The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season concludes on Sunday with the Championship 4 racing for the MENCS title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Bush and Joey Logano are the four contenders for the 2018 crown.
The Championship 4 race in Florida is a time for Truex, Bush and Harvick to earn their second series championship. Logano is still searching for his first title. 2018 is the 5th year of heads-up racing between the Championship 4 to win the title. Each of those years, the champion has won the race. Harvick in ’14, Bush in ’15, Jimmie Johnson in ’16 and Truex in ’17.
What to Expect:
The Ford Ecoboost 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5 mile track unlike the other “cookie-cutter” shaped 1.5 mile speedways. Miami has no front-straightaway bend to it, and although other speedways of the same length on the circuit have progressive banking, Homestead has it’s own challenge. The progressive banking from the bottom to the top is its own challenging piece, then add in how bumpy the racetrack is, Miami is truly a track where the driver plays a critical role. Another guaranteed component to Sunday’s race will be strategy as it relates to tire wear and the combined fall-off in speed. With those variables, along with the fact of a championship on the line at the end of 400 miles, it’s setting up to be an action-packed day on the track.
Next, how did they get to the Final 4?
Round of 8 Review
The Round of 8 began three weeks ago at Martinsville Speedway with Joey Logano winning and punching his ticket to the championship race. That win wasn’t without talk, as Logano bumped Truex out of Turn 4, coming to the checkered flag. Truex was upset, since for more than 20 laps prior, Truex battled Logano for the lead without making contact. With both of these drivers in Sunday’s championship battle, will a disagreement a few weeks earlier play a part in who’s victorious?
The middle race in the Round of 8 was at Texas Motor Speedway. The 500-miler in the Lone Star State was dominated by Harvick, who went on to victory. However, Harvick was stripped of his championship berth after the rear spoiler of his Ford was found to be illegal when the car was fully inspected at the NASCAR R & D Center.
The final chance to reach Miami with a chance to win a championship was at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. With Harvick sustaining the penalty, he entered the Valley of the Sun with just a slim 3 point lead over teammate Kurt Bush. At the end of the race last week, the Top 4 entering Phoenix were the four drivers that advanced to the Championship 4, as Kyle Bush won in the desert.
Following the Championship 4 finale, stay tuned for a look-back at the season finale. Who do you think will be the 2018 MENCS Champion?
The Track Talk Podcast is below with a look ahead to the end of 2018.