HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- It's Ford Championship Weekend and the automotive manufacturer has its name on all three NASCAR races this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway . A champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be crowned Friday, where Brad Keselowski Racing driver Tyler Reddick trails Erik Jones by 19 points. On the XFINITY Series side, Roush Fenway Racing 's Chris Buescher has his Ford out front by 18 points over Chase Elliott (JR Motorsports). Sunday, the Sprint Cup championship will be decided among four teams that have survived a nine-race, elimination-style playoff to get here. None of the entries among those four title-contending teams preparing for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 carry the Ford nameplate. "It's tough. I'm not going to mince words," Edsel Ford II said Friday. "We're very disappointed that we don't have a car in the Chase, especially (for) Ford Championship Weekend." Two Ford drivers, Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano , qualified for the 16-team Chase for the Sprint Cup . Roush Fenway Racing , the last Ford team to win the Sprint Cup title (with Kurt Busch in '04) failed to place one of its drivers in the Chase for the first time since the format debuted that same season. But Keselowski, who won the championship in 2012 with Penske and Dodge, failed to advance out of the final eight this season to earn a berth in this weekend's Championship Round. Logano, meanwhile, swept one of the three-race rounds and appeared to be one of the title favorites before a run-in with Matt Kenseth escalated, eventually ending when Kenseth wrecked the No. 22 earlier this month at Martinsville. Thus, this weekend's four Chase contenders represent two of the three automotive manufacturers competing in NASCAR -- defending series champion Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet), Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr . (Chevrolet) and Kyle Busch (Toyota). "We would have loved to have had a car in the Chase, frankly. But it is what it is. That's racing I guess," said Ford , a member of the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors. This was a chance we could win a Ford Championship -- we've got good trucks, we've got good XFINITY cars, we've got very good (Sprint) Cup cars so who knows?"
Miss Coors Light, Amanda Mertz, catches up with Denny Hamlin after he won his third Coors Light Pole Award of the 2015, allowing him to lead the field to green in the season finale.
Check out some of the best radio chatter from Homestead-Miami Speedway as Jeff Gordon starts his final race and Kyle Busch takes home the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
A statistical look ahead to the season finale at Homestead RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 10, 2014) – Below is a look at the Championship 4 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and beyond at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida going into the Ford EcoBoost 400 on November 16. ESPN’s coverage begins at 2 p.m. (ET) and the race is scheduled for 3 p.m. (ET). 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 The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Championship Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Denny Hamlin 9 0 2 4 5 0 11.2 93.4 2 Joey Logano 5 1 0 0 1 1 20.8 71.2 3 Ryan Newman 12 0 0 1 4 2 17.0 84.8 4 Kevin Harvick 13 0 0 5 11 0 8.1 99.1 * – Based on last nine races at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2005 – 2013). 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. 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 (15 th -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 24 th and finishing 20 th . NASCAR in Florida · There have been 176 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among eight tracks in Florida. Track Name City NSCS Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach 135 Homestead-Miami Speedway Homestead 15 Palm Beach Speedway W. Palm Beach 7 Speedway Park Jacksonville 6 Five Flags Speedway Pensacola 1 Golden Gate Speedway Tampa 1 Titusville-Cocoa Speedway Titusville 1 · 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. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Fireball Roberts 33 0 0 LeeRoy Yarbrough 14 0 0 Marshall Teague 7 0 0 Joe Nemechek 4 16 0 Bobby Johns 2 0 0 David Reutimann 2 1 1 Aric Almirola 1 1 2 Shorty Rollins 1 0 0 Rick Wilson 0 2 0 Joey Coulter 0 0 1 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. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2015) -- NASCAR® fans have more ways than ever to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ champion is crowned in this year’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway SM. Innovative new broadcast and digital outlets from NASCAR and NBC allow viewers to follow both the full driver field and the CHAMPIONSHIP 4® in the ultimate multi-screen experience during the Ford EcoBoost 400 . Live coverage begins on Sunday with Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. ET followed by the Ford EcoBoost 400 at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC. Viewers can also tune-in for NBCSN Hot Pass, a simultaneous live feed with up to three different camera angles trained on each of the remaining four drivers. Closely watch every pass, pit stop and burn out from defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch , Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex, Jr. as they vie for the trophy in Miami. Coverage will also be available online via NBC Sports Live Extra. Fans have a myriad of digital options in addition to the live broadcast, including the NASCAR Mobile™ app and RaceBuddy™, which will feature in-car cameras from each of the CHAMPIONSHIP 4 drivers. RaceBuddy offers 10 live HD race views, with backstretch and pit road cameras, while NASCAR Mobile features six in-car video feeds, a live leaderboard, in-car audio and a track position dashboard to easily follow favorite drivers during the championship race. "Presenting new and engaging race content in a live format allows us to deliver greater value to our fans by amplifying their opportunities to consume NASCAR events," said Tim Clark, managing director, digital platforms, NASCAR Digital Media. "With the multitude of options from both NASCAR and NBC, fans can watch from numerous viewpoints at the same time, giving them a front-row seat to what will certainly be an action-packed championship race." Viewers can follow @NASCAR and #TheChase or #Championship4 for real-time updates via social media on the most critical moments throughout the Ford EcoBoost 400 . Jeff Gordon fans can also supplement the race broadcast by following along with the four-time champion’s final ride via a live stream of his in-car camera this Sunday on the NASCAR YouTube page. Tune-in to NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 22, check out NBC Sports Live Extra, or listen to live coverage on Motor Racing Network (MRN) or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90, to find out who the next champion will be in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway .
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Wood Brothers Racing , one of the longest tenured teams competing in NASCAR's premier series, will return to full-time competition beginning in 2016. Officials with the team and Ford Motor Co. made the announcement Friday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway , site of this weekend's Ford EcoBoost 400 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) season-ending event. Ryan Blaney will handle the driving duties, embarking upon his first full season after making 15 starts for the team this year heading into Sunday's race. Weather issues kept the team from attempting to qualify at Daytona, Kentucky and Chicago earlier this year. "These are the guys that made it happen, Ford Motor Company," co-team owner Eddie Wood said. "It is just a lot of people that have been working on this for a long time and we are really proud of our association and heritage with Ford Motor Company. We have been racing Ford Motor Company products for 65 years and we are really looking forward to next year and getting started with that." The team will continue to have a technical alliance with Team Penske , which fields Sprint Cup entries for drivers Joey Logano and 2012 champion Brad Keselowski . "It is what you dream of as a kid," Blaney, 21, said. "I have been fortunate enough to get great opportunities and meet great people being with Team Penske in 2012 which led to the Wood Brothers this year and then beyond for next year. "Obviously it is a little overwhelming right now … knowing what is going to come but I am excited for it. I don't get excited about a lot of things and maybe I don't show it but I am really excited about this program for next year and having the opportunity." It will be the first time since 2008 that the Wood Brothers organization, founded by team owner Glen Wood in 1953, has attempted to run the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. That season, three drivers -- Bill Elliott , Marcos Ambrose and Jon Wood -- split the driving duties, although Johnny Sauter made one attempt, failing to qualify at Las Vegas. The last full season with a single-driver for the team came in 2006 with veteran Ken Schrader . "We were in Pocono … testing for the Pocono race on May 28, 2008," Wood said. "At about noon that day Mr. Ford called me looking for a phone number. I hadn't talked to him in a while and he said, 'I haven't heard from you in a while, why haven't you called?' I told him we had been running so poorly that I had really just been ashamed. He says, 'So, you are saying this 21 is broken?' and I said, ‘Yeah, it is broken right now.' "So he said we were going to see about that, that we would fix that. From that day until now, it has been just like this. He put some things in motion that started to help like increased engineering and just more of everything. There were some Ford Motor Company people that … moved in with us and helped get us straightened out and three years later we win the Daytona 500 (with driver Trevor Bayne ). You can never give up." Wood Brothers entries have visited Victory Lane 98 times, sixth most among active teams and seventh overall. The list of drivers who have won for the team includes NASCAR Hall of Fame members Wood, Curtis Turner (a 2016 inductee), Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Dale Jarrett. Leonard Wood, younger brother of Glen and crew chief for the majority of the team's victories, is also in the Hall of Fame. Despite often running a limited schedule, the organization has finished in the top 10 in points 13 times and won the series' premier event, the Daytona 500 , five times. "I think the timing was perfect for this to all come together," Edsel Ford II said. "I think with Team Penske 's help, that kind of motivated us to sort of talk to the Wood Brothers internally … and find out if this was possible. It just all came together this year and fit. It fit perfectly. So why not do it." NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series schedule consists of 36 points races and two non-points event and runs from February through mid-November. Entering this weekend's event, 35 teams have competed in all points races contested thus far this season.
MORE: Sunday's full lineup RELATED: Gordon's top 24 NASCAR moments " Full Gordon coverage HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Busy week, surrounded by a lot of friends and family, a legendary figure making the final start of his career with a shot at going out as a five-time champion. Racer. Philanthropist. Father. What's there to say about Jeff Gordon that hasn't been said? What's there to write that hasn't been written? Do a Google search for " Jeff Gordon " and the search engine generates approximately 79 million results. Tom Brady? 83.1 million. Kobe Bryant? 34.6 million. Derek Jeter? 14 million. Gordon, 44, is one of those rare athletes who have transcended their individual sport. A champion on the track? Without question. Off the track? Certainly. Television and tabloids flock to him. He purchased a second residence in New York City in part to escape the spotlight and to navigate life in between races unimpeded by the fame that followed him elsewhere. Maybe he would not carry the same clout or create the same buzz had he chosen another profession. Then again, perhaps his impact would have been even greater elsewhere. A precocious, driven youngster whose family packed up moved east from California in order to continue his development as a racer. A NASCAR premier series champion at 24. And 26. And 27. And 30. Now, at 44, is there one more title in the tank? What's there to say that hasn't been said, write that hasn't been written? WATCH: Gordon's first Homestead win The Alpha and Omega NASCAR didn't begin with Gordon, and it certainly won't end when the Hendrick Motorsports driver climbs from his No. 24 Chevrolet for the final time on Sunday evening. "Everybody's career comes to an end," Richard Petty said. "He's going out strong. I admire him for that part of it. "I wouldn't mind seeing him win the championship because he's meant so much to NASCAR over the years. They're going to miss him a whole lot from that standpoint." There is no one in the sport more qualified to speak on such matters than the man known simply as "The King." Now 78, Petty set the standard for champions on the track as well as how to conduct oneself outside the car. Icon, inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame member, winner of 200 races and seven championships, Petty is NASCAR. The Petty family is NASCAR. Petty's father, Lee, won three titles, 54 races and was in the very first sanctioned race. He, too, is a member of the Hall of Fame. The careers of Richard Petty and Gordon are inextricably linked by a single date – Nov. 15, 1992. Petty made his 1,184th and final start in NASCAR's premier series. Gordon made his very first in the same event. Petty met privately with Gordon this weekend at Homestead to present him with one of his signature Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hats. It was a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement of everything Gordon has accomplished. But Petty understands better than most that the sport will move forward, just as it did when he stepped out of the car that sunny day in Atlanta. "No matter who you are, you're not strong enough to carry the whole load," Petty said. "He's been a strong leader all these years, but over a period of time, the next crowd comes along and kind of fades them all out. Over a period of time, you go away whether you want to or not." RELATED: Best No. 24 paint schemes Auspicious beginning Gordon won the series' Rookie of the Year title in 1993, competing for the honor against Bobby Labonte , Kenny Wallace and P.J. Jones. Two years later, he won his first championship. It was the era of Dale Earnhardt, the six-time champion chasing Petty's mark of seven titles while blazing new trails. He was "The Intimidator." He was NASCAR. Petty, Earnhardt and then there was Gordon. No one else was as dominant -- between 1995 and '99, Gordon won 47 races. He won Daytona. He won Indy. He won the Winston Million. Had he not come along? "Someone else would have taken that spot," Mike Helton, NASCAR Vice Chairman, said. "I don't know that anybody could have filled it, though. "There's a difference. It's like if the Atlantic Ocean went dry, somebody could figure out how to get water in it, but could they fill that whole ocean? "I think we were very fortunate for Jeff to appear when he did and do what he did along the way to keep our momentum going. It certainly added to the momentum that we had going in that era. We needed a Jeff Gordon and he arose. He came into the sport ... he could have chosen open-wheel racing ... and he would have been massively successful." Why was it Gordon? Why not someone else who stepped up and helped carry the sport forward, who resonated with fans and sponsors? Helton doesn't know. "I know growing up there was a reason I became a big fan of John Wayne. And there were a lot of cowboys on television," he said. "I just think that speaks to Jeff's inclusiveness, and his capabilities extended beyond just being a very successful athlete as a race car driver." There have been issues from time to time, but nothing major, according to Helton, who added, "Of course we've had conversations in which he'd had to write checks afterward." Earnhardt's death in 2001, in the season-opening Daytona 500 , turned the sport upside down. Gordon was one of the few who could help stabilize it in an uncertain time. "I think the whole industry looked at Jeff to take Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s place when we lost Dale," said Helton. "The garage area needed a voice like we've had historically, whether it was Richard Petty or Darrell Waltrip, Dale Sr. ... He got pressure from the industry inside the garage to be that voice. "When that came, along with the championships that preceded that, he understood the need for a league or sanctioning body in order for the athlete to be successful. But he also had a good soapbox to stand on saying 'Look, we need our voice to be heard too.' And I think the respect worked both ways." RELATED: NASCAR Nation honors Gordon with #24ever 'Iron Man' of NASCAR Consecutive starts: 796. It's one more impressive record in Jeff Gordon 's body of work. He's never missed a start, and passed Ricky Rudd for the consecutive starts record earlier this year. Now, only one remains, one final attempt, one final opportunity. Because of the format for NASCAR's championship-determining Chase, Gordon doesn't have to win Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 . He has to finish ahead of only three challengers -- Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) to capture the title. He'll go out a winner regardless of where he finishes. Whether or not he goes out a champion has yet to be determined. Capturing the inaugural Brickyard 400 in '94 has always stood out as his most memorable moment. Until a recent Martinsville victory put him in the Championship 4 here at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The '98 season when he won 13 races, the fourth title in '01 with crew chief Robby Loomis after the departure of mentor Ray Evernham and the '95 crown that was won when he "was going against Earnhardt; that was huge," Gordon said earlier this week. The finality of the moment, though, carries much weight. "My final year, my final race, (wife) Ingrid and the kids," Gordon said. "Kids motivate you in a whole new way, and no matter what we're going to go out and be happy and celebrate. "But to do it as a champion, oh, my gosh, I just can't imagine anything that would be more emotional and more exciting and more gratifying than to look at my wife in the eyes and see that reaction from her when that race is over if we win it." MORE: Drivers offer favorite Gordon memories
Clint Bowyer 's loose No. 15 Toyota started a multi-car wreck during the season finale on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway shortly after a restart on Lap 45, forcing the fourth caution of the day. The other cars invovled were the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the No. 33 of Ty Dillon , the No. 55 of David Ragan and the No. 43 of Aric Almirola , who took his Ford to the garage. (Almirola returned to the race 55 laps down.) "We wrecked pretty good," Dale Jr. told his crew after getting clipped by Ragan's Toyota. Before the race's start, the Hendrick Motorsports wheelman was upfront saying he would assist in any way with helping Jeff Gordon attain his fifth title. After a trip down pit road, Earnhardt returned to the race several laps down. The Ford EcoBoost 400 is the final race for Michael Waltrip Racing which fields teams for both Bowyer and Ragan. Bowyer's day ended early and he told NBC from the garage, "I don't know what the hell happened. I was kind of optimistic about the race. We made a pit stop there and the car was just a way big handful there. I don't know, I was coming off of (Turn) 2 there and Ty (Dillon) kind of got squirrely and I tried to stay off of him and my car got loose and I just couldn't catch it. "I don't know, we just lost the handling on our car big-time there. Unfortunately ended -- you hate to end this way. I wanted to end on a strong note for everybody at MWR. Appreciate all of their hard work and efforts all these years but unfortunately it's over.” Here's how those involved ranked on the leaderboard at the race's end: Dillon (23rd), Ragan (27th), Earnhardt Jr. (40th), Almirola (41st) and Bowyer (43rd).
The teams of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch head into this weekend's season-ending, championship-determining race with three warnings each, which could be an issue should either have trouble getting through inspection prior to Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). Harvick's Stewart-Haas Racing team and Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing squad are two of the four teams in the Championship Round, which is the final round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Also in contention for the 2015 title are Jeff Gordon ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ). Teams lose their opportunity in the pit selection process following qualifying if they receive a fourth warning during inspection. Failing to clear one of the inspection checkpoints, such as the Laser Inspection Station, typically results in a warning being issued. Rodney Childers, crew chief for Harvick, said he isn't concerned about a potential penalty arising at Homestead this weekend. "We've been at three (warnings) for a long time now," Childers said during a teleconference on Wednesday, "and we haven't had any issues at all. You've just got to be a little bit careful going through for qualifying and that type of thing. But honestly, the past month it hasn't even been an issue at all." Earlier this season, teams complained that the LIS platform, which measures specific points underneath the car, wasn't consistent. Childers said that hasn't been the case of late. "NASCAR is doing a really good job with that thing and changed a few lasers out on it," he said. "(Last week) at Phoenix it was really consistent. You've just got to do the best job you can and play it a little bit conservative on some things and get through qualifying and get your pit selection done." Adam Stevens, crew chief for Busch, agreed with Childers, noting that his team will "make a couple extra trips across the platform before practice starts to make sure we know exactly where our stuff is. "If there's anything that's marginal or a number we're chasing, we'll make sure that we're on the short side of it rather than taking a chance of having to go around (again)." The No. 18 team picked up its third warning last weekend when it required more than two trips through the LIS during pre-race inspection. Other Sprint Cup teams receiving warnings for inspection issues at Phoenix were the No. 16 of Roush Fenway Racing ( Greg Biffle ), the No. 20 of Joe Gibbs Racing ( Erik Jones , driving Matt Kenseth 's car), the No. 10 of Stewart-Haas Racing ( Danica Patrick ), the No. 27 of Richard Childress Racing ( Paul Menard ) and the No. 46 of HScott Motorsports ( Michael Annett ). The 20, 46, and 10 teams will also be docked 15 minutes of practice time Friday for failing to arrive in the inspection line on time. Non-Chase teams heading into this weekend's event with three warnings are the teams of Alex Bowman ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ), Denny Hamlin (JGR) and Jeb Burton ( BK Racing ), although none of those occurred last week. When it's time to go Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ) was penalized last week at Phoenix for beating the leader to the start/finish line at the start of the race, the first time this season the infraction had been called in the Sprint Cup Series. RELATED: Watch video of the incident The NASCAR Rule Book allows a driver other than the leader to cross the line first only during a restart, not the initial green-flag start of a race. Busch, who started the race alongside pole winner Jimmie Johnson , had to serve a pass-through penalty. Although he was able to remain on the lead lap, he fell from the front of the pack to 43rd. While able to rally to a seventh-place finish, Busch was one of four drivers eliminated from Chase contention at PIR. Brad Keselowski was penalized earlier this season at New Hampshire when he jumped a Lap 242 restart, beating the race leader (control car) out of the restart zone. Although he did not beat the leader, Greg Biffle , to the start/finish line, NASCAR officials judged that he accelerated through the defined restart zone ahead of Biffle. Earlier this year, NASCAR added a camera and additional official in the restart zone area to better police restarts. Three other drivers -- AJ Allmendinger , Justin Allgaier and Josh Wise -- have been penalized for passing on a start/restart. Drivers are not allowed to change lanes or pass other cars until ther have crossed the start/finish line. Homestead Test shortened NASCAR officials have announced that the Goodyear tire test, originally slated for Dec. 14-15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway , has been shortened to a single-day test on Dec. 14. Organizations scheduled to participate in the test are Stewart-Haas Racing (Chevrolet), Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet), Richard Petty Motorsports ( Ford ) and Furniture Row Racing (Toyota). It will be Furniture Row Racing 's first on-track outing under the Toyota banner. The No. 78 team, with driver Martin Truex, currently fields Chevrolet entries. Tuesday, Dec. 15 is a scheduled rain date in case of inclement weather.