HOMESTEAD, Fla – Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of the most unique stops on the NASCAR tour. As the season concludes in South Florida, NASCAR only visits the track for the season finale.
Its uniqueness from the other 1.5-mile tracks make it’s a special venue for NASCAR to host all three of its national series championship finales. Homestead raises the difficulty for many teams because most of them only have notes from previous years, with only a few able to test with Goodyear, and just three pre-race practice sessions.
As we conclude the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Kevin Harvick locked himself for the fourth time into the Championship 4 and will be racing for his second title. This year, a different tire in comparison to 2017, which may bring swings to various teams.
“A lot of that depends on what your car is doing on a particular weekend,” Harvick said. “I don’t think any year is going to be the same as to what you fight. They changed the tire this year. That’s obviously a little bit different than what we’ve had in the past.”
A few weeks ago, after Harvick’s win in the AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, the No. 4 team received an L1-level penalty. Some of the consequences included the suspension of crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert Smith, as well as 40 points being taken away leaving them just three points above the cut-off line. Therefore, the following weekend at ISM Raceway, they had to finish strong to advance to the Championship 4.
Suffering from a flat tire early in the event, interim crew chief Tony Gibson decided to take two tires which potentially kept them in the race. After finishing fifth, No. 4 team advanced to the Championship 4 and a shot to race for a title.
Although the season has had a few down slopes for Harvick, he knows that pulling off the championship victory at Homestead is not going to be simple.
“But it’s just not that easy,” Harvick said. “Coming here this time of the season, just like us last year, we didn’t run well in the first half of the season. You look at the 22 car, they didn’t run well in the first half of the season. They came on late and have done well. Obviously, that’s the goal, is to go out and try to win the championship. I don’t know that it would be. There’s nothing that’s going to devastate us to the point of not being able to function any more. But to go along with everything you’ve done this year, it definitely would seem fitting to add that to the year end.”
This Sunday’s race will be a lot different from the race back in 2014 when Harvick won his first title. His competitors Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are both racing for their second championship and the second consecutive title for Toyota. Meanwhile, Joey Logano is looking to capture his first championship after missing the playoffs in 2017.
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