Mike Helton to drivers: Let Sprint Cup season finale, race for title unfold naturally


During the final driver’s meeting of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, NASCAR president Mike Helton urged all competitors in today’s Ford Ecoboost 400 to keep the battle for the championship in mind as they race.

Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman are ready to compete for the title today. The highest finisher among this Championship 4 will be victorious.

“Today is historic,” Helton said inside a packed tent at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “We’ll go into today’s race and come out later this afternoon with a champion. I ask each team on the track to remind yourselves constantly through the day that…It is very important that today’s race unfolds naturally, please, so that the fans can enjoy the event and when the race is over with, we can all celebrate our 2014 championship.”

A few minutes later, Sprint Cup race director David Hoots also gave his orders to the drivers and teams:

“If you have a problem, use the warmup lane on the entrance or the exit of pit road. If you have a problem during the course of the race, get down and out of the racing groove as quick as possible, stay there, come in and get the problem fixed – let’s not mess up the race track for the rest of the competitors.

“Entering the pit road, you come off the fourth turn. You’re not permitted to pass the caution car if you’re the leader at the head of the line…Exiting the pits, use the warm-up lane to Turn 2, you know the painted marks over there where you can come up on the race track.

“You’ve done a real good job the last couple of months slowing down when the yellow comes out and providing a lot of room around the track service teams. Let’s continue to do that, and we’ll have a great afternoon. Are there any questions?”

There were none. A quick prayer followed, and that was that.

Green flag is scheduled for later today at 3:17 p.m. ET.