Who’s in? Chase field is set for Sprint Cup March to Miami Championship
The Chase field is set with NASCAR's Top 12 vying for the Championship to be decided at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 22 (photo courtesy: Rusty Jarrett, Getty Images Sport)
The Chase for Sprint Cup field is set, and the list of drivers vying for a Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22 reads like a virtual who’s who of NASCAR elite:
► Mark Martin, out of semi-retirement to make a run for his first ever Cup title;
► Juan Pablo Montoya, the first non-U.S. born driver ever to qualify for the Chase, which will culminate on his home track of Homestead-Miami Speedway;
► Jimmie Johnson, seeking an unprecedented fourth straight Cup Championship;
► Jeff Gordon, in search of a legendary fifth title at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the only track on which he’s never won; and
► Tony Stewart, seeking to defy the odds in winning a Championship as a first-year owner/driver.
Do you have your tickets? As if extra incentive is needed to visit Miami in November, would you believe some stellar seats are still available for NASCAR’s crowning weekend?
“This season is so much different than last season,” said Carl Edwards . “We had six wins or something at this point last season. Right now, we have struggled a little bit as a group, Roush Fenway, so I feel like this is our opportunity to only be a few points behind the leader, kind of gather all of our energy and all of the things we have been working on and head into these last 10 races full force.”
NASCAR’s Top 12 elite will use the 10-race playoff format to decide the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion which will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 22.
Qualifying to make a run for the Championship in Miami was indeed a wild ride—with 11 drivers heading into Race 26 at Richmond still eligible for eight remaining spots in the Chase (and just 122 points separating them).
“It was a great night for us, and a little bit of momentum for us going into the Chase. … I think we have a great shot at it,” said Jeff Gordon after his third place finish at Richmond.
After the first 25 races, only Stewart, Gordon, Johnson and Denny Hamlin had qualified for NASCAR’s “Big Dance.” That left Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Miami resident Montoya, Ryan Newman, Martin, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch set to step on one another's toes (tires?) if need be to make the show.
And with each driver having known exactly what needed to happen to lock into the Chase, it was one of the most dramatic climaxes in Chase regular-season history. And now that the Chase field is set, all eyes are fixed on the Sprint Cup and NASCAR’s biggest prize, to be crowned Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I’m real excited about it and hopefully we can have some good runs and get back up there the way we know we can run,” said Edwards.
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