NASCAR Caps 2017 Season with Exciting Finish

It’s the final race of the 2017 NASCAR racing season with the Monster Energy Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ford_400_race_2007By Chrisg21090 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by djsasso., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18721336

Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr will battle it out for the title of 2017 champion. The time for collecting points has ended; as a result, NASCAR will not award points at the end of the stages in the race.

While the playoff format has been a part of NASCAR for several years, this will mark the first year that the champion will be called the Monster Energy Cup Series champion.

Even after qualifying had begun, Jimmie Johnson’s car was still going through inspection. Johnson’s car made it through inspection in time to qualify.

Dale Earnhardt Jr will have to start the race from the back of the field after making an engine change.

After three rounds of qualifying Denny Hamlin wins the pole in the last minute of qualifying.

DennyHamlinAugust2007By Kim Phillips – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2720046

The starting lineup for the Ford EcoBoost 400:
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Matt Kenseth
Brad Keselowski
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kyle Larson
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Daniel Suarez
Ryan Blaney
Trevor Bayne
Jamie McMurray
Erik Jones
Paul Menard
Clint Bowyer
Austin Dillon
chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Aric Almirola
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson
MichaelMcDowell
Dale Earnhardt Jr – moved to the back of the field for an engine change
Danica Patrick
AJ Allmendinger
Kasey Kahne
Landon Cassill
Chris Buescher
David Ragan
Matt DiBenedetto
Ty Dillon
Cole Whitt
Corey LaJoie
Joey Gase
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Reed Sorenson
David Starr
Ray Black Jr

During driver introductions, retiring driver Dale Earnhardt Jr took a while to get down to the track and in the truck because of all the fans gathered to wish him luck and to say thank you. Junior stopped to sign autographs, pose for photos, and shake hands. Junior said that his goal today was to run every lap of the race.

Stages one and two of the race are 80 laps each with stage three lasting 107 laps for a total of 267 laps around the mile and a half track to make up the 400 miles. No stage points will be awarded for this race.

As the cars roll off, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth bring up the rear, symbolizing their final starts as full time drivers. Much like when his Dad finally won the Daytona 500 pit crews are waving and patting the car as he passes by. Jeff Burton noted that the greatest mark of a career is the respect of one’s peers.

After making an engine change before qualifying, Dale Jr will have to work his way through the field from the back of the field even though he qualified 24th.

After an energizing command to start engines, Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag but it is playoff driver Martin Truex Jr who edges out Hamlin for the lead of the race.

Lap three Kyle Busch challenges Martin Truex Jr for the lead. Playoff drivers Kevin Harvick is in sixth and Brad Keselowski is in seventh. Dale Earnhardt Jr is already up to 27th place.

Joey Gase brings out the first caution flag of the race on lap five after hitting the wall hard.

Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for some fresh tires. Brad Keselowski was the only playoff driver to come down pit road. Teams get only eleven sets of tires for this race.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap nine, with Truex holding on to the lead.

After restarting in 13th, Brad Keselowski has moved up to seventh by lap 10.

Lap 13 Kyle Larson passes Martin Truex Jr for the lead with Brad Keselowski is second.

Lap 15 Kyle Larson has a lead of over a second on Brad Keselowski. Dale Earnhardt Jr is in 23rd.

On lap 17 the championship drivers are:
Brad Keselowski in second
Martin Treux Jr in fourth
Kevin Harvick in seventh
Kyle Busch in twelfth

Lap 18 Joey Gase is the only car out of the race.

Lap 19 Kyle Larson’s lead is down to under a second over Brad Keselowski with Kurt Busch in third.

Lap 21 Dale Jr have moved up to 20th place.

Lap23 Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Brad Keselowski with Ray Black Jr the only car one lap down. Dale Jr is in 19th place.

Lap 25 Kyle Larson’s lead is now two and a half seconds over Brad Keselowski.

Lap 29 Kyle Larson has a lead of over four seconds on Brad Keselowski, with Dale Jr in 19th and 32 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 32 Kyle Larson holds on to a lead of over four seconds on Brad Keselowski. Dale Jr is holding on to 19th place.

Lap 35 Kyle Larson has increased his lead ot over five seconds on Brad Keselowski. Dale Jr is in 18th.

Lap 38 Jimmie Johnson makes an unscheduled trip down pit road with a flat tire after hitting the wall.

Johnson’s trip down pit road has encouraged other drivers to make a green flag pit stop.

Kyle Larson has the lead with Kurt Busch in second. With green flag pit stops, Dale Jr is in eleventh.

When Kurt Busch makes his pit stop, Austin Dillon takes over second place.

Lap 46 Kyle Larson has a near two second lead on Brad Keselowski.

Kyle Busch is reporting a vibration with a possible loose wheel. Busch’s crew made the pit stop in under twelve seconds.

Lap 48 Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of three seconds on Brad Keselowski. Dale Jr is in 18th place with 22 cars on the lead lap.

Championship drivers:
Brad Keselowski in second
Martin Truex Jr in third
Kevin Harvick in fifth
Kyle Busch in ninth

Martin Truex Jr is reporting a possible brake issue.

Lap 52 Kyle Larson has increased his lead to over four seconds on Brad Keselowski. Dale Jr has dropped to 20th.

Lap 54 Kyle Larson’s lead is now over five seconds over Brad Keselowski.

Lap 56 Kyle Larson is running away from the field with a lead of over six seconds on Brad Keselowski.

Lap 61 Kyle Larson has a lead of nearly seven seconds on Brad Keselowski. Dale Jr is in 19th.

After almost losing control of his car, Martin Truex Jr is reporting a free condition.

Lap 66 Kyle Larson is “driving it like he stole it” with a lead of over eitght seconds.

Jimmie Johnson made a second unscheduled trip down pit road after hitting the wall a second time.

The championship drivers are two, three, four, and five – Keselowski, Harvick, Truex, and Busch.

Lap 70 there are only 16 cars on the lead lap. Kyle Larson is now over nine seconds ahead of Brad Keselowski.

Lap 74 Kyle Busch has gotten around Martin Truex Jr to take over fourth place.

Lap 75 there are only 13 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 77 Kyle Busch passes Kevin Harvick to take over third place.

Martin Truex Jr is reporting a very loose condition.

Kyle Larson wins stage one with a lead of over nine seconds on Brad Keselowski.

Kyle_Larson_at_the_Daytona_500By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38678934

The top 10 at the end of stage one :
Kyle Larson
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Martin Truex Jr
Chase Elliott
Kurt Busch
Denny Hamlin
Joey Logano
Clint Bowyer

Kyle Larson wins the race off of pit road with the top five remaining the same.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 87. Brad Keselowski challenges Kyle Larson for the lead but Larson holds on to the top spot with the championship drivers running two, three, four, and five. Dale Jr is in 20th one lap down.

Kyle Busch’s team reports no loose lug nuts or out of shape lug nut holes.

Lap 91 Kyle Larson has a lead of nearly a second on Brad Keselowski with only 14 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 93 Kevin Harvick has passed Brad Keselowski for second. Kyle Larson leads by over half a second.

Lap 96 Kyle Larson’s lead over Kevin Harvick is down to just a quarter of a second and Harvick is beginning to challenge Larson for the lead.

With the sun beginning to go down, parts of the track are in shadow and are beginning to cool off. With nearly half of the race being run after sunset, some of the drivers have set up their cars for the cooler track temperatures.

Lap 104 Kyle Larson continues to lead the race by over a second on Kevin Harvick. There are 14 cars on the lead lap with Dale Jr in 20th.

Brad Keselowski is reporting a very loose condition and has fallen to fifth place.

Martin Truex Jr is also reporting handling issues.

Lap 109 Kyle Larson’s lead over Kevin Harvick is now over two seconds.Lap 110 Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over three seconds on Kevin Harvick with 14 cars on the lead lap. Dale Jr is in 20th one lap down.

Lap 112 Kyle Larson is pulling away from the field with a lead of over four seconds on Kevin Harvick. Kyle Busch is closing in on Harvick.

Lap 114 Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are battling for second with Kyle Busch getting in front.

Lap 121 Kyle Larson has a lead of over four second on Kyle Busch as green flag pit stops begin.

Lap 123 Kyle Larson makes his pit stop giving the lead to Kyle Busch.

Kyle Busch locked up his wheels and came smoking down pit road when he almost missed pit entry.

Martin Truex Jr’s team had a slow pit stop trying to make adjustments to the car.

Lap 126 Kyle Larson has retaken the lead with Kevin Harvick in second and Kyle Busch in third. Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Kyle Busch gets around Kevin Harvick to take over second place…and lead the championship battle.

Lap 133 Kyle Larson has a lead of over three seconds on Kyle Busch with 14 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 137 Kyle Larson’s lead is holding at a little over three seconds on Kyle Busch with Kevin Harvick in third. Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Lap 138 Kyle Busch has closed the gap to Kyle Larson to less than three seconds.

Lap 138 Martin Truex Jr passes Brad Keselowski for fourth.

Lap 140 Dale Earnhardt Jr has dropped to 23rd place.

Lap 141 Kyle Larson’s lead is holding to around three seconds.

The caution flag comes out on lap 142 when Danica Patrick hits the wall and has a flaming front right tire. Kasey Kahne also has some crash damage after not being able to stop in time and hitting Danica. She has to stop her car just short of pit road due to the smoke and flames.

Once pit road opens, lead lap drivers come down pit road for service.

Kyle Larson leads the race off of pit road with Kevin Harvick coming out in second and Kyle Busch in third.

As the sun begins to set, drivers are reporting that they are having issues seeing the track.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 150 and edges out Kevin Harvick for the lead of the race. Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick battle for second.

With eight laps remaining in stage two Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly a second on Martin Truex Jr with Kevin Harvick in third, Brad Keselowski in fourth and Kyle Busch in sixth.

Lap 154 Kyle Larson has a one second lead on Martin Truex Jr. Dale Jr is in 23rd.

Lap 156 the championship drivers:
Martin Truex Jr in seconds.lap
Kevin Harvick in third
Kyle Busch in fourth
Brad Keselowski in fifth

Kyle Larson wins stage two by less than a second.

TSM350_-_2015_-_Kyle_Larson_-_Stierch_01By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41404838

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Larson
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Brad Keselowski
Kurt Busch
Matt Kenseth
Joey Logano
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin

Martin Truex Jr leads the race off of pit road with Kyle Busch in second and Kyle Larson in third.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 166 and edges out Kyle Busch for the lead.

One hundred laps remaining in the race, Martin Truex jr leads the race by over half a second on Kyle Busch.

If the track stays green, the drivers can make it on one more pit stop.

Lap 170, the championship drivers:
Martin Truex Jr is in the lead
Kyle Busch is in seconds.
Kevin Harvick is in third
Brad Keselowski is in ninth.

Lap 172 there are 16 cars on the lead lap with Martin Truex Jr in front of the field.

Kyle Busch gets around Martin Truex Jr to take over the lead of the race on lap 177.

David Starr brings his car down pit road with a flat tire but the track stays green.

Lap 182 Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly two second on Martin Truex Jr with Kyle Larson in third. Kevin Harvick is in fourth and Brad Keselowski is in 10th.

Lap 186 Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over two and a half seconds on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 192 Kyle Busch is still leading the race by nearly three seconds. Kevin Harvick appears to have some damage to his car with a hole in the front bumper.

Lap 195 Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over three seconds over Martin Truex Jr.

Kyle Larson passes Martin Truex Jr for second.

Martin Truex Jr’s team is reporting some radio interference issues. They changed channels to help clear up the issue.

Lap 198 Brad Keselowski brings his car down pit road for service; there are still over 65 laps remaining in the race.

Lap 200 Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick follow and bring their cars down pit road for service.

Kyle Busch’s team reports that they are going to one stop it – they plan on making only one pit stop in the stage while other drivers will have to make a second stop.

Lap 208 Kyle Busch is still out in front of the field with Kyle Larson I second nearly two and a half seconds behind.

Lap 212 Kyle Busch has a two second lead on Kyle Larson with oly seven cars on the lead lap.

Lap 214 the drivers who are making only one pit stop in the stage are beginning to come down pit road for service.

Lap 216 Kyle Busch comes down pit road for service, giving the lead over to Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 223 Martin Truex Jr has a four second lead on Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch eleven seconds behind. While Truex is out in front, he will have to make another pit stop before the end of the race.

Lap 225 Kyle Busch has closed the gap to just over nine seconds behind Martin Truex Jr.

Kurt Busch brings out the caution flag on lap 229 after getting loose and spinning out.

There are only eleven cars on the lead lap.

When pit road opens, the drivers bring their cars down pit road for fresh tires and a packed fuel cell.

Martin Truex Jr wins the race off of pit road with Kevin Harvick in second and Kyle Busch in third.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 233 with Truex getting out in front for the lead as drivers battle for position behind him. There are only 34 laps remaining in the race and the time has come for the battles to begin for position.

Thirty two to go and Martin Truex Jr has a lead of less than a second on Kevin Harvick with Joey Logano in third.

Twenty nine to go, Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Kevin Harvick. Kyle Busch is in fourth two and a half seconds behind.

Lap 242 Martin Truex is in the lead ad looking to claim his first Cup championship with Kevin Harvick in second, Joey Logano in third, and Kyle Busch in fourth.

Only 23 laps to go with Martin Truex Jr leading with Kevin Harvick in second and Kyle Busch in third. Brad Keselowski is back in sixth place.

Two seconds behind, Kyle Busch is running the fastest speeds of the leaders.

Nineteen to go and Kyle Busch has pulled to just over a second and a half behind Martin Truex Jr.

With 18 laps to go Kyle Busch passes Kevin Harvick for second.

Sixteen to go Martin Truex Jr lass less than a second lead on Kyle Busch.

Fourteen to go and Kyle Busch has closed to withing half a second of Martin Truex Jr.

Thirteen to go and Kyle Busch has caught Martin Truex Jr and is less than half a second behind.

Twelve to go Kyle Busch is challenging Martin Truex Jr for the lead.

Ten to go and Martin Truex Jr has increased his lead to half a second on Kyle Busch.

Nine to go, Kyle Busch is again closing the gap on Martin Truex Jr.

Seven to go Kyle Busch is a quarter of a second behind Martin Truex Jr.

Five to go and Martin Truex Jr continues to hold off Kyle Busch in his battle to claim his first championship.

Four to go, Kyle Busch drops his car to the bottom of the track in his bid to pass leader Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Larson in third has caught up with Martin Truex Jr.

Two to go and Martin Truex Jr holds on to the lead.

Martin Truex Jr takes the white flag with Kyle Busch a half a second behind.

After 12 years in the Cup series and winning the regular season, Martin Truex Jr wins the race and his first championship! Truex has been dominant all season especially on the mile and a half tracks.

878px-TSM350_-_2015_-_Martin_Truex_Jr._-_1_-_StierchBy Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41336482

After 632 races, Dale Earnhardt Jr ended his final race in 25th place three laps down.

Dale_Earnhardt_Jr_NASCAR_National_GuardBy U.S. National Guard. The work gives no specific photo credit. – www.ngb.army.mil/features/NASCAR/photos.aspx (click the third from left photo and then click the photo that appears for a full-size picture, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3608155

The unofficial results of the Ford EcoBoost 400:
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Kyle Larson
Kevin Harvick
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Brad Keselowski
Matt Kenseth
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Austin Dillon
Clint Bowyer
Jamie McMurray
AJ Allmendinger
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Paul Menard
David Ragan
Aric Almirola
Trevor Bayne
Chris Buescher
Erik Jones
Kurt Busch
Landon Cassill
Michael McDowell
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Ty Dillon
Jimmie Johnson
Cole Whitt
Ryan Blaney
Matt DiBenedetto
Corey LaJoie
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Kasey Kahne
Daniel Suarez
Reed Sorenson
David Starr
Danica Patrick
Ray Black Jr
Joey Gase

NASCAR will return for the 2018 racing season in Daytona in 91 days.


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