South Dade News Leader: Matt Becherer

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Matt Becherer

Friday 05/26/2017
Ford Championship Weekend: A Major Tradition in Sports

2018 Homestead-Miami Speedway NASCAR Dates Announced

The American culture has always been largely predicated on traditions. We enjoy celebrating birthdays and holidays, and find comfort in having yearly family reunions and vacations.

When it comes to tradition in sports, there are a few classic events that happen each year which contribute to the fabric of the American culture. These particular events are special because they draw the interest of the entire nation and not just sports fans. They also create a sense of familiarity for fans, as they tend to occur in the same location at the same time each year.

Earlier this month, one of those events was front and center for all to witness, as Always Dreaming captured the coveted crown in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. The horse race, which is deemed “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” is the longest continually held sporting event in America.

Another sports tradition that happens year-to-year is the NCAA Division I baseball championship. Since 1950, the College World Series has become synonymous with Omaha, Nebraska. And coming this June, it will be the 67th straight year that Omaha will be the host city of the baseball tournament.

Motorsports has also played a major role in the landscape of American culture, as it provides a number of iconic events each year. This Sunday, drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series will compete in The 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. Fans from around the world will convene at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch the historic event, which is billed “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

In NASCAR, the Daytona 500 has always been one of the foremost motorsports events in the United States, so much so that it is known as “The Great American Race.” In 2018, the Daytona 500 will be celebrating its 60th anniversary of showcasing historic performances and spectacular moments.

While the Daytona 500 has become a renowned tradition for sports fans at the start of the season, NASCAR has built another yearly custom at the culmination of its campaign. For the past 15 years, Homestead-Miami Speedway has served as the site of NASCAR’s championship races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. And in addition to holding the championship races in NASCAR’s three national series again in 2017, NASCAR announced this week that Ford Championship Weekend will be coming to Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2018, too (Nov. 16-18).

Having the opportunity to host Ford Championship Weekend for what will be the 17th successive year (2018) is truly special and unique in many ways. For one, it makes our track one of the longest recurring championship locations in all of sports both pro and collegiate. It is also one

of the few sites that holds three championship events in as many days. The ability to put on an event of this magnitude each year puts Ford Championship Weekend amongst the greatest sports traditions.

Over the current 15-year span, the significance and success of Ford Championship Weekend has helped make a substantial impact on the South Florida community. With the first Monster Energy Series race having been run here in 1999, there have been only three years in which Homestead-Miami Speedway did not determine a champion in NASCAR’s top series. Each year, the track generates more than $301 million in economic benefit to the area, helping revitalize south Miami-Dade County and aiding in its continued growth. While a large portion of this annual infusion comes from Ford Championship Weekend, what many people don’t realize is that our facility is utilized nearly 300 days out of the year for a variety of cool and worthwhile events, such as Fast Lane Friday presented by The Ticket Clinic.

Though we feel privileged to once again play host to Ford Championship Weekend in 2018, we are eagerly awaiting this year’s three-day tradition, which is sure to be a memorable one. In addition to crowning champions in each of NASCAR’s three national series, Homestead-Miami Speedway will serve as the setting for the final laps of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Monster Energy Series career. It will be the last race in which the 14-time most popular driver sits behind his famed No. 88 car.

To witness all the history that will make up 2017 Ford Championship Weekend, including Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final Monster Energy Series race, fans can purchase tickets by visiting www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com or calling (866) 409-RACE (7223).

NASCAR ACTION THIS WEEKEND

Sunday, May 28 at 6:00 PM (ET)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Tune In: FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

Saturday, May 27 at 1:00 PM (ET)

NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 4k TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Tune In: FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

*The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off and will return June 2*

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

May 26 High Performance Driving Experience

May 27-28 Formula & Automobile Racing Association

June 2 Fast Lane Friday presented by The Ticket Clinic

June 3-4 Championship Cup Series Motorcycle Racing

June 17 High Performance Driving Experience

June 18 Miami Exotic Auto Racing

June 24-25 Sports Car Club of America

Nov. 19 Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race

Nov. 18 Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 17 Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series Championship Race

Posted in Sports, Opinion, Columnists, Matt becherer on Friday, May 26, 2017 3:15 am. Comments (0)

MATT BECHERER

Matt Becherer is President of Homestead-Miami Speedway. This long-time motorsports executive is one of the good guys, and he leads a team of 40 that operate the track. If you would like to talk to Matt, he can be reached at chatwithmatt @homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

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