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Alan Cavanna previews the weekend racing schedule with Homestead-Miami Speedway hosting the Camping World Truck Series, Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series.
Crafton locks up second straight NCWTS title MORE: Crafton wins back-to-back titles " Full race results " Season standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- After breathtaking, three-wide racing during the final 20-lap green-flag run, Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. held off hard-charging Keystone Light Polesitter Kyle Larson to win Friday night's Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Behind the wild battle for the victory, Matt Crafton ran ninth and won an unprecedented second straight series title with room to spare -- by 21 points. Timothy Peters came home third, followed by Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney , runner-up to Crafton for the series championship. Busch won the NCWTS owner’s championship in the No. 51 Toyota he drove on Friday night. "Toward the end, battling the two Kyles -- the (Sprint) Cup stars -- it was tough," Wallace said. "But I didn't get too excited, didn't get too down. I kept a cool head and stayed patient and was able to come out on top." Wallace won his fourth race of the season and fifth of his career in his final ride in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, as the organization picked up its 14th victory in 22 races. Signed to Joe Gibbs Racing, Wallace is expected to move up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series next year. "It is going to be sad to see him go," Busch said, "but we've got another great shoe that’s going to be able to fit into that role really, really good with Erik Jones . It's not that I'm saying goodbye, but I'm wishing him the best next year in what he gets to do, and I'm excited about his growth and opportunity to move up to the (XFINITY) Series." Wallace said he hopes to get plans for 2015 settled soon. "I wish things were finalized," Wallace said. "We're continuing to work hard to find my future plans. For me, I'm just going to go play some golf while I'm down here in Miami and enjoy this win, enjoy the offseason. "But as far as plans, we're continuing to work hard." As he closed on Wallace in the final laps, Larson said he contemplated trying the same sort of banzai move Ryan Newman had used on Larson on the final lap of last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix, where Newman secured the final spot in Sunday's Championship Round at Homestead by a single point. "I thought about it -- very quickly," Larson said. "But I figured that would definitely be the wrong thing to do, especially in a Truck race where I'm just kind of out there to have fun, and Bubba's out there to try to gain points, or whatever, and get the win." Blaney's waning championship hopes suffered a blow when his shifter broke, causing him to stall his No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford exiting his pit stall on Lap 72. Blaney dropped to 14th for the subsequent restart on Lap 76 and quickly worked his way up to ninth, three positions behind Crafton in the running order. By then, only 21 trucks remained on the lead lap, providing Crafton with a comfortable margin of error, given that Crafton entered the race needing a finish of 21st or better to claim the series title. Using vise-grips to control the broken shifter, Blaney was fourth off pit road for a restart on Lap 104, after the fifth caution of the night. His hard-fought top-five wasn’t enough to overcome the 25-point lead Crafton held entering the race. During that same pit stop, Larson fell from first to third on pit road, after having led 96 laps to that point. Wallace grabbed the lead from Busch on Lap 119 of 134 and held it the rest of the way, as Larson charged into second place and closed the gap to .294 seconds at the finish. Note: Ben Kennedy won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the series. Kennedy and Tyler Reddick tied in the rookie standings, with Kennedy winning the title because of his higher position in driver championship points. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Ives discuss their future together, and the key to success, after clinching the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with Chase Elliott at Homestead-Miami Speedway .
What drivers, owners and manufacturers need to do to win championships
Moments that changed the course of the 36th race of the 2014 season
Chat with race fans during the Championship weekend RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Catch up quickly before Sunday's season finale (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota What: 16th annual Ford EcoBoost 400 Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway , Homestead, Florida When: Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014 TV/Radio: ESPN, Motor Racing Network Time: 3 p.m. ET Distance: 267 laps (400.5 miles) Pit road speed: 45 mph Caution car speed: 55 mph On the front row " Full lineup Jeff Gordon , Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet (180.747 mph) Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet (180.632 mph) Failed To Qualify None. Fastest in practice First practice: Brad Keselowski, Team Penske No. 2 Ford (179.004 mph) " Full practice times Second practice: Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (175.069 mph) " Full practice times Final practice: Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet (175.200 mph) " Full practice times Where they'll start Starting position for the four Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders: Kevin Harvick: 5th Denny Hamlin: 8th Joey Logano: 9th Ryan Newman: 21st They said it I "I didn't know Cinderella was a race car driver." -- Ryan Newman on his status as an underdog. They said it II "We have struggled a little bit with speed, but we've faced elimination each and every round and we've overcome it every single round. We face elimination once again on Sunday, and now we have to overcome it." -- Denny Hamlin They said it III "You know your guys have had their backs put against the wall and done a great job under pressure, so you just want to just keep doing the things that you've been doing and knowing that if you do those things right, your car is going to run fast enough to win the race, which is what you need to do. That's really what it comes down to." -- Kevin Harvick They Said It IV "I told the guys that no matter what happens (Sunday), that we deserve to be here and have shown that all year and they have done a great job. Now we go race our guts out and have some fun." -- Joey Logano They said it V "I got into Ty Dillon here a couple of years ago and he was going for a Truck championship and I felt horrible after that. I don't want to go through that again." -- Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson on racing around the four Chase finalists. They said it VI "It hit me hard when I crossed the line at Phoenix. I think I was just really in disbelief for a good 24 hours that we did everything so right and didn't make it. That disappointment was definitely there throughout the week. … I think even if we win this race on Sunday, that's only going to make it hurt a little bit more in some ways because we could have won the championship if we were here." -- Jeff Gordon Defending Ford EcoBoost 400 Champion Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota Driver rating Best driver rating average at Homestead-Miami Speedway based on past nine years: 1. Carl Edwards , Roush Fenway Racing No. 99 Ford (115.5) 2. Martin Truex Jr ., Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet (110.0) 3. Matt Kenseth , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (109.8) Streak at an end? Tony Stewart's streak of 15 years with at least one NASCAR premier series win is in jeopardy as the three-time champion is winless in 2014 entering Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 . But Stewart’s not the only driver with a win streak on the line. Ryan Newman has won at least one race for the past four years; Matt Kenseth has gone three seasons with one or more victories and Greg Biffle is riding a two-year run of winning at least one race. Former Homestead-Miami Speedway winners in field Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart (3); Denny Hamlin , Carl Edwards (2); Jeff Gordon , Kurt Busch , Matt Kenseth 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
Victory clinches NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship RELATED: Complete race results " Final driver standings " Photos from Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla.—The fastest driver doesn't always win a race—or a championship—but on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway , Kevin Harvick did both. Driving a No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet that has been the class of the field for most of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Harvick won Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at the 1.5-mile intermediate track and claimed his first premier series championship after a three-lap drag race against underdog title contender Ryan Newman . Harvick was so wrapped up in the championship battle that the victory in the race didn't register right away. "I forgot we won the race—how about that?" Harvick chuckled. "I think this Chase is about the best thing that has happened to this sport over the last decade. This is probably going to shorten the drivers' careers, because it's been so stressful, but I want to thank every single fan for sticking with this sport, and to the industry for working to get it right." After the 13th caution slowed the field on Lap 263, the result of debris dripping from the No. 32 Ford of Blake Koch , Harvick led the field to green on Lap 265 of 267 with Newman beside him. Newman stayed to the inside of Harvick's car through the first corner, but Harvick, on four fresh tires to Newman's two, cleared the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and pulled away to a half-second victory. Under NASCAR's new elimination format for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the driver who won five times, including Sunday, and led 2,137 laps throughout the season beat the driver who was winless with 41 laps led by a single point. In his first season with SHR, Harvick won for the first time at Homestead and for the 28th time in his career. With the highest finisher among the Championship 4 contenders assured of the title, Denny Hamlin came home seventh, and Joey Logano ran 16th after a disastrous late-race pit stop. Harvick's crew chief, Rodney Childers, made a critical call to bring Harvick to pit road for four tires under caution on Lap 249. With three cars staying on the track and eight others taking right-side tires only, Harvick restarted 12th, but two quick cautions fell his way. Harvick made up six positions almost immediately and restarted sixth after the 12th caution for an accident involving Koch and J.J. Yeley on Lap 255. "I knew I needed to get a bunch of (positions)," Harvick said. "I was fortunate to start on the outside. The seas kind of parted there as I came off of Turn 2 and was about to get four or five of them; I don't really know, but it was time to go for broke at that particular point. "When the next caution came out, we were fortunate enough again to line up on the outside (for the restart on Lap 259). That was pretty much what we needed—to get the run on the outside down the backstretch." On the final restart against Harvick, Newman said he contemplated the sort of all-or-nothing move he had used a week earlier against Kyle Larson to edge Jeff Gordon by one point for the final position in the Championship 4 Round. But Newman quickly thought better of the idea. "In the end, I just got down underneath him and he was close enough to me, took some of the air away from me," Newman said. "I could have kept it wide open and washed up into him, and it wasn't the right move. It wasn't what I would have wanted him to do to me. "If we were close enough on the last lap, it might have been a different game, but I wasn't. I slipped off of Turn 4 coming to the white, and at that point it was pretty much over. I really was hoping he would slip a tire, blow a motor, something like that. That was our only hope. All those things go through your mind, but I had a pretty good run and cut down to the bottom and just ran out of racetrack, ran out of room, and he had the air—he had the line." Hamlin, who forewent a pit stop on Lap 249 when most of the other lead-lap cars came to pit road, restarted in the lead on Lap 259, with Newman second and Harvick sixth, but Hamlin's No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota quickly fell victim to cars on superior tires. By the time NASCAR called the 13th caution on Lap 262, Hamlin had dropped to third behind Harvick and Newman, and he fell back to seventh in the final three-lap run. "For me, there's not one thing I would have done different," Hamlin said. "I mean, we brought a car that was capable of winning. I just don't know how to express it enough. Sometimes breaks go your way; sometimes they don't. They just didn't go our way. "There's not much else we could have done with the strategy that we played with the cautions that came out. I wouldn't do a thing different. I think we overachieved greatly by being here, and we haven't had the speed to compete for race wins all year, and we did today, on the race that really mattered. Just came up short." Logano's first flirtation with a title came to an inglorious end when the No. 22 Team Penske Ford fell off the jack as the crew was changing left-side tires under caution on Lap 249. Last out of the pits, Logano restarted 29th on Lap 253 and could recover only to 16th by the checkered flag. "It's hard to be proud right now after coming home wherever we finished in this race," said Logano, who gets credit for fourth in the championship standings despite winning five races. "I don't even know what that is. I don't even care. "You don't get shots at championships often. Hopefully we get another next year. This car had a lot of wins and a lot of top fives, and it doesn't mean a thing." Gordon, the Coors Light Polesitter, led 161 laps, but came to pit road for tires on Lap 256 and wasn't a factor the rest of the way, finishing 10th. Notes: Kyle Larson finished 13th and was the runaway winner of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award after an outstanding freshman season… Marcos Ambrose finished 27th in his final race for Richard Petty Motorsports before returning to his native Australia to race V8 Supercars for owner Roger Penske… The victim of an early accident, Carl Edwards ran 34th in his final trip in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford before moving to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. It was also the last race as a crew chief for Edwards' veteran pit boss, Jimmy Fennig… Chevrolet won its 12th straight manufacturers’ championship and 38th overall. 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
Reps for vehicle manufacturers break down Hamlin, Harvick, Logano and Newman RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- One is said to exude quiet confidence. The other's a leader from the cockpit. Another's laser-focused while the fourth is charging. That's how officials from their respective automakers described this year’s four championship contenders Saturday here at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano and Ryan Newman each will head into Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 seeking a first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. The four are all that remain of the original 16 in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup field, advancing through three rounds to reach one final stop. The highest-finishing driver leaves with the title, meaning a win isn't necessary. But none of the four wants to go out with anything less than a checkered flag. And the championship trophy. Hamlin's been here before, under somewhat different circumstances. In 2010, he led Jimmie Johnson by 15 points heading into Homestead but by most accounts let the pressure of the title get in his way. Johnson won handily, and Hamlin hasn't forgotten. Dave Wilson, president and GM for Toyota Racing Development USA, said that experience should prove valuable to the 34-year-old Hamlin, as well as other recent near misses for the Toyota camp. "Denny thinks a lot, and he's been here before, and I think that really helps him," Wilson said. "We've, as a manufacturer, been the bridesmaid three out of the past four years; Denny has had a second‑place finish, Clint Bowyer has had a second‑place finish, then of course last year Matt Kenseth . But Denny is comfortable. He's confident, quietly confident I would say." Wilson also noted that Hamlin has enjoyed success on the 1.5-mile track, winning twice in the past five years, including last season. "I think it gives him just what he needs to do the job Sunday," he said. Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) won once this year, at Talladega Superspeedway in April. His best Chase finish came last week at Phoenix where he was fifth. He has led multiple laps in five of the nine Chase races. Chevrolet, with Harvick and Newman, is the only manufacturer with multiple representatives going for the title. To some, they represent the most likely and the least likely to emerge with the championship. Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ) has four wins this season while Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) is winless. Raw speed has been the calling card for Harvick's No. 4 team while Newman has relied on consistency and an ability to avoid the disastrous finish. "Ryan just keeps coming; he keeps getting stronger race after race, and that team has just gotten in a great rhythm ... every single race," said Chevrolet's Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports. "Now, they haven't won a race yet, but they are charging." Harvick, he said, is more representative of his boss, fellow driver and three-time Sprint Cup champion, Tony Stewart . "He's focused, he's mentally tough and he's a leader from the cockpit of the car," Campbell said. "When I think about the last time Stewart-Haas won the championship ... in '11, Tony had a lot of those same attributes. "And so we'll see where these two guys net out. The competition is tough. Anything can happen, and we expect there's going to be some curveballs and surprises in how the teams react. Same focus, calm, and the guys leading from the cockpit with the team is going to have the best chance to win." Logano is in his second season with Team Penske after a four full seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing that produced just two wins and no Chase appearances. He's yet to not make the Chase since joining the Penske organization. Two of his five wins this year have come in Chase races. "Joey Logano, when he came into the sport was billed as a phenom, and indeed he is a phenom," Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing, said. "He's got the talent, and with the team around him, I think he's very poised to succeed. He is driven and the goal is in sight, and we expect him to succeed. "This is a sport of teams. You've got to put that in context. It's Joey, it's Todd (Gordon, crew chief), it's Penske, it's Ford. When you put that ensemble together, this season has been an absolute standout season." While there is much on the line, none of the three automakers has ramped up its assistance to the individual teams. Instead, most have continued to provide the technical and engineering support that's been the framework of the relationship from the beginning. "There are tendencies in the sport during the race that can be gleaned from mining data that could give a crew chief an opportunity to make a decision based on data rather than just simply on gut feel," said Allison. "The field of analytics is wide open. So really when you're coming down to the final race from a hardware (standpoint), it's largely in the hands of the teams. But in terms of enabling decision making on in‑race situation, that's one scenario." With 19 wins among all Chevrolet teams, and a 38th manufacturer's title in the wings, Campbell said he saw no reason to increase input. "Stick to the fundamentals in terms of providing the right parts, the right engineering people and the right engineering tools and then follow through," he said. Wilson agreed. And while Hamlin likely learned a lesson from his 2010 shortcoming, so too did the manufacturer. "I think we collectively overthought the gravity of it and played from a defensive position," Wilson said. "I think what everyone has seen this year is a different feel. Denny is loose. It's business as usual. The performance that we've collectively brought to the table is what has gotten Denny to this position, and we're just going to execute as a team and see what that brings tomorrow afternoon." 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