2011 title. He also won the 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series title driving for Roush. He heads to JGR next season.

3M with Biffle, Nationwide with Stenhouse Jr.

More from the Roush Fenway departing department; 3M leaves Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford and Nationwide Insurance leaves Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 17 Ford, both going to Hendrick Motorsports. 3M will be with Jeff Gordon and Nationwide with Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season.

Bayne’s last start with Wood Brothers, and as a part-timer

In five seasons since 2010, Trevor Bayne has only made 57 starts at the Cup level – this Sunday will be his 58th and last both as a part-timer and as a member of the Wood Brothers. Bayne was announced earlier this year as moving into Roush Fenway Racing full-time, and bringing back the famed No. 6. While Bayne famously won the 2011 Daytona 500, he has only two other top-10s in his Cup career.

The Stewart-Haas pit crew rendezvous

At Stewart-Haas Racing Kevin Harvick adopted Tony Stewart’s crew for the Chase, but the crew chiefs didn’t swap. Meanwhile Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick swapped crew chiefs and road crews for the final three races. It’s been dizzying to keep track of but the arrangements as they are have their last scheduled races this weekend, as they are now. At the end of a turbulent year for the organization, SHR can still emerge as champions – and Harvick is the presumptive favorite.

The first-timers lose their stripes

For Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and the remainder of the 2014 Sprint Cup rookie class (Michael Annett, Alex Bowman, Cole Whitt, Justin Allgaier), this is the last race with the yellow rookie stripes on the back. Race wisely as it’s the last time you can get away with saying “Hey, I’m a rookie.” While Larson and Dillon have impressed throughout, the others have had momentary flashes of brilliance.

Supercross: Tomac, Roczen square off in Arlington; Webb gives chase

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The Monster Energy Supercross championship battle remains tight after Eli Tomac took the lead from Ken Roczen just last week at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Now the series heads to Arlington, Texas, and the AT&T Stadium for Round 8. (Watch on NBCSN or stream live.)

Tomac’s third win of the 2020 season and Roczen’s third-place finish at Tampa gives Tomac a four-point advantage in what is essentially a wide-open title fight with three races on tap in Arlington.

And while it is still much too early to call this a two-man battle, Cooper Webb is 11 points back with Justin Barcia 20 points out and Adam Cianciarulo 27 points in arrears – and all three cannot afford to lose any ground this week.

Tomac has the momentum. He allowed the field to get a jump after finishing seventh at Anaheim in the season opener, but finished fourth or better in the remaining events.

Roczen also got off to a slow start in Anaheim 1 with a sixth-place finish. He seemed to have a firm grasp on the red plate with four consecutive podium finishes until he slipped to sixth for a second time at San Diego.

Webb is coming into his own with three consecutive podiums in the last three events. If not for a 12th at St. Louis, he would be in immediate contention for the red plate.

This week is the second Triple Crown race of the season and Roczen hopes he has the same success as he did at Glendale. He won all three Mains that weekend and easily walked away with the overall victory. Tomac finished 2-2-3 for second overall. It is going to be imperative that a rider takes the early lead.

Blake Baggett qualified for last week’s Main, but chose to sit it out after experiencing sever muscle spasms. He will ride in Arlington.

Henry Miller will return to riding at Arlington after breaking a scapula in Australia.

Subscribe to the Supercross Pass for complete qualification and race coverage of the 2020 season.

For the third time in his career, Shane McElrath started the season with a victory. He won the season-opener in 2017 and 2018 in the West division at Anaheim, but failed to lock down a 250 title. His seventh career win moved him to 25th on the chart, however, with Travis Pastrana, Trey Canard, and a host of others.

Chase Sexton got his title hunt off to a strong start last week as well. He finished second to earn his 10th podium in 19 starts, but he will be hungry for a win. Despite the fact that he won last year’s 250 West championship, he has only one race victory to his credit.

Last week, Jeremy Martin looked like he had not been off his bike for more than a year. Returning from a 2018 injury, Martin snagged a podium finish in his first race back.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Eli Tomac beat Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Shane McElrath beat Chase Sexton and Jeremy Martin in the 250 class.

Last Dallas race (February, 2019):

Cooper Webb beat Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner beat Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Eli Tomac (155)
Ken Roczen (151)
Cooper Webb (144)
Justin Barcia (135)
Adam Cianciarulo (128)

250 West:
Dylan Ferrandis (135)
Justin Cooper (128)
Austin Forkner (122)
Brandon Hartranft (110)
Alex Martin (98)

250 East:
Shane McElrath (26)
Chase Sexton (23)
Jeremy Martin (21)
Garrett Marchbanks (19)
Jordon Smith (18)

Wins

450

(3) Eli Tomac (Anaheim 2, Oakland and Tampa)
(2) Ken Roczen (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Barcia (Anaheim 1)
(1) Cooper Webb (San Diego)

250 West

(3) Dylan Ferrandis (Anaheim 2, Oakland, and San Diego)
(2) Austin Forkner (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Cooper (Anaheim 1)

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath (Tampa)

Top-5s

450

(6) Eli Tomac
(6) Cooper Webb
(5) Jason Anderson
(5) Ken Roczen
(5) Justin Barcia
(3) Adam Cianciarulo
(2) Zach Osborne
(2) Blake Baggett
(1) Justin Hill

250 West

(5) Dylan Ferrandis
(5) Austin Forkner
(5) Justin Cooper
(4) Michael Mosiman
(4) Brandon Hartranft
(3) Alex Martin
(1) Christian Craig
(1) Jett Lawrence
(1) Jacob Hayes
(1) Luke Clout

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath
(1) Chase Sexton
(1) Jeremy Martin
(1) Garrett Marchbanks
(1) Jordon Smith

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