Motorsports History This Fall in Miami--THE Championship Track
Never before in motorsports history has there been a more decorated season of racing at one venue than will take place in South Florida in 2009. Homestead-Miami Speedway. proudly will host the series-crowning Championship finales for all six of North America’s major motorsports events, including the IndyCar, Grand-Am Rolex and Firestone Indy Lights series (Oct. 9-10); and the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Series (Nov. 20-22).
Need a little more to get the adrenaline flowing? Consider some of what transpired on track at Homestead-Miami Speedway during NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend 2008…
Sprint Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson entered the Ford 400 leading Carl Edwards by 141 points in his attempt to win a nearly unprecedented third straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Edwards fought to the finish—winning the season finale to cut the points deficit in half—but still fell 69 points shy of eclipsing Johnson. So while Jimmie made history at Homestead-Miami—a NASCAR three-peat feat accomplished only once previously (Cale Yarborough, 1976-78)— Edwards looks toward 2009, wondering what might have been with a Sprint Cup schedule that lasted 37 races instead of 36….
Also looking toward 2009 is Johnson and the No. 48 team, which will be shooting for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Sprint Cup Championship.
“Yeah, we want four. Why not?” said Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, sounding more than ready to get started on ’09. “That’s why we’re here. With the team we’ve got and the resources that we’ve got, we definitely think we can win four championships in a row. Why not? Give me a reason why we not?”
“I could go race again next week and go for four in a row,” Johnson said after his victory in Miami. “It’s not that we’re chasing a number, we just know what we are capable of.”
On the Nationwide front, Clint Bowyer arrived in Miami with just a 56-point lead in the standings on Edwards, who again was up to the challenge. “Cousin Carl” won the race—sweeping NASCAR’s top two Series at Homestead-Miami on the season’s Championship weekend—to cut Bowyer’s points lead to 21 but again fell just short. If there’s anyone ready to get going on the 2009 slate, it’s safe to say it’s Carl Edwards.
And said Bowyer of his series Championship: “At the end of the year, to be able to sit back and enjoy all of the hard work that you've been busting your butt all season for—to see it finally having a purpose, and to be able to look up on your mantle and see a championship trophy is pretty cool….It’s just incredible.”
And perhaps the best Championship racing of the Ford Championship Weekend trio took place with the Friday night Craftsman Truck race. The last-ever Championship under the Craftsman-sponsorship title was closer than it's ever been heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Just three points separated Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday. When it was all said and done, Todd Bodine took the checkered flag in the Ford 200, Benson finished 7th and Hornaday one spot behind him in 8th—making Benson the Champion with just a miniscule seven-point margin over Hornaday.
“Well, I can give you the reason why we won the championship….It took 25 races,” Benson remarked after his win in Miami. “It started at Daytona when we unloaded, ended when we loaded up [at Homestead-Miami]….Every one of those is a decision or a result of us being here winning a championship.”
And if the on-track wasn’t enough, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted legends throughout NASCAR’s 60-year history to help crown the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion during Ford Championship Weekend, including: Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace, Darrell Waltrip and Rex White. The past champions were honored at Homestead-Miami Speedway as part of Ford Championship Weekend pre-race ceremonies prior to the season-finale Ford 400.
Remarkably, all of this represents just the first half of the Championship equation at Homestead-Miami in 2009. With the recent announcement that the Indy Racing League will crown both its IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights Series champions in Miami—on the very weekend (Oct. 9-10) that the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will do the same—Homestead-Miami Speedway is irrefutably THE Championship Track.
“Major events are a significant part of the South Florida landscape, so we are very happy to bring the IndyCar Series Championship to Homestead-Miami Speedway,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League’s Commercial Division. “We like the opportunity afforded to us to match a Championship city with the IndyCar Series Championship race.”
Key to the allure of the IndyCar Series is a diverse lineup of international drivers that includes: racing pioneer Danica Patrick, one of one of the most recognizable female athletes in the world; Miami resident Helio Castroneves, two-time Indy 500 winner and champion of ABC’s television hit “Dancing with the Stars”; co-Miami resident and IndyCar Champion Tony Kanaan, the first driver in major auto racing history to complete every lap of every race of an entire season (2004); reigning Champion Scott Dixon; and a youthful corps of drivers highlighted by the most famed and accomplished names in motorsports history, including Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and A.J. Foyt IV.
So join us in 2009 to witness what will surely go down as one of the most anticipated and historic years in motorsports history at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Check out our 2009 Season Packages and 2009 Ford Championship Weekend Packages, and keep updated on tickets for all six Championship finales via www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com or by calling (866) 409-RACE. Homestead-Miami Speedway—THE Championship Track.