Homestead-Miami primer: Everything you need to know about race, track

Leave a comment

Here’s the final Cup primer of the season, covering all that’s on tap for this weekend, season highlights and information about Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Miami Highlights

  • The last seven Miami races were won by seven different drivers
  • The last three Miami races were won by drivers getting their first win at Miami
  • The last six Miami races were won by drivers from three organizations: Hendrick Motorsports, Joe 
Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing
  • Jimmie Johnson won at Miami in 2016; he led only the final three laps
  • Ford has seven Miami wins but has not won there since Carl Edwards won for Roush Fenway Racing in 
2010 (Edwards tied for the championship in 2011, but Tony Stewart and Chevrolet won the title by wins)
  • 13 of the last 14 Miami races had at least seven cautions
  • The last three Miami races had a final green flag stretch of seven laps or less
  • Three Miami races had an overtime finish: 2004, 2006 and 2016
  • Miami is one of two active tracks where Team Penske is winless, the other is Indianapolis
  • There were eight DNFs at Miami in 2016 all eight were for accident, it was the most DNFs for accident 
in one race at Miami
  • The driver who led the most laps failed to win the last six races at Miami
  • There were 18 or more lead changes in the last eight Miami races, 20 in 2016
  • 12 of 18 Miami races were won from a top-10 start position
  • Jimmie Johnson won from a 14th place start position in 2016 the worst start by a Miami winner in the 
last four races (Johnson started in the race in the rear after unapproved impound adjustments)
  • Bobby Labonte passed Bill Elliott on the last lap of the 2003 race in Miami, the only last lap pass ever at 
the track (Labonte led only one lap in the entire race)
  • The final lead change was in the last eight laps in the last three Miami races (every race in the 
elimination format)
  • In the three years of the elimination format (since 2014), the driver who won the Championship also 
won the race
  • Four times the driver who won at Miami also won the Championship: 2011, 2014-2016
  • This will be the first time a Chevrolet has not made the Championship four at Miami
  • 10 of 13 Miami Playoff races were won by playoff drivers
  • Two of the four Championship drivers have won at Miami: Kevin Harvick 2014 and Kyle Busch 2015
  • This will be the first appearance in the Championship four for Brad Keselowski, Keselowski won the 
Championship in 2012 prior to the introduction of the elimination format
  • The pass for the win came in the final eight laps in all three races at Homestead under the elimination 
format
  • Jimmie Johnson was the best running of the four playoff drivers for only seven laps last year
  • All four playoff drivers had a significant issue in the race in 2016, three of the four finishes in the top-six

2017 Season highlights

  • Joe Gibbs Racing (8), Furniture Row (5) and Chip Ganassi Racing (2) won 15 of the last 18 races
  • The pole winner has won six times in 2017: Kyle Larson ACS, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Talladega-1, Kyle 
Larson MIS-1, Kyle Busch POC-2, Kyle Busch NH-2, Martin Truex Jr. KS-2
  • The final lead change came in the last 10 laps in 20 of 35 races in 2017, the final three laps in 13 races 
and on the last lap in four races
  • The pass for the win came in the final 10 laps in five of the last seven races of 2017
  • Either Martin Truex Jr. or Kyle Busch won a stage in 23 of 35 races in 2017
  • Martin Truex Jr. has won at least one stage in 14 of 35 races in 2017 but has not won a stage in the last 
seven races which is his longest stretch of races without a stage win in 2017
  • Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to win both Stage 1 and 2 and go on to win the race (Las Vegas, Kentucky)
  • Five drivers have won a race but have not won a stage in 2017
  • Three drivers have won a stage but have not won a race in 2017
  • Atlanta, Pocono-1, Michigan-2 Chicagoland and Phoenix-2 are the only races without a caution before 
the end of stage 1
  • Atlanta, Michigan-2 and Chicagoland are the only races to not have a caution other than stage 
breaks in the first two stages of the race
  • Three Cautions at Watkins Glen the fewest in a race in 2017
  • 15 cautions at Kansas-1 and Dover-1 are the most in a race in 2017
  • Three times a driver has won after going to the rear: Jimmie Johnson Texas-1 (unapproved tire 
change), Joey Logano Richmond-1 (transmission change), Jimmie Johnson Dover-1 (rear gear change)
  • Denny Hamlin won in New Hampshire-1 after going to a backup car prior to qualifying
  • Three times in 2017 a driver has gone on to win after a speeding penalty: Kurt Busch Daytona-1, Brad 
Keselowski Martinsville-1 and Martin Truex Jr. Chicagoland
  • Martin Truex Jr. won at Kansas after a restart violation on lap 36, it was the fourth time in 2017 a driver 
has recovered from a in race infraction to win and the second time by Martin Truex Jr.
  • Three drivers got their first career win in 2017: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Talladega-1, Austin Dillon Charlotte-1, Ryan Blaney Pocono-1, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the first first-time winner to get his second win in 2017
  • There have been two track records set in 2017: Kyle Busch (Kentucky), Kurt Busch (Texas-2)
  • Eight times driver has swept all three rounds of qualifying: Kevin Harvick- IMS 2014, MIS 6/14 and TX 4/17, DAR 2017; Joey Logano MART 4/16 10/17; Brad Keselowski TX 11/15; Kyle Busch CHI 2017
  • Qualifying was cancelled twice in 2017: Martinsville-1, Bristol-1
  • 11 races had an overtime finish in 2017: PHX-1, ACS, TAL-1, Dover-1, Daytona-2, KY, Indy, MIS-2, 
RICH-2, CLT-2, MART-2
  • Four races were won with a last lap pass: Daytona-1 Kurt Busch passed Kyle Larson, Talladega-1 Ricky 
Stenhouse Jr. passed Kyle Busch, Talladega-2 Brad Keselowski passed Ryan Newman, Martinsville-2 
Kyle Busch passed Denny Hamlin
  • Three races were affected by rain in 2017: Bristol-1 (postponed until Monday), Charlotte-1 (delayed 90 
minutes lap 145), Indianapolis (Delayed on Lap 12 for 2 hours)
  • Three drivers ended the longest winless streaks of their career in 2017: Ryan Newman 127 races, Kasey 
Kahne 102 races and Kyle Busch 36 races
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway is located 287 miles south of Daytona International Speedway
  • At the end of the Miami race, the Cup Series will have raced 10,581 laps and 14,035 miles; even more with an overtime finish
  • Martin Truex Jr. won six of 10 races on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017, he finished 8th, 8th, 3rd and 2nd in the other four
  • Three of the four Championship four drivers won a race on a 1.5 mile track in 2017, Kyle Busch’s best finish on a 1.5 mile track in 2017 is second in the Coke 600 at Charlotte
  • Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to finish in the top-10 in all 10 races on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017, Kevin Harvick is a close second with nine
  • Martin Truex Jr. led 1,054 laps on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017 the most of all drivers, the second most laps led is 707 by Kevin Harvick a difference of 347 laps, 90 more laps than the scheduled race distance at Miami
  • The four playoff drivers combined led 77% of the laps raced on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017 (2354 of 3072): Martin Truex Jr. 1,054, Kevin Harvick 707, Kyle Busch 460 and Brad Keselowski 133
  • Jimmie Johnsons 28 career wins on 1.5 mile tracks are the most all time
  • Toyota has six wins on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017, all by Martin Truex Jr.
  • One 1.5 mile track race was won from the pole in 2017: Kansas 2 by Martin Truex Jr.

Season Breakdown

  • Different Winners: 15
  • Most Wins: 7 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Most Poles: 8 – Kyle Busch
  • Most Runner Ups: 8 – Kyle Larson
  • Most Top-fives: 18 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Most Top-10s: 25 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Most Laps Led: 2175 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Stage Wins: 19 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Stage Top-5s: 47 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Stage Top-10s: 54 – Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr.
  • Playoff Points: 69 – Martin Truex Jr.

Miami Track Facts

  • November 19th will be the 19th race at Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted a race every season since 1999 and was the final race of the 
season since 2002
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the season finale in ever playoff season (14 times total)
  • This will be the 11th and final race on a 1.5 mile track in 2017 and the last of five in the playoffs
  • This will be the third points race held in the state of Florida for the MENCS in 2017

Homestead-Miami Track History

  • Homestead was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in August, 1992. Ralph Sanchez, a long time promoter of street races in Miami, had long dreamed of a first-class track in South Florida. After the hurricane he approached the city of Homestead with a proposal to build a track. Within two weeks he negotiated an agreement whereby the City would own the track on county land and lease the facility to Sanchez.
  • Ground was broken August 23, 1994. The first points race was a Busch Series race held on November 5, 1995 won by Dale Jarrett before a sellout crowd. The first competition was an exhibition race for NASCAR Trucks won by Geoff Bodine.
  • The first Cup race was November 14th, 1999 won by Tony Stewart driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac led by crew chief Greg Zipadelli. It was Stewart’s third win of his rookie season. Stewart also won the following year.
  • ISC became the sole owner of the Speedway in 2001 pursuant to an agreement that was made in 1997 when ISC acquired 40% ownership
  • In 2003 the track underwent a major reconfiguration from what was nearly a flat 1.5 mile track to computer designed progressive banking of 18-20 degrees in the turns. The project required over 4 million cubic feet of fill that was hauled in with 10,000 truckloads. The pole speed jumped nearly 25 mph in 2003 to 181.111 (the all-time record) from the previous record of 156.440 mph
  • Homestead has been the NSCS season ending race since 2002.
  • Ford Championship Weekend began in 2003.
  • The 2005 events were held under the lights for the first time.
  • Some features of the 600 acre facility: 1,005 Palm trees, five level 12 story high tower building, 750 TV 
monitor, garage area for 120 cars and 30 suites above the garages
  • In 2009 the track hosted all of North America’s premier motorsports championships: IndyCar, Grand- 
Am, Indy Lights and NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Xfinity (then Nationwide) and Camping World Truck Series.
  • At 25 degree longitude, Homestead is the southern most track that NASCAR visits

Garrett Smithley calls wreck with leaders a career low point

Leave a comment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Garrett Smithley said he felt “probably the lowest of my career” Saturday after causing the leaders to wreck late in the Xfinity Series playoff race at Kansas Speedway while he was five laps down.

Smithley said he wasn’t aware the leaders were behind him when he exited Turn 4 and moved up toward the wall. Chase Briscoe, who was leading, and Christopher Bell, who was second, made contact as Briscoe tried to avoid Smithley.

Briscoe finished third. Bell 12th.

“I just didn’t get the memo that he was coming,” Smithley said of the leaders. “(Spotter) Freddie (Kraft) usually does a good job, he always does a good job. I’m sure it wasn’t his fault. Something didn’t get transmitted or what. I glanced up. David Starr was back there. I was just riding. We were on like 70-lap tires just riding not even pushing hard. I hated it.”

Asked about the line he ran, going from the bottom in the corners to high on exit, Smithley said:

“I was running my line. If I had known he was back there, I wouldn’t have even done that. I was just riding. I was on 70-lap tires, not even pushing it. Just stupid mistake. I hate that it happened. I hate it for everybody that got involved. I do not want to be that guy by any means. I’ve never been that guy. I hate that that happened.”

It’s the second time in about a month that Smithley has been hit by a faster car while running laps down in a race.

In the Cup playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch ran into the back of Smithley’s car and criticized Smithley’s credentials.

Asked if he feared people would start associating him with those incidents, Smithley said:

“No. What happened at Vegas happened. People spoke and most people were on my side. It was a mistake. People forget how hard this stuff is. Things happen in a split-second decision. Like I said, I didn’t know he was up there. I glanced up and didn’t see him and ran my line and that was it.”

Briscoe demurred on being overly critical of Smithley, saying “I still haven’t seen a replay” when he talked to reporters.

“It is frustrating even without that lap car, just in general,” Briscoe said. “I totally understand lap cars are obviously off the pace and that makes it tough for them. At this place, the fast guys are running the top and there were a lot of guys that would run the top in front of you.

“We are literally racing for our lives trying to lock into a championship. I haven’t seen the replay so it is hard to say. I know I got tagged in the left rear by Bell but at the same time it felt like (Smithley) was going to put me in the fence regardless.”

Told that Smithley said he wasn’t aware Briscoe was behind, Briscoe said: “I feel like he should have general awareness of what is going on. I totally get where he is coming from. It is tough in those situations. I don’t know. I don’t want to comment on it because I have not been in his position, so I am sure it is tough but it is frustrating to say the least on my end. We go from 15 to go thinking we are going to win the race and lock into Homestead and then you are two points back. It is frustrating. I am sure he will reach out and I appreciate that, but it doesn’t much help the fact.”

Said Bell: “I haven’t seen (a replay) so it’s hard for me to say. Obviously I didn’t mean to wreck the 98. It sucks that we tore up two race cars.”

While Bell and Briscoe were judicious in their words, some Cup drivers expressed their feelings on Twitter:

Smithley took responsibility on Twitter:

 

 

Xfinity results, points after Round of 8 begins at Kansas

Leave a comment

Brandon Jones may have been eliminated from advancement in the Xfinity Series playoffs after the cutoff race at Dover two weeks ago, but on Saturday he lived up to his promise that he’d still win a race in the remainder of the playoffs as the Round of 8 kicked off.

It was Jones’ first win in 134 career Xfinity Series starts. It also was his 14th top-10 finish of 2019.

MORE: Brandon Jones rallies late to earn first career Xfinity win at Kansas

Tyler Reddick finished second, followed by Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

POINTS:

Even though he finished 12th after being involved in a late race wreck with Briscoe and Garrett Smithley, Christopher Bell still maintains his lead at the top of the heap of the Xfinity Series point standings.

Bell holds an 11-point lead over Cole Custer and is 12 points ahead of Tyler Reddick and 47 points ahead of Justin Allgaier.

Fifth through eighth are Chase Briscoe (-49 points), Michael Annett (-59 points), Noah Gragson (-64 points) and Austin Cindric (-77 points).

Click here for the updated point standings.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick have physical confrontation after Kansas race

1 Comment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Xfinity Series championship contenders Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick got involved in a heated confrontation that quickly turned physical after Saturday’s race at Kansas Speedway.

Custer, who was angry about Reddick making contact with him, approached his rival after they parked in the pits. Custer put a hand on the shoulder of Reddick, who responded by grabbing Custer with both hands (watch the video above).

The drivers both fell to the ground as they were swarmed by members of both teams. Neither driver seemed to be hurt, though Reddick had a red mark above his right eye.

“I was just frustrated that he can’t keep his car on the bottom and then runs us up into the wall,” Custer told NBC Sports. “If he wants to wreck cars and put them in the wall, that’s fine, but when it affects me, I’m not going to be very happy with him.

“I don’t know. I just went over to talk to him and say that and put my hand on him, and he just went berserk. I thought we had a good car and a shot to win.”

As he approached Reddick, Custer addressed him with “You can be a dumb (expletive).”

“I understand Cole’s frustration 100 percent,” Reddick told NBC Sports. “We’re trying to lock ourselves into Homestead, and he came up to talk after the race. He put a hand on me, I put a hand on him back, and that’s just how it’s going to be if we’re going to have a conversation that way.

“I’m out of breath. Had a fight there with some people, and it was a little bit of fun. I think a lot of Cole and his driving ability.”

Reddick finished runner-up Saturday to Brandon Jones, who won but already had been eliminated from the playoffs and wasn’t eligible to advance to the championship round. Custer finished 10th.

With two races remaining in the Xfinity playoffs at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, Reddick and Custer both are comfortably in position to reach the title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Custer is 38 points ahead of the cut line, and Reddick is plus-37. Christopher Bell, who crashed with leader Chase Briscoe when he ran into the rear of the lapped car of Garrett Smithley, remained the championship leader at 49 points ahead of Briscoe, who is two points behind fourth-ranked Justin Allgaier

“It was just heat of the moment,” Reddick said of the scuffle. “We’re pissed off. I’m sure we’ll talk about it here soon, maybe today, tomorrow.

“I hate that it happened to him, but we’ll try and move forward. Both of us have a lot left to lose in this deal, and if we take each other out, neither one of us get to Homestead, and I feel we both deserve to be there.”

Reddick and Custer did talk later in the garage as their cars were going through inspection.

Custer also was involved in a notable altercation after a truck race three years ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, where he tackled John Hunter Nemechek in anger after they collided on the last lap while racing for the lead.

Nemechek made light of that situation while Custer did postrace interviews Saturday (see the :50 mark of Dustin Long’s Twitter video below).

Brandon Jones rallies to earn first career Xfinity win at Kansas

Leave a comment

After starting from the front row next to pole sitter Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones fell backwards only to roar back late to win his first career Xfinity Series race Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

With the win, the 22-year-old Jones, who was knocked out of the playoffs earlier, still had an impact on how the Round of 8 began.

Jones was in the right place at the right time, taking advantage of late-race misfortune to Chase Briscoe and Bell, who were involved in a wreck with Garrett Smithley with 16 laps to go in the 200-lap event.

Equally as important was the great restart Jones got with four laps to go.

“This is incredible,” Jones told NBCSN. “I knew this would happen, we were going to come here and have an amazing run at the end of the day. … I’m not going to lie, my foot was literally shaking on the accelerator on the last lap, I’m not even sure I was wide open when I was doing it.

“There was a lot of nerve flow and emotion going through my mind but I saw it coming and I got pretty pumped.”

MORE: Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick have physical confrontation after race

MORE: Xfinity results, points after Round of 8 begins at Kansas

Tyler Reddick finished second, followed by Briscoe, Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier.

While Bell led 70 laps and Briscoe 33, their significant efforts were quickly derailed with 16 laps to go.

Briscoe was in the lead, with Bell right behind, when Briscoe tried to pass Garrett Smithley, who was five laps down at the time. But instead of yielding the high line on the track to Briscoe and Bell, Smithley washed up the track and Briscoe could not avoid contact, nor could Bell avoid contract with Briscoe.

Briscoe finished third, while Bell finished 12th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell (18th stage win of season)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer (eighth stage win of season)

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Briscoe overcame the late contact with Smithley and Bell to finish third. Also having a strong outing was Michael Annett, who potentially might have had a chance at a win if the race had gone a few more laps.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Making just his sixth start of the season, Ryan Truex had his car blow up on him after just four laps. “It sucks, that was my last race in this car (this season) and probably the best car we’ve had since Phoenix at the start of the year,” Truex told NBC. “We had a top five car for sure. That really sucks that we don’t even have a chance to show what we’ve got. … To not even have a chance is really hard to swallow.” … Harrison Burton, who on Thursday was announced that he would race full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2020, made contact with Austin Cindric on Lap 70. “To me, it just felt like I flat out got wrecked,” Burton said of Cindric to NBC Sports. “It’s unfortunate and frustrating. … I guess he didn’t want to race, he just wanted to wreck.” Burton finished 34th, while Cindric was 25th.

NOTABLE: Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick were involved in a pushing and shoving match for about 20 seconds after the race, but were separated.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity Series has next weekend off. It returns to action for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 2 (8:30 p.m. ET start, on NBCSN).

Follow @JerryBonkowski