South Florida Shines at Championship Weekend - South Dade News Leader: Opinion

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South Florida Shines at Championship Weekend

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2018 5:46 pm

Two weeks ago we enjoyed one of the most successful weekends in our history of racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. During NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend, we celebrated many great achievements both on and off the track that were representative of the hard work that our entire staff puts in all year to make Ford Championship Weekend such a tremendous event.

One of those accomplishments was that for the fifth consecutive year the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race was run in front of a sold-out crowd. It’s been an incredible stretch to be able to showcase NASCAR in front of a packed house for the last several years. It’s truly a testament to not only our employees, but the entire South Florida community that gets excited to be a part of one of the biggest events of the year.

As the myriad of fans who attended our races headed home at the conclusion of Sunday’s Cup series championship, they left with a weekend full of memorable moments. Whether it was camping out in the Geico Grounds Turn 2 RV area with family and friends, roaming around the midway or catching the pre-race performance by Hunter Hayes on the frontstretch, or even seeing the human cannonball get shot out of a cannon right outside of the track, there were a number of things to keep our fans entertained and engaged throughout the weekend.

Of course, the most lasting impressions will be what happened on the track. Ford Championship Weekend is always filled with history and iconic racing as champions are crowned in all three of NASCAR’s national series – Monster Energy Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.

This year we saw a trio of first-time champions, starting with Brett Moffitt who kicked of Ford Championship Weekend by winning the Ford EcoBoost 200 to claim the Truck series title. On Saturday, Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 9 for JR Motorsports, got a chance to etch his name into the record books, capturing the Xfinity championship.

The weekend culminated with the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, where fans were treated to an intense battle for the Cup series championship. The race saw each of the Championship 4 drivers – Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. – lead laps as they attempted to take home the title. The race came down to the final restart as Logano and Truex battled for the lead for several laps before Logano got out front for the remainder race, taking the checkered flag and more importantly, hoisting the MENCS championship trophy at the end of the night.

These iconic moments and memories of Ford Championship Weekend will be what fans hold onto as we embark on the offseason. But as we reminisce about the 2018 season while awaiting the Daytona 500 in February, I still look back at the full slate of races in 2018, not just ours.

It all started on the first weekend of the season with the running of the Daytona 500 when Austin Dillon moved Aric Almirola on the last lap to reach Victory Lane. The Daytona 500 was a sign of things to come as the back end of the season was full of memorable finishes.

During the first 21 races of the year, NASCAR’s ‘Big 3’ became the sport’s biggest storyline as Busch, Harvick and Truex combined to win 16 races and became the favorites to contend for a championship. As the season wore on, other drivers started to close the gap and gave fans a number of breathtaking moments to cherish.

There was Chase Elliott holding off Busch in an intense final few laps at Watkins Glen to pick up his first career victory. As the playoffs got underway, Jimmie Johnson and Truex collected each other in a wreck just before the finish line at the Roval, paving the way for Ryan Blaney to win. And of course there was the ending at Martinsville where Logano moved Truex to take the checkered flag and claim a spot in the Championship 4 here at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he eventually won the title.

The final stretch of races leaves me beyond excited for the 2019 season to begin. If this year was any indication, we’ll be seeing plenty of hardnosed racing moving forward. That style of racing led to many finishes that had me on the edge of my seat throughout the season.

As we patiently await the start of the 2019 NASCAR season, I can’t wait to see more action-packed racing, beginning with the first race of the season at Daytona and culminating with final race of the year here at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


Dec. 1-2 Championship Cup Series (CCS)

Dec. 7 Rusty Wallace Racing Experience

Dec. 7 Fast Lane Friday

De. 8-9 Formula & Automobile Racing Association (FARA)

Dec. 15 Miami Exotic Auto Racing

Dec. 16 Performance Driving Group

Dec. 28 Miami Exotic Auto Racing


Nov. 15

Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series Championship Race

Nov. 16

Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 17

Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy Series Championship

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