What to Know
- In 2020, that all changes when the once a season event will take place March 20th-22nd as NASCAR moves their title weekend to Phoenix.
It’s an event that, for nearly two decades, has been a yearly ritual on the sports landscape in South Florida – but by the end of Sunday, the annual event known as NASCAR’s Championship weekend in Homestead will be an afterthought for the time being.
The three-day event – with each of the sport’s three levels known as the Monster Energy Series, the Xfinity Series and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series – kicks off Friday for the 18th straight time being the final weekend of the season.
In 2020, that all changes when the once a season event will take place March 20th-22nd as NASCAR moves their title weekend for at least the next three years to Phoenix, Arizona.
Fans will get a chance to head to Homestead-Miami Speedway starting Friday for the truck series title – featuring four drivers competing for the title, including Fort Myers native Ross Chastain – before the Xfinity Series crowns their champion on Saturday with NBC 6 morning anchor Roxanne Vargas getting things underway as the honorary starter for the race being televised on NBC Sports Network.
Of course, the attention will be focused on Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 with four drivers competing for the title. Three of the drivers – Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Treux Jr. – have won titles at Homestead since 2014 while Denny Hamlin has won two races before at the track but still chases that elusive title.
“I think the racetrack is phenomenal,” Hamilin said. “I believe as a driver you can really make a difference here. Even if your car is lacking a little bit, you can move around and change the characteristics of your car, the handling of your car through different lines and whatnot.”
“I like that it’s something different. We’re all going to get surprised a little bit, but at the same time, it’s a really fun track. It’s a track where, as a driver, you feel like you can make a difference,” Truex Jr. added.
During Thursday’s media day session on Miami Beach, the final drivers racing for the title admitted that the proposed idea of moving the race to different tracks – meaning Homestead could host as soon as the 2023 season – is the best thing for auto racing after 18 seasons in South Florida.
“It needs to move around,” said Truex Jr. “No question.”
“We all love Homestead, but the event and the market and the notoriety, the new things that come to a new market that help carry that race track for a number of years to come are important,” Harvick said.
Even with that support of moving the title, the four drivers racing for a title know it’s different and special in South Florida.
“To me,” Hamlin said, “it just feels like a championship race track. When I go there, it gets the juices flowing even if I’m not part of the Championship 4 because the stage is big and there’s a lot of eyes on it.”
The race gets started Sunday at 2 p.m. with the green flag scheduled for 3 p.m. on NBC 6