Halfway Home: Chase at Mid-Point to Miami

Kyle and Jimmie Battle at Charlotte

Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson had an epic battle for second with points crucial as both are in the Chase for the 2010 Sprint Cup Championship (photo courtesy: John Harrelson, Gett Images Sport)

In Chase Race 5 of 10 en route to Ford Championship Weekend in Miami (Nov. 19-21), Jamie McMurray’s decision to not stop for fuel and tires during the final caution period enabled him to record his third victory of the season. Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson had an epic battle for second with points crucial as both are in the Chase for the 2010 Sprint Cup Championship, to be crowned Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Just five races remain in the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season en route to NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Lock in your tickets NOW to see Championship racing at Championship value: Tickets start at $55 and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com. Parking is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler, with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

Johnson had spun earlier in the race, but the current points leader recovered to remain in the hunt for the race win.

"That was good racing," said Johnson. "I have to give him [Busch] a lot of credit. He ran his line, didn't start mirror-driving me or blocking me, he ran as hard as he could in his lane, and I was searching for a new lane to try and get by him."

Denny Hamlin finished fourth in Chase Race 5 of 10 en route to Miami and now trails Johnson by just 41 points for this year's Sprint Cup Series Championship, to be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 21.

"It was a battle," said Hamlin. “We were stuck from like third to fifth all day and just couldn't get it quite right. There was some stuff that we put in our car that we just needed to fine tune a little bit. Didn't have enough time to work on it during practice, but I think we have a good direction from here on out.

“We kept them in our sights, but that's all we could do. We were a little bit off today, but it's important that we get solid Top 5 finishes like this."

Just five races remain in the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season en route to  NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Lock in your tickets NOW to see Championship racing at Championship value: Tickets start at $55 and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com . Parking is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler, with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

Two Roush Fenway Racing Ford drivers recorded Top 10 finishes, with Chase contender Greg Biffle finishing fifth, just ahead of fellow-chaser and teammate Matt Kenseth in sixth. Carl Edwards, also seeking Sprint Cup Series Championship glory in Miami, finished 12th.

"It was a really good night," said Biffle, who moved up to eighth in the Championship standings. “We didn't qualify [22] very well so we had to work our way to the front. Then we made a pretty big change and had to restart all the way at the back and got all the way back into the Top 5. I'm just real happy for Jamie McMurray. He used to drive for us and was short on wins, but he's doing a great job.”

Kenseth, who finished sixth and sits 11th in the points, said: "The highlight was where we finished the last lap because that was the best we ran all night. We started the race [17th] incredibly far off and had to make a lot of pit stops and adjustments.

“The guys did a really good job recovering from where we were to get a decent finish. I don't know what they changed, but we were so loose when the race started that we couldn't run at all. The 48 [Jimmie Johnson] obviously was when he spun out, and the 2 [Kurt Busch] and some of the others were off, too. It took us pretty much the whole race to get enough adjustments to get it snugged up a little bit."

After a 23rd place finish, four-time Sprint Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon sits fourth in the Chase standings. The driver of the No. 24—who has never won at Homestead-Miami Speedway, said this post-race: "We had about everything go wrong that could go wrong. Track position being crucial at this place, I've never seen it so sensitive. We lost a little bit of track position, and then we had the battery issue which took me a little while to figure out.

“I've never had that happen before. I've had them stumble, but I've never had them just shut off. So, it took me a few seconds to figure that out. We lost a lap, and then speeding [on pit road] and a tire coming loose—we had it all happen."

With 20 laps remaining in Chase Race 5 of 10 en route to Miami, McMurray had a strong start on a restart as he and Busch were side-by-side, each attempting to find a way to take the race lead. McMurray was able to complete a pass on the backstretch, and 10 laps later stretched his lead to nearly two seconds while Busch was fending off four-time Sprint Cup Series Champion Johnson. The battle for second raged on as McMurray took the checkered flag for his third victory this year.

"It has been an unbelievable year," McMurray said. “I certainly can't thank Chip [Ganassi] and everybody enough. We've had a really good season, and we've been blessed to have some really good runs in some bigger races. Really, really excited about our success this season.”

Despite high-profile victories at Charlotte, Indianapolis and Daytona, the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver did not make NASCAR’s Top 12 Championship contenders field that will race for Sprint Cup glory at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 21.

Just five races remain in the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season en route to  NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Lock in your tickets NOW to see Championship racing at Championship value: Tickets start at $55 and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com . Parking is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler, with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

The Chase is now at its halfway mark with the final five races left until a Champion is crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Nov. 21. Next up for the Sprint Cup drivers is Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 24 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN-TV)—Chase Race 6 of 10 en route to Ford Championship Weekend. For tickets starting at $55, call (866) 409-RACE or log on to THEChampionshipTrack.com. Parking for Ford Championship Weekend is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler—with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

On the Move: South Florida’s Montoya

Montoya at Dover

“It’s a shame ’cause the car had a lot of speed.”

--Juan Pablo Montoya, who drove to an 11th place finish in Chase Race 5 en route to Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 19-21) on his “home track”

In Chase Race 5 of 10 en route to Ford Championship Weekend on his “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21), Juan Pablo Montoya started from the 34th position and raced his way to an 11th -place finish—his 17th Top 15 finish of 2010. With five races remaining in 2010, the No. 42 Target team has two pole awards, one win, five Top 5s and 13 Top 10s.

“Got really tight in qualifying,” said Montoya via his Twitter account. “It’s a shame ’cause the car had a lot of speed. I had a pretty good race….really thought it was gonna be worse on base of practice.”

Five races remain in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season en route to NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend on Montoya’s “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway. For tickets to see Montoya race for a Ford 400 victory on his home turf—as well as an exclusive meet-and-greet opportunity with Montoya himself--call (866) 409-RACE, log on to THEChampionshipTrack.com or click here.

Starting from the 34th position, Montoya quickly moved his way up to the front. After the first pit stop of the evening on Lap 25, the No. 42 Target Chevrolet had moved up 18 positions to 16th. As the evening progressed, the crew worked on a tight handling race car and made a total of seven pit stops. Pit strategy became key for track position, and Montoya would lead one lap during the 334 lap event and spend the majority of the evening in the Top 15. When the checkered flag waved, Montoya was credited with the 11th position.

Ganassi teammate Jamie McMurray would go on to win the race, his third and the fourth of the 2010 season for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, including Montoya’s victory at Watkins Glen in August.

Five races remain in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season en route to NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend on Montoya’s “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway. For tickets to see Montoya race for a Ford 400 victory on his home turf—as well as an exclusive meet-and-greet opportunity with Montoya himself--call (866) 409-RACE, log on to THEChampionshipTrack.com or click here.

Next up for Montoya and the Sprint Cup drivers is Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 24 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN-TV)—Chase Race 6 of 10 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21). For tickets starting at $55, call (866) 409-RACE or log on to THEChampionshipTrack.com. Parking for Ford Championship Weekend is free, and fans are welcome to bring in their own food and drink in a 6x6x12 cooler—with unlimited re-entry to the Speedway to allow for restocking from tailgates.

  • Budweiser
  • Car2Go
  • Coca-Cola
  • Contender
  • Courtyard Marriott
  • EPIC Hotel
  • Florida Lottery
  • Floridian Logo
  • Ford
  • Gatorade
  • GEICO
  • GEN Travel Solutions
  • Goodyear
  • Hampton Inn and Suites
  • Miller Industries
  • New Holland
  • NextEra
  • Safety Kleen
  • Sprint
  • Sunoco
  • Taurus
  • Tobacco Free Florida

© 2014 Homestead Miami Speedway

FacebookTwitterLinkedInDiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnorati

ISC Track Sites