Nigel Kinrade Photography
GALLERY: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4
It may have taken us nine playoff races to get to this point, but the cream has risen to the top once again as the best four competitors all season long will battle for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Season Statistics: Two races wins, five stage wins, 12 top-five’s, 25 top-10’s
Joey Logano may have wrecked out at ISM Raceway, but that’s okay as his victory at Martinsville Speedway gave him a ticket to the Championship 4. Despite hitting a snag in the momentum, he has posted eight top-14 finishes in the last nine races. But the concern for him as whether the line of drivers who are upset with him – Martin Truex Jr. and Aric Almirola – will take action on their feelings at Homestead, especially Almirola who is out of contention.
He has a pair of fourths and a sixth in his last three starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Season Statistics: 8 race wins, 6 stage wins, 21 top-five’s, 27 top-10’s
Kyle Busch did not have the day he wanted in Texas Motor Speedway, having a loose wheel along with a pit road penalty, but that’s in the rear view now following a victory at ISM Raceway.
He has finished in the top-six in his last three appearances at Homestead, including a victory in 2015 en route to being crowned the series champion.
Season Statistics: 8 race wins, 18 stage wins, 22 top-five’s, 28 top-10’s
With seven wins during the regular season, Kevin Harvick had a healthy cushion entering this round. He used that to his advantage, along with a 10th (Martinsville) and fifth (ISM) when he was stripped of his automatic playoff lock and 40 points due to an illegal spoiler at Texas Motor Speedway. There may be some concern with crew chief Rodney Childers suspended, but Tony Gibson seems to have everything in control.
He has finished in the top-10 in his last 10 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, including a victory in 2014 en route to being crowned the series champion.
Martin Truex Jr.
Season Statistics: Four race wins, 10 stage wins, 19 top-five’s, 20 top-10’s
Although there may be concerns about Martin Truex Jr.‘s performance due to a lack-luster post-season, he was able to use his 38 playoff points and mostly solid top-10 finishes (he placed 14th at ISM) to enable him to be apart of the Championship 4. That said, he has shown potential via vying for wins both the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL and Martinsville until he was wrecked on the last lap. There is extra motivation with Furniture Row Racing closing doors at season’s end, along with him telling Logano at Martinsville, “He may have won the race, but he ain’t winning the damn war.”
After three straight races with finishes outside the top-10 at Homestead, Truex won the Ford EcoBoost 400 last year to secure the 2017 series championship.
All Photos Courtesy of Nigel Kinrade Photography
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