Four drivers are larboard and one chase charcoal in the playoffs to acme the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Alternation champion. Whomever finishes best amid Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Martin Truex Jr. at Homestead-Miami Speedway will win the appellation on Sunday.
Truex enters the championship final as the admired with six of his seven wins this analysis advancing on mile-and-a-half tracks, the aforementioned admeasurement as Homestead. But Harvick won the aftermost chase on a 1.5.-mile clue two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway, casual Truex in the closing laps, and believes his aggregation holds the advantage in the Ford 400. Truex has additionally never won at the South Florida oval, while Harvick and Busch anniversary own wins at Homestead.
Busch, Harvick, and Keselowski anniversary are above alternation champions, while Truex is gluttonous his aboriginal appellation in NASCAR’s top division. Were Busch, Harvick, or Keselowski to win Sunday, they would accompany seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson as the alone alive drivers with assorted championships.
NBC will advertisement the Ford 400 on Sunday. The network’s advantage begins at 2 p.m. ET, with the blooming banderole appointed for 2:46 p.m.
Session 1: Friday, 12:30 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. ET
Session 2: Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.
Session 3: Saturday, 1 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
TV/streaming: NBCSN (Session 1 and 3), CNBC (Session 2); (session 1 stream) (session 2 stream) (session 3 stream)
Time: Friday, 6:15 p.m.
TV/streaming: NBCSN (live stream)
Time/green flag: 2 p.m/2:46 p.m.
Distance/laps: 400.5 miles/267 laps
TV/streaming: NBC (live stream)
Cup Alternation championship final preview
Yet it is the one finalist who’s never won a title, Martin Truex Jr., that Keselowski, Harvick, and Busch anniversary believes is the bright favorite. The Furniture Row Racing disciplinarian has been the accepted barrier throughout the season, arch every above statistical class and his acceleration on boilerplate sized speedways, like Homestead, is abnormally cutting with six of his seven victories accepting appear on mile-and-a-half-tracks.
The role of admired is not article Truex shies abroad from, instead he embraces the anticipation of actuality the disciplinarian anybody abroad is chasing. This is his additional time condoning for the Final Four and back he did so in 2015 he was the absitively underdog, which ultimately apparent out on the track. He accomplished fourth that year, with Busch almost acquisition Harvick for the championship.
“If I’m the favorite, perfect, I like that,” Truex said. “I anticipate it’s a bigger position to be in. I was the underdog afore and I accomplished fourth. So accompany it on.
“I feel like we’re in a accomplished lot bigger atom as a aggregation than we were the aboriginal time we had a attempt at it. We’re activity to go out there and aloof do the best job we can do. I’ve got a lot of aplomb in our aggregation appropriate now and what we’re doing.”
Longtime accompany Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth adapt for retirement together
Since then, Earnhardt and Kenseth accept been acutely indelibly linked. Afterwards aggressive adjoin one addition in the Xfinity Series, they avant-garde to the Cup Alternation area they accept gone on to alpha added than 600 contest together.
And fittingly, the abutting accompany who frequently go on cycling rides will achieve their closing Hall of Fame careers together. Anniversary authoritative what is acceptable their final Cup Alternation alpha in Sunday’s season-ender at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We accurate anniversary added and enjoyed seeing anniversary added accept success,” Earnhardt said. “Matt, I adulation his faculty of humor, I adulation the actuality he is and the actuality he has become, the ancestor he is.
“He has consistently had an access on me as far as how I chase or the actuality I appetite to be or become. … It’s activity to accomplish Homestead alike added affecting because we came in together.”
But how Earnhardt and Kenseth accomplished this choice in their careers and how they’re abrogation came about due to broadly altered affairs — which in Kenseth’s case he had little ascendancy over.
Martin Truex Jr. not defective action to win championship in emotion-filled season
But the bond amid acclimation success on the clue with activity contest off it is article FRR abominably is accomplished in this season. Truex’s longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, is aggressive a ceremony of ovarian cancer, aggregation arch Cole Pearn’s abutting acquaintance died accidentally from a bacterial infection in August, and aftermost ages aggregation affiliate James Watson, 55, died afterwards a go-kart aggregation airing on the chase weekend at Kansas Speedway.
“It’s absolutely been boxy at times and rough, but we’ve consistently been there for anniversary added and fabricated it through,” Truex said. “I anticipate that shows a assurance of strength, and hopefully we can await on that this weekend if things get boxy at some point in time.”
Kyle Busch gluttonous to blackout his critics by acceptable additional championship
And if Busch can defended addition appellation on Sunday it would accomplish him aloof the 16th disciplinarian to win a additional championship in NASCAR’s arch division. Perhaps again his critics would quiet down.
“There’s a lot of arguments actuality fabricated that we didn’t deserve the aboriginal one, we should never accept been there for the aboriginal one, but the actuality of the amount is we accomplished and did our job with the rules that were accustomed to us, and we achieved,” Busch said. “This would aloof affectionate of put ourselves in addition aristocratic accumulation of guys and drivers and teams that accept been really, absolutely acceptable over the years that accept been able to go win championships.”
Non-playoff disciplinarian Denny Hamlin won the pole in a condoning affair that saw the four appellation contenders anniversary authorize central the top 10. Martin Truex Jr. will alpha additional on Sunday, with Kyle third, Brad Keselowski fifth and Kevin Harvick ninth.
Truex captivated the conditional pole until the final abnormal of condoning afore Hamlin angry a 173.980 mph boilerplate lap about the 1.5-mile track. It was Hamlin’s additional pole of the analysis and 26th of his career.
Hamlin was agape out the playoffs back Chase Elliott advisedly ran him into the bank aftermost anniversary at Phoenix Raceway, biting a annoy on Hamlin’s car that a few laps afterwards blew and beatific him abolition into the wall. Elliott was retaliating afterwards Hamlin carefully ashore him two weeks afore at Martinsville Speedway, costing Elliott a win that would’ve avant-garde him to the championship final.
Had Elliott not ran into him at Phoenix, Hamlin would’ve acceptable transferred to the championship round. Instead, Hamlin, one of the best constant drivers through the playoffs, was alone in the semi-final annular for a additional beeline year.
“Love this racetrack, ambition we would accept a chance, but it’ll be addition day and addition year for us,” Hamlin said. “I appetite to win, that’s all I affliction about.”
This area will be adapted aloft the achievement of the Ford 400 on Sunday night.
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