A three-peat Championship, back-to-back win streaks and one of the closest finishes in history. And, that was only half the story!
The biggest Ford Racefest ever helped kick off Ford Championship Weekend 2008 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tony Stewart made his final run with Joe Gibbs Racing, the Craftsman Truck Series made its final run as title sponsor, Grammy award winner Neyo sang the National Anthem, and Paul Sr. from Orange County Choppers was the honorary starter. Need more?
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The 2008 edition of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway was another exciting chapter for The Championship Track. NASCAR titles were decided in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series following the running of three thrilling races.
Todd Bodine won the Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 to open the Ford Championship Weekend, but Johnny Benson won the championship on a late-race charge to edge Ron Hornaday by seven points, the second-closest margin in series history.
Carl Edwards then won both the Ford 300 and Ford 400, but could not close the gap to capture either title. Clint Bowyer finished a solid fifth to secure the Nationwide Series crown on Saturday, while Jimmie Johnson locked up the Sprint Cup Series crown with a 15th-place finish on Sunday.
Johnson made history by becoming the first driver in 30 years to capture three consecutive Sprint Cup Series titles. The only other driver to accomplish this feat was Cale Yarborough, the 1976-78 champion.
“Obviously, on the track, we had great, great racing,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. “That says a lot about the competitiveness of the race track, with the variable banking, and the high-tech design of the race track worked very well.
“As far as the championship atmosphere, it keeps growing. We’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback from the fans. Even though the points spread in the Sprint Cup wasn’t very tight, it was still very exciting racing. In other two series, it came right down to the wire. The fans were real happy. I don’t think you can ask much than that for a weekend.”
Homestead-Miami Speedway will continue to grow as The Championship Track in 2009. In addition to crowning the respective titlists of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series during Ford Championship Weekend November 20-22, the champions of the IndyCar Series and Grand-Am Rolex Series will be crowned here for the first time at the respective season finales October 10. The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series ends its season that afternoon in the Grand Prix of Miami on the infield road course. That evening, the stars of the Indianapolis 500 wrap up their season by racing at more than 200-mph on the 1.5-mile oval under the lights.