When the NASCAR Nationwide Series hits the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Saturday for the Ford EcoBoost 300, fans can expect to see the exciting finale of not just one championship battle, but three.
With the closest drivers’ championship race since the points system was restructured prior to the 2011 season, the title bout figures to go down to the very last lap as current points leader Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish Jr., who sits eight points back, duke it out. Dillon can clinch the trophy, regardless of how Hornish does, if he finishes third or better, or fourth or better with at least one lap led, or fifth or better with the most laps led.
In his only series start at the 1.5-mile track Dillon finished fifth in the 2012 season finale. In two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts his best finish was 10th in 2011. Hornish’s best series finish in five starts at the South Florida facility came last year when he placed fourth. He never posted better than a 21st-place finish in four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts.
In the owners’ championship race, Kyle Busch was able to shave 22 points from the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford’s ’s lead last weekend after racking up his 12th victory of the season in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Penske Racing’s advantage now sits at only four points, and they can guarantee a clinch of the title with a victory this weekend. Both race cars have visited Victory Lane 12 times in 2013. Busch has won 12 times in the No. 54, while four drivers – Brad Keselowksi, Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Blaney – all have contributed to the No. 22’s dozen victories.
Toyota currently holds a two-point advantage over Ford in the manufacturers’ championship. Either manufacturer clinches the title with a victory. If a Chevrolet wins on Saturday and a Ford finishes second, the tiebreaker – which would extend down to runner-up finishes – would give Ford the title.