Jimmie Johnson seeks to match historical three-peat this weekend in Miami; tickets available
Polesitter Jimmie Johnson played his own version of “Catch Me If You Can” Sunday -- and nobody could -- in the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 and in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Though it took a green-white-checkered-flag finish to decide the race, the outcome was hardly in doubt, as Johnson dominated the race, leading 217 of 313 laps. Kurt Busch finished second, .295 seconds behind the two-time defending Cup champion.
With the victory--his seventh of the season, his third straight at Phoenix and the 40th of his career--Johnson widened his lead over fourth-place finisher Carl Edwards. If Johnson maintiains his points lead with the Sprint Cup finale this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will join a club that currently has only Cale Yarborough (1976-78) as a member: drivers to win three straight Cup titles.
Of the 12 drivers who started the Chase, only Edwards has a chance to catch Johnson.
“I’m excited,” Johnson said. “I wish we could have left here and all we have to do is start [at Homestead-Miami], but Carl put up a great fight. They’ve been a strong, championship-caliber team all year. But as long as something doesn’t go crazy for us down in Homestead, we’re going to tie Cale -- and I can’t wait to start celebrating.”
“He (Johnson) did a great job,” said Edwards, who finished one position behind Roush Fenway Racing teammate Jamie McMurray. “It’s still possible, just not probable. We’ll just have to go there and hope that something happens. You saw it with the 24 today.” (Johnson’s teammate Jeff Gordon blew his engine Sunday and finished 41st.)
Johnson chasing history is just one of the stories this weekend at Homestead-Miami. Some others...
Legendary Sprint Cup champions on site for Ford Championship Weekend
Legends throughout NASCAR’s 60-year history will help crown the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion during Ford Championship Weekend. Past champions who will be in Miami and at the track this weekend include: Bobby Allison, Kurt Busch, Ned Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace, Darrell Waltrip, Rex White, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth. On Sunday, the past champions will be honored at Homestead-Miami Speedway as part of Ford Championship Weekend pre-race ceremonies prior to the season-finale Ford 400.
Carl Edwards presses Clint Bowyer for Nationwide Series title entering Ford 300
Carl Edwards steadily has gained on leader Clint Bowyer and enters Homestead-Miami this weekend just 56 points behind Bowyer. Edwards is trying to become the first driver to win both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series titles in the same year.
Craftsman Truck Series features three-point title chase entering Ford 200
With only the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway remaining, the race for the Craftsman Truck Series championship is closer than it's ever been heading into the finale, as just three points separate Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday. The Ford 200 takes place Friday night, Nov. 14th, and is FREE to kids.
Special dignitaries scheduled to participate in the Ford Championship Weekend pre-race ceremonies prior to the season-finale Ford 400 include Edsel Ford—great-grandson of Henry Ford and member of the Board of Directors of Ford Motor Company—serving as Grand Marshall; Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter recording artist Ne-Yo will sing the National Anthem; and Paul Teutul Sr., founder of the world famous Orange County Choppers and one of the stars of the hit reality show “American Chopper,” will serve as Honorary Race
Ford Championship Weekend RaceFest at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
South Florida’s largest NASCAR-themed festival marks the official kick-off to Ford Championship Weekend. This FREE outdoor event will be hosted by the Hard Rock in Hollywood for the first time ever, and features autograph and Q&A sessions with NASCAR drivers, photo ops with the Sprint Cup Trophy, interactive displays, show cars, official souvenirs, merchandise, food/drink and live entertainment for all ages. Fans can mingle with some of the best drivers in the world just days before they do battle for the championship titles in all three of NASCAR’s top circuits: the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series.
Jeff Gordon winless in ’08, winless for career at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will try to keep one streak alive and break another this weekend. In nine career starts at Homestead-Miami, Gordon has never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. One streak he doesn’t want to see end is an incredible run of 14 consecutive seasons with at least one win.
Double duty for Miami-resident Juan Pablo Montoya
Miami’s own Juan Pablo Montoya will run both the Ford 300 Nationwide race on Saturday, Nov. 15, and the Ford 400 Sprint Cup finale on Sunday, Nov. 16— one of only two Nationwide races the Coral Gables resident will run in 2008.
Farewell run for Tony Stewart, Joe Gibbs Racing
This weekend’s Ford 400 marks the final Sprint Cup event with Joe Gibbs Racing for Tony Stewart, who has spent his entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Gibbs. In 2009, Stewart will be an owner and driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.
Ford Fusion Hybrid: first hybrid vehicle ever to pace the Sprint Cup field
The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford Fusion Sport have been chosen as official pace cars of the Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale. Both the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Sport will be decked out in NASCAR-inspired camouflage paint schemes. The Fusion Hybrid is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy, beating the Toyota Camry Hybrid by at least 5 mpg, and will drive more than 700 miles on a tank of gas in city driving. Both cars will be unveiled at the Los Angeles International Auto Show Nov. 19.
Final Truck Series race for Craftsman
The Ford 200 marks the final race for Craftsman as the title sponsor for NASCAR’s Truck Series. Craftsman has been the series’ lone sponsor since its 1995 inception.
South Florida’s Ciara Emanuelle to sing national anthem prior to Ford 200
South Florida resident Ciara Emanuelle, winner of Homestead-Miami Speedway/Kiss Country “NASCAR Day Idol,” will sing the national anthem.